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Steve H
Details
Occupation
Video game programmer and software engineer
Alma Mater
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana
Activity
2004–present
Notable Works
"Vanguard: Saga of Heroes"
"Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning"
"Star Wars: The Old Republic"
"Imperium: Galactic War"
"Strife"

Steve H (known by the handle Cynax) is an American video game programmer and software engineer who is best known for helping program several notable Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). He is currently the Lead Programmer at Soulbound Studios.

Biography[ | ]

Early Life[ | ]

Cynax has been described as an avid lover of fantasy, having extensively played tabletop RPG's and read a bevy of novels pertaining to the genre. His love for fantasy has clearly seeped into his career, as he has dedicated his education and skill to developing fantasy games. Steve matriculated to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana in 2000 and minored in political science and was the humor editor of the campus newspaper.

Career[ | ]

June 2004 – August 2005[ | ]

Cynax joined the Institute for Creative Technologies in the summer of 2004. The ICT, funded by the Department of Defense, envisioned the collaboration of the assets of a major research university with the creative resources of Hollywood and the game industry to advance the state-of-the-art in training and simulation. There, Cynax worked as a programmer on a research project for a military sim/game engine middleware for a year and three months.

September 2005 – May 2007[ | ]

After his time at the Institute, Steve moved on to join Sigil Games Online, a computer game developer company established in 2002 and most known at the time as the creators of EverQuest. Steve joined the company on the September of 2005 as a UI and gameplay programmer for their next title, Vanguard: Sage of Heroes.

June 2007 – August 2009[ | ]

Entering his third year as a professional programmer, Steve moved to Fairfax, VA, where he joined Electronic Arts as a gameplay programmer on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMORPG made at EA Mythic. During his two years and three months at the studio, Steve acted as the primary engineer responsible for combat gameplay, iterated various server gameplay features, including networking support, and implemented server optimizations based on profiling.

August 2009 – August 2011[ | ]

Steve joined the Vigil Games team as the Gameplay programmer on Dark Millenium Online, a Warhammer 40000 themed MMO. He worked as the primary engineer responsible for combat gameplay, developed a real time networked action combat system with over-the-shoulder gunplay, melee combos, and a complex ability scripting system, improved the networking replication tech, and implemented other miscellaneous gameplay features, data improvements, visual effects. His efforts on the game would bear no fruit, however, as the bankruptcy of the parent company THQ destabilized the game developing studio as a whole. Vigil Games tried to drop the MMO components in order to focus on a single-player experience but with the company's bankruptcy, the studio became defunct by 2013 and the future of Dark Millenium Online remains in limbo to this day.

August 2011 – May 2012[ | ]

Perhaps at that time the biggest move of his career, Cynax joined Bioware, where he was a senior server programmer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, a grand-scale MMORPG based on the titular movies. There he worked on server optimization, stability, and crash fixing, logins and the login queue, and memory management and allocation tracking.

July 2012 – October 2013[ | ]

Cynax worked for a year at Kabam as lead back-end engineer on Imperium: Galactic War, a space themed empire strategy builder with synchronous multiplayer real time strategy combat. His achievements for the game are numerous and are listed as follows:

  • Created a C++ backend stack built on open source libraries for fast networking [libuv] with http interfaces [libcurl]
  • Created a real time synchronous combat server [BattleServer] capable of serving AAA-quality RTS combat at very low hardware cost to several participants and tens of thousands of observers
  • Implemented physics using Bullet open source physics engine
  • Implemented pathfinding using Recast open source navigation engine
  • Created an empire strategy game server [StarbaseServer]
  • Implemented the transactional game logic for building ships, fleets, buildings, etc.
  • Created a real time synchronous overworld server [SectorServer]
  • Created ancillary gameplay servers [Mail, Alliance, Chat, Leaderboard, Warfront]
  • Created a client-to-backend routing server [ProxyServer]
  • Created a load testing framework capable of connecting thousands of headless clients to the server
  • Tested and optimized the server architecture to be capable of hosting tens of thousands of players per hardware blade, hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players.
  • Architected the game database schemas and the game interfaces to the DB
  • Began a project to make next generation C# servers with code sharing compatibility with Unity and using wrapped C++ libraries for fast networking, pathing, and collision

Dashiel Nemeth, a designer for the studio gave this recommendation: "As a designer, Steve is exactly the type of programmer I love to work with. He takes designs and runs with them, executing them faithfully while also covering the numerous edge cases game systems invariably have. "

December 2013 – June 2015[ | ]

Steve took on the role of leadership at S2 games as Senior Programmer and interim Game Director on Strife, a 2nd gen MOBA. He lead a small team during the game's sunset, overseeing two major releases: the 0.9 Dharkwave Patch, and the 1.0 Release Patch. Strife released to good reviews on Steam (78% Positive). He designed and implemented a handful of new heroes, a few major game balance changes, improved backend scalability, and designed a load testing framework to load test the game applications and the web platform. He also lead efforts to modernize the project to C++11/14. He represented S2 as the keynote speaker at GRDevNight, a local tech event.

January 2017 – Present[ | ]

After Strife, Steve became self-employed and worked on mobile apps and mobile game server development until joining Soulbound Studios in 2017 as Lead Programmer for their flagship game, Chronicles of Elyria.

Works[ | ]

  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Imperium: Galactic War
  • Strife
  • Chronicles of Elyria (in production)

References[ | ]

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