Josh Phelan
Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis (PC), Senior Game Systems Engineer, Lead Character Engineer August 2010 - Present

When I found out I would be working on a game using DC Comics characters I was very excited.  Not only would I be working with an IP that I enjoyed, but I would also be a domain expert who could meaningfully contribute to conversations about lore and continuity.  From the early days, when there were periods in which I was the only engineer implementing anything on the project, to the times I managed a small team of engineers in implementing character skills I've enjoyed it all.  One particular highlight for me, personally, was coming up with the idea for Atomic Green Lantern.  When we were brainstorming ideas for alternate Green Lantern's I wrote the back story for Atomic Green Lantern which was the one eventually chosen.  I later also wrote the dialog for the character which was eventually brought to life by Nolan North.

  • Oversee character development from concept to release, developing skill kits and the technology necessary to support them
  • Direct a team of engineers responsible for skill creation and supporting back-end technology bearing in mind responsiveness and performance
  • Act as a domain expert on the DC Comics IP, guaranteeing characters work both thematically as well as gameplay-wise
  • Developed finite state machine technology, including both the back-end and visual editor, to drive all character skills and a majority of game logic
  • Built game systems and tools to support them for use by designers and engineers alike
  • Rapidly iterated on camera and control schemes to find the best fit for our game
  • Prototyped PvP combat in order to get responsive feedback from a client/server architecture

 

Turbine
Turbine, Inc.  Needham, MA
  July 2009 - Present

I have spent more time working for Turbine at this point than any other company.  I was recruited to the company to work on a console title by one of my former managers from Mad Doc (who had gone back to work for Turbine around the time Rockstar purchased Mad Doc).  The first year or so of my time spent at Turbine was focused on a console MMO that never saw the light of day.  Turbine was purchased by Warner Bros. (but not rebranded), we relocated to a much nicer office, and we started getting better perks.  After that the team I was on switched gears and began focusing on the game that would eventually become Infinite Crisis.

Console MMO (Xbox 360/PS3), Game Systems Engineer July 2009 - August 2010
  • Modified Havok Behavior and Physics to allow for advanced character attachment and complex, interesting combat animations
  • Implemented numerous game systems including, but not limited to, usable items, inventory, entity interaction, quick time events, battle strategy, and radar
  • Worked closely with design, production, and third party developers in an agile scrum environment

 

Rockstar New England
Rockstar New England Andover, MA
  March 2008 - June 2009

After a year and a half of working at Mad Doc Software, and after 6 months of working on Bully: Scholarship Edition for Rockstar Games, Rockstar decided to purchase Mad Doc and rebrand it as Rockstar New England.  I put out another version of Bully: Scholarship Edition (this time for the PC!) and spent the remainder of my time working on a console project that to this day still hasn't been announced.  One must assume it has been canceled, but I honestly don't know.

Unannounced Console Project (Xbox 360/PS3), Staff Programmer September 2008 - June 2009
  • Fully realized a system for climbing complex structures, creating it from the ground up and integrating it into the existing movement code base
  • Optimized player input analysis, reducing frame time from 18% to 6% while adding functionality
  • Designed and implemented a mini-game system that was data-driven and editable on the fly

 

Bully: Scholarship Edition

One very intense year of my life was dedicated to Bully: Scholarship Edition.  First Mad Doc was recruited to port the game from PS2 to Xbox 360. Then, since we did such a good job, Rockstar bought Mad Doc and put us to work on porting the game again, this time to the PC.  Not to mention localizing the game in new languages, including Japanese!  Another highlight of working on this project was naming and implementing the achievement for the Xbox 360 version of the game for kissing boys.  When creating it I looked forward to the conflict that achievement-hunting homophobes would feel, which was later justified in this Kotaku article.

