Who is this “Jon Shafer” fellow, anyways?
Hi everyone! I’m the president of Conifer Games, a development studio based out of Michigan founded in 2012 that is committed to delivering a new generation of deep, complex gaming experiences for Windows, Linux, Mac and mobile.
Along with staying on top of the business stuff, I’m also the designer and gameplay/AI programmer for our first title: At the Gates, an empire builder where you lead a barbarian kingdom to glory amidst the fall of the Roman Empire.
Before founding Conifer, I was with Stardock for two years, where I acted as a design consultant and directed an unannounced project. Prior to that, I worked at Firaxis for six years, where I served as the lead designer and principal gameplay programmer for Sid Meier’s Civilization 5.
If you want to read more about what I’ve been up to professionally over the years, head over to my LinkedIn profile.
Tell me more
I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, and since leaving it back in 2005 I’ve lived in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan. My passion is learning, particularly when it comes to history, science, technology and – of course – game design. I spend way too much time on the Internet, and not nearly enough on my backlog of hobbies (I claim) I want to do.
I’m a huge Wikipedia and Google fanboy. Even though I use only Apple hardware and Microsoft operating systems. I am, indeed, a tormented soul. Once Google Glass comes out I have no doubt I will be one of those people.
I am ever a student of game design. It is a field where, no matter how much experience you have under your belt, you’ll always have more bad ideas than good ones.
So what’s this website all about?
This is where I post the articles I’ve written where I share my thoughts on a variety of game development-related topics, from design (particularly in the strategy genre) to project management and the industry as a whole.
Most of my writing is dedicated to fairly abstract topics, but occasionally I’ll post a more in-depth case study of a particular title that’s caught my eye. I also cross-post episodes (plus a bit of commentary) of The Game Design Round Table, a podcast I co-host with tabletop designer Dirk Knemeyer.
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment in one of the articles, say hi on Twitter, become a member of the official Conifer Games forum, or just email me directly (Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com).
Thanks for stopping by!