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 a 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 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.
Type: Product Management
Role: Associate Product Manager
Engine: Unreal 3
Genre: Third-person Action Shooter
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.
Runes of Magic
Year: September 2010 - February 2012
Type: Community Growth, Content Design
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.