Jimb Esser (James M Esser)
E-mail: esse0027@tc.umn.edu

I am not currently seeking employment

Cover Letter

In 2002, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota, emphasizing in Graphics Programming, with a minor in Mathematics. Although I specialize in graphics, I am interested in most all aspects of software development.

I have been using computers since I was 10, and programming since shortly after that.

Shortly after graduating college, I was working for the University of Minnesota, programming immersive graphics applications for a Virtual Reality lab. The applications I worked on included architectural design tools and games. A portfolio of many of my projects, including a 3D Ray Tracer I wrote from scratch is available at www.horningabout.com/jimb/portfolio.

  • Continue my independent game development, focusing on innovative multiplayer gaming
  • Not currently seeking a job

  • Extremely proficient in C/C++ and JavaScript (server-side Node.js and browser programming)
  • Development for Cloud-based deployments such as Amazon AWS
  • Client and Server architecture for highly scalable online games
  • Database architecture and implementation
  • Server configuration and maintenance for Linux and Windows
  • Significant experience developing in Lua, Java, SQL, ASP, JSP, MIPS and X86 Assembly, Pascal/Delphi, Web+, Perl, Python
  • Windows programming with Visual C++, MFC, Win32 APIs
  • Experience developing for consoles, including the PlayStation 1, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360
  • Developing and maintaining game engines
  • Graphics programming in DirectX, OpenGL, WebGL (OpenGL ES), and software rendering
  • Communications programming using TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, especially communication with the non-technically inclined
  • Strong math background
  • Working knowledge of modern graphics and rendering techniques including lighting and shadowing, deferred lighting, light mapping, post-processing effects like depth of field, bloom and HDR, ambient occlusion
  • Working knowledge of fundamental 3D graphics and rendering techniques including scan conversion, ray tracing, volume rendering, texture mapping, antialiasing, vector math, hardware acceleration, radiosity

Work Experience
  • Founder and Game Developer
    October 2014 to Infinity
    Dashing Strike LLC (www.dashingstrike.com)
    Founded in Mountain View, CA, then nomadic
    • Building innovative and engaging multiplayer experiences.

  • Principal Engineer
    January 2014 to February 2016
    Yahoo!, Inc (games.yahoo.com)
    Sunnyvale, CA
    • Bringing our technical expertise gained while building Cloud Party to bring the Yahoo Games platform to the cutting edge.
    • Building user acquisition and analysis tools to better acquire and retain users for the Yahoo Games and Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports platforms.

  • Founder and Lead Engineer
    June 2011 to January 2014
    Cloud Party, Inc (www.cloudparty.com)
    San Jose, CA
    • Architected, engineered, and maintained a scaleable, distributed, user-editable 3D virtual world, taking advantage of cloud services, and with an entirely browser-based client (HTML5, WebGL for accelerated 3D rendering, no downloads or plugins needed).
    • Cloud Party was successfully acquired by Yahoo in January, 2014

  • Lead Graphics Programmer
    Janurary 2003 to 2011
    Employer: Cryptic Studios (www.crypticstudios.com)
    Managers: Bruce Rogers, Stephen D'Angelo
    San Jose, CA
    • Designed and supported a number of tools for asset management, revision control
    • Developed filesystem used for all game data and back end for live servers including our object database
    • Ported our engine to the Xbox 360 and supervised contractors porting to the Playstation 3
    • Primary author of many graphics subsystems in our custom graphics engine including materials, shader and memory management
    • Lead of the graphics team managing 3-8 people working our our graphics engine, both OpenGL and DirectX
    • Helped develop and ship City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter Online

  • Web-Based Software Designer and Server Administrator
    Summer of 2001 to 2003
    Employer: TalentSoft, Inc (www.talentsoft.com)
    Manager: Victor Tong
    Eden Prairie, MN
    • Supported and maintained Web+Shop, an eCommerce application.
    • Developed Web+Update, a cross-platform (Windows, Unix, Solaris, etc) application allowing easy updating of TalentSoft products and web servers.

