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January 23, 2018
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Jamie Fristrom's Blog   Expert Blogs


I founded Happion Labs in 2012. But I've been making games for a lot longer than that.

My biggest bragging right: I was a programmer, technical director and designer (and the second employee) at Treyarch, instrumental in helping it grow to the juggernaut it is today, but of all I did there I'm most proud of inventing the dynamic, physical swinging system in Spider-Man 2...loved even by Zero Punctuation! Spider-Man 2 has made a lot of top-games lists and was nominated for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering by the AIAS. 

After Treyarch I was partner, technical director, and designer at Torpex Games where, with help from Richard Garfield, I invented the game Schizoid--"The Most Co-Op Game Ever"--available on Xbox Live Arcade. Schizoid was in the PAX 10 and nominated for both Best Original Game and Best Co-Op in the XBLA awards.

I also wrote the "Manager in A Strange Land" column for Gamasutra and I think I hold the world record for writing game development post-mortems in Gamasutra and *Game Developer* magazine. I was also on the committee for the IGDA Leadership Forum for several years.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Mon, 17 Aug 2015 02:01:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Production, Console/PC, Indie
I miss doing that what-went-right / what-went-wrong format! I'm doing it again, to discuss the launch of Energy Hook on Steam Early Access.

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 04:19:00 EDT in Indie
Iíve written a couple articles on how to be happy as a game developer, but just realized I have yet to talk about why we should even try to be happy. In an admittedly messed-up world, here are some reasons why it still might be a worthwhile goal.

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:32:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Console/PC
You might think that making a game for Xbox One through their ID@Xbox program would be cheap-as-free - they're even *giving away* dev kits, after all - but there are a couple of costs that might surprise you.

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Sun, 05 Jan 2014 04:21:00 EST in
Game development isn't quite as fun as we thought it would be when we were kids. One of the reasons is obligation - once we're extrinsically motivated to do something, we lose sight of the intrinsic motivators, of the inherent play in our job.

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:46:00 EST in
I'd like to do a little off the cuff research - what makes you an unhappy game developer?

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:13:00 EST in Indie
A quick look at why some indie devs aren't happy and how to deal with it.

Jamie Fristrom's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 07/28/2014 - 06:32]

What Javier said. My back-of-the-envelope ...

What Javier said. My back-of-the-envelope predictions were that European sales would probably pay for PEGI USK but NZ/Australia sales might not pay for their boards.

Comment In: [Blog - 12/10/2013 - 10:16]

Yes, it 's brutal out ...

Yes, it 's brutal out there. There are a couple rays of hope: r n r nKickstarter probably doesn 't want to be called a market but it is. It 's somewhere between the maturity of Steam / Mobile and the embryonic/new markets. It has lost its initial luster but ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/28/2013 - 01:56]

Totally The big optimization we ...

Totally The big optimization we 're looking at now is moving. That would be a major change and I 'm not sure I can ask the family to do that... but maybe.

Comment In: [Blog - 08/02/2013 - 04:05]

I feel your pain Been ...

I feel your pain Been indie for 8 years now and haven 't been able to make it sustainable yet. Yeah, chasing publisher funding is brutal and part of what killed my previous company, Torpex Games. Why did we try so hard to chase such terrible deals We were ready ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/30/2013 - 02:22]

Oh Another lesson learned: when ...

Oh Another lesson learned: when looking for Unity assets / code, don 't go straight to the asset store. Google it. There 's a lot of free stuff out there that isn 't in the asset store.

Comment In: [Blog - 06/23/2013 - 11:36]

Absolutely. I 've been calling ...

Absolutely. I 've been calling it document - view but it 's the same thing and it 's beautiful. I really should have talked about it in that light more - when you stop and think about it, it 's kind of silly though all-too common for our game state ...