09/01/2016 by Jeff
01/15/2015 by Kaboom
01/06/2015 by Kaboom
12/22/2014 by Kaboom
12/17/2014 by Kaboom
11/13/2014 by Kaboom
05/12/2014 by Kaboom
02/12/2014 by Kaboom
Washington native, but not Seattle. I grew up the desolate wastes of Eastern Washington. If you could time travel back to your childhood bedroom, what toy would you bring back with you?
A board game I had called Broadsides and Boarding Parties. It was this awesome game where you ordered ships around a map until they ran into each other. Then you brought out larger scale ship models and do battle on the decks of the ships. Do you have a favorite book or comic?
I would have to say Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. In the middle of re-reading it right now, in fact. How about a favorite band?
Liquid Tension Experiment. What video game do you think changed the industry the most in the last decade?
Probably something like Farmville or Angry Birds that really brought mobile and social media into the foreground. As far as more heavy duty platforms, I’d have to go with Minecraft. Everyone has heard of it, it has sold millions of copies, spawned an entire subculture and people still have to ask “wait.. what exactly do you do in this game”? It has really opened the door for more free-form creative adventures. What exactly do you do on Windborne?
I do work on the programming side of things, focusing mostly on user interface and gameplay. I have also appointed myself as the team troll, a job I take very seriously. What is the most rewarding thing about making video games?
Making video games challenges you both technically and creatively. I find that mix to be very enriching. If Bigfoot knocked on your door, what would you do?
Well if he’s knocking instead of just knocking down the door, I assume he’s planning on remaining civil, so I guess I’d invite him in and see what he needs. I’d steer clear of cameras though. They clearly wig him out.
01/27/2014 by Kaboom
I’m not! I come from Wyoming, the City of Casper. There are about 60k people there I think, out of the 575k in Wyoming as a whole. My Husband and I have been in Seattle for about seven years now, after being in Florida for two. If you could time travel back to your childhood bedroom, what toy would you bring back with you?
Probably the first-gen My Little Pony collection I had. I mean, I don’t know which single pony I would pick, so I’m counting the collection as one toy. A Pound Puppy would come in as a close second. What’s a few of your all-time favorite movies?
The Forty Year Old Virgin, This is the End, Scrooged (for Christmas), Tropic Thunder, The Harry Potter Series, and the Kill Bill movies. Do you have a favorite book or comic?
Maybe not a favorite, but in the past year or two I read Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail), and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Those were really good. The Power of Now is a book I think everyone should read. I’m not usually into that sort of material, but it made me start to think about things in a really different way. How about a favorite band?
NOFX What video game do you think changed the industry the most in the last decade?
This is a tough question, because I can’t think of just one game that’s changed the entire industry. I do think that two major things have happened in the last ten years. One, Mobile gaming has exploded. Having not played a ton of mobile games myself, the game changer in that area I would say is Angry Birds, simply because for a while it was EVERYWHERE. It has mass appeal through simple mechanics, cute graphics, easy to generate DLC, and is very accessible to any level of player. I’m sure there are other mobile games that people would argue answer the question better, but I think those guys nailed appealing to their demographic, and really showed the industry that you don’t have to have insane graphics and complex gameplay to be successful. Secondly, indie games have been on the rise for a while now. More recently I would say Minecraft had a huge effect. It managed to capture casual and hardcore gamers alike, with a combination of super basic gameplay mechanics and the ability to create crazy complex worlds. Add to that community modding, resource packs, and DLC, and you’ve got a true phenomenon. What exactly do you do on Defense Grid 2?
I’m the Associate Producer, which means I do a lot of different things. At the core is scheduling, tracking, and communication both internally and with external content creators. We have a relatively small team, so I manage all disciplines along with the Leads. I’m a funnel. Outside of that is really anything that needs to be done. I work with our Executive Producer/CEO on things like submission and milestone documentation, give feedback to content creators, and even pitch in when I can with things like hooking audio and visual effects up in the game. I also sometimes talk really loud, and distract my team (or the entire office) while trying to be funny. What is the most rewarding thing about making video games?
