Raph Koster is a veteran game designer who has been professionally credited in almost every area of the game industry. He’s been the lead designer and director of Ultima Online (one of the first MMOs to reach $1B) and Star Wars Galaxies. He founded a successful metaverse company called Metaplace, sold to Disney Playdom and he’s widely respected as one of the greatest social designers of sandbox games. His book A Theory of Fun for Game Design is one of the undisputed classics in the games field and was recently revised for a 10th anniversary edition. In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online. Founder/CEO of Metaplace; executive at Sony and Disney. (Pronouns: He/His)
Eric has been a pioneering online game designer (including MadMaze, the first online game to draw 1MM players), a game company executive, and a founder of multiple start-ups. He’s a long-time advisor and board member chiefly in consumer-facing technology sectors, including games, mobile, virtual worlds, edtech, social media, and monetization. Notable recent affiliations include Art+Craft, EA, Goldman Sachs, Pixelberry, Playdom, PlaySpan, Square Enix, StoryToys, and three US venture capital firms.
Since 1977, Gordon Walton has executive produced more MMO games than anyone else in the west. Prior companies include Monumental LLC., ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc. (Crowfall®), Playdom, Three-Sixty Pacific, Konami of America, Inc., BioWare Austin (Star Wars®: The Old Republic™), Sony Online Entertainment (Star Wars®: Galaxies™), Electronic Arts/Maxis (The Sims Online®), and Origin Systems (Ultima Online™). He also oversaw the development of several MMOGs including Air Warrior™ and Multiplayer Battletech at Kesmai Studios ™. He has personally developed more than 30 games and overseen the development of more than 200 games. Gordon is a regular speaker at industry gatherings and advises multiple game educational programs.
Cindy Armstrong is a veteran game executive in online entertainment, casual games, mobile games, and MMOs. She has led or been a key contributor for Nintendo, Activision, Sony Online Entertainment, Webzen, and Wargaming.net. Cindy thrives in start-up environments where she can help build teams, stressing innovation, accountability and efficiency.
Omar Abdelwahed is an executive technology leader and software engineer. He has more than 25 years experience leading software engineering teams in product development and has published multiple games for Ubisoft, 2K, East Side Games, Playstudios, and Mighty Play. Omar has held multiple positions as a tech director and studio head. His career has focused on emergent technologies, including Web 1.0, digital music distribution, large-scale cloud architectures, mobile development, liveops services, F2P, machine learning, and robotics. He is also a frequent guest speaker at industry events, including GDC and CES.
Bruce Ferguson started in the Games industry in the age of text based MUDs, as a Game Master/Game Designer/Customer Service. At Sony Online Entertainment, he rose to Director of Project Management for all the SOE studios. He managed an unannounced Disney product later cancelled, then moved to RockYou, where he helped manage several overseas studios. He recently managed an unannounced title for Electronic Arts in Austin, TX.
Abby has worked in several places in San Diego, mostly in Frontend Development roles, though her responsibilities would often crossover into Backend and DevOps. She’s worked in product liaison roles where, especially at small startups, there is no product owner and she’s had to make sure to guide and focus the product as well as architect and implement development. Abby is a big fan of JS, Typescript, and React because these technologies have allowed UIs to reach new levels of performance, organization, and speed. Not to mention they also have ability to deploy to basically any platform, web, native apps for mobile and PCs, servers, and even micro controllers. Abby has been playing video games since she was a kid. And since learning that anyone can make them, has been self-studying to be able to make her own. Games are what inspired her to learn how to program and from that she became more interested in the web development world. Although she’s yet to publish a full game title, she’s always working on some small game and finds that her studies carry over really well to creating performant and easy-to-use web UI. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)
Addison is a multi-faceted artist and designer that has lent their skills to various MMO and live service titles over the last decade. From an early career as an environment artist on City of Heroes to designing UI/UX on Star Trek Online, they have always sought to find a balance between visuals, design, and usability with the player’s experience being the forefront priority. Outside the games industry, they are a self-proclaimed fungi-phile and amateur mycologist. When not digging through the duff they can be found reading up on gardening and permaculture practices, participating in creative kitchen experiments, or hunched over one of the various artistic endeavors that they have decided to undertake.
Aiden is a newcomer to the gaming industry, though she brings with her 8+ years of software team management, business development, and marketing experience. So far, her career has spanned such diverse industries as OSHA compliance, fleet telematics, and veterinary medicine. She’s worked for a variety of companies ranging in scope from 3 person startups to the Watson Data Platform department of IBM. In her free time, Aiden is an avid fan of the God of War franchise, plays tabletop RPGs, and goes to way too many LARPs. She has two very spoiled cats, and an ever-growing collection of houseplants.
