More Information About Me

Simeon Peebler started out in the early 1980s programming his Commodore 64 and making his own games and music when he should have been doing "more appropriate" things. Flash forward to the present day; after years in game development and technology, he works as a game designer and programmer and has been working the last few years in teaching game design and game development at a leading digital arts college in Chicago Tribeca Flashpoint Academy In 2011, Simeon created Brain Bump, a trivia game for the Amazon Kindle. He also has been working on composing original music and songwriting (go to his songwriting site and hear his latest album).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Famed video game composer Nobuo Uematsu

Simeon Peebler and Nobuo Uematsu talking about Final Fantasy XIV

Some people claimed that I was too much of a fan boy when I moderated a panel discussion in Chicago today with Nobuo Uematsu. The truth is that...I am a fan boy. His music is brilliant and he is completely down to earth and nothing but sincere. I had an opportunity to ask him questions about his creative process, his career and his excellent new work in the yet-to-be-released game, Final Fantasy XIV.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Geeks trump alpha males as algos dominate Wall St

See the article below about high-frequency traders and programmers...

I've spent some time in my career building "real-time" high-performance game code. That work was instrumental in preparing me for my move over to working on trading technologies a few years back in building tools for traders and for the supporting business and technology units within that industry. I really enjoyed that environment and daily challenge -- in that process I ended up inventing new trading screens (I invented the "Time Market Grid Interface" as published by the US Patent office in August) and coding exchange gateways and building upon a variety of risk-management tools. All of this was within the confines of the trading platform vendor business and not within the proprietary trading firm as described in this link below, so I was not in a position to get the kinds of benefits described below...The flip side to that story is that everyone's algos are competing against each other, and if you are working within a market that is effectively a zero-sum game, slow and flawed code will lose...I've experimented with custom automated trading code against simulated markets though, but am hopeful to try them out in the real world!

Go to Article

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street traders aren't what they used to be -- they're not even on Wall Street anymore.

The days of swashbuckling backslappers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange have given way to an era of trading dominated by analytical technical whizzes whose computers may be running from a town in deepest New Jersey or Texas."

Friday, November 13, 2009

who is the salty droid?

I occasionally come across things that make no sense to me. Okay, let me revisit that statement...change occasionally to constantly. But this one is perplexing to me. It stems from the following question, "who is the salty droid?"

One of the most important skills required for a game designer is "listening" which in my view requires constant observation and critical analysis of all of human experience, including my own. This is a big, impossible task, but something we strive to do as game developers to inform our activities. It comes in handy when making games that are "problem-solving activities which bring people pleasure" and creating the right ingredients to be effective in this process.

Coming back to the title of this blog entry...I came across this phrase "who is the salty droid?" from a tweet a friend of mine made. I did not ask them what it meant (which I will shortly correct). I wanted to figure it out myself. Google revealed no immediate answers from what I could tell, although some "Salty Droid" references are out there on Google. Then I decided, spontaneously, to essentially retweet the phrase. I posted a facebook status update with the phrase. Impulsive is the best word to describe this action. My skills as a game designer, in listening to my inner monologue, seemed to come to the following conclusion. I am transmitting an idea virus. There is nothing new to this in human communication, and in particular in today's age. An electronically transmitted idea virus can be gold to the right entrepreneur. But never have I so swiftly been involved in forwarding something that I didn't understand AT ALL to perpetuate this unanswered question. I want to know who the salty droid is. I want to know who made it up. I want to know why this sequence of words seems to be suddenly appearing to me.

As a game designer, I've spent a lot of time studying the human compulsion to explore and resolve unknowns in the world. Place a big button in the middle of the screen. Write text that says, "DO NOT PRESS BUTTON" and see what happens to the majority of people involved in that interactive experience. Right now, my personal button reads "WHO IS THE SALTY DROID?"

As I am writing about this, one thing has just occurred to me. I have embedded myself into the perpetual online timeline of this idea by posting information about my reflection on this thing I know nothing about within my blog. My blog is frequently indexed by search engines. It will be a part of this craziness...or perhaps even help launch this phrase even further out in the intertube ether.

Who is the salty droid? I have become the salty droid. And so will you. And doing your best to shake those five words will lead to only one thing...perpetuating it yourself.

I have a way to resolve it for you however if you are of a certain age. Read the following lyrics...

"...As cold as ice..."

