Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!

Humberto Castañeda

Developer Biography

Born in Bogota, Colombia in 1975. Started programming on a Tandy Pocket Computer PC-4 at the age of 10. Eventually moved up to the big leagues with a Tandy CoCo 3!

In 1990, Humberto moved up to live in Tacoma, WA with his mother, where he attended Lakes High School until graduation. He then attended the University of Washington, where he majored in Mathematics and minored in Music theory and composition.

Starting in 1994, he began working as an intern at Microsoft, first only for the summer. However, in 1995 he returned to work in the recently formed games division and he liked it so much that he stayed on after the summer, working 30+ hours a week for the next three years while he finished his degree.

After graduation, Humberto was hired on full time by Microsoft to work as a Test Lead in the Sports Games Group. His first project as a test lead was Baseball 2000, which was released to manufacturing the same day that the Matrix premiered ( march 31 1999). He was not sober at the premier, which unfortunately meant that he missed parts of the movie. Still, afterwards he felt he had just seen "like the best movie ever, man!"

Eventually, Humberto joined a small start-up team that then BizDev manager Shane Kim had assembled, to tackle the emerging "Casual Gaming" market. In this team Humberto wore many hats, as is often the case in small teams, building their collaboration website, build deployment system, bug statistics gathering and display, team status tool, multiplayer logging tools, setup engine, setup builds, etc. He worked as a test lead and was soon promoted to test manager, once the team started to grow. As a side note, Humberto suggested the group's first internal name which was "LIFE" and stood for "Leisure, Imagination, and Family Entertainment".

Humberto remembers his time in the "LIFE" group fondly, working on titles like Zoo Tycoon, Fuzion Frenzy (first Xbox title to make it through cert!) In that group, he had the honor and privilege to work with Alexey Pajitnov, inventor of Tetris!

In 2004, Humberto went to work for Jon DeVaan (Microsoft VP) on a cross-company initiative to improve customer and partner satisfaction. His area of focus was specifically: improving software using real customer data iteratively. This meant doing customer focused design, using six sigma principles like Kano feature ranking, applying pareto analysis to whole classes of issues (like crashes, hangs, errors, etc.)

After being at Microsoft for 13 years, Humberto decided to go out into the real world to do game design and programming on his own. He picked an interesting time to do so, however, because nine months after leaving, the world economy came crashing down, pushing everyone down a few levels on the Maslow pyramid.

In 2009 he returned to Microsoft as a Producer for Zune HD games and apps. He worked on multiple games and applications for the launch of Zune HD.

Currently he works as a producer for 343 Industries at Microsoft.

Contributed by Humberto Castaneda (6) on Nov 13, 2008. [revised by : Humberto Castaneda (6)].