Developer BiographyIn 1979, just out of college, Joel founded Strategic Simulations, Inc., better known as SSI. Although his first love was wargames (since the age of 7), he enjoyed playing and developing all kinds of strategy games. From 1979-1995 he was the Producer on over 60 computer games. With the help of his friend Paul Murray, Joel had the opportunity to program one game in 1982, Pursuit of the Graf Spee. Although this game was not a big seller, Joel credits this work for helping him to appreciate a programmer/designer's perspective. Although not all of the 150+ SSI games were a success, Joel has been very proud of the collective works of SSI, and the truly monumental efforts of the employees of SSI over the years to produce quality products on a budget.
When SSI was sold to Mindscape in 1994, it took Joel less than two years to realize that making games was far more fun than being a corporate executive. From 1996 through 1999, Joel produced products and worked on several wargame titles at SSI. By the beginning of 2000, he left the corporate world behind to create 2BY3 Games with Gary Grigsby and Keith Brors.
Joel met Gary in 1982 when Joel answered Gary's customer support call to SSI and fielded his questions on the game Torpedo Fire. Also in 1982, Joel met Keith, who had just joined the SSI staff. Since Joel prefers working on historical wargames, he's happy to be teaming up with Gary and Keith again in the quest to provide wargamers with historically accurate and fun to play wargames.
Joel's interest in wargames was fueled by his father's avid interest in military history. As an artillery FO, his father, Robert Billings, landed on Omaha beach on D+2, and fought his way across France and into Germany. (Robert has recently published a novel based on his experiences, called "Task Force Lone Bandit".)
Three of Joel's uncles also served in the US Army during WWII. One uncle landed on D-Day, as a company commander in the 1st Division, after fighting his way across North Africa and Sicily. Another uncle landed on Leyte in the Philippines and saw MacArthur make his historic return. Yet another uncle served in the Air Corps based in Australia. Joel even has a cousin who fought with distinction for the Soviet Army throughout the war.
Source: Selected articles from 2BY3 Games Official Company Website - About 2BY3 - Joel Billings
Contributed by Indra is stressed (20014) on May 02, 2004.
Joel Billings, Founder - Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI)