Christopher Schardt

Game Credits

Programming/Engineering

Typhoon Thompson in Search for the Sea Child (1989)   (Software Tools)
 

Audio

Typhoon Thompson in Search for the Sea Child (1989)   (Sound Effects)
 


Developer Biography

Christopher started programming professionally in 1985, starting out at Dynamical Systems, a very scrappy startup in Oakland that created a windowing operating system for PCs that competed with Windows. It was so much better than Windows in some ways that Microsoft bought the company. Christopher didn't go to Redmond though.

Next, Christopher worked for Dan Gorlin, the creator of Choplifter, developing a remote debugger and a remote paint program to allow the creation of games on Sun 3/50 workstations that would run on various target microcomputers (Apple II, PC, AtariST, Amiga). It was quite an ambitious project, Dan's cross-platform development system, far ahead of its time. This system was used to create Typhoon Thompson, for which Christopher wrote the sound engine.

Next, Christopher moved on to contracting for Pixellite, a company founded by Mary Khan and David Balsam, the creators of the original Print Shop. Christopher worked with vector font technology developed by Dane Bigham to create what was eventually given the unfortunate name "Bannermania". This name was imposed by Broderbund, the publisher, for reasons that only became clear later: They were secretly working on their own version of Print Shop and wanted to position this new banner program and the other programs to follow as far away as possible.

Eventually, Broderbund's plans were revealed to Pixellite. Since Pixellite had created the original Print Shop, it seemed wrong for Broderbund to lay total claim to the product line. After lots of negotiations, and thoughts of lawsuits, Pixellite decided to fight it out in the market instead of the courts. Christopher was charged with creating a new DOS vector-based program to carry the Print Shop mantle, without the name. This was eventually called Instant Artist, published by Autodesk.

Instant Artist sold quite well, even at $99/copy. Pixellite was looking forward to its first Christmas season when Autodesk's new CEO decided that all these consumer-level programs should be discontinued. Despite hours of argument and pleading, there was no changing Autodesk's mind and Pixellite moved the product to Maxis, the publisher of Sim City. Autodesk had one last bit of unfriendliness to bestow: They insisted that the program never more be called Instant Artist.

So Maxis re-published the program as Print Artist. Once again, it sold quite well, inspiring users groups across the country. Eventually, a Windows version was created, which sold even better than the DOS one. Christopher packaged all of the vector rendering tech into a Windows DLL, which Sapien Technology used to create the Windows version.

At that point, Christopher moved on to being a recording artist, which continued until the end of the century. In 1997, he got a call from his old friend Steve Hales, who asked if Christopher would like to do some contracting for Beatnik, a startup founded by the pop star, Thomas Dolby. Christopher was hired to glue Steve Hales' sound engine (used in many games, owned by Beatnik) into Java 1.2. After that was over, he wrote Windows utilities, and worked a bit on the sound engine until the end of 1999.

Burning Man took over Christopher's life for quite a few years then. He's been making large-scale technology-soaked art for this festival since 2000. In 2003 he bought a warehouse and started building a home in it. In 2008 he had a child, with his wife Betty Ray.

In 2009, Christopher decided to get back into programming. The iPhone was new and shiny so he learned all about XCode and iOS. He wrote several successful app store apps: • Moe's Notes - a multi-media note-taker • Moe's Notepad - the iPad version of Moe's Notes • Moe's Contacts - an improved address book • Contactimatic - another improved address book • LED Lab - extremely feature-rich LED controller

The four earlier apps have not been updated in a while, but LED Lab is still going strong, used by 1000s of LED artists world wide to control their LED pieces: http://appstore.com/ledlab

Last updated: Dec 03, 2016