Monday, August 29, 2016

Opening the Search for a CEO, Senior Producer / Game Director, Senior Multiplayer Programmer at Keen Software House

Today I'm excited to tell you about several new things in this post:

- Keen Software House is scaling up
- My role is shifting, and I will focus primarily on research in GoodAI
- We're searching for a CEO for Keen Software House
- We're searching for a Senior Producer for Space Engineers
- We've announced a 1 million czk / $40k USD internal multiplayer contest
- We're searching for a Senior Multiplayer Programmer

Several months ago, I wrote a blog post explaining that in the last 1-2 years we have transitioned from an indie studio of 5 people to one of 50+. We’re growing fast, and we’ve experienced some challenges (like any expanding business does). We’re solving this by constantly improving our organizational and management processes, and by finding strong leaders for each project.

At that time I wrote that post, we were working to find the right person to lead Medieval Engineers - to help us scale up and keep bringing you quality, awesome, fun, polished games with big features. Not long after that, we announced a new producer for Medieval Engineers: Tim Toxopeus, who took the reins for the game and brought it back to a state where, in just a few short weeks, we’ll be ready to re-release it - this time with Planets, area ownership, fixed aiming, improved character animations, stabilized first person camera, as well as several unannounced features that you’ll learn about in our upcoming weekly developer diaries. The future of Medieval Engineers is bright, and in time will include mechanical blocks, farming, and more.

Today I have more news for you. There is an incredible amount of potential in our teams, our VRAGE engine, and our games at Keen Software House, and it’s time to give them what they deserve: superstar leaders who can raise Keen Software House games to their full potential and go above and beyond for our community.

In order to do that, I have decided to open the search for:

CEO (Chief Executive Officer) for Keen Software House, who will:
  • Continue to fulfill my creative vision and the vision of our community
  • Be able to deliver Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers at the same or better quality than I was since we started it up until mid-2015, when I started to divide my attention between KSH and GoodAI. Hiring someone able to dedicate 100% of their time to these games will raise them to their full potential.
  • Define and sustain the Keen Software House company culture

Senior Producer / Game Director for Space Engineers, who will finish the game and continue developing the Engineers franchise
  • This will allow Petr Minarik, current producer for Space Engineers and our most senior programmer on the team, to focus on his strengths as programmer who can solve the greatest technical challenges in our games
  • We are very thankful to Petr, who agreed to lead the Space Engineers game until we found a dedicated producer. Now it’s time for him to focus his talents less on the business and team management side of things, and more on programming.

Senior Producers / Game Directors for new projects

Senior Multiplayer Programmer, who will bring the multiplayer experience in our games to a new level.
  • Our games have very dynamic, destructible and large environments, populated with a vast number of objects that can change position and shape very frequently and suddenly. Players can build and destroy ships, stations, planets, asteroids, and more. Each of these changes leads to long computations in game mechanics and physics sub-systems. 
  • The Senior Multiplayer Programmer will design and implement a multiplayer and parallelization system that is capable of handling this level of complexity. It’s essential that we provide a smooth game play experience at all times, not allowing players to observe inconsistencies, bugs, deaths due to incorrect multiplayer synchronization, or the game (or game world) being non-responsive, etc.. This is definitely not a simple job. No game has had to solve this before, meaning that we’re in uncharted territory. 
  • However, despite the difficulty of the problem, we definitely take it seriously. In addition to searching for experienced multiplayer programmers to join our team, on Monday previous week we launched an internal competition in at Keen Software house: the group or individual on our team delivering the best multiplayer in under 3 months will receive a 1 million CZK (= $40,000 USD) bonus from me. At the moment, we have two teams competing: 
    1. Petr Minarik + Jan Hlousek + Sandra Lenardova 
    2. Jan Nekvapil + Michal Zak + the Medieval Engineers team
Improving our management structure means that we can scale up in a serious way - the studio can now be fully run by the game teams, rather than by me directly. 

After we find the CEO and producers, I will transition to the role of Chairman. This means I will stand at the head of the company to preserve the original vision and spirit of Keen Software House. However, most of my time will be dedicated to research and development of general AI and my role as CEO/CTO of GoodAI. 

