Overview & Resume: Larry Mellon

Well-rounded tech & team lead with expertise in software and process scale. 

Platform expertise: online games, supercomputing and DARPA simulations. 

Product development: AAA, MMO, indie, mobile; startups & corporations.

Fifteen+ years in games as a tech/team lead. Unreal, Unity, custom MMO engines.

Roles: technical & development director. Simulation/testing/metrics lead & coder. VP (Eng). Tools lead (automated testing, metrics, development accelerators, DevOps). Mentor/trainer. Business development. Technical writer.

Recent & current projects: rebuilding failed teams & code bases (MMO, multiplayer, mobile & PC), using Unreal & Unity.

Example: EA (2001-2004). My automated testing and metrics systems proved so effective that TSO’s entire production focus shifted to revolve around them, taking months out of the schedule. This work proved to be key in shipping The Sims 2 & TSO.

Example: KIXEYE (2012-2014). I led the performance test team, client and server, for web and mobile games. Load testing gave executives their best-ever view of true costs, risks & schedules.

Fifteen+ years in national research labs (supercomputing & scaling simulations).

Roles: senior computer scientist and R&D branch manager. Programmer for supercomputer platforms, distributed systems, military MMOs, simulations & multiplayer game coding. Tools lead (automated testing, metrics, development accelerators, DevOps). Training. Business development. Technical writer.

SAIC (DARPA/NRL/HPCC) & ARC/NSERC (1983-2000): Principle Investigator (simulation scalability). Senior architect for the Advanced Distributed Simulation and Synthetic Theater Of War Integration teams; the largest military training MMO at the time. 

Project Jade, Jade Simulations & ARC (1983-1993): Jade was Canada’s largest research project; an early leader in building & scaling distributed systems. Startup for a parallel simulation platform. Used the supercomputers to build our own multiplayer games.

Leadership experience.

Cross-team communication: my broad background lets me understand and balance the creative requirements, technology options, and business implications.

Ran engineering teams in research, production, DevOps and QA: using a mix of Agile/Lean/XP.

Passionate game industry development: Frequent speaker on scaling game development. Co-ran the yearly boot camp for multiplayer games at GDC. Co-authored a textbook for online games. A mentor for young engineers; references available on LinkedIn.
Work examples (shareable): executive, implementation and videoA load test plan.

Job History

Monumental Games: May 2022 – Feb 2023

Technical Director (MMO)

Turnaround project for Crowfall, a live Unity MMO with major scalability/stability issues. Built & trained a new team in performance-oriented test-driven development. By being able to easily run client & server load tests with my bot-based test designs, we were able to find all bottlenecks at scale. Project cancelled due to lack of funds.

Consulting: May 2021 – May 2022

Good Game Studios (Germany): analyze & improve team-wide efficiency via automation.

Active Sages (Bay Area): design & prototype a remote presence app for VR/AR. Roadmap & strategy roles as well.

Youcan: August 2020 – May 2021. Turnaround project for a struggling startup. Built a new team, and a new product, in 6 months. Market: multiplayer virtual worlds (Unreal) for conferences, events & concerts. We used a Cloud GPU design to target mobile devices.

HumaNature Studios: Feb 2019 – April 2020

Technical Director, Development Director, mentor and coding roles for an indie team

R&D for Google’s Stadia platform: developing the most believable character in games, targeting story-based games. Budget & roadmap/milestone/sprint planning. Process definition and TDD/code/test reviews. Sandbox simulations (in C++/Python/Unreal), utility AI, ML procedural animations, content creation tools and emergent storytelling. 

Chimera Entertainment: Feb 2017 – Feb 2019

Technical Director (Product team) 

System design and schedule for mobile, real-time multiplayer (Clash Royale style). Coordination across customer, internal engineering team and internal Technical Director. Absorbed the internal TD role. Hiring & team building.

Good Game Studios: Sept 2015 – Feb 2017

Started: Engineering Director (Unity mobile) & promoted to Senior Director of Development (Unreal/Steam title).

Primary project: a seventy-five person team, targeting a new market (AAA / F2P). An action/strategy game using Unreal/Steam and a custom backend. I ran the engineering, QA, live operations, metrics and performance testing teams. My primary role was leading the turnaround effort from a chaotic team and code base to a lightweight, agile, automated test & measure process. Similar work with the Casual studio and with the central technology team, fielding Game Factories for RPG and RTS titles.

