Brian Goble

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Brian Goble
Brian Goble, sketch and photo

Name: Brian L. Goble

Date of Birth: November 15, 1967

Nickname: Scorpio

Location: Seattle, Washington

Employers: Edmark, Monolith Productions, HipSoft, Glu Mobile,

Interests: Computers, vehicles/modifying, weather, Disneyland

Notable Works: Windows Animation Package/32

"Accomplished lead engineer, game designer and entrepreneur in the game industry with over 20 years’ experience and a passion for developing and releasing great software. Proven track record through a variety of experiences when it comes to programming, designing, managing and shipping products. Co-founder of two successful game companies (Monolith Productions and HipSoft) with a lead role in over 35 products in the AAA, casual and mobile markets--many of which went on to win awards or spawn sequels. Specialties include lead engineering, game programming, project leadership, team management, product launches, game design and startups.Scrum Alliance profile

Brian L. Goble was a Monolith Productions engineer from its founding in 1994 until 2002. He is best known to the Blood community for his work as a coder on Blood II: The Chosen. The game contains the cheat code "mpscorpio" or "mpgoble" that displays the message "Brian L. Goble is a programming god!" (a similar cheat exists in Claw).

He also worked on Shogo: Mobile Armour Division, Gruntz, Get Medieval, The Operative: No One Lives Forever, Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way and Tron 2.0 while at Monolith. In his position of Vice President of Engineering, he oversaw the engineering, quality assurance and technical support divisions for Monolith.

He was interviewed by Tom "Mugwum" Bramwell in Bloody Interviews: History and his outside interests includes automobile modification, Disneyland, weather, and other computing topics.

Outside Career[edit]

He was making games for profit even while working on a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of Washington. While in college, he worked as a Research Engineer at the school's department of technical communications and built up his programming skill. He started programming at age 12 after his first initial contact with computers, with his first real game made on a loaned Timex Sinclair in a month long spree. The first game he was offered money for was Text Adventure Maker and even though this was cancelled it started Goble's professional game programming career. Another early creation of his is Galactic Battle, a sort of enriched variant on the classic Space Invaders that was included on Big Blue Disk Issue #39 put out by Softdisk Publishing.

He left Monolith in 2002 with co-workers and co-founders Garrett Price and Bryan Bouwman to form HipSoft (later joined by Kevin Kilstrom from 2007 to 2014) and create family friendly games for the casual games market, most notably the Build-a-lot series. He left to found HipSoft after finding he no longer enjoyed working at Monolith since the company had expanded and so he quit to make small causal games with a small team that focused on fun instead of graphics technology. Prior to working at Monolith he developed children's educational software as Senior Software Engineer for Edmark Corporation as well as selling games to Softdisk. He left HipSoft in November 2014 to take up a position at Glu Mobile as technical director, before moving to in July 2016 as chief technology officer.

He presented a talk at the 2008 Game Developers Conference entitled "Player-Generated Content in Casual Games".

Windows Animation Package[edit]

"WAP stands for Windows Animation Package. The package implements real software sprites and flicker-free sprite animation under Microsoft Windows. WAP was developed for use with 8-bit color but is able to execute on systems using less than 256 colors as well. The heart of WAP is the WAP.OBJ file which is linked with the Windows application that wants to use WAP's services. WAP also consists of 3 utility applications for capturing sprites, editing rooms/maps, and manipulating palettes. WAP was developed by Brian L. Goble."MicroMan readme

Adventures of MicroMan longplay on YouTube

Windows Animation Package (or WAP) is a pioneering Windows 3x graphics engine. It was one of the first 2D gaming engines with flicker-free software sprites created specifically for Windows. WAP was first used in the independent platform game The Adventures of MicroMan released in April 1993. Based on his original MicroMan playable demo from January 22, 1993, the game become a cult classic and was distributed on various collections such as Game Empire. He also prototyped a title called Nuclear Nightmare for Apogee Software (under the supervision of Greg Malone) and Microsoft using the original 16-bit version of WAP around 1993-1994, as well as later an updated version of MicroMan but the limitations of 150k floppy storage ultimately inhibited the project.

"Talk about a blast-from-the-past! Yes, Nuclear Nightmare was going to be Apogee's first Windows 3.1 game. We decided to work together on the project after I showed them MicroMan and let them know that I was interested in doing more on the Windows 3.1 platform (not many people were doing games on Windows back then). We worked on a prototype of Nuclear Nightmare which didn't get very far because we ended up shifting gears back to MicroMan when Apogee was in talks with Microsoft to ship a game with Windows 95 (this was back in 93 or 94). We made a relatively spiffy demo of MicroMan with professional art and sounds (not my programmer art from the original game) but in the end, they only had about 150k of space for a game because they were still shipping on floppy disks. Even back then, 150k was not really possible for a level based adventure type game (and they wanted fancy sounds and high-res graphics). After that, I got busy starting Monolith and Apogee got busy on other projects...and Nuclear Nightmare kind of died a quiet death. The game was never released as it was never even close to finished. It was definitely an interesting concept and Scott and George were really helpful at the time in coming up with a lot of the great ideas for the game. I learned a lot from the project. For those that mentioned they use to play MicroMan, my new company, HipSoft, did an overhaul on MicroMan (more for fun and more aimed at kids)... I hope this helps clear up the Nuclear Nightmare mystery."Brian Goble

An updated version of the engine created for Monolith Productions, called WAP 32 using DirectX, was later used for the likes of Claw (1997), Get Medieval (1998) and Gruntz (1999). A special version of MicroMan was made for the "Monolith CD" (1995) and a more recent one was made for HipSoft. The engine was also known for its customizability, usually including a variation on the main editor WapWorld; some versions of the engine also store data in REZ files similar to LithTech. Both Claw and Gruntz generated active level making communities.

"Back when Windows 3.0 had just come out, I had already written a nifty graphics engine for DOS and had made a few games with it that were published by SoftDisk. I decided to see what was possible, graphically, with Windows and proceeded to create "WAP" (Windows Animation Package) which was (as far as I know) one of the first 2D gaming engines (with flicker-free software sprites) created specifically for Windows. I needed to create a demo game for my new engine so I stole some art from a DOS game I had been working on called Alien Planet. Alien Planet ran in 320x200 (in DOS) so when I brought the graphics over to Windows, the objects looked tiny in 640x480. This was a minor problem -- I just called the game MicroMan. :) When the six of us (the Monolith founding members) got together and created Monolith and The Monolith CD, one of the things we did was to create a special version of MicroMan with a rendered intro movie, pumped up sounds, and new music. I still get emails from people asking for more MicroMan adventures. On a related note, I eventually rewrote WAP from scratch for Windows 95 and DirectX, called it WAP32, and it's the engine we used for Claw, Get Medieval, and Gruntz! :)"Brian Goble

Video Games[edit]

Interview image

"Brian graduated from the University of Washington in 1991. After graduation, he worked as a senior software engineer at Edmark developing award winning children's educational software. In 1994, Brian co-founded Monolith Productions. In 2002, Brian left Monolith and co-founded HipSoft with Garrett Price and Bryan Bouwman to develop family-friendly games for the casual games market. Brian has a wonderful wife, two great kids, a small dog and two playful cats. "Old HipSoft profile

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