Finishing a project is always really rewarding, because you get to see all your hard work come to fruition. Hearing people say they love a game I worked on is amazing. What is most rewarding for me personally is that I know every day that I go into work, I will smile at least once, and love my job. Even when I’m having a crappy day and have been eyes-glazed-over staring at a spreadsheet for hours, someone will crack a joke, or I’ll get an email that brightens my day. I’ve been lucky to have great coworkers throughout my career, and being a part of a great team with people you like is a reward every day.
01/03/2014 by Kaboom
12/20/2013 by Kaboom
12/16/2013 by Kaboom
11/20/2013 by Kaboom
I was previously at
Microsoft Studios, but now life has taken me here! I'm super excited to be a part
of Hidden Path, and I'm very passionate about both Windborne and the Defense
I'll be helping manage the forums, our social channels, and coordinate awesome, no... SPECTACULAR events like community game nights, live streams, and interviews. I'm here to help you, and hopefully you can do the same for me... because I'm struggling to get a gold medal in Defense Grid, ha!
Since some of you are probably busy previewing Windborne or protecting your cores, I'll make this short and sweet. Here's how you can get to know me in four convenient bullet points:
- I'm obsessed with cat/otter/panda .gifs and memes.
- I've been a gamer ever since I could pick up a controller! I even played TF2 competitively for a while.
- On the side, I'm also a big Magic: The Gathering fan and am currently working on (I know, I'm a newbie) building my 2nd deck!
- I've been attending gaming conventions and LAN parties for years now, and I love meeting other gamers.
With that being said, I can't wait to digitally meet you all and hear your gaming stories.
P.S. - Feel free to connect with me on Twitter too! (@kaptainkaboom)
Posted in Company News
07/10/2012 by Jeff Pobst
Everyone has seen what has been happening on Kickstarter with players funding games that they really want to play, and we've backed several of them ourselves. I can't wait for my own copies of DoubleFine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns, Banner Saga, Project Fedora, and several others that I've contributed to, and as we started getting closer to completion on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we started thinking that maybe we could turn to the fans of Defense Grid not only for funding help, but also to collaborate with during the development of the game. We want you as a partner, and making the game this way (as opposed to the more traditional approach) really energizes us as a team and gets us excited about the possibilities.
So to see if we can make both the game and the Kickstarter the best it can be, we started talking with folks out there who we could partner with on graphics technology and input to help. The folks at AMD Gaming Evolved said they wanted in on this and so did the team at Razer, and we're really excited about partnering with both of them on developing new Defense Grid content. The game is going to be even better because of it.
To start with, you'll see AMD & Razer both contributing great pledge rewards on the DG2 Kickstarter page. The hardware rewards are limited, so make sure to reserve one with your pledge if that's something that interests you. Then you'll notice our latest update to Defense Grid includes among many other things new support for the Razer SwitchBlade interface. If you have a Razer keyboard with SwitchBlade, Defense Grid now knows about it and takes advantage of the programmable keys and touch pad. The new DG2 engine is getting some new graphical and input features as well, and as that moves forward we'll announce other cool results of the partnerships.
Other folks have chipped in to help out on in a big way on the Kickstarter as well, and we were thrilled when they agreed to participate and show their desire for more Defense Grid. We can't thank these folks enough: Randy Pitchford, Jordan Weisman, Richard Garfield, Al Lowe, David Perry, Ken Rolston and his Ruby Red Ukulele, Jason VandeBerghe, Chris Taylor, Dave Taylor (no relation to Chris - that we know of...), and Jerry Holkins. Other luminaries have also contributed to some great video moments, and well, you'll get to see those too, in the weeks ahead. And, if you're interested and perhaps also somewhat entertaining, well, you could join the list too. Yes, honest, really.