KIXEYE: August 2012 – August 2014

Started: Manager (Systems Performance Group) & promoted to Manager (Quality Engineering Group) 

I helped build, mentor and run the performance group for the central Quality team, where we tested all mobile and browser games, client and server. Major improvements in development time, scalability and operational cost/quality were directly attributed to load testing; we provided reliable metrics, automatically, for all engineering, QA and executive teams, company-wide. 

Self-Employed: Consultant and Writer

July 2008 – July 2012; August 2014 to February 2015 

I offered seminars on automated testing and metrics in agile development for companies such as Apple and Bioware. Consulting gave me time to focus on my writing projects in between larger projects.

Emergent Game Technologies: January 2005 – June 2007

Started: Senior Development Director & promoted to VP (Engineering) 

A platform startup for massively multiplayer games. Business development, fundraising, roadmap and  architecture roles, across the US, Korea and China, acquiring over $10 million in funding. Grew from two people to over seventy people. Customer-facing roles included writing white papers, conference lectures and engineering roadmaps. I prepared and delivered all technology pitches to customers and investors.

Automation Corporation: July 2004 – January 2005

Founder: System Architect, Business Development

Following the success of the automated test and measure systems I created for EA, I saw a market opportunity: production and scalability problems across the online games industry. This became EGT (see above).

Electronic Arts, Maxis Studio: June 2001–July 2004

Started: Software Engineer III & promoted to Associate Development Director

I was one of the leads in replacing the brittle system architecture of EA’s flagship MMO title, The Sims Online, and in a massive re-factoring project to increase development speed and stability. I rebuilt the simulation code for client/server execution. I built a new team to field my automated testing designs, which used a single, data-driven headless simulator to run load, regression and content tests, plus a metrics system that supported both server performance and gameplay analysis. 

I also co-ran the first shared tools team in Maxis, supporting testing for QA, content, regression, performance and engineering. Focusing on ease of use, reliability and speed was key to the success of the tools. Robbie, the friendly face of the automation system, became a verb within two weeks of introduction. A realtime metrics dashboard provided aggregated views of player behavior, performance, and milestone projections. Our toolkit was rated “lightyears ahead” of all EA studios. 

Orcus 3D Inc.: August 2000 – February 2001

Senior Software Architect

A platform startup that targeted MMO games. My role was scalability and load balancing within and across clusters. I also contributed to marketing work and the business plan. We could not get full funding.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC): 1993 – 2000

Started: Senior Software Engineer & promoted twice (Senior Computer Scientist & Branch Manager)

I was a lead architect in DARPA’s Advanced Distributed Simulation projects, working on scalability techniques such as interest management and predictive contracts, and evangelized industry standards for interoperability. I also filled system architect and technical writer roles for business development, winning contracts such as the Synthetic Theater of War (a $50M contract) and the HLA RTI 2.0, a platform that became the standard for integrating DoD simulations. I was a Principle Investigator in DARPA’s Advanced Simulation Technology Thrust for clustered computing. We grew the division from seven people to over seventy.

Jade Simulations: 1988 – 1993

Started: System Programmer & promoted twice (Technology Evangelist & Branch Manager) 

First employee for this startup. Built transport layers for a simulation platform across supercomputers and clustered workstations, as well as automated testing tools and processes (a very early use of Test-Driven Development). Worked with our national lab users to plan and build new systems, such as checkpoint/restart extensions to the Unix kernel for clustered computing. Wrote and taught Jade’s training courses for object-oriented design, parallel processing and large-scale software development. Business development support. 

University of Calgary and Alberta Research Council: 1983 – 1988

Research Programmer, Tutor

I worked my way through school as a programmer for the distributed systems group (Canada’s largest research project at the time) and tutoring. Coded Unix device drivers, group communication systems, …

Education:

1989: B.Sc. (GS) University of Calgary, taking minors in ancient history, modern dance and English literature.

1990, 1994: Master’s coursework in parallel simulation & massively parallel computer architectures. My mini-thesis was a distributed classroom system, implemented with an experimental skeleton-programming model.