Account Name: scottm
Email address: email@example.com
Aug. 20, 2002
I was out sick yesterday, so only this morning did I learn of the death of William Scarboro.
William was the first internal developer we hired, for the making of the Wolfenstein: Rise of the Triad. Like Jim
says in his .plan, William was a math guru, and I always got a kick challenging him with puzzles, most of which he
solved easily. William was also very concerned about staying healthy, and worked out constantly and took
nutritional supplements. But I never knew he had an asthma problem. He also wore black shirts -- everyday,
William had a great sense of humor, and an animated style when describing anything that interested him. At the
same time he could be very serious and intense.
After Rise of the Triad, William became the lead engine coder on Prey, and was responsible for all the amazing
portal effects that game demonstrated back in 1997 - 1998, winning many E3 honors. Unfortunately, the game
was too ambitious and had to be abandoned. But, his work on the Prey editor ("Preditor") was also brilliant, and
in fact the Max Payne editor is based on the Prey editor to a degree -- they almost look identical.
I will sincerely miss William. He was one of the good guys.
Xmas Eve, 2001
For me this is always a weird, almost sad time of the year, walking the mostly empty office halls where people
are usually abuzz with work activity, and the sounds of games being played--sounds that are somehow deafening
in absence. It's at a time like this that I realize how noisy my computer fan is!
Anyway, congrats to Remedy for winning several Best Game of Year honors already, including Gamespot's "Best
Single-Player Action Game" award. ( http://gamespot.com/gamespot/features/pc/bestof_2001/p3_02.html )
And while I'm here, during the year a lot of people off the "email street" ask me how to get started in the game
industry, several a week it seems. I always direct them to Kenn Hoekstra's (he's with Raven) excellent web page,
which is a great resource of information, websites and links. And last week on my 3DR company bio page I
added a list of books that will also help people with a desire to be in this industry--scroll past my bio info until you
see the headline, "Scott's Library." Here you'll see the game design books I recommend, including the best
books I've read on running a small business, and other related stuff. Anyone starting a game studio, regardless of
how big or small, really should read some of these books--I've found them all to be highly valuable and insightful.
Finally, a Big-time Merry Christmas to all my family, Chana, Shane, Jace, Patches and Beau!
Sept. 13, 2001
This has been a slow week, many of the companies 3DR deals with has been out of their
offices (our publisher, for example, is not too far away from where the attack took place,
and therefore they've been closed down), so I've been cleaning up the office and going
through old files.
I opened up a big storage box of shareware catalogs I've had since 1987. Back in that
time, well before the web, well before demos, there were at least 500-1000 legitimate
companies making money by advertising and selling shareware by mass mailing catalogs to
computer owners worldwide. Some of the bigger catalogs that you may remember include
Public software Library (PsL), Public Brand Software, Gemini, Best Bits & Bytes (always
had the dog on the cover), Big Byte Software, Shareware Express, and PC-SIG.
These catalogs typically contained descriptions for 100's of shareware programs, ranging
from word processors, to games, communications software, education, programming languages
and utilities, accounting, spreadsheets, and dozens of utilities, like List, FluShot,
Baker's Dozen, Automenu, 4DOS, NewKey, PKZIP, Buerg utilities, on and on. Practically
none of these exist today. Even the company that invented the ZIP format has seemingly
been replaced by the newer WinZip.
In one of the catalogs (PsL), the owner is talking about the need to upgrade to a top-of-
the-line computer. The following is from the July 1990 issue, before anyone had ever
heard of the "Pentium" or Windows:
"A bare-bones 486-25 was only $3800. For about $1500 more, we got a package that included
a 15ms 104meg hard disk, 8 meg of memory, a 1.2meg floppy, a 360k floppy and two 1.44meg
floppies. The computer has a Landmark speed rating of 114 mhz for what it's worth, verses
55 mhz for a 386-33."
How far we've come.
May 1, 1998
Resume Writing Tips for the Game Industry and Beyond:
I see maybe 150 resumes each year. Most contain too much information and the
wrong emphasis on what's important. In the past few months many people have
asked me to review their resume and offer tips, so I've written this "standard
reply" to use in the future, which I'll share here.
 Don't exceed a page in length. Not even Albert Einstein, Benjamin
Franklin or Thomas Edison have the credentials to exceed one page. In fact,
the longer your resume, the more it looks like you're trying to hide the fact
that you don't have much going for you. Short, concise resumes are those that
actually get read.
 Include all forms of contact information, including address, phone, fax
and email. Make yourself easy to reach.
 The first section is titled "Objective." Make this one or two sentences,
absolutely no more. Do not write a me-oriented objective ("I'm looking for
position that exploits my design strengths, furthers my growth, and has real
opportunities for advancement.") Instead, write a company oriented objective
that shows you're team and goal oriented ("I'm a team player looking to help
develop innovative games that achieve the company's vision and design goals.")
