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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Blue Fang Games Gets New Director For Its Animal Team

by Rainier on Sept. 12, 2005 @ 10:20 a.m. PDT

Zoo Tycoon developer Blue Fang Games is pleased to announce that Bruce Blumberg is joining its team as Director of its new Synthetic Animal Team.

As Director, Bruce will lead the research and development efforts of the Synthetic Animal Team. This team is focused on creating the technology, tools and processes that will enable Blue Fang to create expressive, intelligent and engrossing animal characters that will set the bar for the next generation of digital entertainment experiences.

"We are very excited to have someone of Bruce's caliber and unmatched expertise in autonomous animated characters join our company and lead our newly formed Synthetic Animal Team," said Hank Howie, president of Blue Fang Games. "The addition of Bruce and the creation of the Synthetic Animal Team are important steps forward in Blue Fang's mission to create compelling, emotionally engaging games focused on the animal kingdom that set the benchmark for broad-based family entertainment."

Blumberg joins Blue Fang from the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, MA where he was an Associate Professor and served as the Director of the Synthetic Characters Group. This group performed ground breaking research on behavior, learning and motor control for autonomous animated characters. As Director of the Synthetic Characters Group, Bruce led the design and development of many projects including: refinement of a Java-based toolkit for building adaptive autonomous animated or robotic characters; implementation of the most complete computational model of dog learning and training developed to date; an internet-based approach to dog training that allows a person to train their dog over the internet.

Blumberg's teams have created and developed numerous award-winning interactive installations at such prestigious venues as SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, E3, and AAAI. An impressive list of published papers can be added to the list of awards he and his group have received, including Grand prize for "AlphaWolf" at the 2002 Digital Art Awards.

Prior to joining the MIT Media Lab, Bruce held management positions at Apple Computer and NeXT Computer. Blumberg has also consulted at three major entertainment companies including Pixar Animation Studios and has been featured on television shows such as PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, BBC's Tomorrow's World, and the Discovery Channel.

Bruce holds a Master of Science degree in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Laboratory.

"My passion is to create creatures whose behavior, form and underlying architecture not only informs our understanding of the natural intelligence displayed by animals and ultimately ourselves, but that also touches a person interacting with them on a profound personal level," said Bruce Blumberg, director of the Synthetic Animal Team. "I am very excited to apply this passion along with my expertise and experience to the development of games at Blue Fang."

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