Arash John Sammander

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About Me

Multipotentialite: Designer, Artist, Indie Developer, Streamer, Teacher, and dabbler in all things musical. Feel free to look around via the links at the top and navigate with your keyboard arrow keys or touch device.

Add/follow/like me on whatever social graph you use:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sammander
– Linkedin: fi.linkedin.com/in/sammander
– Twitter: https://twitter.com/sammander
– Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/gamedevcompany
– Email: arash.sammander@gmail.com

 

Education

Masters
New Media, Game Design & Production
Aalto University:  School of Arts, Design, and Architecture (TAIK)
08.20102014

Bachelors
Studio Art
Delaware State University
01.2005-12.2009

Associates in Applied Science
Computer Network Engineering Technology
Delaware Technical & Community College
08.1997-07.2000

Associates in Applied Science
Computer Engineering Technology
Delaware Technical & Community College
08.1997- 07.1999

Experience

Lead Game Designer
Rockway Oy
08.2014- current
Research, design, prototype, and develop educational music software.

Game Design Teacher / Mentor
Espoo School of Art
07.2012- current
Introduce, foster, and strengthen Finland’s future game designers through open ended learning and self paced group projects. Worked on: TAP-iola (Game Project) – I was a producer in a game production requested by a committee chaired by the Mayor of Espoo in collaboration between Espoo School of Art, South Tapiola High School, Espoo Music Institute’s Music-Technology Group, Aalto University New Media Department, and the Department of Art Education, which celebrated Heikki von Herzen’s 100th birthday.

Sr. Game Producer / Designer
SongHi Entertainment Oy
04.2013- 06.2014
Helped to reboot and create a professional game development team from the ground up in a producer role. My main responsibilities were to recruit and manage senior talent, make creative decisions alongside management, and get us pointed in the right direction as we began to grow. Once we stabilised, I transitioned into a designer role. My primary responsibilities were to help create and communicate a design’s vision with the rest of the development team, while making sure that it stays in focus with higher level vision requirements.

Game Designer
Digital Chocolate
01.2012- 04.2013
Conceptualize, design, create, nurture, listen, collaborate, and communicate a game’s vision with the rest of the development team to create awesome cross-platform games.

Community Coordinator
Digital Chocolate
07.2011- 12.2011
Used social media and the Internet to build a stronger social network with our customers.

Freelance Designer / Artist
Scribble Town!
06.2011-08.2011 (Contractual)
Art and Design of activity sheets and flyers.

Game Designer
Aalto University, School of Art and Design
06.2011- (Contractual)
Game Designer for Aalto University Media Factory.

Freelance Designer
Juhakiili Oy
06.2011- (Contractual)
Design consultation.  Designing & producing video tutorials.

Academic Computer Center Trainer
Delaware State University
01.2007- 04.2008
Develop / provide training for faculty, staff, students in current / future technology related applications and curriculums.

Network Control Specialist
Delaware Technical and Community College
05.2005- 01.2007
Manage and resolve network issues.  Point of contact for computer technicians.

Technology Maintenance Specialist
Caesar Rodney School District
11.1999- 05.2007
Maintain hardware / software integrity for all district wide computers.  Manage district technical liaisons.

Skills

Game Design
Game Design, Development, Production, User-Centered Design,
Economy Design, Level Design / Balancing

Game Engines
Unity 3D, General UDK (Unreal Development Kit)

3D
Softimage, Mudbox
(Modeling, Sculpting, Texturing, Rigging, Animating)

2D
Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter,
Wacom Tablets (Concept Art, Digital Illustration, Graphic Design)

Traditional Media
Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography (Film / Digital)

Business
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Documents,
General Object-Oriented Programming Knowledge

Operating Systems
OSX, Windows

Physical
Acting, Voice Work, Tabla (Percussion),
General Knowledge of Various Chinese Martial Arts

Exhibitions / Awards

Game Design
Global Game Jam (Finland)