Short and sweet works best here.
 Next, in bullet point form, list three to five highlights, each one
physical line long. This is the area in which you really sell yourself!
Readers typically look here first because it summarizes your achievements and
value. Einstein, for example, might mention these things:
* Wrote Special Theory of Relativity, disproving several of Newton's laws
* Showed how mass and energy were equivalent (E=MC^2)
* Received the Nobel Prize in 1921
* Predicted existence of black holes 50 years before being detected
* Involved with the creation of atomic bomb
 After this, briefly mention your work history, but only as it pertains to
the job you're going after. Don't mention unrelated positions that don't help
your cause. Instead, say that you can provide an extensive work history upon
request. Don't bother putting down that you flipped hamburgers or bagged
grociers (unless you're appying for a job in those industries).
 In the education section, don't mention high school, only college and
other related training. Once again, you can mention that a more complete
education history is available on request.
For programmers, do not list every language and operating system under the
sun, which makes you look like a jack of all trades but a master of none.
You're much better off listing one or two languages as your "expertise," and
if you know more say you're also "familiar with the following languages."
Another key point is that most companies and developers prefer to hire
specialists, not generalists, so try to position yourself as a graphics
specialist, 3D engine specialist, AI specialist, network/Internet specialist,
For artists, coders, musicians, etc., you might want to say that samples and
demos are available on request.
 Regarding references, go ahead a list two or three, and if you have more
say they're available on request.
 The last piece of the puzzle is often overlooked: the cover letter.
This is where you specifically mention why you want to work for the company,
and why you like the company. This is a great place to brown nose a little by
specifically mentioning company products and what you like about the company's
vision, etc. Prospective employers love to think you are applying to their
company because you have a passion for the company. Keep this letter to one
page, don't be too wordy, and maintain professionalism.
Best of luck.
March 27, 1998
I've gotten a very good response to my recent plans about gameplay and the old
days of the arcade industry, and I've been asked to continue with similar
First, so you know where I'm coming from, I started playing arcade games in
1976, at the age of 15, but it wasn't until Space Invaders came out that I
become a hopeless addict, spending my last quarter playing arcade games. This
led to several jobs working at arcades in the early 80's, when the industry
was booming and there were arcades on every corner like there are McDonald's
today (this was the pre-Chicken McNugget's era).
I met my future Apogee partner, George Broussard, in high school in 1978,
where we both hung out in the computer room with a teletype time-share system,
and an Apple II. We became friends and ended up working at the same arcades
in the early 80's.
George and I became top experts at many arcade games, and even entered several
tournaments. In one of the biggest Dallas-area tournaments, George took first
place and I got second, out of over 100 competitors.
In those days a top players would often carry around a sheet of paper with
their best scores written down for all the games they were good at. I've
still got my old papers somewhere. We'd bump into other champion class
players and compare scores. George and I would usually have the better
scores, so it occurred to us that we should start an official league of top
game players, and have an official high score database (too bad the Web wasn't
around back then--it would have made it easy for us to do this).
In '82, we formed the NVGPA (National Video Game Players Assoc.), and we were
writing a newsletter, but then the opportunity came for us to write a strategy
book on how to beat the top arcade games of the day, so we pursued that. too.
We really thought the book was going to make us rich. I remember running the
book's potential sale's figures though my mind: In each of the top 250 cities
there must be a least an average of 10,000 game players, and if just 100 of
them bought our book that would be 25,000 sales, plus in all the remaining
cities we should count on at least 5 more books sold in each, which should add
another 25,000 sales. And with each sale george and I get $1 each. Wow,
that's more money than we can make in 5 real years of work--we'd be rich!
But in the six months it took us to write our book about 20 others came out,
and ours didn't make a dent. I think less than 1000 sold, and that didn't
even cover the printing expenses. We saw not a penny for our work.
However, I used the book to get a job as a weekly columnist at the Dallas
Morning News, where I wrote for four years about arcade, home video, and
computer games. And this in turn opened the door to write about 100 articles
and reviews for the top national gaming magazines during the 80's, such as
COMPUTE!, one of the biggest general computing mags of it's time.
George and I, during the mid- and late-80's kept buying all the new computers
(IBM PC, PET, C-64, Amiga, etc) and we continued to code our own games, and
even sell them to small publishers, like Keypunch Software (run by the same
guy who nows runs WizardsWorks, a division of GT Interactive--small world!).
These early years taught us a lot about games, gameplay and gave us a good
"shit filter" about what ideas should make it into a game, and which
shouldn't. I think of all those 1000's of dollars I spent on games back then
as tuition to video game college, which I'm now cashing in on.
That's a brief background check. Soon, I'll write about the negative effects
that realistic graphics have had on the game industry.
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