Evan Robinson

North Vancouver, BC, Canada

jobs@enginesofmischief.com

Profile

Experienced Engineering Manager, Project Manager, Technical Director, and general-purpose Programmer.  Specific expertise in Game Development, Team and Project Management, and Technical Assessment, including Process and Team Evaluation.

Experience

Engines of Mischief Consulting, Half Moon Bay, CA & North Vancouver, BC    2003-2005

Programmed a new Internet client for the Internet Chess Club (http://www.chessclub.com) Added considerably to the UI by adding programmable contextual menus, redesigned board and chat controls, multiple window chat, and a streamlined command system. Implemented in-game web browser with access control. This upgrade improved the user experience and is intended to draw additional subscribers to the service.

Provided management consulting to Sleator Games (owners of the Internet Chess Club) on development process, business direction, personnel hiring and compensation,  employee conflict resolution, and hardware considerations.

Developed a dynamic website for the Half Moon Bay Little League using mySQL and PHP.  The site tracks three divisions of teams, maintains a schedule (imported from Microsoft Excel), accepts game results, and calculates standings.

Engineering Program Manager, Linden Labs, San Francisco, CA    2003

Three weeks with Linden Lab (http://www.lindenlab.com) , makers of Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com) as Engineering Program Manager, with brief to improve their design, development, and documentation processes. Established procedures for Feature-Based Development, allowing the company to proceed with incremental releases to continually upgrade a user-built online gaming environment.

Sabbatical    2002

Switched my laptop to OS X, learned enough about Apache, mySQL, and PHP to get dynamic web sites up and running. Started Cocoa programming for fun. Began experimenting with web based Content Management Systems.

Senior Software Engineer, Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA    2000-2002

Engineered the Reflow plug-in for Acrobat 5 . Optimized code performance, brought code to a releasable standard, and designed and built link reflow without requiring file format modification after Beta.  Reflow was a critical element that helped Acrobat meet US government requirements for accessible documents.

Created Reflow features for Acrobat 6 , adding the capability to reflow complex table-based page layouts (thus allowing reflow of captured web pages). This version also supported non-LrTb text reflow with various annotations, allowing Acrobat to flow text vertically in a variety of alphabets, including in-line Latin characters as well as both Ruby and Warichu annotations. This was essential to making PDF a salable format in Japan and China.

Engineering Manager, Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA    1997-2000

Created, staffed, and managed the Graphics Products Technology department, which grew to include 12 direct reports and a $1.5 million departmental budget. This department researched and built core technology that was used across Adobe's line of products.

Built Adobe Dialog Manager from two clients to eight. This code library encapsulated Adobe’s cross-platform UI and saved Adobe about $2.5 million in UI code development annually.

Oversaw development of Draco. This common scripting code was built for two flagship products, saving about $1 million in one-time development costs.

As IT liaison, I moved numerous projects to Perforce version control. This saved Adobe about $600,000 per year in hardware and software costs. I also moved my department to Perforce on a crash basis without slipping two major client schedules, saving $1 million per day in lost sales.

When I left, they replaced me with two same-level managers.

Director, Games Engineering / Engineering Manager, Rocket Science Games, San Francisco, CA    1995-1997

As chief engineer for a mid-sized game company, managed five internal and one external development teams totaling about two dozen programmers.

Evaluated products and teams, and managed production scheduling and budgeting. I saved the company about $700,000 by recognizing and terminating one failing project early.

Took over active project management of Obsidian when it was slipping one day per day post-Alpha.  Overnight, I cut the slip time to a couple of days per month, and the product shipped for Christmas.

Researched, planned, and managed the creation (including mastering and samples) of Obsidian DVD-ROM for $20,000 (about $130,000 under the average mastering cost at the time) and delivered, according to Panasonic, “the first DVD-ROM we’ve ever gotten that worked right the first time.”

Development Process Consultant, AT&T / The ImagiNation Network, Burlingame, CA    1995

Evaluated and recommended development process standards to improve team efficiency and final product quality.

Assessed technical aspects of proposed products, so the company could focus its resources on projects that would be fun, stable, and attractive within the physical limitations of the network.

Served as technical and content liaison auditing the soundness of external development projects.

Technical Director, Electronic Arts, San Mateo, CA    1993-1994

I'm one of the five TDs who formalized EA's technical standards. We wrote the definitions of "alpha" and "beta" as applied to computer games, created EA's criteria for project acceptance and engineering auditing, and established and enforced best practices for many other critical quality control issues throughout the company. Our standards are still in use today at EA and throughout the industry.

Provided technical management for about 20 products from Alpha to Gold on a variety of platforms.

Oversaw and enforced product scheduling.

Identified and resolved resource allocation problems.

Researched improved development methodologies and technologies.

Assessed the technical soundness of proposed new projects, and audited prospective development teams for their competence to complete proposed contracts.

Director of Technology / Lead Programmer, Hero Software, Sunnyvale, CA    1991-1993

Designed, built and documented much of Champions for the IBM PC. This involved creating the first-ever computer model of the Hero System®, which is widely recognized among paper gamers as one of the most flexible, complex, and realistic RPG systems ever created. This task included inventing an original digital file format for Hero System® characters and developing a digital implementation of the immensely complex Hero System® RPG combat system.

Non-development responsibilities included examining and evaluating third party hardware and software for use by Hero Software, and specifying development hardware for Hero Software.

Founder / Lead Programmer, Bits of Magic, San Francisco Bay Area, CA    1983-1991

As the engineering principal of a small independent development house, I was the technical designer and lead programmer on Centurion: Defender of Rome , World Tour Golf , and Mail Order Monsters (all published by Electronic Arts). World Tour Golf was the first hit golf game in computer game history.  The interface we created for this game is still used by the golf games on the market today.

Created the IBM PC graphics code used for the IBM version of Starflight 2 . This code was subsequently purchased by several of EA's other developers for use in their games.

Game Developer, TSR Hobbies, Lake Geneva, WI    1980-1981

Developed and tested paper RPG and board game designs. Titles included Dungeons & Dragons books and modules, Awful Green Things From Outer Space , Top Secret , and others.

Tested game prototypes.

Cataloged and evaluated outside submissions.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Journal of Advancing Technology, June 2005, Software Development Practices: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly .

IGDA White Paper, Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work: 6 Lessons , February 2005.

Contributing Editor and Review Columnist for The CGDA Report and The Cursor from 1994 to 1997.

Speaker: CGDC 1991-1993, 1996, 1997; Game Developers’ Only 1998; DigiPen Institute / Seattle Sputnik 2005.

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Computer and Information Science, 1983

University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA