Hello! My name is Matt Rider, (also known as ZALMAH). I've been fortunate to collaborate with a variety of people.
The principle that guides me is the effort to maintain a balance between compexity and accessibility.
Above all, ZALMAH is an solution to creative challenges (CONTEXT, INTUITION, FOCUS).
Year: February 2016 - Present
Client: Stratosphere Games GmbH
Platform: Mobile & Tablet
Role: Content Design
I am currently assisting Stratosphere Games GmbH with trailer production and several other tasks for their first title - Airframe: Nemesis - a combat flight simulator set in the year 2050.
Players are flung into the role of a pilot mercenary, betrayed by companions and battling against authorities.
The project is developed on Unity and is scheduled for a Q2 beta phase in 2016.
Beyond the Pixels
Year: March 2009
Client: Turtle Entertainment GmbH
Type: Short Film
Role: Concept & Pitch
Beyond the Pixels was a short film pitched for Turtle Entertainment GmbH. The project involved the Köln-based graffiti artist SEAK (Claus Winkler), whose work is influenced by arcade games he played growing-up in the 80s and 90s.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Footage: In-game, graffiti and interviews
Editing style: ‘MTV style’, fast-paced cut. Similar to extreme sports or music videos.
Financing: Game footage (40%) reduces production costs yet maintains entertainment and focus. Graffiti & interview footage (60%) mostly done in-house. Opportunity to approach lifestyle sponsors. Potential merchandising possibilities.
Project aims to unite gamers, and highlight gaming as a cultural movement, drawing parallels drawn between gaming and graffiti as subcultures that (were) struggling for mainstream acceptance.
A look at how film initially was ‘shunned’ by the mainstream and academics between 1900-1930.
SEAK would spray a graffiti mural that would embody the global and artistic nature of gaming, giving a voice to gamers and drawing upon influences from gaming through the ages. The piece could be painted during live productions – providing a point of interest in weekly broadcasts that were not necessarily related.
Discuss how games have and will continue to inspire future generations.
Year: February 2012- May 2014
Client: Infernum Productions
Type: Community Growth, Creative Strategy & Content Design
Role: Lead Community Manager
I was contacted by the former Frogster Online Gaming board member, Andreas Weidenhaupt, to join his new venture – Infernum Productions – that was in the process of establishing a publishing division.
At the time, Minecraft had just become a global success and Infernum’s first initial release, Brick-Force, had an iconic visual appeal – combining the share and build elements of Minecraft with competitive aspects.
3.5 million+ account registrations
4 million+ views on YouTube content
Top 100 German brand on Facebook – 2012
100 million+ website impressions
The Global Phenomenon (750k+ Views) Role: Production & ingame footage
I was tasked with leading the Community Management team and given the responsibility to recruit staff. We reached out to key YouTube creators, and within the first 3 months helped to secure over 1 million registrations, of which over 80% were organic.
My first hire was Nicholas Zasowski B.S. New Media Marketing. Nick was formerly based in New York, and helped me to manage a written, visual and video content pipeline across 6 languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Turkish and Polish).
Some of the community events and sub-projects that I created for Brick-Force included 'Brick by Brick', a weekly infotainement series written and narrated by Ian Strandberg, with over 40 episodes and Brick Brigade, a community growth program with incentives for active participants.
Above all, the community strategy for Brick-Force focused on communication, relation to our audience and providing the tools necessary for the community to become self-regulated.
Another key focus was participation and user-generated content. We managed a regular event series called 'Map of the Week' with a regular 'challenge' (12-step cross-department implementation process).
We launched partnerships with ESL and Alienware, and a monthly tournament series - all of which had significant impact on ingame activity.
Championship Gaming Series
Role: Professional Gamer
Client(s): DirecTV, Blizzard Entertainment
After several years of playing World of Warcraft obsessively under the pseudonym ZALMAH, in 2007 I became one of the first players worldwide to sign a contract and become a full-time professional, together with my Danish team-mate, Per 'Lykke' Neilson.
European Champions, 2v2 Arena, Blizzcon, Anaheim California, 2007
2nd place, World Championships 2v2 Arena, Sony Studios, Los Angeles, 2007
7th place, 5v5 European Finals, Hamburg, 2007
Qualified for 5v5 Blizzard Regionals, 2007
Since 2005 we consistantly ranked among Europe's top players - teaming with guilds like GRAMMERPOLICE and Decimation. After qualifying for the first player vs player tournaments, we were sponsored to travel to live events, and eventually - after winning the European Championship - turn our hobby into a profession.
