Hello fellow survivors. (It’s been a long time since I last typed that…)
It’s traditional to close out the year with the phrase, “Happy new year!” Usually we say that speculatively, as in, “Boy I sure do hope we have a happy year next year!” But sometimes we might have a reason to actually believe it will be a happy year next year. For those of us here at Undead Labs, we’re looking at a ton of hard work next year (multiple metric tons of tons, more realistically), some late-night panics, a few “oh my god oh my god” meetings, a sprinkling of bug-count out-to-the-woodshed sessions courtesy of our QA team, and some assorted last-minute design or tech change freak outs. And all that can mean only one thing: we’re driving toward the release of State of Decay 2 next year, and that will make it a very happy year indeed.
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
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.
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
by Krista Leemhuis
I like drawing. Do you like drawing?
Cool. Let’s talk about drawing.
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
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Welcome To Jason, the Biography!
An interactive game.
by Jason Hail