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Well Crafted Software for the Video Game Industry



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John Ahlquist
19665 Deer Run Estates Dr., Warrenton. MO 63383 • jbahlquist@ahlquistsoftware.com • 714-721-7164

Contract Video Game Software Development

Strengths: Rapid, high quality code development coupled with excellent communication skills produces good solutions quickly.  20+ years experience in software development, including GUI tools supporting Integrated Circuit CAD, web development tools and video game engine programming. Excellent at cross discipline behaviors, such as units requiring custom AI, weapons and art support to create the desired look and play. Outstanding at creating solutions to new problems. Top to bottom development skills, from UI and tool development, to shader coding, multiprocessor development, and assembly level optimizations. Good at shipping projects on time.

Skillset: C++, pixel shaders, DX8/9/10, AI, UI and Tool Design & Implementation. Unreal 3 tech – UI, Tools, Streaming, Weapons. General Game Play. Optimization, Debugging. Lua and custom scripting solutions.  Multiprocessor programming. Assembly language.

Develop the correct software to solve problems quickly, providing good value.  I prefer to work on top quality game titles.


Ahlquist Software, Warrenton, MO
Owner www.ahlquistsoftware.com

March 2005 - Present

Unreal 3 development on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360: Contract development work on Unreal 3 weapons, user interface and animation control code. Integrated a code drop containing Epic’s Gemini multi threaded renderer into a client’s game code based on an earlier Epic drop, and ported the PC build to the Xbox 360. Fixed an open world streaming system in Unreal 3, and optimized for DVD streaming on the Xbox 360. Optimized three Unreal 3 titles for PS3. Tasks involved analysis, and implementation of a variety of optimizations: UE3 serialization optimization, multi-threading data loading, identifying and correcting blocking loads in the streaming, converting UnrealScript to C++, optimizing the use of RSX memory for audio. Created two full Unreal 3 prototypes. One was a single player shooter/puzzle jumper. The second was a LAN based two player shooter with AI squadmates. Both prototypes included AI – enemies in the first case, allies in the second case.

Playstation 3 SPU development: Created a SPU implementation of a game simulation system for the downloadable game flOw, including communication and synchronization between PPU and SPU. Optimized the SPU implementation. The resulting system allowed simulation of twice as much data, while tripling the overall game frame rate.

PC Development: Migrated a data driven weapon system for Electronic Arts’ SAGE RTS engine from a proprietary format to an XML based system.

Training: Presented 1-2 week training seminars to 3 studios new to Unreal 3 development.

Wrote Game Development Essentials: Game Artificial Intelligence, Published July 9, 2007 by Thomson Delmar Learning (now Delmar Cengage).


Trilogy Studios, Santa Monica, CA
Principal Engineer, Vice President

July 2005 – March 2006

Trilogy is a small startup studio. Served as Principal and only engineer for the first nine months developing a game using the Unreal 3 technology. Responsibilities involved creating the game project, weapons, basic AI, dynamic Time of Day system, animation control, game play systems including a Quest system, frame buffer post processing work including High Dynamic Range lighting and tone mapping effects.

Electronic Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Lead Engineer

April 2001 – June 2005

Lead engineer on Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth. Tasks included refactoring and optimizing the game engine to support up to 600 active units vs. 50-60 in Generals, extending pathfinding to support castles and postern gates, and extending AI to support horde movement and melee combat. Supervised networking and multiplayer code development.

Sr. Engineer on C & C: Generals. Initial task was creation of the Worldbuilder level layout and AI scripting tool.  Additional tasks included frame buffer effects, camera control, unit AI systems, skirmish AI system, and pathfinding.  Implemented unit movement code, including path following, and visual behavior (pitch, roll, wheel movement and bounce). Responsible for tools to support frame rate optimization.

Macromedia/Altsys, Richardson, TX
Principal Engineer

October 1989 – March 2001

Developed Fireworks, and shipped versions 1-4 on time and high quality. Created image compression (gif and jpeg) system, including user interface to control optimization and optimized export code.  Invented “Image Slicing” technology that became the standard for Web graphics tools.

Development Director for Macromedia FreeHand 8. Managed design, implementation, testing and shipment of this product for Macintosh & Windows.  Project shipped on time, and with high quality.
Developed FreeHand 3 – 7 as Principal Engineer. Responsibilities included user interface development on Macintosh, NeXT and Windows systems, advanced typographic features, PostScript printing, Image Setter support, debugging and optimization.

Texas Instruments, Dallas TX
Sr. Member, Technical Staff

June 1982 – September 1989

Youngest Sr. Member, Technical Staff at Texas Instruments.  Developed a wide variety of Integrated Circuit CAD tools ranging from graphical editors for physical and schematic layout of ICs, to multiprocessor systems for geometric verification (width, overlap, and spacing checks) of IC layouts.

B.A., Computer Science, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

June 1982

University of Minnesota
Concentration: 3D Graphics

Patents Issued:


5,353,396 “System and method for generating complex calligraphic curves”, October 4, 1994 

5,361,333 “System and method for generating self-overlapping calligraphic images”,
November 1, 1994

5,434,959 “System and method of generating variable width lines within a graphics system”,
July 18, 1995

6,459,439 “Reshaping of paths without respect to control points”, October 1, 2002

References available on request.


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