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.
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.
Chelsea likes making games that make a difference. At Zynga she designed and analyzed features that touched tens of millions of people, and at SuperBetter Labs she used research on positive emotion and social connection to make those touches more powerful, evocative, and meaningful. By night Chelsea designs award-winning indie games, runs the San Francisco Global Game Jam, and works with developers at Cornell University on experimental gameplay demos and youth outreach, all without a bat signal.This year, she was one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business and received with Microsoft WIG Rising Star award.
Charlie 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. He’s currently exploring the world of free-to-play mobile games at gloops/Nexon, filling a variety of roles including Audio Lead, UI Programmer, and Game Designer.
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During her six-year tenure as President and Co-Founder of thatgamecompany, Kellee developed one of the most prominent brands in independent game development, pushing the communicative possibilities of video games as a medium. She is currently a partner in IndieFund, which aims to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get, and stay, financially independent. In 2010 she became a TEDFellow, and was recognized as one of The Ten Most Influential Women in Games. She is now Head of Developer Relations at OUYA.
Ben is a twenty-year veteran of the interaction design field. A founder of Bloom and advisor at Stamen, he also founded the Experience Design Lab at frogdesign, and was also a lead designer and platform development strategist at Ludicorp, makers of Flickr. He designed network media sharing applications at Be Inc. and Silicon Graphics, and managed the Research and Development group at web services agency Organic. His clients include Nokia, Sony, and Philips, as well as the Cities of Amsterdam and Barcelona. Ben is interested in the intersection of play, interaction, and urban space. He is currently retained as a Master of Interaction Design at Samsung.
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 memeber on the Board of Directors for Education Through Music –Los Angeles.