At GoodAI, we have reached very promising research milestones. We are going to launch the AI Roadmap Institute, and we are inventing neural architectures for growing topologies. All of these things mean that for me, now is the right time to focus 100% on GoodAI. I cannot postpone this. My dedication to general AI research will no longer allow me to directly manage our games, or to give Keen Software house the amount of attention it deserves. For these reasons, I am opening the search for more leaders for Keen Software House.

While I know that handing over the management of Keen Software House to a new CEO is a significant change, I am confident that with strong leadership, our Keen Software House team will bring you more than you ever expected or even thought possible. We will continue the Engineers franchise and expand our portfolio to keep delivering to our players.

Still not sure about what we can do with the right leaders? ;-) 

Just look at what we managed in the past year alone in Space Engineers! Since releasing Planets last November, we have focused on making constant improvements to the game. This includes performance optimizations and bugfixes, as well as smaller additions like the new character animation system. In the near future we will deliver realistic sounds, block redesign, a new render engine (better looking and optimized directly for our games), as well as more improvements that are always being worked on. 

What can we offer the potential CEO or Senior Producer / Game Director that joins us?

Our new colleague will be joining a strong studio with lots of potential to grow. Keen Software House invented the Engineering genre in games, and we continue to define the 3D space environment genre as a whole. Just look at the number of recently released games that are inspired by Space Engineers!

Space Engineers August 2016

Our new team leaders will receive serious compensation, bonuses, and stock options / a share in the company based on how Keen is performing, and have the potential to earn millions. We want to focus on having a very elite and senior team that is directly involved and contributing to the success of our games, and is thus compensated very well. This means that even programmers, artists, and game designers can make big money after delivering the results our community wants and deserves.

I am looking forward to finding and welcoming our new colleagues, who will share our passion and dedication.

Thanks for reading! And many thanks to the Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers players out there - we’re grateful for your patience and especially for your feedback. We definitely can’t make these games without you.

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder of Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, and Founder of GoodAI

Space Engineers on Facebook:
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Medieval Engineers on Facebook:
Medieval Engineers on Twitter:


  1. Seeing how we're talking about original visions and stuff... any Chance of Station Voxel Support returning as a World Option to reintroduce the almost three year old original playstyle of Station Blocks? Because right now that Option no longer exists, forcing Station Voxel Support upon the player. And that Plays havoc with the Engineering-aspect of the game, no pun intended.

    Commander Rotal.

    1. That's almost like asking an unborn chick inside an egg if she/he want to be a farm chicken.

      Way too soon to ask these questions. Someone has to pick up this job position first. Cool your jets.

  2. Looks like you listened to my email I sent you. Thanks for actually listening to our LONG conversation. seems it's better to go to you than Xoc

  3. Keen CEO ? That's like the dream job.

  4. cool, i hope you find the poeple needed

  5. Wish you and GoodAI the best Marek, and looking forward following you guys in the years to come. Also, very excited to see where Keen's engineering games goes from here. Best of luck!

    p.s. I'm wondering if there may be room on Keen's growing team for a novice, aspiring, game designer like me. I credit my ambition to join the game industry to you guys, learning to mod Space Engineers is what pushed me to finally consider game developement as a realistic possibility. Thank you for that, and again, best wishes in your transition.

  6. I do hope they get multiplayer sorted out, not just for the sake of multiplayer but to get out of this stalemate they found themselves in. Being caught up in this multiplayer craze has really bogged down further development of SE.

    Things need to start moving forward again.

  7. Please consider a Vulkan renderer and a native Linux compile for the release of Space Engineers! From what I found out, some of your programmers have been investigating the possibilities of swapping and porting libraries used by SE to Linux, and it turns out it wouldn't be that hard. As for Vulkan - just looking around the web (especially YouTube), you can already see the sizeable performance benefits Vulkan can give to games that implement it, and it makes them easy to port to different platforms. A lot of it is open source, meaning that it will receive new features faster than DirectX and will likely perform better on future hardware as well. I remember reading a post by one of your programmers, stating that renderers can be swapped relatively easily, in which case including a Vulkan renderer makes even more sense.

    As always, great work with what you've achieved so far - you, your teams, and the company as a whole. I applaud the progress and wish you the best for the future! :)