About Arcen (Ar-ken) Games
We are a tiny company (and proud of it!), and it is our mission to deliver an unparalleled experience with our games. We love feedback, and while we can’t do everything, we’ve already implemented l(literally) thousands of features, tweaks, fixes, and balance improvements based on player suggestions. We play all of our own games, so we tend to continue to grow them after release for our own entertainment as much as anyone else’s.
Our first released game, AI War, is a cooperative space-based RTS game, but we had no intention of staying in that genre alone. Our second title was a block-based puzzle game with hardcore depth and casual appeal, and our third game is a massive procedural adventure game. AI War has already had three expansion packs and dozens of massive free DLC patches (including an entire game engine upgrade and porting to MacOSX), but we have even more planned for that game despite our focus on other genres in our new titles.
Our staff is into gaming in general — the modern and the classic, the strategic and the arcade-style — but the common theme throughout our work is going to be that it is all in 2D, and it will always have some form of cooperative play in addition to single player (and sometimes competitive multiplayer). 2D is where we feel like we can make the largest contribution to the industry, as it lets us explore some territory in terms of scope and scale that simply wouldn’t be possible in a 3D game. When it comes to cooperative play, well, that’s just something we intensely believe in.
Beyond the above, we’re known for our customer-friendly business practices (including our anti-DRM stance), our commitment to substance over form, and our fanatical devotion to support and ongoing quality.
Active Team Members
Christopher M. Park – Founder, CEO, Lead Programmer, Lead Designer
Forum handle: x4000
Chris founded Arcen Games as a North Carolina Limited Liability Company in March 2009, after nearly a decade of hobbyist game development. Originally Arcen was a one-man show except for Pablo’s music for AI War, but in December 2009 the two of them quit their day jobs and began working for the company fulltime.
Chris has had a lifelong fascination with games and game design; he made over sixty fan levels for the classic DOS game Demon Stalkers when he was eleven, and then was hooked. He got into creating content for AOL’s Northlands, campaigns for FRUA and Neverwinter Nights, maps for Warcraft II, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake II, and Counter-Strike, and various levels for other titles (GRAAL is one among a half dozen or so). He also coded a number of smaller games over the years, ranging from text adventures in QBASIC to platformers in C#, but never released any of them to the public.
The concept for AI War, Arcen’s first title, came about because of Chris’s longstanding weekly co-op RTS sessions with his dad and uncle. Tired of the uneven AI and lackluster co-op support in most other titles in the genre, Chris decided to create a game that catered specifically to his play group’s interests. Other titles the company has released have usually come about from longstanding I-wish-that-existed games that Chris always wanted to play.
His professional background is in architecting and programming high-end enterprise applications (primarily document management, ERP, project management, and financial tracking features). He still finds the fact that he gets to make games for a living a bit surreal, even years later. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and son.
Pablo Vega – Composer & Lead Sound Designer
Forum handle: PVega8
Pablo joined the Arcen Games team in March 2009 on a part-time basis, and came on board fulltime in December 2009. His melodic, exciting musical scores have really added a lot to our titles. AI War was Pablo’s first video game composition, but he was already highly acclaimed as a classical composer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Pablo graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008 where he studied and majored in Music Composition under Allen and Stephen Anderson (no relation). He has been a life long fan of film and video game music and hopes to continue working in the field for the rest of his career.
Pablo’s scores for the Arcen titles hit a new high with his work on Tidalis, where he combined new software and hardware with better editing techniques for an even richer sound. Shortly thereafter, during the AI War 4.0 upgrade, Pablo remastered all of the soundtracks for AI War and its expansions with his new tools and techniques.
His ongoing work on the A Valley Without Wind soundtrack is pushing him in yet new directions, as the new work spans many different genres all bound together by chiptunes instrumentation that is paired with realistic or live instrument performances. Everyone at Arcen is quite excited about this, as the result is an awesome sound that we’ve not heard anywhere else before.
Keith LaMothe – Programmer & Game Designer
Forum handle: keith.lamothe
Keith joined the Arcen Games team in January 2010 as a part-time programmer, helping to maintain and extend AI War in the post-3.0 versions, as well as helping with Arcen’s other projects. He is an integral part of making sure that AI War continues to evolve and become ever-more-refined at a consistent rate, and was heavily involved with Tidalis in a programming capacity, as well as Light of the Spire in both a programming and a design capacity.
With A Valley Without Wind, Keith has taken on a vastly larger design role, as well as continuing his programming work for the company. He became a fulltime staff member in September 2011.
Notable things you can thank Keith for in AI War: the Fallen Spire Campaign, Modular Ships of any sort, the new UI system in Unity, auto-explore/auto-kiting, the context menu, the concentric circles and x maps, hybrid hives, and a whole host of other stuff. He’s even more deeply involved with A Valley Without Wind.
Keith loves software engineering, stories, and games. His most important work is the raising of his children, but he also hopes to contribute to a few truly special games that will stand the test of time and delight many generations to come.
Erik Johnson – PR and Marketing Lead, Writer, Content Developer
Forum handle: cupogoodness
Erik joined the Arcen team in January 2011, to head up the company’s PR and marketing efforts, as well as to help out with A Valley Without Wind in the areas of dialogue writing, character and region name component lists, interior room map design, “wiring up” of game entities, and so on. He also handles all our social media, trailer creation, and has a big hand in website content definition.
He graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Theater Arts and has since pursued a career as a writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles. He has worked in the LAUSD school system, for marketing agency DEI Worldwide, and as a freelancer for various print and online press outlets before discovering a desire to play, share, and create video games for a living. Wearing both the industry journalist and developer hat, he fancies himself an evangelist of indie games in general and the amazing community behind it.
