Galactic Civilizations III - Meet the Team

Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2014


I saw the following as I was reading through the GC3 change log:

+ CBattleGfxObjectShip:: UpdateMovement: Calculates a quaternion rotation at the given path point
+ CBattleGfxObjectPathData:: PathPoint: Removed yaw and pitch, replaced with orientation
+ CBattleGfxObjectPathData:: GetTransformAtTime: Now uses spherical interpolation of quaternions to calculate rotation matrix of the ship

Either the GC3 programmers are making up words (always a possibility) or we have a team of very smart and hard working people on this team.  It’s probably the later but just to be safe on the off chance they do ask me for programming advice I’m going to reply with “Have you tried using a spherical interpolation of quaternions?”. Most likely I’ll be wrong (but that was going to happen anyway) but on the off chance I’m right, won’t they be impressed!

Speaking of the team this is great time to give some credit to the amazing people working hard to make GC3 great.

Raymond Bartos- Producer. Ray makes sure everyone has everything they need to do their job as well as pin-pointing the moment when the project goes off the rails and risks missing its milestones (usually about 5 minutes after the lead designer gets a new idea). As critical as it is to hit our milestones, the producers job is to get the designers game made so it’s always a careful balance of picking what we can do and when.

Alan Batsford- Programmer. Alan worked a little bit on some of our other games before getting on as one of our first GC3 team members. He developed some of the low level engine tech for the game as it started out and is now our key AI programmer. He spends a lot of time talking with Brad about AI implications and design (we really should be recording these conversations, they are a really fascinating insight to creating an AI for a complex 4x strategy game).

Paul Boyer- Lead Designer. Paul is the “vision-holder” for the game. He has the hardest task, which is to make sure the game is fun. Which is an exciting and terrifying task. You can hear Paul talk about the game on our twitch livestreams. He is also Maggie’s (his dog) owner, though we pretend like that’s not his primary responsibility.

Jesse Brindle- Programmer. Jesse is our graphic programmer lead and the one responsible for all the tech to make these ships battles work. The changelog I linked about about the quaternions is from Jesse. He works closely with Akil, our Lead Artist to make sure everything looks right (sometimes its an art thing that needs to change, and sometimes it’s a tech problem that is off).

Chris Bucholz- Writer. We hired Chris as the lead writer for Star Control and he has been hard at work fleshing out that universe, the quests and writing alien dialogue. But he is an amazingly productive guy and has also contributed huge amounts of writing material to Sorcerer King (all those great funny quests) and GC3 (things like the events and technology descriptions).

Colin Clark- Programmer. Colin created his own space combat game before coming to Stardock. Because of that he has a great familiarity with every part of game development so he usually gets assigned tasks which link up with other systems (since he understands both sides). For this beta is means that Colin implemented the particle system that all of the weapons use as well as the 3d positional sound system which really helps the universe feel more alive and real.

Michael Curran- Audio Director. Michael was the Sound Designer on Civilization IV and Civilization V (as well as numerous other games) before joining Stardock. He manages a team of composers and sfx guys to make all of our games sound great and works studio wide (meaning that Michael doesn’t personally need to produce the sound for every game, but he will each game gets the attention it needs to sound great). You will really see Michael’s influence in Beta 3 as we got the sound system working so he could start hooking up sounds.

Akil Dawkins- Art Lead. Akil is responsible for making sure the game looks great.  For Beta 3 that means managing the artists that are creating all the Yor ships, star bases, etc. As well as the particle effects and generally making sure the lighting, icons, and every visual aspect of the game looks right.

Stefan Gersdorf- Crazy Modder. Stefan is a modder who has done so much for GC3 that he is basically part of the team. He is the one making most of the particle effects for the weapons in Beta 3 and worked with Akil to make the other big particle effects in the game such as the black holes and the nebula.

Nathan Hanish- Lead Developer. Nathan is Stardock’s Lead Developer as well as being the lead developer for GC3. We wouldn’t have multiplayer in GC3 without Nathan, though the bulk of his time for this beta has been spent helping Jesse tackle the large amount of things needed for the battle viewer. So he’s been having fun making things explode.

Fred Howard- 3d Artist. Fred created most of the planet textures. Early in the project he did a lot of ships, but now he is working on the massive amount of improvement icons needed. Next month Fred will be moving over to Stardock’s cinematic team (making high quality models is his passion) and though we will miss him on the GC3 team the 2 teams only sit about 3 foot from each other so we can still make fun of his crazy hair.

Derek Lewis- 3d Artist and resident new guy. Derek just started with Stardock last month. He’s a tech artist and effects artist and arrived just in time to start working on battles. Believe it or not Stardock has never had an artist that specialized in effects. We tend to find artists like Kay Fedewa and Scott Tykoski that do that in addition to their other stuff, but one of the advantages of running more projects at once is it makes more sense to hire more specialized individuals like Derek.

Bara Kathawa- Programmer. We haven’t revealed much of Bara’s work yet. He is currently working on the map editor and that’s getting to place where its ready for internal testing it won’t be ready in time for Beta 3. Still being able to design your own maps and galaxy’s is an important part of our plan and Bara is hard at work on making that happen.

Derek Paxton- Slacker. My day job is to run Stardock Entertainment, but I love GalCiv so it gets special attention. This was the first beta where I jumped in and started writing code (so the crashes are probably my fault) to get some of the gameplay systems in so the team could focus on the harder tasks. I tend to play my own modded version of GC3, and if I come across something that works well I run it by Paul to see if it’s something he would like it in the main game.

Sarah Trombley- Programmer. Sarah is our gameplay and UI programmer. That’s a lot of stuff to do but she somehow gets it all done. Her super power is knowing what obscure things will break if you change something seemingly unrelated somewhere else in the game. It’s really quite frightening.

Brad Wardell- Creative Director/CEO. Brad tends to call himself the Executive Producer, and that’s a loose term in the game industry, but I don’t think it fits what he really does (EP is usually someone on the publisher side that oversees the project). Creative Director is the games first customer, the person that sits down and offers feedback and views it externally. That doesn’t mean he isn’t deeply involved in all sorts of direction settings meetings for the project, but no one knows GalCiv better than Brad and he’s very good at figuring out early what will work and what won’t work. There is no GalCiv without Brad, and GC3 is no different.

Brandon Watson- 3d Artist. Brandon was an intern for about a month before we hired him on full time. He designed all the Yor ships for Beta 3 and has been working on the all of the improvement icons needed for the game. When I interviewed Brandon he asked “If I get the position will I be able to work on Gal Civ?” so I knew he was going to be a good hire.

And this doesn’t even count the amazing special purpose teams that support the games team. From the cinematic team that made the amazing leader and event cutscenes scenes. To the marketing team that is running the twitch streams and design a ship contests, to our publishing team (of one guy, sorry Brian) who makes sure the game gets out and distributed to all of you. We also have hard working QA, support, punt return, IT, accounting and HR teams which are hard at work every day taking care of all tasks that need to be done to run a business so we can focus on making games.

And of course, you. If you participate on these forums, if you have submitted ships to the design a ship contest ( or if you have simply purchased and enjoyed the game then we could not do this without you.  Thank you so much.