Alan C. Reck is a veteran game engineer and designer, with over twenty years of game development experience. Alan has led quite a varied career, from leading an independent game studio (ZoopTEK) for twenty years, to pioneering VR game technology, running an e-sports competition in Austria, designing and teaching game engineering curriculum, to building 3D asset pipelines, oftentimes all in parallel! Alan has developed dozens of titles, and was one of the earliest independent game developers on Steam.
Amirah is a concept artist and illustrator professionally working in the video game industry. Born and raised in Malaysia, she is always looking to explore new things in her new home, California. Besides drawing and painting, Amirah has an unhealthy obsession with baking and cooking shows. You can often find her looking at a new bread recipe while finishing her sets at the gym. A good loaf mustn’t be underestimated.
Andy moved back to the Seattle area after spending the first 10 years of his career in the defense industry. Focusing on Quality Assurance in the Pacific Northwest, Andy’s spent a large majority of his time helping startups grow in the region.
Arthur has been creating interactive software for over a decade, from consumer products to military applications and until now had only worked on games for fun. For fun he plays DND, works on game jams, and practices bass guitar at his home in Portland with his wife and two cats.
Ben is a game designer, level designer, programmer, digital artist, and writer who loves to build projects from the ground up. He’s eager to get done well before the deadline and then add his own personal touches. His favorite way to relax from working on projects is to work on other projects, always seeking to add a few folds to his brain. In his free time, Ben writes, draws, bowls, and gets lost in decades-long media franchises. He loves watching perspectives change, stories expand, and design processes evolve, and always wants to stick his nose into something that will last a lifetime. Right now, he’s probably agonizing over another RWBY hiatus. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Brandon is a technical animator with a passion for animation and is excited at making characters come to life. He is a newcomer to the games industry but is no stranger when it comes to video games. He is always ready for an adventure and looks forward to new challenges. In his free time, he enjoys going camping, playing video games, reading, learning, and watching films. And now for something completely different, he is also a fan of Monty Python and anything made by Mel Brooks.
Brian Elias is an excited and highly motivated software engineer. His previous roles covered a breadth of technical responsibilities from web design, game development design and scripting, internal tool development, and automation testing. While gaming is his go-to pastime, he doesn’t just “play” the games. He deconstructs them until he is confident in understanding their inner workings and design. Now he is eager to contribute his professional skills and personal “field research” to deliver a truly spectacular experience.
Brian Hughes has been involved in game development for over 30 years. He started at Sierra On-Line with adventure games in the mid 80’s, and has also been on the Sega Dreamcast launch team, designed and built audio recording software, and spent several years in cyber-security. He has been involved in the development of many client-server and multiplayer projects, including eight MMOs. Little known facts about Brian: He was big into D&D back in the late 70’s, and has always maintained his world since. Although he doesn’t play anymore, he did pass the bug on to his youngest daughter, who runs games weekly. He is currently writing several books about his world for her. He designed and built the audio software for Acoustica that he uses in his own home studio where he recorded two albums that are in a perpetual state of “almost but not quite ready for release”. Brian hates mushrooms. He successfully deciphered the “I know half of you half as well as I should like, and like less than half of you half as well as you deserve” comment from Bilbo Baggins.
Brian Youn is a concept artist with ten years of professional experience creating wondrous environments at companies such as Blizzard and Gameloft. He enjoys his free time playing video games, watching movies, or collecting and/or assembling Gunpla.
Chris started in the game industry in the 90’s as a Game Writer, then became a Game Designer, Executive Producer, Game Director, Program Manager, Studio Director, and author (100 Principles of Game Design). He has worked on many games and simulations, including Panzer Elite, America’s Army, Twilight War, Order of War, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, World of Warships, Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars, Virtual BattleSpace 3, and Street Smarts VR. He has also served for more than 24 years in the US Army and Army Reserve in infantry, special operations, and military intelligence, in training, peacekeeping, and in combat. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Video Game Production and Design, with Honors, from National University. Chris loves games, from tabletop miniatures, board games, and role-playing games (some of which he has designed and published) to crafting-survival, MMORPG, first-person shooter, zombie, and mid-core casual video games. He also reads a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and his life goals were set when he played Colossal Cave Adventure on a mini-mainframe at the age of 9. He founded the Cyprus Outpost of the Star Wars 501st Legion (Stormtroopers) and has a collection of blasters. His family includes cats, a dog, and even people!
