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Jamie Fristrom's Blog   Expert Blogs


Hi! I've been making games for _three_ decades.

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.

After Torpex I founded my own solo studio--Happion Labs--and made games under that name for many years before finally throwing in the towel on my indie career.

I 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.

These days I'm working at a little company called Mojang Studios on a little game called Minecraft.

Even after 30 years in this business I'm still learning, still racing to keep up with all that's going on, and sharing some of what I find out.


Expert Blogs

Does Minecraft continue to be successful because Mojang is awesome, or does Mojang continue to be awesome because Minecraft is succesful? Can't it be both?

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Wed, 24 Jul 2019 10:48:00 EDT in Programming
While trying to work with sorted sets I've discovered some interesting things about dotnet core performance, but am at a loss to explain all of them.

Posted by Jamie Fristrom on Thu, 18 Jul 2019 10:31:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Production, Console/PC, Indie
A retrospective on the years I spent developing professionally on the Roblox platform and how I attempted to apply new product science to game development there.

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
I’ve 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 [email protected] 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.

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 ...