  • Best Game Nomination, Death Pizza, 2011
  • Gamesauce Challenge Winner, Death Pizza, 2011

Quoted:

  • Jeannie Novak, “Game Development Essentials,” Thomson Delmar Learning, 2005 (Quoted throughout the book)

Traditional Media
Delaware State University Art Gallery

  • Solo Senior Exhibit, 2009
  • Group Annual Student Exhibit, 2009
    (Won Best of Show, Printmaking)
  • Group Annual Student Exhibit, 2005

Scholarly
Delaware Technical & Community College

  • Magna Cum Laude, 1999, 2000
  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, 1998
  • Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges, 1998, 1999
  • Academic Achievement Graduate Award, 1999
  • National Collegiate Minority Leadership Award, 1999, 2000
  • All-American Scholar, 2000

Languages

English (Native Fluency)
Dari (Good Spoken)
Spanish (Basics)

melody-matchFocus:
Create a casual puzzle game with emphasis on dynamic music.

Team:
SongHi Development Team
Arash John Sammander (Sr. Lead Game Designer)
Michael Thaddeus (Lead System Designer)

Results:
Teaser Trailer (Offline) 🙁
Tentative release date (Q4, 2014)

Musical Melody Match (SonghHi Entertainment, Q4 2014)

totw_logo_02Abstract:
This thesis is a reflection of the entire production process and learnings of Trials of the Wolf; an approachable roguelike card game about a wolf, created by Björn Lindholm and I over a period of almost two years. It was born out of our concerns about the endangerment of wolves as a result of poaching in Finland. It was my hope that by allowing for an underlying current of realism to exist within the game, some tangential learning would occur, allowing for players to empathise with their situation. The production was broken up into two major stages: pre-production, and production; my responsibilities being that of design, art direction, and animation. During pre-production, my goals mainly consisted of the background research on wolves as well as the necessary game benchmarking, prototyping, and documentation. Production was the development of the digital game based off of pre-production’s documentation and learnings. It was during this time the most pivots and learnings occurred when evaluated against the entire production. At the end of the production we were able to deliver a vertical slice of the game which entailed our initial production goals: creating a game that was difficult but still approachable with factual undertones. It is my deepest hopes that my research and learnings from this thesis can be used as a guide for others looking to develop their own digital games with a small team and limited resources.

Thesis:
The Production & Learnings of Trials of the Wolf

Alpha Builds:
– Read Me
– Mac 32 bit / 64 bit
– PC 32 / 64 bit
– Linux

Credits:
Developed by Arash John Sammander and Björn Lindholm
Art by Matei Molner
Music by Vesa-Matti Mattsson

Trials of the Wolf (MA Thesis Project for Aalto University)

rivalsOfTheSeaFocus:
Create a casual and approachable pirate board game (13+ year old) with emphasis a generative world map, varying narrative, and emergent winning conditions.

Design Team:
Anne-Marie Grönroos
Arash John Sammander
Björn Lindholm
Jaakko Kemppainen

Results:
Currently tweaking rules based off of user tests and then looking at art and publishing options.
Tentative release date (Q3-Q4, 2015)

Rivals of the Sea (Boardgame)

tapFocus:
A game production requested by a committee chaired by the Mayor of Espoo in collaboration between Espoo School of Art, South Tapiola High School, Espoo Music Institute’s Music-Technology Group, Aalto University New Media Department, and the Department of Art Education, which celebrated Heikki von Herzen’s 100th birthday.

Team:
Espoo School of Art Students
South Tapiola High School Students
Espoo Music Institute’s Music-Technology Students
Arash John Sammander (Teaching, Mentoring, Producer Role)

Technologies:
Gamemaker: Studio, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Results:
Delievered a successful project in time for Heikki von Herzen’s 100th birthday celebration.

Articles:
Länsiväylä
Esse

Award:
Vuoden Taidekasvatusteko 2013

Video:
Youtube

Game Download:
Windows

Tap-iola Game Project (Espoo School of Art)