Here you can find a brief history of my game development work. If you have any questions, please contact me at Jim DOT Otermat AT gmail DOT com.

In July, 2022, I left Niantic to become a stay-at-home dad for our two kids. Timing of when kindergarten ends for the day doesn't really align with working full time, so I took the opportunity to spend more time with them.

In March, 2018, I finished work on Pungeon! The premise of the game is that your school's PTA has decided that your humor is too blue, so they locked you in the Pungeon to learn some more age appropriate jokes. I had a lot of fun making this. It's basically a word puzzle game, with a light dungeon crawler around it.

Also in March, I started work at Niantic Labs working on Pokémon Go! I've been on the client team since I started, working on features like friends list, adventure sync, and buddy adventures. Really appreciate working on a game that encourages you to explore your surroundings.

In April, 2017, the closed beta of Marvel Heroes Omega went live on PS4. We transitioned to an open beta in May, and went live on both PS4 and Xbox One at the end of June.

In November, 2017, after a falling out between Marvel and Gazillion, the license to the Marvel Universe was revoked so the game was shut down. With no other source of income, the studio was shuttered shortly thereafter.

Since then, I have been job searching, tinkering with Godot, and taking care of my son.

In February, 2016, I made the decision to part ways with GSN and get back into indie development. I worked on a VR prototype in Unreal for a friend, and tinkered on a project within the world of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2014, also in Unreal. Further information can be found at my indie studio site: Otter Mat Games.

In September, 2016, I accepted an offer as a Gameplay Engineer for Gazillion Entertainment to work on the Marvel Heroes MMO in Unreal, then live on Steam. I transitioned over to the UI team when the console version got greenlit and helped revamp all the various UI panels from point-and-click interface over to controller interface.

In January, 2015, I was promoted at GSN to Lead Game Developer. I manage the the team that develops slots games for GSN's Facebook app, GSN Casino.

Also in January, I participated in GXDev game jam. I partnered with Alexei Othenin-Girard to make Consensual Chaos, a resource management game taking place in a BDSM scene, where consent is the limited resource. We won the Volume Award for Loudest and Proudest game.

In July, 2015, I received a job title change to Games Engineering Manager at GSN to better line up with the job I was fulfilling.

In April, 2012, I started work at GSN as a Game Developer. In January, 2013, I was promoted to Senior Game Developer.

The majority of my time at GSN has been working client-side development in AS3 for their Facebook app, GSN Casino, with about 6 months spent working on games in Unity for their app, GSN Casino, on iOS and Google Play.

In May, 2014, Psydra Games launched Dark Scavenger on Steam as a cross-buy for PC and Mac. We released the Linux version to Steam in September, 2014.

I finished up working on an ActionScript 3-based RPG, Dark Scavenger with a few friends under the company name of Psydra Games, where I was the sole programmer then lead programmer and CTO. The game was in production from October, 2010 to February, 2012. We launched it April, 2012, to PC and Mac.

I was a Flash Developer at Lolapps, Inc from March, 2011 to March, 2012. My responsibilities there include writing and maintaining client and server code in AS3, FBApi and python, with occasional foreays into Javascript. Among the many features I worked on were the Easter Egg hiding for Ravenwood Fair, achievements for both Ravenwood Fair and Ravenskye City, and several unreleased features.

I was a contract Gameplay/UI programmer on an unannounced Facebook game for startup developer, Landing Path, from December, 2010 through February, 2011.

I was the second programmer on Mustache Mercenaries, a Facebook game in AS3, for Macguffin Games from October, 2010 until they shut their doors in December of 2010, though this was an unpaid position.

2008-09 - Jim Otermat, Software Developer, Harmonix Music Systems
In August of 2008, I started as a software developer in the hardware department of Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. in Cambridge, MA. I was in charge of the interaction between the peripherals and the game itself, as well as being the sole programmer on the controller test program used at the overseas factories. I helped with the release of Rock Band 2 on the Wii, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3, though I started too late to make the credits on the 360 and PS3. I took over the peripheral systems for The Beatles: Rock Band for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3. I did additional programming on LEGO Rock Band. And I wrote all the console-side device drivers for Rock Band 3 across all three platforms.

I made the controller test program run on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 for their respective peripherals, as well as the PC for the peripherals across all platforms. I learned the SDKs for each platform, as well as the USB protocol on the PC, to make this happen. This position was primarily in C++, with some proprietary scripting language. After making the controller test program working uniformly across all four platforms, I worked on a UI revamp to make the program less text heavy and to remove the programmer art. Upon completion, I worked with the prototype team to make PC then console drivers for the keytar, real-guitar and midi adaptor peripherals for Rock Band 3.

First Runner-Up: Eerie Horror Film Festival 2008 - Game-In-Progress Competition!
My game-in-progress for the Eerie Horror Film Festival was first runner-up in the game-in-progress competition.

