Jean Simonet, Developer in Rockville, MD, United States
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Jean Simonet

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Developer

Location
Rockville, MD, United States
Toptal Member Since
April 8, 2019

Jean has been working professionally in games and interactive media for 15 years, initially in large studios and now as an independent developer. Jean is an expert Unity developer with many projects under his belt ranging from mobile games to VR/AR to physical devices. He is just as comfortable writing fancy shaders as he is writing AI algorithms or designing fun and engaging puzzle games.

Availability

Part-time

Preferred Environment

Adobe Photoshop, C++, C#, Unity, Windows

The most amazing...

...thing I've created is fully deformable planet engine. This required a really powerful architecture that combined CPU, compute, and geometry shaders.

Work Experience

Founder

2016 - PRESENT
Systemic Games, LLC
  • Developed a small puzzle game teaching kids electronics.
  • Built a Bluetooth-enabled playing die from scratch. This involved many disciplines, from electronics and board layout to firmware code in C++ to a mobile 3D app in Unity and C#.
  • Created several assets for the Unity Asset Store.
Technologies: Embedded Systems, iOS, C#, C++, Unity

Senior Architect and Research Engineer

2017 - 2018
Adobe
  • Led the design and development of specific engine components on an undisclosed research project.
Technologies: Shaders, Adobe Photoshop, C#, Unity

Contractor, Senior Game Developer

2017 - 2017
PluralSight
  • Developed a demo game called "Swords and Shovels" intended to introduce subscribers (PluralSight is a learning platform) to professional video game development in Unity.
Technologies: C#, Unity

Contractor, UX Developer

2016 - 2016
Oculus VR
  • Explored new types of UX for VR, including new types of touch interactions and voice recognition.
Technologies: Virtual Reality (VR), C#, Unity

Contractor, Programming

2016 - 2016
Elliptic Games
  • Developed a Prolog-like language and runtime for the game engine. The language is used to perform complex procedural generation and so also needed to support some quantitative predicates. This made the underlying search/generator system fairly complicated.
Technologies: Artificial Intelligence (AI), C++

Contractor, Programming

2015 - 2015
Skyborne Games
  • Developed technologies and gameplay components for a Puzzles-and-Dragons like mobile game.
Technologies: C#, Unity

Founder

2013 - 2015
Year Seventeen, LLC
  • Helped develop a game called Fireborne.
  • Wrote several assets for the Unity Asset Store, most notably the very popular P4Connect Perforce integration for Unity.
Technologies: C#, Unity

AI and System Programmer

2005 - 2012
Bethesda Game Studios
  • Contributed to the development of Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim and Fallout 4 as part of the AI and Systems group.
  • Designed and implemented a navmesh-based navigation system for the studio's large, constantly-streaming worlds. Between writing tools to generate the navmesh, dealing with characters moving through unloaded portions of the world, and animating movements, I handled all locomotion concerns.
  • Implemented the Critter system for the engine (the butterflies and fish in Skyrim, for instance). This was an effort to make a low-impact creature system that was entirely controlled by scripts, and that the artists could customize and place in the world at their leisure.
Technologies: Animation, Unity3D Pathfinding, Artificial Intelligence (AI), C++, Video Games

Programmer

2003 - 2005
Terminal Reality
  • Shipped my first game: BloodRayne 2. I also worked on an Aeon Flux game, based on the 2005 movie.
  • Contributed to several game systems, fairly quickly specializing in FX programming. In fact, I rewrote the company's particle engine for Aeon Flux and named it after a character I had lots of fun working on in the previous game: Ephemera.
Technologies: C++, Video Games

P4Connect

I wrote P4Connect back in 2013. (Back then, I called it UnityP4.) It has since been graciously taken over by Perforce themselves, and you can now download it for free!

GPU-Accelerated Terrain Deformation

https://youtu.be/LhkyYBFkMas
A short demonstration of the planetary deformation system I implemented for our game Fireborne. Most of the processing happens on the GPU.

