Mac game conversion company
has announced that it has hired Duane Johnson as a full-time member. Johnson is a Mac programmer who came to the Mac game business by way of NASA several years ago.
Johnson first rose to prominence a few years back when he was still employed by NASA to do orbital modeling. In his free time, Johnson released freeware updates to the Interplay/MacPlay releases Descent and Descent II. Based on publicly available source code released by the games’ original developers, Johnson’s versions breathed new life into the aging 3D game series — Johnson optimized Descent and Descent II for various 3D graphics cards and game controllers.
Afterwards, Johnson was contracted by GraphSim Entertainment to port Descent III to the Macintosh. He also helped GraphSim bring to market Tales of the Sword Coast, an expansion pack for the role-playing game Baldur’s Gate. In 2000 Johnson was contracted by Westlake Interactive to work on Star Trek: Voyager — Elite Force, a 3D action game published late last year by Aspyr Media. Since then, Johnson has worked on Sacrifice, a 3D real-time strategy game that’s about to be published by MacPlay.
“Westlake’s relationship with Duane goes back quite a while; we’ve actually been trying to hire him on and off for over 3 years. And now we’re very lucky to finally snag him,” said Westlake.
Westlake noted that Johnson’s first assignment is to work on the company’s secret “Muse” project. The company recently added “Muse” to its Project Status Web page, and specified that the project is in early development. Details about “Muse” remain sketchy at this point, but Westlake indicated that the project is slated for release in 2002.