We devised new strategies, such as ‘weapon-switch/mind-numbing/fel-dom interrupt’, and also experimented with a shadow combo which had not been seen before in the competitive bracket.
The CGS (Championship Gaming Series) was an initiative from DirecTV to bring competitive video games to a mainstream television audience.
Due to the complexity of World of Warcraft - it wasn't spectator friendly - unless viewers had a deep understanding of the game. DirecTV's plans for mainstream TV did not materialize. The project came to a close in 2008.
Choices Lost (Working Title)
Genre: Existential thriller
Platform: PC, Mobile, Tablet
Engine: Clickteam Fusion 2.5
Choices Lost is an existential thriller that immerses players in the pivotal life moments of five characters - ultimately asking the question: are all of our lives interconnected?
EVENTUALLY. EVERYTHING. CONNECTS.
The story unravels from various perspectives - a woman on a flight from New York to London, a wheelchair-bound elderly man, a child waiting at a train station and a soon-to-be mother in rural Pakistan.
Do you believe in
The actions of the characters affect the lives of others, in both subtle and bold ways. The project is currently in pre-production, and there are likely to to be changes during the development in 2016.
Client: Infernum Productions
Type: Community Growth, Creative Strategy, Content Design
Role: Lead Community Manager
Infernum secured a new license in 2013 from Runewaker (Tapei, Taiwan). The team previously developed Runes of Magic, and similarly, Dragon’s Prophet was based on Runewaker’s own in-house technology. It placed players in an immersive world conceived of by dragon gods.
Much of the storytelling was rooted in the human-dragon relationship.
Announcement Trailer (57k Views) Role: Production, storyboard and cut
15 Seconds Pre-Roll Role: Producer
Our goal was to establish Dragon’s Prophet as a major brand in Europe, and one of the initial tasks was drafting a community concept that outlined goals and concrete actions. Shortly after the project began, I hired Svetlana Jaraud - MA. Multi-Platform Content Scriptwriting, who was formerly based in Toronto, Canada.
One of my team’s main areas of focus was how to inspire players and separate ourselves from other MMORPG offerings. We created a number of projects and community events, such as Dragon Spotlight, You & Your Dragon, Dragon Cosplay Summit, Timekeeper, Dragon Master FU, DragonCast and Battle for Auratia. We formed partnerships with organizations such as Enjin and Raptr.
I presented the title at an international press event with Runewaker CEO, Tony Tang, showcased the games to journalists at E3 and GDC, and joined regular Skype calls with the North American publishers, Sony Online Entertainment.
Dreamhack Summer 2011
Year: June 2011
Location: Jönköping, Sweden
In 2011, I was invited to be host at Dreamhack in Jönköping, Sweden. The event takes place over several days, and is known as being the world’s largest digital festival and LAN (local area network) party.
The gaming tournaments commenced in an auditorium, and were broadcast live – with over 1.5 million unique viewers watching the stream on TwitchTV. My role included introducing the matches, guiding the flow of the broadcast and interviewing players.
Perhaps the most memorable game was the final showdown between HuK (Canada) and Moon (South Korea). Starcraft 2 was at a peak of popularity and the auditorium was overflowing with fans and pulsating with energy.
Year: September 2015
In 2015, I volunteered to work with Emergent Berlin, attending planning meetings and assisting with the technical setup of project presentations at the festival, along with designing and distributing flyers.
The event was hosted in Gerichtstraße, Wedding over the course of two days, with the slogan ‘festival of sustainable urban culture’. The discussions and workshops were focused around social entrepreneurship and ecological change.
Year: September 2008- September 2009
Type: Community Growth, Creative Strategy, Content Design
Role: Host & Editor
In 2008 I was given the opportunity to join the Electronic Sports League as a host and editor with two other Brits – James Harding and Joe Miller. We relocated to Köln, Germany and were thrust in front of a camera together on our first day at the office. We were given a couple of initial tasks: to moderate the shows, determine the show content and help to promote the broadcasts. It was the ESL's first attempt to start producing regular video content for an English-speaking audience.