Dan Silberberger focuses on business and corporate development for Playable Worlds. Starting in the earliest days of mobile games, Dan wound up touching virtually every part of the business. Dan previously served in various roles for numerous companies, including Huuuge Games, Venan Entertainment, EA, JAMDAT, Nextel, Saban, and DreamWorks, where he focused on distribution, publishing, and licensing. At home, Dan occupies his time biking, hiking, and playing video games with his family.
Danielle has over a decade of experience in the gaming industry, having worked on games such as Free Realms, DC Universe Online, Planetside 2, and Ashes of Creation. Danielle enjoys being able to get her creative juices flowing and engage with communities in fun, positive ways. She is passionate about mental health and creating safe, inviting community spaces. When she’s not playing cozy games, she can be found baking new recipes, nerding out about Harry Potter, and spending time with her husband and two cats. (Pronouns: she/her/hers)
Datwon has loved video games since he was a 4 year old, starting with Crash Bandicoot on Sony’s Playstation One console. He got into game dev after his father built him a PC around the age of 10, creating small scale 2D multiplayer games with his friends in a programming language called DM. He ended up picking up test automation and quality assurance as other hobbies during his high school years while attempting to find better ways to debug the game projects he was working on. After getting married and overcoming some of the obstacles that life has to offer, Datwon pivoted for 5 years to the software development industry and found that while developing applications were challenging and inspiring, what was missing was the passion Datwon had for games. After some failures and heartbreaks, as well as critical lessons learned, Datwon is allowed the opportunity to come back to the world of game development at Playable Worlds. Outside of work Datwon enjoys playing video games with his wife (usually MMOs), programming, watching anime, caring for his two cats, and weightlifting.
Evan Galleguillos is a concept artist and illustrator with a passion for delivering well-crafted imagery that resonates with the viewer. He’s spent over eight years cultivating his skills through work in video games, live action, stylized film animation, and more. As a major gamer at heart, Evan loves exploring fantastical worlds along with the characters, creatures, and places within them. Whether it be a world of his design or yours.
If you remember playing Flash games in your browser back in the late 2000s, there’s a small chance you might have played one of Glen’s earlier works. Working for Fuel Industries, an advergaming company, he developed flash games for Candystand, McDonalds, HBO, and Microsoft among others. In the decade following, he worked for Disney developing software to help with game development, art pipelines, and digital asset management systems. Even so, he got his true start in game development from writing games out of Compute!’s Gazette magazines for the Commodore 64 back in the 80s. According to his parents, the first word he could read was “Load.”
Greg Costikyan has designed more than 30 published games. His tabletop games (including Paranoia and the original Star Wars tabletop RPG) have won 5 Origins Awards, and he is the recipient of the GDC Maverick Award for “tireless promotion of indie videogames.” He designed the first online game to attract more than 1m players. Things he has written are used in game studies courses across the globe. In recent years, he has been working in F2P mobile games, and is challenged and delighted to be involved in this new venture.
Hayley has been in QA since 2012, and has worked on titles such as The Last of Us, Beyond Two Souls, and Gravity Rush 2. People are often surprised when someone continues to pursue a career in QA- but Hayley enjoys the feeling of seeing a game as it’s being built. To her, investigating defects feels a bit like being a detective, and creating a test strategy feels like being a city planner. In her spare time, she loves playing games- and learning more about them. She also enjoys road trips, growing her succulent plant collection, celebrating Halloween three months too early, and Youtube video essay deep dives on obscure topics. (Pronouns: she/her)
Jason Abbott started off working on operating systems for x86 architectures, was briefly derailed during that whole dot-com thing, and then finally decided to follow his heart and make games for a living. After working on FPS and sandbox RPGs games he found his home in working on MMOs. He’s worked on Ultima Online, Warhammer Online, Star Wars the Old Republic, Rift, and Trove. He enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing all manner of games — video, TTRPG, board games, card, … you name it.
John has been making games since the 90’s. While working one day, he overheard some co-workers discussing the troubles their Sims were going through at home after one of them burned up in a kitchen fire. Immediately concerned for the lives of The Sims, John joined Maxis and spent 18 years creating animations for Sims 2, Sims 3, and Sims 4. He even helped put the Sims on the Nintendo 3DS. After a brief stint with ZeniMax Media on Elder Scrolls Online, John found a place to contribute with Playable Worlds.