" is a battlefield..."

or, perhaps nearly the worst of all...Hanson...


Did that help? It helped me.

Bad music saves the day. Always. Trust me.

Take care Salty Droids out there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Graduates of Flashpoint Academy's game development program launch featured iPhone game, bitFLIP

From the president of Metamoorephosis games...

"So it finally happened. The big dream that started at Flashpoint Academy launches its first game as a featured app on the worlds fastest growing video game platform.

Critics have been amazing as well and with 29 consecutive 5 star scores from players we expect the game to catch like wildfire:

App Store Link:

IGN - 8.0 - "bitFLIP is a great surprise. At first, it looked like a basic match-three game with a great soundtrack. But flipping the tiles as well as swapping them adds a needed wrinkle to the genre." - "Is it worth $2.99? Unequivocally yes. Hell, the soundtrack is practically worth that much by itself! bitFLIP is a game with a great premise and a great aestetic, and is yet another one of those apps that leaves you wondering where the time went." - 4/5 - "The soundtrack, gameplay visuals and iComplishments prove that bitFLIP is far from a no-frills iPhone puzzle game." - Justin McElroy - "[bitFLIP] is a puzzle game thats really well suited to the iPhone .. it's a trip. Nice one to sorta zone out and not think for a while."

On behalf of Justin, the team and myself we would like to give you our warmest thanks for believing in Metamoorephosis Games.

Joshua Hernandez
CEO & Founder

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flashpoint students win Game Design Challenge

I’m thrilled to share with you that two students from the Game Development program at Flashpoint are featured as winners in a recent Game Design Challenge held by one of the industry’s most important websites. First year student Emily Greenquist won as Best Entry, and Terumi Tamaki won an honorable mention. Follow the links to check out the full details!

From the article:

“Results from Game Design Challenge: Literary Inspirations

We have hundreds, even thousands, of years of literature to draw from -- yet so little of it has been used for source material for games. Early next year, Electronic Arts will release Dante's Inferno, a very loose adaptation of part of Dante Alighieri's epic poem The Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century.

While it's debatable how respectful the game's content is to the original source material, it's true that the works of the past are a resource that could be tapped much more effectively in the creation of gameworlds.

Game Career Guide challenged its readers to adapt a piece of literature -- contemporary, medieval, or somewhere in between -- into a game. It could be in any genre of literature or gaming -- the core concept is how compellingly you turn it into a game idea. How will you adapt from one medium to the other? What will you cut? What will you keep? What will you change, and what will stay the same?

Winning entries effectively translated literary works into game narratives, while also keeping in mind the medium's inherent tropes and limitations.

What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks: “

Best Entries:

Emily Greenquist, Student, Flashpoint Academy (Year One Student)

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."

- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“Greenquist takes a complex story and weaves it into a solid game concept. The Picture of Dorian Gray, as a horror-themed RPG, puts players in the role of an amoral protagonist who must eventually face the consequences of his actions. Though the experience would be a largely passive one for the player, the depth in narrative promises a rich payoff. “

Honorable Mention:

Terumi Tamaki, Romeo and Juliet: Happily Ever After (Year Two Student)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No longer patent pending!

After many years under review, one of my recent inventions, the Time Market Grid Interface, has recently been granted approval by the U.S. patent office!

You can look up patent 7,574,388 on, or check out this quick third-party web link:

I invented this interface and technology for a Chicago company called Trading Technologies...and I have more trading technology inventions up my sleeve. As a game developer, I am keenly interested in optimizing the user experience in real-time interactive media -- so the challenges of developing, producing, and programming games is strongly connected to issues in making great software used by electronic traders in exchanges around the world.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day in the life of a game programmer, artist and designer

In describing "what it's really like out there" I find that students just starting out in our program at Flashpoint Academy are frequently skeptical of everything faculty conveys to them about the realities of working as a game developer today (even with our accumulated 70 years of working in the field).

Industry visitors from nearby studios definitely help us out in this regard, but this article provides some really great examples of experiences by a few developers: a programmer, an artist, and a designer really do a nice job of fleshing out a typical day.

Here's the article from you should check out!