He currently resides in Sherman Oaks with his wife Spring and daughter Gwen where he continues to pursue (and juggle) all his various labors of love.
Daniette “Blue” Wood – Art Director, Artist
Forum handle: Blue
Blue joined the Arcen team in March 2013, to take over Art Director duties from Chris as well as to provide on-staff artist support for touchups, added details on pieces, and full original pieces (such as the awesome title screen / marketing image for Skyward Collapse, or the stellar GUI for Exodus of the Machine). Her involvement helps the entire team get more done, faster, and with a greater degree of visual polish than we’d been able to manage prior to that.
Previously she had worked as the Lead Art Producer on the Valley 2 project on the Heavy Cat Studios staff. She also contributed quite a lot of direct art to that one (it’s almost impossible to look at any screenshot of Valley 2 without seeing multiple pieces of her work).
Blue was born and raised in the northernmost region of Minnesota, where she grew up with a pencil in her hand. After high school, she set out to pursue a career in art. It took some time to decide on what genre of art she would go after. Originally she wanted to do 2D animation, which evolved into 3D modeling and animation. However, her course of thinking changed and she fell into illustration and later color theory. She considers her key specialization to be color theory and color balance.
She lives in Texas with her husband and their dog and cat. In her free time, she is one of the fabled ‘gamer girls’. Mostly MMOs, such as WoW, Guildwars, and Tera Online. Though she also enjoys other single-player games like Portal, Skyrim, Civilization III and Arcen’s titles. The remainder of her free time is devoted to traditional media: primarily paintings and art pieces that she donates to charity auctions.
Past Team Members
Cathrine Langwagen – Artist
Forum handle: Cath
Cath joined the Arcen team fulltime in August 2013, after having been a contractor off and on prior to that. Her painting/colorist work is evident all throughout Bionic Dues, she did all the hamlet graphics in Nihon no Mura, and a lot of the scenery in the dinosaur era of Valley 2 is her handiwork. Since coming on fulltime with Arcen, she and Blue have been able to tag-team the entire massive art scope for The Last Federation, which previously would have taken dozens of contractors.
Cathrine grew up in a small town surrounded by nature and the ocean in the South of Sweden. Nature and her wild imagination are the two main things that influence her art the most. She has a deep love for fantasy art, loves creating paintings of distant worlds, and melting photos and painting together in photo manipulation artworks. It was not until 2005 that she turned to digital art after coming across a digital art magazine that changed her look on art forever. The limitless feeling of the art you could create with a graphics pen on a computer using both painting and photographs to create pieces of art had a deep impact on her career.
Despite having a Bachelors degree in Teaching Swedish grammar and Social studies, it could not compete with doing what she loves the most: creating art. Completely self taught, she has always found learning from other artists and practice, practice, and more practice has given her the skills she needed to pursue a full time career in art.
In her spare time you will most likely find her traveling, painting, doing hand-crafted items or having the camera around her neck while out trekking. She is a terrible photo hoarder since every photograph she takes could be a potential art asset used as a reference, texture, or as part of photo manipulations. So far she’s got over 60,000…
Josh Knapp – Quality Assurance and Support Lead, Content Developer
Forum handle: tigersfan
Josh joined the Arcen team in September 2011, to take over the gargantuan task of managing the ever-increasing support and QA needs of our growing company, as well as to help out with things like secondary art asset creation or processing, content/level design, “wiring up” of game entities, and so on. He was part of the alpha for A Valley Without Wind, and has also continued to be instrumental in his feedback and critical thinking about game design and the player experience. Josh was also the co-designer of the titles Skyward Collapse and The Last Federation.
Josh is an avid, lifelong gamer. His passion for gaming started in the mid 80s when his dad purchased an Atari 800XL. Some of his favorite games of all time include the Wing Commander Series, and Civilization II.
He is also a big sports fan, and spends time off cheering on the Detroit Tigers, Michigan Wolverines and bringing up his two boys to do the same.
Lars Bull – Game Designer
Forum handle: Fiskbit
Lars joined the Arcen Games team part-time in June 2009, bringing with him puzzle game concepts that led to Tidalis, a project that he was the lead designer for. He got his start with game design doing hobbyist game development for the Nintendo Entertainment System. His work with creating games in such a hardware-constrained environment has left him excited about the possibilities of modern computing power for game design.
Lars graduated from Reed College and the University of Washington with dual Mathematics and Computer Science degrees. An avid gamer, he has hopes of introducing intriguing new ideas into an industry that too often tends toward overused or stale gameplay. He appreciates a wide range of games and intends to visit a variety of genres throughout his career.
He currently works fulltime at an international mega-corporation you’ve heard of writing clever software. He is still involved in the Tidalis community with Arcen in his off hours, however.
Philippe Chabot – Artist
Forum handle: regnared
Philippe joined the Arcen Games team in July 2009 as a fulltime contractor, and has massively upgraded the AI War visuals between AI War 2.0 and 3.0, as well as doing all the art for The Zenith Remnant. He was also the sole artist on Tidalis (and what an amazing job he did there), and still works with Arcen on things related to that project in particular.
Philippe is a 2D/3D artist and freelancer based in Montreal. In 2006, He studied the 3D Design and Animation for Video Games course at the National Animation & Design Center (NAD center). He’s been obsessed about games ever since he laid hands on a Nintendo controller.
He also worked on A Valley Without Wind project as a very part-time contractor, doing things such as the workbenches, the citybuilding graphics, the giant squid boss, among other things. His current main passion is learning to program so that he can make his own indie game visions come to fruition on his own, while doing smaller freelance contracts for other developers.