As part of our celebration of getting players and fans more involved in our game development we're giving away a Steam code of the existing Defense Grid game to anyone who pledges on Kickstarter and we're sending the code to them right away, even before funding closes. Then, everyone in the game, both current owners of the game and folks new to Defense Grid through Kickstarter, can play the existing game, get some new content updates during the next five weeks, and we can also conduct some fun contests in-game and give away some prizes too. Again the prizes are generously provided by the folks at AMD and Razer. We're really excited about what our partnership with them means for you and for the game.
One of the in-game contests is around you making your own video on why you want more Defense Grid. Not only could you win a prize, but your video might be used along with the other folks from around the game industry who have shared their desire for more Defense Grid with us. You'll find more details about it in the game update.
So that's how our big news starts. How it ends is very much up to you. If you want more Defense Grid content, please check out the Kickstarter page and see if there is a pledge level that interests you. Also, if you have friends who love Defense Grid, make sure they know about the Kickstarter as well. With your help, we can make a great Defense Grid sequel that sets a new standard for tower defense games.
06/30/2012 by Jeff Pobst
I know you haven't heard much from us in a while, and its because we've been building things for you to play and there just hasn't been too much time to talk about it. CS:GO has gone through 18 major weekly updates on the PC beta and we've learned so much with Valve, watching your metrics and studying how people play the game so we can keep working to make it better than it was before.
You know that there is a release date now and the game will be coming out August 21st, and we're busily getting the game ready for release on multiple platforms (PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PS3), and doing everything we can to polish the game.
Meanwhile we've also been starting to let ourselves think about "the future" and what lays beyond CS:GO for our studio. We get your emails and requests asking for more Defense Grid: "I want more Defense Grid" they say, and sometimes it is simply that blunt.
We hear you, and have come up with some plans on how we might be able to accomplish that and I'll be sharing those plans with you... in a bit. I know, I know, on our facebook page I said "in 2 weeks" about 4 weeks ago, and I apologize for that statement - I thought it would be true at the time. During those two weeks, some surprises took place that caused us to incorporate those surprises into our plans, and it slowed down sharing them with you, because, well, they changed a bit - but we think for the better - so we're excited for when they'll be ready to share.
It has been a whirlwind of activity with CS:GO development and planning for the future and the last 10 weeks or so have been so packed that even as I write this on a Saturday, I'm late for my next meeting and I need to quickly wrap this up. Let me say that we so appreciate your support of the games we make and we just continually focus on how everything we do meets the bar of it being "better for the player."
Here's to fun play, hopefully you get a lot of it in your life. We'll be there to keep making it for you.
01/13/2012 by Jeff Pobst
Happy New Year!
I wanted to get back to the blog and give you an update on the goings-on here at Hidden Path Entertainment, so here goes. Let's start with a myriad of Defense Grid news.
Defense Grid: You Monster and the full bundle (Defense Grid: The Awakening, DG: Borderlands, DG: Resurgence Map Packs, and DG: You Monster) are both available on Steam and have been very popular in the month of December and January. Thanks much for all your support! We hope you're really enjoyed the full chapter of GLaDOS coming to the world of Defense Grid that started back almost a year ago when Valve kindly approached us about joining the Portal 2 ARG.
The game has also been doing well on the Xbox 360 though it can be tough to find on the new dashboard. Go to the games marketplace and search for Defense Grid as an Xbox LIVE Arcade game and you'll see the game and the expansion content all there for you. We're also excited to be a "Deal of the Week" along with other top Tower Defense games on XBLA so for another few days you can get Defense Grid at a great deal on the Xbox 360.
Most of the folks playing the game on Xbox 360 are having the pristine gaming experience as was expected, but there have been a small group that are seeing repeating error messages and achievements that aren't awarding to them, and we've been working closely with the folks at Microsoft to find a way to solve those issues. We don't have a resolution yet, but the Microsoft folks have been helpful and we've given them a lot of information recently so we'll see if this doesn't get fixed here shortly.
Starting soon, the folks at Gamefly's Direct2Drive service will also start selling Defense Grid: You Monster and the full bundle. So that you know, this is still the Steam version of the game, but this allows you to get it from Gamefly if that's where you like to purchase your software.