Intel Extreme Masters (CS 1.6 & WoW)
ESL Pro Series UK (CS:S, Trackmania)
WoW Wednesdays/WoWverload (weekly variety show)
In this phase of the internet era, YouTube was just beginning to gain popularity, but was not widespread. There were no accessible live-streaming services around such as Twitch, and viewers were required to download a desktop-plugin to access the content. We worked at a studio formerly used by GIGA TV for German cable television. If a tournament took place in Asia, Americas or the Middle-East, we would be live on-air for up to 10 hours, late at night or early in the morning, with only a handful of advertisement breaks.
10k+ concurrent viewers on weekly broadcasts
50k+ viewers on single broadcast recordings
1mill+ viewers on Intel Extreme Masters Finals (CeBit)
5mill+ hits on combined content
iFNG Introduction (2009)
The usual routine was to get up mid-morning, arrive in the office mid-afternoon, and broadcast late into the night. Most of the footage out of game was static – and my personal effort was primarily focused on improving production value – using a basic knowledge of image and video editing to prepare overlays, video clips and slides for the shows.
I regularly communicated with communities and journalists to increase the show’s exposure, embed the stream, promote highlights and gain coverage that served to boost the show ratings and establish our presence in the international eSports scene. From time-to-time I would draft press releases and phone general-interest media journalists.
Slash LFM Ident (2009)
Trackmania Weekly Roundup (2009)
CeBit ’08, ‘09
EPS Scandanavia (Stockholm)
EPS UK (London)
During the period I was working at ESL, our World of Warcraft show attracted a sponsorship deal with Blizzard Entertainment. The on-air dynamic (which bordered on feud, at times), with co-host James Harding, became a talking point and point of interest for the community, who watched often not only for the game content, but also for our escapades and relationship on camera.
Year: July 2015
Type: Creative Strategy
I met Scott Bolden after he gave an inspiring presentation at Talk & Play - a Berlin community meetup for game enthusiasts.
In Scott's workshop - participants use their voices in a spontaneous and creative ways.
I took an interest in the project and a few weeks later drafted a concept with a framework – with the view to enabling a ‘game’ or ‘play’ element to take place in a physical group environment. It has now been put into practice - and the groove sessions now feature a ‘game element’. The wider idea of creating an app playable on mobile devices still remains.
In 2014, I moved to Product Management at Infernum Productions, with the view to having more influence on product-based decisions. Hazard Ops was the latest license Infernum acquired in a deal with Ying Pei Games - Shanghai, China. The game was developed on Unreal 3 and is inspired by Gears of War.
Setup Internal Product Wiki
Skype calls with developers in Shanghai
Assistance with Monetization Policy
Concepts & Presentations
IP & Story development
Concept + Wireframes for Game Launcher
I initiated an internal product Wiki for the project, with the aim to make information from product management more freely available across departments. I designed a weekly product report, featuring statistics and the most recent updates from the project, and drafted a new IP development document and project concept to help with storytelling efforts. I pushed regularly to include controller support for Steam.
Knights & Snails
Type: Mobile game
Role: Game Improvement, First-user Experience, Web Design
In late 2014 I decided to join a three former colleagues to assist on Knights & Snails, a title for Android & iOS that combined strategy with elements of puzzle and RPG. My main focus upon joining was providing game feedback documents, launching a beta phase for testers, and encouraging the team to seek feedback from a wider sphere – not just friends and family.
In October I redesigned the website and started to initiate the early access phase. We managed to secure a few thousand downloads of the game – mostly from reddit - and obtain valuable feedback from fans of mobile games.
My efforts were focused on game improvement and first-user experience. One other area of focus was storytelling – encouraging the team to create personalities to accompany the various characters, with a view to enabling the Knights to also function as one of the sources of monetization.
I organized a studio session with voice actor, Kevin Luzzini, who has worked for television and film. He voiced a number of the characters. You can hear an uncut audio recording on Soundcloud. The project received positive early feedback (“Potential to be a genre defining classic” —Techstage).
Like many indie projects, the team was met with financial and time-related challenges, and upon release the title was awarded 3/5 stars on TouchArcade in 2015.
During 2009 I had the opportunity to work with Oliver Kohns PhD, a professor of philosophy at the University of Köln, during the application preparation for his project; ‘Aesthetic Configurations of the Political in the Postnational Age’. The project is now part of the ATTRACT program at the University of Luxembourg.
