Hunicke hosting the 2018 Game Developers Conference Awards
|Born|| March 15, 1973 |
|Residence||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Occupation|| Executive Producer |
|Known for|| Funomena |
|MySims , Boom Blox , Journey , Wattam|
Robin Hunicke ( // ; born March 15, 1973) is an American video game designer and producer. She is a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz and the co-founder of Funomena.
A video game producer is the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game.
Hunicke began her career at Electronic Arts where she worked on multiple games including MySims as Lead Designer and Boom Blox and its sequel as a Producer. After leaving EA, she was hired by thatgamecompany where she produced Journey, an online cooperative game for the PlayStation 3. After its completion, Hunicke joined Tiny Speck to develop the social MMORPG Glitch , teaming with Katamari Damacy creator and personal friend Keita Takahashi. Prior to the release of Glitch , Hunicke left Tiny Speck to co-found Funomena together with Martin Middleton, former teammate and engineer at thatgamecompany. In October 2012, Funomena announced their first project: "to build a game that takes data from a pedometer and does something fun with it."They have since announced two new games, Wattam (directed by Keita Takahashi) and Luna, "a tactile puzzle game set in a vibrant and sculptural story-book world", both of which are currently in development and executive produced by Hunicke.
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. It is the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization after Activision Blizzard and ahead of Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft as of March 2018.
MySims is a video game developed by EA Redwood Shores and published by Electronic Arts as a spin-off to Maxis' The Sims franchise for the Nintendo DS and Wii in 2007, re-released for Microsoft Windows and mobile phone in 2008.
Boom Blox is a puzzle video game for the Wii console, mobile devices and N-Gage 2.0 developed by EA Los Angeles in conjunction with film director Steven Spielberg. The game was released on May 6, 2008, in North America and on May 9, 2008, in Europe. The N-Gage version of the game was released on December 3, 2008.
Hunicke is recognized in the industry for her support of independent game development, experimentation in game design, research in dynamic difficulty adjustment, and the advocacy of women within the games industry.
An indie game is a video game that is most often created without the financial support of a publisher, although some games funded by a publisher are still considered independent. These games often focus on innovation and rely on digital distribution. Indie gaming saw a rise in mainstream popularity in the latter half of the 2000s, primarily due to new online distribution methods and widely available video game development tools.
Dynamic game difficulty balancing (DGDB), also known as dynamic difficulty adjustment (DDA) or dynamic game balancing (DGB), is the process of automatically changing parameters, scenarios, and behaviors in a video game in real-time, based on the player's ability, in order to avoid making the player bored or frustrated. However, letting AI players break the rules to which players are bound can cause the AI to cheat—for example, AI players might be given unlimited speed in racing games to stay near the human player. The goal of dynamic difficulty balancing is to keep the user interested from the beginning to the end, providing a good level of challenge.
Hunicke was born on March 15, 1973 in Albany, New York. She holds a B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and is finishing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence with a focus on Games and Game Design from Northwestern University.
Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.
A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. The university is composed of an undergraduate college, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into five academic research divisions and seven professional schools. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is also well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Divinity School and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The university holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.
Hunicke began her work with Electronic Arts at Maxis, where she became a designer for The Sims 2: Open for Business after meeting famed game designer and Sims director Will Wright. Following her work on The Sims 2, Hunicke went on to become the lead designer for MySims on the Nintendo Wii, and later, was a producer for Boom Blox and its sequel, Boom Blox: Bash Party .
Maxis is an American video game developer and a division of Electronic Arts (EA). The studio was founded in 1987 by Will Wright and Jeff Braun, and acquired by EA in 1997. Maxis is best known for its simulation games, including The Sims.
The Sims 2: Open for Business is the third expansion pack for The Sims 2, released on March 3, 2006, which allows Sims to run a home or community lot based business. Aspyr released a port of the game for Mac OS X on September 4, 2006. Although it is not a direct reimagining of Open for Business, The Sims 3: Ambitions introduces a related theme of following playable sims to work and creating salable items using numerous skills.
William Ralph Wright is an American video game designer and co-founder of the former game development company Maxis, and then part of Electronic Arts (EA). In April 2009, he left EA to run Stupid Fun Club Camp, an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders.