Procedural Mountains

Another project related to my game Fireborne, procedural mountain generation was a very interesting exercise. Good art helps a ton, of course, but coming up with an algorithm that satisfied our requirements (creating mountain walls between areas while not looking repetitive) was really fun!

Planetary Fog System

https://youtu.be/9piL9Eeoz_g
A demonstration of the planetary fog system I put together for our game, Fireborne. The fog deforms semi-procedurally and uses custom shaders to achieve the end result. The atmosphere also uses its own shader to complement the effect.

Faceted Flight

Faceted Flight is a VR-first game designed by my friend Matt Scott of The Department of Silly Stuff. I helped him on a few different areas of the game, mainly creating a hard-edged, faceted-looking terrain system that would run on VR devices and prototyping multiplayer.

Fire Effect Shader

https://youtu.be/xq7U5TN72PU
A demo of the UV Remap shader I wrote for our game Fireborne. The main effect doesn’t use particles or animation sheets (the embers and glow ball do), just a custom pixel shader.

Low Poly Terrain

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/terrain/low-poly-terrain-46528
Low Poly Terrain is a simple-to-use asset for generating faceted, hard-edge, low-poly terrains in Unity.

FEATURES
• Import height and color maps from your favorite generation/painting tool.
• Full collision support.
• Achieve a properly faceted look that the default terrain system can't.
• Generate and manage LOD levels dynamically, keeping a low poly count.
• Low CPU and GPU usage, taking advantage of dynamic batching.
• Place trees or other objects procedurally on your terrains.
• Ideal for high-performance environments such as VR.
• Works with PBR or legacy/custom lighting models.
• Full source and shader code included.

Back Button

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/utilities/back-button-50892
Back Button adds support for Back and Next navigation buttons in Unity and adds a full-featured history and favorite system as well.

Fireborne

Fireborne is a god game with RTS elements set in a fantasy universe. Guide the Fireborne and her people, the Yin, in a journey to free their homeworlds from the gruesome lifeforms that have destroyed them.

I was able to create many cool systems for the game, a fully deformable planet, an automata-based water simulation, behavior graph AI for the characters, optimized pathfinding, and lots and lots of shaders for all the FX and unique visuals of the game.

Sci-fi Adventure Game

https://youtu.be/wY9ATbe_jO8
This was a project for a sci-fi adventure game, obviously inspired by Bladerunner. Although the project didn’t end up getting greenlit, it was a fun time working on an adventure-type game with interesting camera systems, scripted scenes, and a nonlinear story.

Pyroclastic Donut

https://youtu.be/zgT507jkzT8
A donut-shaped pyroclastic effect.

Most of what I did was modify the raycasting equations to work with a different shape than a sphere.

Unity BLE Plugin for Windows

https://github.com/jeansimonet/UnityBLEPluginForWindows
I implemented Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support in Unity on Windows platforms by developing a custom native add-on. This add-on seamlessly interfaces with the Win32 Bluetooth API, enabling efficient communication and data exchange between Unity applications and BLE-enabled devices.

Procedural Terrain Generation on Spherical Hex World

As part of the development of my game Fireborne, I created a fun procedural way to generate the world and populate it.
2002 - 2003

Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology - Atlanta, GA

1998 - 2001

Master of Science in Engineering Degree in Electronics and Computer Science

ENSEEIHT - Toulouse, France

Libraries/APIs

Standard Template Library (STL)

Tools

Visual Studio 2019, Photoshop CC, Perforce, Adobe Photoshop, Blender, Illustrator CC, Git

Frameworks

Unity, .NET

Platforms

Windows, Oculus Rift, iOS, MacOS

Languages

C#, Embedded C++, C++, JavaScript, Python

Storage

JSON

Paradigms

Data-driven Design

Other

Video Games, Unity3D Pathfinding, Navigation, Unity Shaders, Optimization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Shaders, Multithreading, Graphics, PCB Design, VR Platform, Embedded Systems, Virtual Reality (VR), Animation

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