In December we also did a UI revamp on Defense Grid with the folks at OnLive so that the game could support their new foray into playing the service on tablets. It's true, you can play Defense Grid on an iPad now through the OnLive streaming service, and we created a new user interface that is touch-focused and automatically appears if you play the game on the touch surface. The OnLive folks have been raving about the interface and have even stated in the press that they think this is the best way to play the game. We're happy to be supporting them and will continue to keep an eye on the tablet market and see what other things we can do for these cool devices.
Congratulations also goes out to the 30 awesome folks who were randomly chosen from all the people that did a December (or earlier) like of Defense Grid's Facebook page or Logitech's gaming page and won either a Logitech F710 wireless gamepad, a Logitech G400 gaming mouse, or a Logitech G110 gaming keyboard. We've reached out and contacted the winners on Facebook and some of the hardware is already in the mail and some of it is waiting for a response from the winners. It turns out that the "Defense Grid" page can't contact people, so I had to create a new account from me that is reaching out to folks. If you're a winner and you've been contacted, make sure to get back to us so we can send you your prize.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta is underway and we're learning a lot about the game, balance, online metrics, etc. from the beta and it's helping us make the game better each day. I'll repeat what we've said before though about joining the beta and such (because we're still getting emails from you), that this is something you want to talk with Valve about rather than contacting us, and definitely post anything about CS:GO over on the Steam forums rather than here. Everyone from Hidden Path and Valve are looking over at Steam for opinions and input and the Valve folks are the ones making the calls on the growth of the beta over time. So far, just a small set of maps and weapons have been released to the beta, but more will come over time. It has been exciting to see more and more public matches of CS:GO, the latest one being the Plantronics matches shown over at CES.
Next up, we have a small bonus coming to Defense Grid players on Steam, and we'll be talking more about that soon. Until then, thanks so much for all the great things you've been saying to your friends and colleagues about the game, we greatly appreciate it.
09/01/2011 by Jeff Pobst
We're back from PAX and what an amazing time it was. Thousands of people got to play Counter-Strike: Global Operations at PAX last week and according to Joystiq "Though the line to play had its naysayers, I saw no one turning away from their demo without a smile on their face. It feels ... well, it feels like Counter-Strike."
And everyone wanted to try out the game. According to Videogamer.com "On the first day of PAX 2011, a confident booth in the middle of the convention's show floor claims to boast the longest queues of the show, and it's for a downloadable game rather than a mammoth AAA title. Isn't that a bit daunting for the staff manning its 10 demo stations? Apparently not - they say it's exciting. I'm inclined to agree: excitement is the right response when the developer is Valve, and when the game in question is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive."
It was exciting. We knew we were working on a very important franchise with Valve, and we all knew that we were having a lot of fun with the new version when we played, but what none of us knew, was how you'd respond, what you'd think, and whether or not you'd want to keep playing it.
I can now report back, that people visiting PAX were as excited as we are about the game, that even when folks weren't sure if the Xbox 360 version we had for them would be their main platform or not, that shouts of delight, suspense, and victory rained down from the rafters as T's and CT's squared off on the new Dust map, and virtual bombs were both planted, defused, and detonated. It was a ton of fun to witness.
Everyone who came to PAX and played got a beta code, those going to Eurogamer will get them too. Don't fall for any of the scams that are starting to pop up out there claiming to have beta keys for you to download, purchase or earn. The only way into the beta right now is to play the game at one of these shows.
There's more to come and we look forward to bringing you more about CS:GO and working closely with Valve to make sure that the very best possible Counter-Strike works its way to you in 2012.
06/25/2011 by Jeff Pobst
We're entertainers. Sure, we write software, design and build new game capabilities, draw new concept art, model 3d sculptures, texture those sculptures, design new game systems, try out different game modes, explore what is fun and what isn't fun, test to make sure it works, think about the audio presentation and how to enhance the experience, and spend a lot of time thinking about things different players may want even if other players may not, but at the end of the day, we have one goal. We want to entertain you. That's both the larger group "you" and the more personal "you."