Over the course of 6 weeks, I visited Oliver at his home, helping with English speaking preparation for the presentation, learning about the project and talking about philosophy over coffee. We read extracts from English newspapers, discussed politics and Oliver’s passion for Immanual Kant.
Since the research was approved, Oliver's project has born two German publications; The Imaginary Dimensions of Politics (2013) and Perspectives of Political Aesthetics (2016).
mauergarten is an urban gardening project that sits on the border between Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding. It seeks to bring people from the different neighborhoods together, helping them to re-connect with nature, and provide families and children with an opportunity to play and connect with others. It is situated above the Gleimtunnel in Berlin’s Mauerpark – directly where part of the wall that divided East and West Berlin used to be.
The community has a wood construction workshop, compost heap, bee hives and a water tank. There are regular weekly gatherings. Since learning about the project, I have taken on a few basic tasks such as proof-reading English, attending meetings and designing flyers.
The garden has recently has been involved in discussions with local authorities concerning planning permissions for the luxury apartments under-development in the direct vicinity. It still remains unclear what will happen to the land - what the future of the garden will be - and who will benefit.
While still living in London in 2006, I worked for Anthony Perry, who was formerly a film producer at Pinewood in the 1950s and 60s and then a community organizer in Notting Hill in the 70s. London was going through a major upheaval during this time, and much of our work was helping Anthony – in his words – ‘put together the fragments of his life into some kind of order’.
Over the course of a year, I helped Anthony to organize his memoirs, assisting with computer and web related tasks and designing book covers. His writing included pieces about the Notting Hill Carnival – which he helped to grow with local residents, stories from his childhood, experiences in the British Army (where he was discharged after attempting to steal explosives), and memories from his psychoanalysis sessions with Dr. Wilfred Bion.
Footage of Notting Hill Carnival 1973
Interview with Evelyn Williams (2007)
Anthony’s wife was the artist Evelyn Williams, who died in 2012. Both Anthony and Evie were working on a daily basis well into their 80s, and it was a precious opportunity to work alongside two elderly people who were still full of life and energy.
On occasion I helped Anthony to archive images of some of Evie’s 1000+ paintings and sculptures, and also spoke to Evie at length about her life, art and her work.
Implementation of an online portfolio for my sister, Clara Rider, art student at Edinburgh College of Art. Wordpress template with modified design, typography, icons and social integration. Clara's work is focused around light, projection and sculpture.
Shortly after moving to Berlin in 2010, I joined Frogster Online Gaming AG. At the time, Runes of Magic was swiftly becoming the most popular free-to-play MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) in Europe, and beginning to establish a North American fanbase. The developers, Runewaker, were based in Tapei, Taiwan.
Role: Copywriting for trailer narration (1.9m+ views)
I fostered a positive and open communication approach to help improve relations between community and publisher. Much of the daily work was spent polishing English texts, organizing events and penning website news.
In 2011, I grew the English Facebook page from 18k to 100k+ fans (mostly organic).
Built capable volunteer team to assist with forum moderation and feedback reports. Our activity significantly boosted all key-performance indicators for English-speaking audience accross the board.
I presented new updates to the company at our yearly breifing at the Astor Film Lounge on Kurfurstendamn. Gameforge acquired a buyout of Frogster in 2011, in a deal valuing the company at €70 million euros on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
SORRY ABOUT THIS
Year: March 2016
Type: Web Design, Wordpress Integration
Status: Work in Progress
SORRY ABOUT THIS is a collection of memories, photos and thoughts from my friend, Anthony Perry, who decided to end his life in February 2016. Born in 1929 and formerly a film producer at Pinewood Studios in the 1950s, SORRY ABOUT THIS is a tribute to Anthony. Ultimately the website is a look back at the lessons we can learn from former generations on topics such as mortality, love and life.
WE PLAY TOO
Type: Video Production
In 2015, my friend and former colleague, Greg Latham, got in touch to ask if I could assist on his short documentary: WE PLAY TOO. The project formed part of Greg's masters thesis. It was produced in under one week - with the bulk of interview footage fimed over Skype.
Greg and I both arrived in Berlin in 2010. We found ourselves in free-to-play gaming during a time when it was just starting to gain popularity. Our experiences with the industry found us often trying to find 'meaning' in our work.
Jo is a former colleauge of ours from Frogster, who often said gender shouldn't be a relevant factor in games. Livia recently presented a TEDx talk titled 'The myths of gaming'. We collaborated together on a show in Köln in 2009.