About

Unknown Worlds is an independent game company in San Francisco, CA (team and office videos). Our goal is simple, but not easy – to unite the world through play.

Previously, we worked on titles such as Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (1M sold), Empire Earth (2M sold), Lair, Zero Gear, The Getaway and Secret of Monkey Island – Special Edition.

You can browse our press kit by clicking here.

Timeline:

    • CHARLIE “FLAYRA” CLEVELAND

    Game Director

    Charlie attended Case Western Reserve University and received a B.S. in Computer Engineering. He worked as a software engineer at IBM, Papyrus, CogniToy and Stainless Steel Studios, on Grand Prix Legends, MindRover and Empire Earth. In May of 2001, he left Stainless Steel to start writing Natural Selection.

    Charlie has contributed writings to Game Developer Magazine and Game Design Perspectives and spoke at Casuality (2006). He also spoke at the Game Developer’s Conference in 2011 (The 1 Hour Video Game MBA) and 2013 (The Velveteen Marine).

    • Max McGuire

    While still in high school Max worked as the assistant to Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot at IBM Research. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 with a B.S. in Mathematics and a double major in Computer Science, Max joined Iron Lore Entertainment (Game Developer Choice Best New Studio) as the first employee.

    While at Iron Lore Entertainment, Max served as the Lead Engine Programmer and held a key role in developing the technology and tools behind their first two titles, Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.

    • CORY “SQUEAL LIKE A PIG” STRADER

    Art Director

    Cory attended the Massachusetts College of Art, majoring in Illustration. He worked at Stainless Steel Studios as a digital artist for over five years doing 3D modeling, texturing and concept work on Empire Earth, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World and Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War. He then worked as Senior Texture Artist and Concept Art on Lair and several unannounced titles at Factor Five.

    He and Charlie started working on Natural Selection together in August of 2000 and his artwork has been featured several times in Spectrum and Expose.

    • BRIAN "CHOPS" CUMMINGS

    Brian (Alpha) joined the team in late 2009 after graduating from the Art Institute of California San Francisco. Before moving here, he worked as a contract 3D Artist on two published PC titles in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Initially hired to help with managing the art pipeline, Brian now fills the gap between artists and engine. He has also worked as the editor for several Natural Selection 2 cinematics including the Fade Reveal, Lerk Reveal and Gorge Belly Slide video.

    • BRIAN "MURPHY" CRONIN

    Brian is overall a useless human being unless he is working on games. I wouldn’t trust him in any of the following situations: wrapping a birthday present, farming, space travel or colors. He is a programmer. His beard is also a programmer.

    He has worked on a few games before joining Unknown Worlds such as The Da Vinci Code cell phone game and a PC go kart game called Zero Gear. Brian enjoys endlessly “debating” people on a wide range of pointless topics such as oxygen, bear fights and carrot(s).

    • DUSHAN LESKA

    Dushan hails from London, where he cut his teeth at Sony on The Getaway. There he reveled in intoxicating pursuits like collision detection, memory management and loosely coupled modules.

    He moved to the U.S. to work on Fantastic Four, then LucasArts on Lucidity and then was as co-lead on Secret of Monkey Island – Special Edition. Then he built core engine tech at Telltale on many titles including Jurassic Park and The Walking Dead.

    Along with a dual cat/beer obsession, Dushan derives a near-unhealthy amount of pleasure from programming. Upon hearing of a mountain of physics code to be untangled and rebuilt, he visibly brightened while his fingers gently started poking the air.

    • HUGH "STRAYAN" JEREMY

    Hugh is Australian, but we try not to hold it against him. He invaded our San Francisco office and we have worked to teach him to speak English ever since. He is our Producer, PR representative (provided you like your ‘PR’ shot from the hip), and the bloke we tap when someone needs their face painted.

    Hugh holds a BCom in Finance and Accounting, thinks only in spreadsheets, and likes making movies all day.

    • STEVE "ROCK" AN

    Steve mostly grew up in California and has been making games (to various degrees of success) since middle school. He got his BS in CS from UC Berkeley, worked at 2K for a year (with Dushan!), and then went on to get his PhD from Cornell University doingprocedural sound research.

    In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, making music of questionable quality, and making his own little indie games. Outside of productive activities, he enjoys dumb conversations about dumb things using dumb words while being dumb on beer. He also enjoys going outside occasionally doing things that involve going fast with the help of nature.

    • Lilly Baker

    Lilly hails from Nihilistic software in Novato, where she was the first point of contact for the studio and handled administrative and managerial aspects for the company. She loves to handle payroll, HR functions, organize wrap parties and generally help to make our office an amazing place to work.

    Lilly hates sunshine so we’ve found the darkest place of our office to keep a smile on her face. She is the new Keeper of the Onos.

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS:

We also work with many off-site folks, located all over the world. Not all of them are full-time, but we absolutely rely on these talented people to build NS2:

    • Andreas Urwalek

    Game programming (Austria)

    • Michael "Olmy" Schouten

    Michael was originally a Natural Selection 1 map contributor. In 2007 he graduated from Glasgow University, and worked as a functionality tester before joining the off-site team in 2010.
    He was hired as a level designer and has contributed towards several Natural Selection 2 maps. Currently he is developing environments for Subnautica.

