Ben's online avatar

Ben Gillbanks

Father, web designer, video gamer, and fully grown man. By day I look after my small family. By night I develop WordPress things - and occassionally make & play video games.

Pro Theme Design

Professional WordPress Themes, created with care and attention.

Binary Moon

My personal blog. Where I write, infrequently, about the things I do online. I also write WordPress and web dev tutorials and write about tech and games.

MasterWP

A weekly email for WordPress Masters. Created with Alex Denning.

Binary Sun

A website for playing games in your browser.

Binary Joy

A video game news and reviews site.

Themes Hunt

The best place to find the perfect WordPress theme for your website.

Veggie Advisor

Vegetarian news and reviews blog.

Life Line

An abbreviated history of my professional life

Toy Story

March 1996

This might not sound like an important thing - but watching the trailer for Toy Story (not the movie, the trailer), was a turning point in my life. I had always enjoyed doing creative things but it was then I decided I wanted to work in 3d art and animation for a living. Things turned out a little different but it was this event that set me on the path to studying digital arts at university.

Digital Arts with Multi Media Computing

September 1998 to June 2001

In 1998 I went to university to study Digital Art with multimedia computing. I graduated in 2001 with a first class honors degree.

The course was very broad covering everything from Photoshop and web design through sound editing, video game development, computer programming, and special effects.

Each year we were able to tailor the course a little more towards what we wanted to do as a career. In my final year I was focused on 3d art and video games - since that’s where my passions lay.

My end of course project was an interactive 3d walkthrough of the British Museum showing some of the exhibits, and it was displayed at the British Museum.

Media Projects International

June 2000 to August 2000

Whilst at university I was asked if I wanted to apply for a job at a digital agency working on the worlds first ‘e-mall’. The concept was to make an interactive shopping center with exhibits that would encourage people to spend more money, and to return frequently.

Whilst on this project I did 3d art for 2 main projects. One was a dancing robot app - that let people put their faces on a robot and then boogey to the music. The other was a fish based virtual pet that let you feed your electronic fish each time you visited the shopping center.

Rocket Boards

August 2001 to January 2004

Rocket Boards was my first experience of making a complete shareware video game. It wasn’t my first game, but it was the first time I had tried to make money from games.

Rocket Boards is a 3d racing game - inspired by games like Mario Kart. I think I bit off more than I could chew. I had never made anything as complex as this before and it took a lot longer to make than I imagined. But I did finish it in the end and I sold it to a publisher - so people could actually buy it in the shops! The publisher paid me £4000, and I earned a few hundred extra selling it through my website.

The biggest thing I got from it, however, was the job at Miniclip. It was never said outright but I am confident that if I didn’t have Rocket Boards in my portfolio I wouldn’t have gotten the Miniclip job, and so I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Miniclip Ltd.

August 2004 to August 2015

I joined Miniclip in 2004 as a multimedia artist - to help them to make games look nice. At the time Miniclip was tiny - I was employee number 3 - so we all chipped in and did a bit of everything. So I did everything from creating animations, game icons, and promotional content - through to web design, and even customer support.

Eventually they found out I knew CSS and was interested in web design so I spent more and more of my time there, until I eventually became the Director of Web Development; managing a team of about 20 web designers and PHP programmers.

In 2013 (ish) I decided I didn’t enjoy being a manager so I took a step backwards and moved into a senior development role - looking at the future of the Miniclip website, and testing new designs and innovations that could help to move it forward. My last big project at Miniclip was a redesign project which is still largely in use today.

Pro Theme Design

November 2007 to Present

Pro Theme Design is a premium WordPress themes shop. In 2007 I joined forces with Darren Hoyt to create one of the first premium WordPress magazine themes. In early 2008 we released Mimbo Pro to the world.

Mimbo Pro included a number of innovations - one of which was the use of featured images that automatically resized using a php script called TimThumb. That script had a whole story of it’s own but it lead to the addition of featured images in WordPress.

In April 2012 I had the first of our themes published on wordpress.com. I now have more than 20 themes available on wordpress.com making Pro Theme Design the most prolific theme author on the site.

Social Life

Where to find me online

@binarymoon

I use this the most. Feel free to @ me!

Github/BinaryMoon

Code and stuff. Including the code for this site.

Dribbble

See some of my arty, designy, stuff. Most people on there are better than me.

LinkedIn

I have an account but don’t use it. It’s best to contact me with Twitter :)

Get in touch

For those times when social media isn't good enough 😀