So, it was very energizing when Valve asked us to be a part of the Portal 2 launch ARG because never before had we been able to make game content, and receive such instantaneous feedback on game systems or features that we were developing right then and then adjust what we were doing instantly to make the release a week later even better. It was a completely different entertainment experience, both for us the entertainers and for the audience.
Michael Austin, Hidden Path Entertainment's Chief Technology Officer is going to tell more about that story and the things we learned from the community at the upcoming PAX Prime Dev conference - a new conference hosted by Penny-Arcade for game developers to share information with each other that takes place right next to PAX Prime. Michael gave some initial background of that experience at the LOGIN conference here in Bellevue last month, but will be sharing much more about the experience in August.
Not only that, but we've been told that Design Director Mark Terrano will also be speaking at PAX Dev talking about all the things we've learned about Kinect over the years. It is very possible that Hidden Path Entertainment has been working on Kinect/Natal/3D cameras for gaming and Microsoft longer than anyone else. Back in Spring of 2007 when Peter Moore was running the Xbox gaming group, there was a stealth group of game folks at Microsoft who approached us and asked us to make what I understand was one of the two very first Kinect demos. Another internal group at Microsoft made the other demo. Bill Gates saw the demos, and the rest as you know is history, or actually a lot of complex history between that time and now with several people leaving the project, joining the project and changing how things turned out over the years.
Since then though, we've helped out with many Kinect projects at Microsoft. Some of it you may see, and you don't know that Hidden Path was involved, some of it you haven't seen yet. We think Kinect is very cool technology and we think about it rather differently than a lot of other people, Mainly the difference is that we think it can be a great controller for core gamers who are looking for a unique game experience. The winds are just starting to blow this way - people haven't been quite as interested in thinking about Kinect that way for the past couple of years, but things are changing, and we'll see if we get the opportunity to share some of our approaches with you. Hopefully if we do, you'll think it's really fun (we think what we have right now is a ton of fun and we can't wait to share it with "you").
It will probably be a while though before I will be able to talk more about that since the whole process of making a game with a partner who publishes or finances it requires some secrecy, iteration, and polish before the story is ready to be told - after all, a half-done story isn't as good as the fully flushed out and detailed narrative.
There have been a lot of stories going on at Hidden Path though, and I'm getting excited because as I look at the calendar, and see how things are coming together, I'm getting the impression that I'll have a few things to talk about that I still can't yet talk about, but boy do I want to.
We've been working closely with the folks at Valve for a while now. Whether it was releasing Defense Grid on Steam, updating Counterstrike for the PC last year, or working on the Portal 2 ARG with new Defense Grid content, it is always interesting, refreshing, and just a lot of fun to work with the folks over there. We'll take our cue from them if there ever is an opportunity to talk about anything new, but I can tell you that they really are as great people to work with as their products are great to play.
I can also say (can I?) that more is coming in the world of Defense Grid. Things aren't complete yet, they aren't yet locked down, but we'll be doing something fun for a large part of the community here shortly, and then have some plans for everyone down the road. There are more plans being hatched than will actually happen, so I'm not sure what will turn into final reality, but rest assured that we listen to what you say regardless of game or feature or opinion, and we work hard to try and focus on what will entertain "you" even more and make your experience a better one.
Besides all the things above that I've not really talked about there are a couple of completely new things brewing that have no basis in any game we've released before. I think at last count there are 154 different game design documents in the design share internally, and when the whole team gets involved on turning those idea seeds into fully realized experiences, something magical happens in my opinion.
I'm getting to see the early magic now. I look forward to when we can share it all with you. Sorry if this is a bit of a tease, I'm less trying to tease and more just trying to share my excitement without saying anything that will change the future (kind of like those time travel stories, where you can accidentally change everything if you take the wrong step, run into yourself, or prevent yourself from being born). I'm trying to respect the sacred time-space continuum, while also telling you cool things are around the bend.