Bully: Scholarship Edition (PC), Staff Programmer March 2008 - September 2008
  • Reworked input system, font system, and gameplay to allow for player-defined input mapping, including a full UI system for managing key remapping
  • Added support for all direct input gamepad devices, X-Input devices, keyboard and mouse
Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360), Staff Programmer September 2007 - March 2008
  • Redesigned the Playstation 2 save interface to operate with multiple storage devices and profiles
  • Managed the integration of new content from the Wii version into our code base, updating controls and gameplay to operate on the Xbox 360
  • Studied Microsoft Technical Certification Requirements and modified game to meet them

 

Empire Earth III
Mad Doc Software, LLC Andover, MA
  May 2006 - March 2008

In my senior year of college I applied everywhere for a job.  The one I eventually decided upon was at Mad Doc Software, just north of Boston.  I joined the team working on Empire Earth III and started to learn how much I still had to learn.

Empire Earth III (PC), Associate/Staff Programmer May 2006 - September 2007
  • Implemented many unit abilities and actions, from black-hole weaponry to AI exploration
  • Established a turn-based framework for multiplayer World Domination (not in released game)
  • Architected numerous game systems for World Domination mode, and implemented the UI to control them
  • Reworked the game engine to support multithreading, increasing performance on multiple-CPU computers

 

Tulane University
Tulane University New Orleans, LA
B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics, GPA 3.7 September 2002 - May 2006

Having been born in New Orleans, and having a decent amount of family in that area (not to mention getting a full scholarship to Tulane) led me to choose Tulane for my collegiate studies.  I knew going in that I wanted to study computer science, but it wasn't until my sophomore year that I started to realize that computer science didn't just mean working for Google or Microsoft, but it could also mean a career in video games.  My junior year the school added a concentration in Video Game Development which I fulfilled.  As part of that my final semester was spent building a small Game Boy Advance game with a team of other students.

The Ways (Game Boy Advance), Project Lead January 2006 - May 2006
  • Conceived a maze/action game creating a feasible but gripping project for senior game design course
  • Directed team of three in rapid development of fast-paced, casual gameplay to meet tight milestone deliverables
  • Optimized project for Game Boy Advance to drastically decrease memory and processor use

Honors at Tulane:

  • Engineering Dean's Honor List 2002 - 2006
  • Dean's Honor Scholarship recipient
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon membership 2005 - 2006
  • Tau Beta Pi membership 2006
  • Award for Academic Excellence in Computer Science 2005 - 2006

 

Cool By Proxy Productions
Cool By Proxy Productions Newton, MA
  October 2009 - Present

Making video games isn't the only thing I do, however.  With Tori McKenna (my partner, wife, and better half) we make costumes and props to pay homage to our favorite fandoms and just to prove that we can.  One of the things that we found we had in common when we first started dating was an enjoyment of elaborate Halloween costumes.  Thus for our first several Halloweens together we went all out in making crazy costumes. When PAX East hit the East Coast in 2010 we attended because we both love video games.  We saw so many people in great costumes that we decided we could try our hand at that the following year.  Sure enough, PAX East 2011 rolled around and we created some cute and comfortable Sonic and Tails hoodies to wear to the show.  We loved it and that started the cosplay bug.

Since then we have been ever improving and expanding our craft.  We've attended Boston Comic Con, Connecticon, New York Comic Con, Rhode Island Comic Con, Dragon*Con, Anime Boston, and more.  We've been the official cosplayers for Infinite Crisis at both New York Comic Con and PAX East.  With every new costume we work hard to figure out how we can make it our best costume yet with some wow factor.

You can see what we're working on by liking us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CoolByProxyProductions) or checking us out on our website (www.coolbyproxy.com).

INFINITE CRISIS, DC LOGO, and all characters, their distinctive likenesses, and related elements are the property of DC Comics ™ & © 2014 www.dccomics.com. TURBINE LOGO, WB GAMES LOGO, WB SHIELD: ™ & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. www.infinitecrisis.com
Bully: Scholarship Edition and all related elements, including art, characters, and logos as well as the Rockstar logo, ™ & © Rockstar Games www.rockstargames.com
Empire Earth III and all related elements, including art, characters, and logos, ™ & © Activision Blizzard.
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