Funomena is an independent game studio located in downtown San Francisco, California. The company was founded in January of 2013 by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton – two passionate game developers who believe that games can have a positive impact on the world. If you are curious how to say Funomena – just use this little song as a guide.
We are working on a mostly-unannounced commercial game, a cool not-for-profit/for-change project with UC Davis and the National Science Foundation… and a few other things as well. While we can’t say much more about these projects just yet – we’d love to introduce you to the current crew of Funomenauts!
Robin Hunicke is a game designer and producer, with a background in fine art, computer science and applied game studies. She joined EA in 2005, where she worked on The Sims2, MySims, and Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox series for the Nintendo Wii. In the spring of 2009 she joined thatgamecompany as Executive Producer of the award-winning PSN downloadable title, Journey. Recognized as an influential Woman in Games, Robin is an evangelist for diversity of thought and participation in game design and game culture. She co-organizes the annual Experimental Gameplay Workshop, has chaired the IndieCade Festival, and lectures extensively on how developers can create novel, experimental designs by focusing on the feeling.
Martin Middleton is a programmer and explorer, who just moved to SF after 6 months traveling the world! In 2006 he joined thatgamecompany to work on the AI and constraint systems for the creatures in their first title, flOw. For Flower, Martin built out the engine’s procedural geometry systems, and distributed the game’s intensive grass simulation across the PS3 SPU processors. For Journey, Martin created several real-time, web-based tools for the art and design teams, while developing the game’s distributed, deformable sand terrain system. He also built Journey’s unique, peer-to-peer networking solution, which connects players seamlessly as their paths cross during gameplay.
Keita Takahashi is a Japanese game designer and artist. He studied at Musashino Art University from 1996 to 1999, where he studied in Fine Art and Sculpture, gaining a degree in the latter. His commercial titles (Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari and Noby Noby Boy) all express a deep fascination with childhood, physical play, sculptural objects and the feeling of being small. His recent independent collaborations (including Tenya Wanya Teens, and the upcoming Alphabets Game) investigate similar themes via novel control schemes. His games and interactive installations have been exhibited around the world, most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Vikram Subramanian began his career at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he earned a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Computer Science and Engineering. In 2001, he joined Microsoft, where he worked on network solutions for a variety of applications, including Xbox Live. In 2010 he moved to New York City to join Google, where he also became involved in the independent game arcade Babycastles. His collaboration with Keita in the summer of 2012 was the beginning of their work on the game.
Charlie Huguenard is a programmer and game designer with a background in music and audio production. An idealist and tinkerer with a penchant for getting in over his head, he found his calling with video games, and dreams of making games that make the world a better place. He got his start doing exploratory work for 7 Studios and Activision, where he designed and prototyped interactive music performance systems, DJ games, and music-powered mobile games. At Telltale Games, he made systems for choice tracking, action sequences, and character control for The Walking Dead.
Glenn Hernandez is an Artist Illustrator with a background in music, animation and a passion for illustrating children’s books. He earned his Bachelor’s in Studio Art from St. Olaf College and spent several years immersing himself in visual storytelling. Before joining Funomena, he worked as Lead Artist at XEOplay Inc for three years where he graduated to the position of Art Director. He is excited to help create games that color outside the lines of convention and help promote change.
Eileen Hollinger is a producer and game developer whose background spans video production, urban school reform and software development. After earning her Master’s Degree in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, she spent two years at Riot Games producing events and special projects. She is fascinated by the intersection of games, learning and empathy, and is committed to supporting the efforts of experimental and independent gamemakers. She’s actively involved with Indiecade, the Game Design Workshop at GDC and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop.
Brad Fotsch is a sound designer, composer and interactive audio connoisseur. His energized and experimental approach to creating audio comes from almost a decade of making games, a curiosity for how music and sound guide our feelings and a life-long quest for adventure travel. He studied music and technology at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He helped create realistic immersive worlds in Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer at Electronic Arts until leading the sonic madness of Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox series with Robin. He is excited for this indie game making adventure with Funomena.
Starting from a childhood obsession with the music of Jerry Goldsmith, Austin Wintory’s passion for composing has led to a career spanning over 200 productions, encompassing film, television, commercials, video games and beyond. His first major game score FLOW in 2006 earned a BAFTA nomination and triple GANG nomominations. Austin’s incredibly moving and dynamic score for Journey was nominated for a Grammy! It was also the second highest debut for a game soundtrack in Billboard’s history. Beyond composing, Austin is also a very active member on the Board of Directors for Education Through Music –Los Angeles.
Ted Aronson is a programmer, game designer, and jack-of-all-trades. He started making games for the public good at the Center for Autism Research, creating therapeutic Flash games for children with autism spectrum disorders. He spent some time building out gameplay features for Frontierville at Zynga East in Baltimore, and then moved on to build development tools at MindSnacks. We’re happy to have him collaborating with us on the GetUp project!
Kellan Jett is a Texas native and recent Graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design Illustration department. He is a talented concept artist, painter and Funomena’s very first intern!