Winner: Eerie Horror Film Festival 2007 - Game Concept Competition!
My game concept for the Eerie Horror Film Festival won the game concept competition! The game is called Crayon Drawn Cthulhu and I'm quite proud of it. If you would like to take a gander, check out the Word Document or the PDF formats.

2006-08 - James Otermat, Games Programmer, Archimage
In February of 2006, I got my first job in the industry working at Archimage, Inc. in Houston, TX as a Games Programmer. This job involves simultaneous development of two Games for Health, Escape from Diab and Nanoswarm: Invasion from Inner Space . Escape from Diab is predominately a third person game where the game assets were created from the cut scene models. Nanoswarm: Invasion from Innerspace is a first-person game where all the cut scenes are live action. Both games are written using the Torque Game Engine Advanced , and the job required C++ engine coding and scripting in Torque's propritary scripting language, TorqueScript. Both games are created in tandem with a team from Baylor College of Medicine to help promote better eating and exercise habits among pre-teens to help prevent the onset of Type-II Diabetes.

With Escape from Diab and Nanoswarm shipped to the Baylor College of Medicine for behavioral change evidence, this position moved towards Flash development, still in the Games for Health direction. I learned ActionScript 2.0 and 3.0 in pursuit of this next phase. We formed Playnormous and worked on Flash games for it. I also worked on an episode for MedMyst and two for CSI: the Experience Web Adventures, all in ActionScript 2.0.

2004-05 - Master's of Science Degree
I graduated in 2005 from the University of Hull in Hull, England with a MSc in Games Programming.

One of the assignments for the Master's program was to make a ray tracer. My code and sample input files can be found here (named Egon because I liked him better than Ray). Six sample output pictures can be found here that demonstrated the use of shadows, reflections, and refractions.

Another assignment in the Master's program involved creating a shader. My code can be found here, or you can just open the executable in this archive. There are four models in this program, swappable with the Enter key. The shading types are Two-Tone, Cartoon Rendering, and Texture mapping, changeable with the Space bar. The up and down arrows change the position of the camera, the mouse moves one of the light sources in the Two Tone and Texture mapped shaders, and ESC and F12 close the program.

For my Master's dissertation, I made a toolkit for the SoftImage|Behavior program (Behavior is now bundled in with XSI). It was a specific application for setting up an escape scenario from a room allowing for anwhere from 0 to 396 people on the screen at once, written using MFC, C++ and OpenGL. The program creates the scripting language files and opens Behavior (if it is on your system), and can also output the file to XSI or AVI format. The code, executable, and sample output (in the bProj folder) are here. A sample output AVI (done with 90 people) can be found here.

Other projects for the MSc included a group PC game which we then had to port to the GameCube in which I served as lead on the GameCube port, a moon hopper with dynamic fractal based LOD terrain, and a multiplayer foosball game that could be played on one machine or over a LAN.

In an attempt to keep my skills up between the completion of the MSc and my first job, I made a Sudoku PC game. It has many different puzzles possiblities within it, and is controlled completely with the mouse. Left clicking picks a number, right clicking rules out a number, and middle clicking reverts the square back one phase. Bits available are the code and the EXE. The first version of the game took me two days to complete. Version 2 was two additional hours, working on bug deletion and CPU usage issues.

2003 - Undergrad Game Dev
I graduated from the University of Toledo in 2003 with two BSc degrees, one in Electrical Engineering, the other in Computer Science and Engineering. For my senior design project, I worked with a friend of mine, Mark Bowers, on an original GBA game entitled Server Ninja. The game was programmed in C utilizing the HAM Development Kit. A large sample of my code from the project can be found here. We won a licensed copy of HAM in the 2003 GBAX Coding Competition with a demo version of the game. The final version of the game can be found here. Though the game can be transferred onto a game cart, the easiest way to play it is through an emulator. The game was tested on the Visual Boy emulator, so that would be the one I would recommend.

Later that year, I made a breakout clone also in C with the HAM dev kit. Here are links for the code and the GBA file.

Other Information That May Be of Interest
Languages I am Fluent in:

  • ActionScript 3
  • C#
  • C
  • C++
  • Open GL
  • TorqueScript
  • MFC
  • USB Driver Protocol
  • Revolution Wii SDK
  • Xbox 360 SDK
  • PlayStation 3 SDK
  • Dolphin SDK
  • UML
  • VHDL
  • DirectX 9.0
  • Assembly
  • HTML

While an undergraduate, I had four co-ops with the local power company, FirstEnergy, programming databases and intranet sites, as well as any other duties as requested. I learned and mastered two programming languages while there: epcl (a transmission line design program-specific language) and Visual Basic for Applications (while I was reprogramming an Access database). I also tutored math, science and engineering during my last four semesters as an undergraduate.

I'm a fast learner, and think well on my feet. I'm also equally left and right-brained, so I tend to see both sides of most problems.