Johnny has been making video games and computer graphics since middle school, having no idea that people made a living doing that. He spent most of his career at Neversoft and Activision as a VFX and tech artist. After taking a break and finding his way back to video games, Johnny is very excited to work on his first MMO.
Kevin is an industry veteran who started making games professionally in 1996. He has created environment levels, props, and artwork for PC, console, and handheld games. His career has been mainly focused on MMO titles like EverQuest, Planetside 2, and DC Universe Online, but he has also developed games on PlayStation 2, Playstation 3, and Sony’s PSP. When not creating or playing video games, Kevin enjoys tabletop games, as well as hiking, cycling, and cat memes.
Liam has spent over 20 years in game production. He originally learned to be an engineer, but found his skills were more in organization and leadership than in programming. He put his skills to use, leading the production team for Full Sail’s Game Development program for over a decade. While there he became an early adopter of SCRUM and has been a CSM and CSPO for over 15 years. After Full Sail, Liam worked a wide array of interactive jobs, such as military simulation, lottery games, and e-sports games. Never wanting to get bored, Liam earned an MBA in Project Management, and is currently working on his DBA. In his free time, Liam enjoys spending time with his family. They especially love hiking to waterfalls around Georgia and playing board and video games together. They are also a large Disney family, and love going to the parks and on cruises. He also has three cats and a beta fish, who all love to distract dad from work.
Light is an enthusiastic game designer with a versatile, technical skill set whose previous work includes several published games and a virtual graduation experience developed for their Master’s cohort. Nothing excites them more than a creative problem in need of an even more creative solution, and they love crafting those solutions into engaging systems and memorable player experiences. When Light isn’t busy making (or playing) games, you can probably find them geeking out with their tabletop RPG group, trying to learn a new instrument, or curled up with a good book and a cup of tea. (Pronouns: Any)
Majick is a detailed and highly ethical accounting and office management professional with over 25 successful years of combined experience in office management, accounting operations, events/meeting/conference planning, purchasing, and staff/vendor relations. She is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. In her free time, she loves watching sports, playing video games, hiking/walking, listening to audiobooks, and playing with her critters!
Meghann is a designer with a passion for odd ball games and mechanics who tends to geek out over the topic to anyone around. She started out in QA and has been focusing on learning from every team she can. In her spare time, she reads a lot of fantasy adventure books and plays D&D with her fantastic group of creative friends.
Mike is a lifelong lover of games in all their forms: card games, TTRPGs, board games, physical games (e.g., billiards and bowling), and especially video games. He began his career in online games during the mid-1990s, doing customer service while learning game scripting in his free time. He then quickly moved into roles overseeing technical design, gameplay implementation, and game technology development. Mike is a spouse, and a father of two. When he and his family aren’t gaming, they are often hiking, camping, or otherwise exploring.
Nick Hand is a character artist and recent graduate with experience creating vibrant and exciting characters for the games industry. He has worked with companies such as Netease Games and Rushdown Revolt developing 3D characters for production. He is passionate about seeing the characters he creates come to life and become a relatable part of a larger world and experience. In his free time he enjoys exploring a variety of creative activities like 3D printing, building PCs, or playing games online with his friends.
Patrick Ferland is a 20-year software veteran, having developed software ranging from industrial AI to e-learning to online games. He has worked at companies including Metaplace, Playdom, and Disney in roles that varied from software engineering to product management to game design and scripting. Recent notable contributions have included Club Penguin, Disney Infinity, and the Marvel Playmation toy series. Patrick is a fitness enthusiast and is currently certified to teach two different mixed-martial-arts fitness formats. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Rick first fell in love with MMORPGs as a beta-tester for Meridian 59 and helped convince his employer The 3DO Company to acquire the developer, Archetype Interactive. He launched Age of Conan in North America for Eidos & Funcom. He has been a marketing director for CCP Games, The 3DO Company, Infogrames, Hudson Soft, Empire Interactive, 38 Studios, and Hands-On Mobile. He led the Player Studio project at Sony Online Entertainment/Daybreak Games. He leads a null-sec alliance in EVE Online and plays Dungeons & Dragons with the same group since the late 1970s. Pronouns: he/him
Rodney has 15 years of experience in the gaming industry working on games ranging from the Everquest Franchise, PlanetSide, and Free Realms to console products on the PS3 and PSP. He has worn many hats over the years working in QA, CS, Programming and Production. Outside of work, he can often be found defending the world from the zombie apocalypse and playing other sandbox games.
