Role-playing game author Michael Ball provides his professional bio here for his games. You can download his main game with docs here.
This MB started with a basic Dungeons and Dragons set when he was in high school. He admits early blunders (elves get one spell, forever) and `fesses up that over 20 years later, his friends are those from way back in D&D and AD&D days.
Four years after starting, he was bored. He wanted a set with "modern combat rules for spy/espionage gaming." The short of it is that TGTA (The Guide to Adventure) was born from his efforts.
In tree game-geek fashion, the bio includes a detailed timeline.