I look forward to seeing you there.
04/20/2011 by Jeff Pobst
The Valve Potato/Portal Two ARG is now complete and Portal 2 has been released. We at HPE had a blast participating and we hope those of you who already own Defense Grid or are new to the game, also had fun.
We thoroughly enjoyed working closely with a host of Indipendant Game developers including Dejobaan Games, Frictional Games, Dylan Fitterer, Gaijin Games, Lazy 8 Studios, Tripwire Interactive, Two Tribes, Team Meat, Teotl Studios, Valve and of course peripherial manufacturer Razer. This was a large cross-group project that nimbly reacted to fans, updated weekly, and worked hard to entertain you through our games with new content, puzzles, and several crazy surprises. I don't think anyone ahead of time expected to see pole climbing clue seekers and such intense and exciting IRC discussions or detailed Wiki's spring to life.
The amount of new ARG content that you could find in 123 Kick it, AaAaAA, Amnesia, AudioSurf, BIT.TRIP BEAT, Cogs, Killing Floor, Rush, Super Meat Boy, The Ball, Wonderful End of the World, Toki Tori and of course Defense Grid must have added up to several hundreds of hours of new puzzle solving, investigtation, and fun for fans and we hope finding GLaDOS in all of our games, and getting access to new Portal 2 concept art and information was a fun diversion as we all awaited the launch of Portal 2 and we able to get it to release a day early on Steam.
People have been asking if we'll remove the two new levels we have given our Steam customers now that the ARG is over, and the answer is "no", those will stay. We may be able to create more surprises in store for the future, so we'll see what we can pull off, but for now, there are two new levels for you to experience including one starring GLaDOS and ending with something unexpected happening to our friend.
Others have asked if we will be bringing these new levels to other platforms and channels such as Xbox LIVE, and for the moment, this content is unique to Steam. Where it shows up later, though may be something that can change in the future. We'll keep working on that on our end and see what happens. The world of game development is far less certain and clear than you likely expect it to be on our end. I'm sure you think we know all the answers and how it is going to turn out, and the truth is we try to make a lot of things happen, and sometimes they do!
Several of us were watching the IRC channels, and every once in a while someone would comment that "I bet the devs are watching and laughing at us." They were exactly right on the watching part, but the laughing couldn't have been further from the truth. Each of the Indie developers involved were making all sorts of content for a type of experience that was new to develop for all of us. We were scared to death that a puzzle would be way too easy and solved in seconds and not be interesting, or scared that a puzzle would be way too hard, and no one would figure it out and it would be too frustrating. Our job was to entertain, and we were always concerned that the puzzles and clues and information would not be entertaining, and fortunately it went a lot better than we feared. Thanks so much to the community of people who helped organize, document, share, and connect people together so that so many people could participate and have fun. We were honored to be interacting with you in a way we hadn't been able to do so before.
Well, it is back to "regular" work for those of us in the studio who were working on the ARG. The rest of the studio has been focused on our other projects and we can't wait to share them all with you once they're ready to talk about and we have a better idea of when they'll be coming out.
Thanks much for playing Defense Grid, and hopefully also enjoying it. We love making games for you.
03/12/2011 by Jeff Pobst
Perhaps one of the largest improvements is the updated forums. We're happy to now be on Vbulletin and look forward to a significantly enhanced experience sharing info between players and interacting with you in a cleaner and easier to read manner. Searching is also improved.
Finding the image or screenshot you want is also much easier now when to go to the game detail page. Click left and right on the single preview to go through them one at a time, or click on view all to get an expanded thumbnail view with up to 35 images per page.
For Defense Grid we now have downloadable wallpaper and screensavers as well that previously were only offered through 3rd party partners.
Hidden Path Entertainment turned 5 years old this year, and as we approach our next 5 years, we have several games under way, new exciting opportunities, and more fun and surprises left to share. This new site is just the beginning.
Enjoy the ride with us!
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