Sam is a linguist-turned-cognitive-scientist-turned-game developer. He got started in the industry as a MUD developer, and has always maintained a special interest in how players learn game systems and how those systems shape and interact with the social world of multiplayer games. Sam has played a wide variety of games as far back as he can remember, from MMO raidleading to competitive FPS to story-heavy RPGs and experimental indie games. He’s yet to find the game that doesn’t have something worth looking at more closely. In his spare time, when he isn’t playing video games, he’s designing and running tabletop games.
Sarah has been breaking games and finding their secrets since she was a wee human. When she gets a game, she is finding their easter eggs, the hidden passages, the secret levels and getting into areas she was not supposed to be. With an endless amount of curiosity, she has done many different things during her career life, but video games are her passion. In her free time, Sarah likes to hang out with her cat and discuss current events. Such as, the best napping locations and how the birds in the tree outside are plotting devious plans. She also enjoys drawing, painting, sculpting and being in nature.
Sean is an experienced graphic designer and digital marketing professional who is excited to be joining the team at Playable Worlds. His background in the consumer packaged goods industry and history as an artist has readied him to tackle branding, marketing, art, and design in the world of gaming. In his free time, Sean plays a wide variety of games (FPS, RPGs, Rogue-likes, open-world, action/adventure, MMOs, etc.), plays guitar, writes music, and is a photographer.
In almost 28 years in video game development, Stephen G. Wells has been an expert Lead/Senior Character artist, Outsource Art Manager, Art Director, Gameplay Story writer and on top of all of that, has found time to be a 3D Instructor (both online and in-person classes) for the past 15+ years as well. Having been an artist his entire life, he fell into 3D modelling and never looked back! Often referred to as “The Monster Guy”, Stephen has a passion for creating anything from Godzilla to Bambi and all while keeping an upbeat, positive attitude throughout saying: “When I wake up in the morning, it’s a good day…….because I woke up in the morning!!” Besides having almost 8000 action figures, Stephen’s now exploring the world of 3D printing so he can look to make his own figures and statues. Stephen is also a big horror aficionado (“Go Lovecraft!!!”), loves sci-fi, fantasy, good animated comedies and classic black and white silent movies….oh, and chocolate…lots of chocolate!
Tony is an HR veteran who loves video games. He spent several years leading the Human Resources department at J!NX, overseeing multiple employee-only video game tournaments in addition to his HR duties. He also has experience in the legal, shipping, and medical industries. Outside of his main career, Tony also performs as a referee for several independent pro wrestling promotions in Southern California. In his spare time, Tony enjoys comic books (Transformers, Judge Dredd, Punisher), video games, collecting Hasbro WWF figures, watching re-runs of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and listening to heavy metal.
Tyler is a Unity developer with 10 years of experience. About 9 of those years have been used for developing business applications with Unity instead of games. Some examples are level design tools for people conducting research with how a department store or hospital room is laid out. He’s from a small town of less than 500 people and has enjoyed playing MMOs since he first got the internet back in 1997. He is sometimes somewhat amazed that he is helping Playable Worlds make their new vision.
With five years in the gaming industry and over a decade in tech, Valentine stands in the liminal space between server and client, helping to deliver unimpeded game experiences to our players. An avid connoisseur of video games, especially those in the online space, they love creating accessible and welcoming spaces. Valentine has spent their whole career advocating for better representation and accessibility tools in games for traditionally excluded groups, including people of color, LGBT+ folks, women, and disabled gamers. Before coming into tech, they worked a number of jobs as a bartender, dancer, retail worker, lifeguard, and barista just to name a few. They have been a D&D DM for over a decade, and love to design game systems and write stories in their free time. Is there anything they can’t do? Yes, they are remarkably bad at PvP. (Pronouns: they/them)
Valerie has been making games since the mid 90’s. She has worked on PC, Console, Mobile and Social Games. (Sims 2, Sims 3, Nascar games*, The Godfather)* She is passionate about working with artists and collaborating with all the different teams to create strong pipelines and high impact visual content. Working on a game is always a new adventure! Outside of work Valerie likes to paint, particularly birds, (a bit obsessed with birds), hike, run, and spend time in nature.
Yvette has a mixed background in tech, art, and psychology. She has worked on several mobile titles such as Love Nikki and has been actively participating in various game projects in different roles. She is dedicated to combining points of artistic aesthetics to enhance and evolve a delightful and intuitive game experience. Besides playing or making games, Yvette enjoys anime, Lolita fashion, reading, learning new skills, and volunteering to make other lives better.
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