Here's the start of the article:


8:45 AM I arrive at work and head to my office. At High Moon Studios, most programmers don't actually work in their offices. We work in open space areas, sitting next to designers, artists, and animators. My office is where I drop my stuff, check my email, and make phone calls. I share a large office with five other people, but only spend about 30 minutes a day in there so we are rarely there at the same time."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Game development student grads from Flashpoint Academy featured in College Magazine

From the article:

"Just about every person of our generation has gone through at least one phase of obsession with video games, and can relate to the way a player gets wrapped up in that interactive experience. And how many kids dream of making these games, only to “grow out of it”? Well, in a time when video games are more popular than ever, among kids, college students and even elderly people (Nintendo Wii has hit retirement homes, believe it or not), there’s more opportunity than ever to pursue a career in video game development—which is exactly what two Chicago-area students are doing.

Justin C. Moore and Joshua Hernandez are recent graduates of the Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, IL, where they met and collaborated on designing a game that can now be found on Xbox Live Marketplace and soon on the iPhone. Moore, who studied game design, says he heard of Flashpoint Academy at just the right time. “I got a flier in the mail; it was really fortuitous, as I was unemployed for the summer of 2007 and didn’t know what I was gonna be doing in the fall,” says Moore. After completing his undergraduate degree at MIT a few years ago, Moore knew he wanted to pursue his hobby of programming, and Flashpoint was the perfect place to learn his trade."

Read More About Game Development Graduates from Flashpoint Academy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Upping Your Game's Usability

I found this recent article from to be very useful. In today's world "user interface" and "human-computer interactive" (HCI) are keys to the either success or failure of interactive entertainment products out there. It's largely about making things clear, simple -- and complementing our typical approach as humans in a) controlling our environment and b) learning more about our environment to control it more efficiently.

Check out this excerpt:

"Upping Your Game's Usability

A common gripe I hear from developers is that a game has a really great concept or aesthetic, but that the user interface (UI) is lousy. Games that are hard to control or that mystify users by not providing useful or sufficient feedback are pretty damn frustrating to play. This can translate into worse sales, so it's worthwhile for game developers to really spend a lot of time thinking about a game's UI."

Web link to full article:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

FanBox for my iPhone Group

I'm going to integrate this widget into my website to see what kind of feedback and results I get (at http://www.blipfungames/ ... it will be updated shortly). The special widget is called the FanBox. It allows you to embed a small piece of code into any web page so that people can become a "fan" of something you're trying to promote with zero hastle. It seems to be pretty cool!

BLiP Bloink on Facebook

Friday, June 26, 2009

NBC, DEW Tour - Flashpoint Studios Game

Check it this new Flash game called "Ramping Up!" created by Flashpoint Studios at Flashpoint Academy in Chicago.

Flashpoint Studios is a unique component of our curriculum where the school interfaces with outside businesses in the development a many types of interactive and digital media projects.

In this most recent project, a group of students from the game department and recording arts department (working in conjunction with some faculty) developed this fun BMX bike racing game and gained real-world development experience in the process!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BLiP Bloink featured on NBC

Check out this story on iPhone game development featuring my game BLiP Bloink, from the Chicago NBC affiliate.

Check out the full report here...(you'll have to watch an ad first)

View more news videos at:

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Personal Message to Graduates of Flashpoint Academy

May 29th, 2009

Dear Friends (Graduates),

I love Star Wars.

The main character in the Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker, as you know, lived the formative years of his life as the adopted son of a farmer. He had big dreams. He wanted to join the army. He wanted to do something important. And when two robots, hot off of the back of a truck (also known as a sandcrawler, just to be clear) end up in his garage, an epic series of events unfold. Luke had an opportunity to make important decisions. These were risky decisions that determined the fate of the galaxy.

Many of you were sitting on the farm. If not literally, then in other ways. With big dreams, you always had a sense of being in a better place. In some cases, your destiny was not in your hands. Some struggles and setbacks kept you from becoming the person you hoped to be in the world.

And at the right moment, at the right time, you came upon Flashpoint Academy. Finally, a stepping stone leading you in the direction of your dreams was in front of you. Here was your chance to realize some of your potential. You followed Old Ben Kenobi (Ric Landry) to the Millennium Falcon and set your course for the planet Alderaan.

Of course, getting to Alderaan proved a bit of a challenge. In the film, Alderaan was blown up by the Empire. Luke was sucked into the heart of the Death Star on a desperate mission to survive and achieve what seemed to be impossible (destroying the Death Star).

