About

In this blog I’ll be writing about artificial intelligence, game design, virtual worlds, massively multiplayer online games, social games, and a variety of usually related subjects.  I welcome topical, respectful discussion.

My background: I run Online Alchemy, a small company in Austin, Texas, specializing in online social games, particularly those with a virtual world component.  We have been working for six years on advanced social AI for games and simulations (I’ll talk about that in another post), including working for several years with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). We have also created a unique social networking technology and have a variety of games in development.

Before founding Online Alchemy in 2002, I worked for Electronic Arts for three years as a Senior Game Designer, leading game designs for several projects including SimCity Online, The Sims 2, and Ultima Online.  Prior to that I co-founded and was the Chief Creative Officer for The Big Network, an early family-oriented social networking company.  There I designed and produced several Java-based games, and in 1998 designed our primary product, MyPlace.   Before The Big Network I was one of the co-founders of Archetype Interactive (started in 1994, acquired in 1996), where I was the lead designer on Meridian 59, the first 3D massively multiplayer online game (MMOG).

Before getting into games I worked in software engineering, primarily in developing 2D and 3D CAD systems, and in user interface design and user-centered design for medical and scientific visualization systems.  In the early 1990s I designed the user interface for the first 3D visualization system used in the operating room by neurosurgeons.

I have a BS in cogntive science and have done graduate work in AI (expert systems, neural networks, genetic algorithms, etc.)

I live near Austin, Texas, with my wife, the last of our six kids (the rest are married or in college) and three dogs.

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