    • Oliver "Dux" Hobbs

    Oli joined the offsite team in June 2009 as a mapper for Natural
    Selection 2. He spends his time complaining, being cynical and drinking
    tea.

    • Marc "Sgt.Barlow" Newton

    A Web Developer from the rolling hills of the UK Pennines, “From a Hobby to a Job”, Marc started as community mapper to be later by his own surprise be hired by Unknown Worlds to work on official levels after showing level development potential on the forums by posting his own pre-alpha work on a personal level project.
    “I thought someone was playing a prank when I got an E-Mail from Charlie asking me to work for them”. Marc has since worked on the production of Mineshaft & Joint production of Veil, Descent, Bio-dome & Eclipse as well as provide internal QA production support.

    • Andrew Jones

    Andrew attended Oxford Brookes University and received a BA in Architecture. He contributed to NS1 back in the day, and joined the UWE team in 2009, initially to help maintain the website. He soon moved on to art and level design, and nobody had the heart to tell him to pack it in.

    When not making or playing games, Andrew’s many hobbies include brick-spotting, desperation and breathing. He lives in London.

    • Colin Knueppel

    He is a nerdy farm kid who turned into an animator / tech. He has
    worked on Mass Effect 1 cinematics, Bioshock Infinite in-game sequences, most of the Natural Selection 2 rigging and currently animation lead on Subnautica. He enjoys walks in the park and long-shot FPS melee kills.

    • Simon Chylinski

    Simon is our sound and music guy. After flying bombers in WWII (not really) Simon decided to be a hippy (really). It soon became apparent that being a hippy was not nearly as lucrative as described in the brochure, so he made the tactical decision to fail high school and drop out of university in an attempt to gain our attention.

    It worked! and we decided to hire him as sound designer on Natural Selection 2 as we felt our company would benefit from some fail on the team for a change.
    Simon soon began to take over the music production on NS2 from David John… and is now eyeing Cory’s jobs as well.

    You can check out some of his work here, here and here.

    • Fox 3D

    Fox3D Entertainment was founded in 1999 year with the immediate focus on computer and video games art production. Studio worked on over 70 AAA titles including best selling “Natural Selection2″, “Halo 4″, “Dragon Age” series and «Killzone» Series and “Batman: Arkham Origins”, among others.  Fox3D CEO and creative director – Den Fox (Denis Lis) started to work with Unknown Worlds Entertainment back to 2008 helping to bring character
    work of NS2 on to next level. Now working on highly anticipated Subnautica game project from Unknown Worlds Entertainment being responsible for art production.
    Fox3D has offices in Russia and Lithuania while Headquartering in Tallinn, Estonia.

    • Lukas "AceDude" Nowaczek

    Lukas is another employee with his roots in the community. Since he joined us in October 2012 he works on all kinds of web applications and websites that improve workflow in UWE or serve our players. He spends most of his free time learning new stuff, playing too many games or reading books. He also enjoys his journey to find the perfect craft beer.

    • Scott "Obraxis" MacDonald

    Scott hails originally from Carlisle UK, close to the Scottish border. Having worked in Film & TV, he now works in Games remotely from the South Wales, UK. He can be often found frequenting shops late at night in his daily pursuit of yet more coffee, to fuel his typical animator caffeine habit.

    • Sylvain Hel

    Sylvain joined Ubisoft Paris as a 3d environment artist on GRAW 2
    before enjoying particles and visual effects on Redsteel 2, Raving
    Rabbids TV Party and Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Looking for new
    experiences with indie studios he started to work on Natural Selection 2 late 2011.

    • Jake "Jonacrab" Smith

    Jake is an artist with an associates degree in Computer Animation, and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Utah. He began working on a custom map for NS2, which caught the attention of Charlie and Cory, and eventually led to a position working to further develop this level, and to work on future level design projects. He continues to work in level design for NS2 and future projects.

    • Brandt Wojak

    Brandt graduated from Madison College, with an associates degree
    in Animation and Concept development. He joined the offsite team in the summer of 2012 working on animations for Natural Selection 2.

    • Amanda Diaz

    2D/UI art (United States)

    • Russell "Castle" Meakim

    Crazy skilled game designer from the late 90s still doing what he loves to do!

    You can find some cool things (like mapping time-lapses) at his YouTube channel

    • Jonas "LumpN" Grohmann

    After almost dropping out of university twice to make computer games instead of learning about skolemization and formal verification, Jonas now holds a master’s degree in Computer Science and makes computer games. Hah!

    Unbeknownst to Charlie Jonas’ career at Unknown Worlds started as a mapper for Natural Selection 1 where he managed to finish one single room. Encouraged by this huge success he ran the fastest NS1 servers in Europe on launch day and still remembers sneaking into the university’s data center to pull this off like it was yesterday.

    Jonas fixes the bugs, optimizes performance, causes a mess, and wears the “I broke the build” T-shirt with great pride. He enjoys traveling and sometimes does a decent Count von Count impersonation including bats and lightning.