This mirrors many of your experiences when you walked into the door during your first days at Flashpoint Academy. It wasn’t going to be easy to get through this adventure. For some becoming a game developer was something you thought was just going to be handed to you. Surprise! Alderaan is gone. It was time to face reality. In the days following orientation here, you were on a dead run to make it to the end. This roller-coaster ride through every challenge in class and out of class made for an epic journey with both setbacks and triumphs.

Getting to the end, in the trenches trying to reach one of your end goals – graduation – was harder than anything you could imagine. Many of you truly transformed in becoming digital professionals and leaders. After making to the end of the first movie, Luke Skywalker had earned his stripes. He made life-changing friendships. He had learned much from a teacher, and mentor, only to be left in the end to rely upon all that he learned and his own will power. He was well on his way to reaching his full potential.

The story does not end there. There were more challenges in life and many new obstacles. Luke had this in abundance during the events of the second Star Wars film, the Empire Strikes Back. Everything he learned in his journey to destroy the Death Star helped him in tackling the next challenges with precision. He still had much to learn of course, but he was absolutely certain about his direction. This made him very powerful indeed.

As you go from Flashpoint Academy into jobs, internships, establishing your own businesses, or for some of you in securing your first professional digital media opportunity in the world, think about Luke’s journey.

Luke had a dream to become extraordinary. Luke relied upon his friends, and came to their aid when they needed it the most. Luke never gave up even in the face of the most challenging things he experienced in life. And in the end, he overcame the Empire.

To all of our new Jedi: May Flashpoint be with you. Always.

- Simeon Peebler

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Over 37 million multi-touch Apple devices...

Check out this article below. Basically there are nearly 40 million multi-touch Apple devices out there (numbers are split between iPhone and iPod Touch). One billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store. Of the 30,000 Apps now available in the App Store, a third of them are games. Some of these are "free" apps, and some are for sale -- ranging from $0.99 to above $30 -- (my game, BLiP Bloink, at http://www.blipfungames/ is $0.99).

Really interesting numbers for sure! Nintendo and Sony are recognizing this as a real up and coming competitor in the mobile gaming space.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pocket Tanks now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Way to go BlitWise!

They have just released Pocket Tanks for the iPhone and iPod Touch and it is definitely worth checking out.

It features the same exciting gameplay from the PC shareware classic ported perfectly to the mobile platform. A free version is available and it contains 35 weapons -- more than enough to enjoy for quite a while; the Deluxe version has over 100 weapons, and is well worth it for true Pocket Tankers out there.

Here are some direct links to Pocket Tanks in the iTunes App Store:

Pocket Tanks: (free version)

Pocket Tanks Deluxe:

Student Postmortem: percussONE

Two of our students at Flashpoint Academy in Chicago are now published in with an article called "Student Postmortem: percussONE" in which they document the ups and downs of creating their exciting new XBox game available on XBox Community Games now!

Thursday, April 2, 2009 BLiP Bloink Mention

Great mention in!

BLiP Bloink on!

From the article:

"Flashpoint Academy’s Chair of Game Development, Simeon Peebler, has released his first iPhone title — the puzzler BLiP Bloink ($0.99). Peebler teaches game programming and design at the Chicago-based private college, and believes that the experience of developing an iPhone title will provide valuable material for future classroom lectures.

“Students are really interested in the iPhone platform,” Peebler said in a recent press release. “As a game development educator, I believe it is important to spend some time to get one of my games out there on the iPhone. I can now leverage that experience in mentoring and inspiring my students.”

BLiP Bloink is a match-based puzzler that plays out like a mix of Tetris and Bejeweled — players must drop animals from the top of the screen and attempt to match them with creatures of the same type. The game features three difficulty modes, unlockable achievements, and a “brag” feature that allows players to update/annoy their friends with their accomplishments."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My new iPhone game: BLiP Bloink

Only $0.99!

In the wee hours and weekends between the long days at Flashpoint Academy, I figured it was time to get another game out into the world. This experience has helped further prepare me in working with my students at Flashpoint as they express interest and enthusiasm in working with the iPhone and in developing content for mobile devices.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Student game, percussONE, from Flashpoint Academy now on XBox Community Games!

He got game

March 5, 2009 By CHRIS LAFORTUNE

Justin C. Moore is passionate about games, especially video games.

"I always sort of make little games for myself for any given task," the River Forest resident said. "I try to beat my old score, my old time, my records."

"I always think about, sort of, situations and opportunities to try to maximize your utility against your opponents, which would be anyone else in the environment around you."