  • Software Designer, previously Systems Support
    1996 to 2000 (summers)

    Employer: Universal Pensions, Inc
    Manager: Steve Agustinack
    Brainerd, MN, USA
    • Worked on a team developing multiple applications, in both standalone and web-based versions. Also responsible for some individual projects, including an online IRA Service Center which was widely used by many banks allowing their customers to apply for IRAs online.
    • First 2 years, worked in internal systems support, diagnosing and fixing computer problems on Dos/Windows/Windows95/NT/Netware computers.

  • Undergraduate Researcher
    1998 to 2000
    Employer: University of Minnesota
    Manager: John Carlis, PhD
    Minneaplos, MN, USA
    • Engaged in directed research in the area of 3D data visualization. Specifically, I developed a program called MidiVis (working copy available at http://www.horningabout.com/midivis), which takes musical data (in the form of a midi file) and allows a functional way of displaying musical data (on a 3D spiral) as opposed to the traditional staff notation. I worked varying hours every week over the period of roughly 1 year.

  • Computer Consultant
    1996 to 1998
    Employer: Independent School District 181
    Contact: James Hunt, Mr. Sipper
    Brainerd, MN, USA
    • Ordered parts and built 10 computers to upgrade a CAD lab
    • Maintenance on those computers and others

  • B.S. in Computer Science (Magna Cum Laude), 1998 to 2002
    University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    Minor: Math
    GPA: (Major) 3.9 (Overall) 3.8

  • High School Diploma, 1995 to 1998
    Brainerd High School
    GPA: 4.0

  • L. Anderson, J. Esser, V. Interrante. A Virtual Environment for Conceptual Design in Architecture. Eurographics Workshops May 2003.
  • Garret Romaine. Star Trek Online Goes Where No Game Has Gone Before. Intel Visual Adrenaline Magazine Jul 2010.

Professional Activities
  • While it was active, was a maintainer of the CDX Graphics library, a DirectX wrapper/Game Development Kit
  • Previously an active member of the University of Minnesota chapter of the ACM.

Honors and
  • Finalist in the western hemisphere regionals of the 2009 Google Code Jam
  • Finalist in the 2004 Google Code Jam
  • One of 25 international finalists in the 2003 Google Code Jam (placed 15th out of an initial ~2000 competitors)
  • One of 16 national finalists in the 2002 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge (national programming competition)
  • High ranking (as of 9-15-02, ranked 82nd out of 4046 active coders; top 2%) in TopCoder, a weekly world-wide programming competition.
  • Site winner and 12th ranking team at the 2001 ACM Midwest Regional Programming Competition
  • Site and Regional winner at the 2002 ACM Midwest Regional Programming Competition
  • Dean's List in 1999 through 2002
  • Accepted and participated in IT Lower Division Honors Program at the University of Minnesota
  • Graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors at the University of Minnesota
  • Highest Scoring Team Member on Brainerd Senior High's Math Team, 1997 and 1998

Other Information
  • Interests: Computer Gaming, Strategic/Board/Card Games, Skiing, Hiking

Victoria Interrante [interran@cs.umn.edu] - Professor in Computer Graphics, Research Director
    Computer Science Department 4-192 EE/CSCI Bldg.
    200 Union Street SE
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    (612) 625-3543
Steve "Gus" Augustinack [Steve.Augustinack@brainerd.k12.mn.us] - Manager at Universal Pensions (now BiSys), currently Director of Media Technology for the Brainerd School District (ISD 181)
    670 Knollwood Dr S
    Baxter, MN 56425
    (218) 829-2185
Victor Tong [victort@talentsoft.com] - Owner of Talentsoft Inc
    860 Blue Gentian Road, Suite 360
    Eagan, MN 55121
    (651) 209-3100
John Carlis [carlis@cs.umn.edu] - Research director, Professor
    Computer Science Department 4-192 EE/CSCI Bldg.
    200 Union Street SE
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    (612) 625-6092

To contact me, send e-mail to esse0027@tc.umn.edu