General (The Short Story):
Hi, my name is Pat Bergschneider. I am a Software Engineer with a decade of professional experience. From working in small indie studios to leading the engineering team on one of the most popular mobile games of all time (Words With Friends), I’ve tried to get exposure to as many parts of development as possible. I love taking on new challenges and expanding my skills as an engineer.
– patb [ at ] patb [ dot ] com
Me on the Internet:
Personal Background (The Long Story):
This is the official website of me, Pat B. To give you a some background information about me, I must first prepare you for a bit of complexity in the telling. All the information below is correct, but the events tend to overlap. What can I say? I’m a born multitasker. Here’s a little timeline that might help clear things up:
I started programming when I was in high school and I soon realized that I wanted to pursue game development as a profession. In addition to my passion for games, I was also interested in computer networking. So, during high school, I attended night classes at Illinois Central College and got my CCNA.
After high school, I got a B.S. in Computer Science from The University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. During my time at UIUC, I was part of the first experimental class that would become Game Development Studio, a university-supported effort to help students learn to work as a large team in creating a video game. When the chance came around for a second stint in the Game Development Studio during the Spring of 2005, I jumped in for one more round.
In 2004, about halfway through my degree program at UIUC, I started working as a tester at Volition, Inc, where I got my first taste (albeit entry-level) of life in the game industry. Although I was asked to stay on and work on the game now known as Saint’s Row, I chose to finish my schooling and move on down the road. During my time at Volition, I was also taking Maya modeling and animation classes at Parkland College, where I spent a year and a half learning under the watchful eye of David Bock. He taught me that being technical and being artistic are not mutually exclusive conditions, all while tolerating me missing class to go to work at Volition.
By the time I had finished undergrad at UIUC, I had just enough exposure to game development and game art that I knew I needed more training to fully integrate my artistic and technical passions. With that in mind, I enrolled in the Game Art and Design program at the Art Institute of Phoenix. After my first year of art school (summer of 2006) I started as an art intern at 2XL Games. Three months later they brought me on as a full-time employee and sent me off to China to work for a brief stint at their outsource studio. Around that time in late 2006, five friends/fellow AIPX students and I began work on Shanke, a student game project that would later win The Art Institutes National Student Game Design Competition and be displayed at both SIGGraph 2007 and GDC 2008.
In the spring of 2008, I completed my B.A. in Game Art and Design at the Art Institute. After graduating, I continued to make polygons and code that now live inside an Xbox360/PS3 title called Baja: Edge of Control, which was released in September of 2008. After Baja shipped, I left 2XL Games to pursue other opportunities.
In early October of 2008 I was hired at Coin App as lead programmer on Max Blastronaut, a role that would have me building my first proper 3D game engine. In September of 2009, we won 2nd place in Microsoft’s Dream Build Play competition. Unfortunately, Coin App went the way of all too many independent studios, and closed in early 2010.
The whole time I was at Coin App working on Max Blastronaut, my former employer, 2XL Games, was releasing successful iPhone games and the company was growing. They were growing so much, in fact, that they offered me a position as lead programmer, and I started working for them (again) in March of 2010. Soon after, I joined the team porting 2XL Supercross and Trophylite Rally from iPhone/iPod to PC.
In the fall of 2010, I left 2XL and joined up with Enemy Airship to work as a programmer on their first project, Shadow Physics. I mainly worked on tools, the Shadow Physics in-game editor, and assisting the game’s designer in prototyping his ideas. It was a blast while it lasted, but funding problems pushed me to leave in the Spring of 2011, when I was offered a position at THQ Digital Studios Phoenix (formerly Rainbow Studios). While there I was the lead programmer on a title that I can’t say much about.
A lucky connection steered me toward San Francisco and I took a job at Double Fine Productions just less than a week before THQ Digital Studios Phoenix shut its doors for good. The first thing I got to work on at Double Fine was the DLC for Trenched/Iron Brigade. After that wrapped up, I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Ron Gilbert and a host of other incredibly talented people on The Cave.
In the spring of 2012 I got an offer from Zynga to come join up at their San Francisco headquarters as a senior software engineer on CityVille. I worked with that team for about six months, learning the in and outs of working on a live game with tens of millions of users, developing both client and server-side logic for new game features. Then, in the fall of 2012, I decided to switch things up a bit and go work on Words With Friends. Not long after I joined with Words team, I was asked to become lead engineer of the iOS and then Android development groups. In this role, I got to work alongside some of the best, brightest engineers I’ve ever met, and I feel truly fortunate that I got to spend my 2013 with such a great group of people.
In early 2014 I decided I was ready to branch out a bit from the world of game development and I linked up with GlobalMed. GlobalMed does some pretty interesting things, producing both hardware and software in-house, but my main focus while I was there was the execution of one of the company co-founder’s visions: a simple, secure messaging app for medical professionals. After wrapping up my work on that app, I left GlobalMed and turned my attention to a hobby/passion project.
My friend Spencer had been wanting to make a simple transit app for San Francisco-area MUNI riders – so we decided it would be a good time to execute his ideas. He’s got a really nice writeup available on his site.
In the fall of 2014 I joined the team at Shelvspace, where I am currently working on software to (hopefully) transform the way things are done in the consumer packaged goods industry.
Obligatory disclaimer: the views expressed on this site in no way represent the views of my current or former employers.