Following her work at Electronic Arts, Hunicke joined thatgamecompany as producer.She joined the team in the early conceptual stages for the studio's third project Journey, a multiplayer cooperative adventure game released in early 2012.
Thatgamecompany, LLC is an American independent video game development company founded by University of Southern California students Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago in 2006. The company was a developer for Sony Computer Entertainment, contracted to create three downloadable games for the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network service, and has since secured independent funding. The first of their games is a remake of Chen's award-winning Flash title Flow, with enhanced visuals and sound, added multiplayer modes and compatibility with the PlayStation 3's motion sensitive controller. The title was released on the PlayStation Store in 2007. The company's second PlayStation 3 game, Flower, was released on the PlayStation Store in 2009, and their third game, Journey, was released in March 2012 on the PlayStation Store. Their fourth game, Sky, is planned for a 2018 release, with a timed exclusive on iOS devices.
Journey is an indie adventure game developed by Thatgamecompany and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network in March 2012 and ported to PlayStation 4 in July 2015.
After the release of Journey, Hunicke left thatgamecompany to join Tiny Speck to continue development of their social MMORPG Glitch .
Prior to the release of Glitch , Hunicke left Tiny Speck to co-found Funomena together with Martin Middleton. They announced their first project in October 2012: "to build a game that takes data from a pedometer and does something fun with it."Their first video game is Luna, a VR-focused art game which is described as "a tactile puzzle game set in a vibrant and sculptural story-book world". They are currently developing Wattam , a spiritual successor of Bandai Namco's Katamari series directed by its creator, Keita Takahashi.
Hunicke contributes to various video game industry conferences and events throughout the year. She is an organizer of the annual Game Design Workshop at the Game Developer's Conference, where she helps organize the event and teaches with designers Doug Church, Marc LeBlanc, Frank Lantz, Stone Librande, Clint Hocking and others.Hunicke is also an organizer of the Experimental Gameplay Sessions at GDC with Jonathan Blow, Doug Church, and Chris Hecker. Many successful games have made their first public appearance at the session, including Jonathan Blow's Braid and Valve's Portal . Hunicke is also an organizer of IndieCade, an annual festival dedicated to independent game development.
Hunicke is a founding member of the IGDA Education SIG, has participated in the Indie Game Jam, helps with the Global Game Jam, teaches at UCSC, and is a judge for the Independent Games Festival.
In her studies, Hunicke researches dynamic difficulty adjustment. She is also interested in how "the notions of fate, meaning, and consequence can be communicated via video games".
From 2001 to 2004,Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, and Robert Zubeck created the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics framework to focus and improve game analysis. The framework categorizes the many aspects of a game as Mechanics, Dynamics, or Aesthetics, and outlines the inverse perspectives of designer and player. From the perspective of the designer, the Mechanics generate Dynamics which generate Aesthetics. From the perspective of the player, the player experiences the game through the Aesthetics, which are provided by Dynamics that emerge from the game mechanics.
On May 21, 2008, Hunicke was chosen for Gamasutra's "Gamasutra 20", "honoring the Top 20 women working in the video game industry". In 2009, Microsoft awarded Hunicke the Women in Gaming Award for Design. She also earned a spot on the Hot 100 Game Developers of 2009 list by Edge Magazine.
To date, the various titles Hunicke has worked on have garnered awards, such as the "Online Innovation Award" for Journey at the Game Developers Choice Online Awardsand a BAFTA award for "Best Casual Game of 2008" for Boom Blox.
She's a contest judge in Will Wright's Proxi art challenge.
Louis Castle is an American video games designer. He is known for co-founding Westwood Studios, contributing to the Command & Conquer series of real-time strategy games, serving as Executive Producer for the PC video games Blade Runner and Monopoly, and collaborating with Steven Spielberg on the Boom Blox and Boom Blox Bash Party video games for the Nintendo Wii console based on Spielberg's design ideas.
The Indie Game Jam (IGJ) was an effort to rapidly prototype video game designs and inject new ideas into the game industry. Started in 2002 by a group of game designer-programmers, the event featured a shared game engine technology and worked on by other designer-programmers for a single long weekend. The games resulting from that weekend were then published, open-source, on the IGJ web page.
