There are around five million professional programmers in the world. (I don’t have a source for any of these numbers. Just roll with it, okay?) Of those, around 10% are good at what they do, and about 10% of those could be considered great. We’re down to 50,000 great programmers. Of those great programmers, I’d say 1% of them have 10+ years of hardcore professional game programming experience, which leaves us at about 500 candidates for the Undead Labs technical director position.
I’m not done yet, though. I also want someone who has written a modern console 3D game engine from scratch (down to 15), who has experience with all major console platforms (down to six), and who has worked on both third-person console action games and PC MMOs (down to three!).
Oh yeah, and someone who passionately loves gaming. And zombies.
That brings us down to one. One person in five million.
Somebody get me Shaun Leach.
(I was also going to say “and obviously someone who holds degrees in both physics and astronomy.” Fortunately, Shaun has that too…)
Today I’m happy to introduce you to our technical director, Shaun Leach. Shaun joined us at the beginning of the year, but we had a few Big Announcements to work through before we could introduce him to you.
Shaun entered the game development world in 1997 at Surreal Software as the AI and engine programmer for Drakan: The Order of the Flame. He went on to head up the development of the PS2 engine used for Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates, LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring, and The Suffering.
In 2003 Shaun decided to get “closer to the metal” and took a lead position as a graphics programmer at Sony working on optimizations to the internal PS2 rendering engine.
Shaun returned to game development in 2004 as a core technology lead at Zipper Interactive spearheading the development of the next-generation PS3 engine for the SOCOM and MAG game franchises.
Turning his attention to the Xbox platform, Shaun took a lead position at Microsoft in 2008 working on core engine technology for the Xbox 360.
Most recently, Shaun was at MMO developer ArenaNet heading up the Guild Wars 2 console development team.
In short, the dude has left some seriously impressive technology in his wake. After hearing from a few of his former colleagues who wanted to “work where Shaun works,” I was even more convinced that he was the right guy to drive the technology we need to create for Class3 and Class4.
So, great programmer, strong leader, deep industry experience, proven console technology track record, passionate gamer, hardcore zombie fan — oh, also easy going and an all around awesome guy to work with…
Yeah, he’s our guy, and he’s one in five million.
Welcome aboard, Shaun!
[Also be sure to check out Shaun’s welcome message to his fellow survivors...]