A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Moore now has a video game he developed with friend Joshua Hernandez online at Xbox Live Community Games, called "percussONE."

Moore and Hernandez are students at Flashpoint Academy in Chicago. Moore's in his second year there, ready to graduate in the summer.

At MIT, Moore studied mechanical engineering and finished with a degree. While in college he tried to wean himself off of games.

"I didn't think it would be, sort of, a productive thing to pursue," Moore said.

He was unsuccessful. When he graduated he realized games were what he wanted to do.

"After graduating, I buckled down and started teaching myself to program, just working on smaller projects, trying to get people together to work on games," he said.
percussONE is a puzzle game, influenced by games such as "Tetris Attack" and arcade game "Klax."

Players align game pieces of similar colors, taking them off of a playing field when they line up three or more. As the game progresses, the pieces arrive faster. If the field fills, the game ends.
Players can play singularly or with friends, against one another or cooperatively. Moore and Hernandez entered the game into Microsoft's "Dream, Build, Play" contest, but failed to be finalists. They tweaked the programming, entering it into another contest, the Independent Games Festival.

"We didn't make finalist there, either, unfortunately," Moore said.

But they worked on the game further and had it accepted into the Xbox Live Community platform. It went live in mid-February.

"I have heard from, not direct buyers, but I've heard rumors of buyers," Moore said. "Friends of friends who have purchased it. There are a couple of reviews online that mentioned it favorably."
Xbox Live's Community Games platform has been online since November. About 200 games are now accessible through the system, according to information from Microsoft. Users are able to download free tools to make and distribute their own games.

Moore enjoys puzzle games, though they're not his favorite. He prefers role-playing games, in which players take on the role of a character in an extended gaming experience, either singularly or online.

He has ideas for several role-playing games, but they're the most difficult to program, Moore said. For the moment he's going to continue working on puzzle games with Hernandez and any others they can recruit.

"We started simple," he said. "We're going to build up from there.",op-xboxguy-030509-s1.article

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Comments on the Game Industry Economics

For those of you following news in the game industry over the last several months, you’ve witnessed rounds of layoffs and closures and a variety of restructuring announcements really across the board. This is in line with the economic realities of the world right now of course (and underlying realities of the way that 20+ million-dollar projects are funded), but people often ask me questions about this general topic.

Despite the incredible numbers we’ve seen posted in terms of game software and hardware sales in the last few years, being in this business is far from a sure thing. Game development is a very risky business. Lots of guessing goes into product development both in terms of marketing and technology development despite how smart everyone claims to be.

Game studios are software development shops hired by “publishers” to create game products. When you have teams comprised of dozens of highly skilled practitioners who are paid an average of 40 - 100k per year, and the typical game project lasts over 24 months, simple addition shows the financial realities facing studios in product development. Add on top of that the cost of employer subsidized health insurance, other benefits, along with facilities and operational expenses (plus legal) and suddenly the game creation process cost reaches some fairly high figures. And that is just for the game studio! The publisher is its own beast and then the actual delivery route to the customer has its own set of expenses.

A couple of interesting risks:

Rapidly changing marketplace (consumer interest and competition) may hurt sales required to return investment to the publisher(s) who theoretically are paying the bills for everybody involved.

Technology problems for creating innovative products can prevent publicized release dates. This can be incredibly damaging for everybody involved.
Original IP is as can be imagined, a challenge to sell and may be met with poor reception.

Strategies publishers employ regularly now:

Focus on building brands and sequels in essentially franchising a product line over time.

Use and leverage existing game engines for almost everything.

Plan using the same content and technology for multiple platform release such that you maximize the potential sales you have.

Even with these strategies, publishers still only find that a fraction of these large projects bring a return substantial enough to offset development, marketing and distribution costs. It is hit and misses. Largely, the hits have helped offset the misses for those who are the leaders out there today.

Opportunities for those entering the industry have not dried up even in light of these realities. From’s job board, one can find MANY job postings. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit are also embraced by the game industry – independent development and innovation are keys to success. Flashpoint students are working on these kinds of independent projects and finely tuning themselves in terms of developing solid pitches to the whole range of opportunities out there in the industry right now. Interactive media is also another route for Flashpoint Academy game developers. Some students will build careers in developing game content for other sectors (education, heath care, broadcast, film, and so on).

Over the years, the game industry has been a roller coaster ride. Now is no different. Hang on!