(Exerpted from Interview with Tim Stellmach on Breaking In)
I started out as a playtester for Blue Sky Productions on Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss. I'd gone to school with Doug Church and Jon Maiara, a couple of the programmers on the project at the time, and I expressed an interest in what they were doing. The job involved a lot of playing the game, often repeatedly playing the same scenario trying to isolate the specific circumstances that caused a bug, which takes a lot of perseverance. As the developer's playtest group expanded I ended up coordinating the process, building and managing a database of trouble reports.
After Ultima Underworld, I had my foot in the door when they started hiring designers for Ultima Underworld II. Back in those days the job description of full-time game designer was still fairly new, so I was able to jump straight to the position of lead designer (in a group of three). I was then a designer on the games System Shock and Terra Nova, and then started being a lead designer again, only this time on original projects like Thief: The Dark Project (as opposed to my post on Underworld II, a sequel). All of this constituted eight years or so at the same company, Looking Glass Studios, which only ended when they went out of business. I did some consulting while searching for a new job, looking to do something a bit different, and finally settled on my current position at Vicarious Visions.
Last updated: Nov 23, 2003