Randy Smith is an American game designer. He co-owns and is the creative director of Tiger Style. He has worked extensively on the Thief series with both Looking Glass Studios and Ion Storm.
Independent video game development, or indie game development, is the video game development process of creating indie games; these are video games, commonly created by individual or small teams of video game developers and usually without significant financial support of a video game publisher or other outside source. These games may take years to be built from the ground up or can be completed in a matter of days or even hours depending on complexity, participants, and design goal.
Keita Takahashi is a Japanese game designer and artist, his most notable titles being Katamari Damacy and its sequel, We Love Katamari. The original Katamari game was a surprise hit and was praised for its quirkiness, originality, and charm. Takahashi is married to pianist and composer Asuka Sakai, who has worked with Takahashi on various projects.
Xinghan Chen, known professionally as Jenova Chen, is a Chinese video game designer. He is the designer of the award-winning games Cloud, Flow, Flower, and Journey, and is co-founder of Thatgamecompany.
Brenda Louise Romero, previously known as Brenda Brathwaite, is an American game designer and developer in the video game industry. She was born in Ogdensburg, New York and is a graduate of Clarkson University. Romero is best known for her work on the Wizardry series of role-playing video games and, more recently, the non-digital series The Mechanic is the Message. She has worked in game development since 1981 and has credits on 49 game titles.
Game Design Workshop, 3rd Edition: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games is a book on game design by Tracy Fullerton, originally published by CMP Books in 2004. It has been updated and released in two subsequent editions, the latest by AK Peters/CRC Press in 2014.
Flower is a video game developed by Thatgamecompany and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Flower, designed by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark, was released in February 2009 on PlayStation 3, via the PlayStation Network. PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game were ported over by Bluepoint Games, and released in November 2013. An iOS version was released in September 2017, and a Windows version was released in February 2019, both published by Annapurna Interactive. The game was intended as a "spiritual successor" to Flow, a previous title by Chen and Thatgamecompany. In Flower, the player controls the wind, blowing a flower petal through the air using the movement of the game controller. Flying close to flowers results in the player's petal being followed by other flower petals. Approaching flowers may also have side-effects on the game world, such as bringing vibrant color to previously dead fields or activating stationary windmills. The game features no text or dialogue, forming a narrative arc primarily through visual representation and emotional cues.
Kellee Santiago is a Venezuelan American video game designer and producer. She is the co-founder and former president of thatgamecompany. Santiago was born in Caracas, Venezuela and was raised in Richmond, Virginia, where she played video games from a young age and was encouraged by her software engineer father to experiment with computers. While attending New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she became active in experimental theater, and intended to pursue it after earning a master's degree in the Interactive Media Program of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. While there, however, she became involved in video game design, and produced Cloud, a game developed by Jenova Chen and a student team. Its success sparked her and Chen to found thatgamecompany upon graduating, and she became the president.
IndieCade or Indiecade is an international juried festival of independent games. IndieCade is known as "the video game industry's Sundance." At IndieCade, independent video game developers are selected to screen and promote their work at the annual IndieCade festival and showcase events. In 2009, IndieCade launched a conference track featuring classes, panels, workshops, and keynotes. The conference has since become a major attraction for indie developers and others in the industry.
Amanita Design is a Czech independent video game developing company founded in 2003 by Jakub Dvorský and headquartered in Brno, Czech Republic. The company has created award-winning games including Machinarium, the Samorost series and Botanicula, as well as educational and advertising minigames and animations, all using Adobe Flash. Clients include BBC, Nike and The Polyphonic Spree.
Glitch was a browser-based massively multiplayer online game created by Tiny Speck. The game was developed under the leadership of Stewart Butterfield.
Magic Pixel Games is an American video game development company founded by key members of the Boom Blox team from Electronic Arts' Los Angeles studio.
The Indie Fund is an organization created by several independent game developers to help fund budding indie video game development. The Indie Fund was created in early 2010, its purpose aimed "to encourage the next generation of game developers" by providing them funding for development of these games without the terms that would normally be associated with publication agreements.
Annapurna Games LLC, doing business as Annapurna Interactive, is a subsidiary of Annapurna Pictures and a video game publisher. Titles published by the company include What Remains of Edith Finch.
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