Developer Bio: Dru Staltman

I have not yet had the pleasure of working directly with Dru, so I asked the producers for their two cents. Cale didn’t respond right away, possibly because he was having a board gaming lunch with Dru at that exact moment. When he reappeared in Slack, this is what he said. I don’t usually cut and paste the producers’ inside info, but this will tell you everything you need to know about one of our favorite programmers: “Dru is the bomb dot com. He’s a great multi-talented engineer who has a no-BS attitude when it comes to evaluating his own work and the game in general with open eyes. We can always look to Dru to give us a frank assessment of situations, and he is always the first to volunteer to do something about it! He’s from Texas, so he obviously knows good bbq from bad. He is an avid board gamer, and he is at least as much of a Star Wars fan as I am.”

Thanks, Cale 🙂 Y’all, meet Dru. — Sanya

Failure

By Dru Staltman

When I was twelve years old, I got my parents to buy me a programming book. I had played Civilization and that revealed I wanted to make games. I couldn’t quite figure out how to program a game at that age, but failing at it really started me on a path.

Read More

Developer Bio: Krista Leemhuis

We can’t talk about what we’re working on, so we’re talking about the people doing the work. Krista is a member of our art team, and her work focuses on the user interface, but don’t think you can put her into a simple category.  As you’ll see, she can draw a huge range of subjects and themes. She’s like that about a lot of stuff, actually. You start talking with her on one topic and it turns out she knows ten other related categories. She’s even a martial artist on top of being a fine artist. She finds everything interesting, which is probably why all of us find her to be interesting. She brings her wide range of knowledge to bear on her work, putting in all the details that will make your experience that much better. Finally, she’s a thoughtful colleague and mentor to those who care about their skills. If you’re an artist yourself and just starting out in your career, Krista has some great advice for you. Enjoy. — Sanya

Draw What’s Important

by Krista Leemhuis

I like drawing. Do you like drawing?

Cool. Let’s talk about drawing.

Read More

Developer Bio: Jason Hail

Working remotely means there are some colleagues I have not yet gotten to meet in person. Oh, we have Slack and IM and email, but without meeting in meatspace, my mental image is of what people choose to share. Thus, I knew Jason was very funny, equally at home with wordplay and math jokes and visual puns. His chat icon is Doge. He doesn’t post much at all in the social channels when there’s a deadline on, which lately has been ALWAYS. While he did his bio, we got to chat a little more, and that’s how I learned he’s a real renaissance man. Not only can he code, but he’s done theater, and he’s a writer too. The Lab is lucky to have this Swiss army knife of a guy. And if you (like me and Jason) have been around long enough to have played the completely awesome old Sierra or Infocom games, then you’re going to love this bio. — Sanya

Loading… 16K.  Mode: EGA.  …100%. Done!

Welcome To Jason, the Biography!
An interactive game.

by Jason Hail

Read More

Developer Bio: Ted Woolsey

We can’t talk about the work we’re doing, so we’re talking about the people doing the work. There comes a time in every studio’s life where you realize you joined up to make games, and now that you’ve had a bit of success, you…no longer have time to work on games. All the business of running a business creeps in, and if you really care about your company, you can’t hand off the financial reins to just anyone. You need someone who understands games, game development, and game developers. You need someone who is well versed in all aspects of getting a game off the whiteboards and into the hands of players, with a sense of when to step in and when to stay back. That person is very, very hard to find. Undead Labs is lucky: We have Ted Woolsey. We met him because he was one of the people at Microsoft who gave the green light to State of Decay back in 2009. Throughout the development process, he was a true friend and a staunch ally. Frankly, the only reason we could bear to lose him from the publishing team was because we gained him for our development team. Read on, and learn a little more about what goes on behind the curtain. — Sanya

Long Strange Trip

by Ted Woolsey

Title
General Manager, Undead Labs LLC

Responsibilities
Supporting–and staying out of the way of–our amazing development team. Includes everything from general planning, selecting company-wide insurance plans, working on IRS forms, playing games, negotiating agreements of various types and jumping in to help in any way necessary. Sound ambiguous? Sort of, I guess, but it is dead on in terms of what I was looking for.

Read More

Developer Bio: Chris Paul-Hayter

We can’t talk about the work we’re doing, so we’re talking about the people doing the work. I met CPH, as we call him (although I started calling him Crispy at some point at a game convention in a sleep-deprived haze) when I was visiting the home office for some meeting or another. The rest of the permanent QA team was gregarious and talkative, and then there was him. One word answers, totally calm and serene. The only things giving him away as a true QA guy were the twinkle in his eye and the deadpan humor that’s worth a million bucks when we’re under pressure. Whenever you all send me a DXDIAG to examine, CPH is the one who sees it. See what he’s like by reading his story.  — Sanya

Psychology

by Chris Paul-Hayter (a.k.a. CPH)

Psy*cho*lo*gy. Noun. 1. The science of the mind or of mental states and processes. 2. The science of human and animal behavior.

“Psychology. Yep, that is definitely the plan, I’m going to make a career in psychology.”

Some time later…

Okay, I have this paper that says I can psychology…now what?

This is not how I expected to start my career in video games. Let me back up a little bit. I’ve had two passions for as long as I can remember: psychology and video games. Psychology was something I discovered when I was relatively young, around 12-13. That was the first time I ever heard the term and had the concept explained to me. The other passion of mine I discovered much younger at around the age of 6, when my uncle placed me on his knee and showed me a game and series I would end up playing for a large portion of my life…Warcraft.

From that point on I was obsessed with video games. I got my first system a year later, a Sega Genesis, and proceeded to work my way up through all the systems I could get my hands on. I was playing games on console and PC; the platform didn’t matter, I only wanted to play games.

Read More