John-Paul May, Developer in Madison, AL, United States
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John-Paul May

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Software Developer

Madison, AL, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 12, 2017

John-Paul is a leader in app, cloud, and 3D engineering. With broad research, streaming, gaming, and social experience, he's frequently called on to solve or try to solve completely novel problems. He's created major successes and industry firsts for clients.



Preferred Environment

iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), tvOS, mmp, Realtime, Roku, 3D, Streaming

The most amazing...

...of my many successes for clients is Fingercoaster, an enormous money maker and the most complex existing VR/AR system.

Work Experience

Senior Programmer

2022 - 2023
Bentkey Services, LLC
  • Developed an iOS, tvOS, and Unity 3D generalist senior programmer, top to bottom. The creation and launch of this US streaming service aimed at kids. It launched at #1 in kid's categories in all app stores, with 1500 reviews and 4.8 stars on Apple.
  • Created top-to-bottom tools and data-driven systems using intake, feed, and analytics.
  • Worked on a multi-month research project into novel 3D approaches to tvOS UI, from scene kits to bipedal animation to generative meshes in tvOS devices. This was unrelated to the streaming service.
  • Collaborated on a multi-month research project into custom macOS apps as intake and workflow tools for the media corporation, unrelated to the streaming service project.
Technologies: Swift, iOS, Amazon Web Services (AWS), tvOS

Senior Engineer and Architect

2021 - 2021
  • Addressed performance and latency times on the whole stack as the senior engineer with this huge user-base commercial app.
  • Worked with the bitwise/GitLab production stack in the typical scrum process.
  • Worked with both the rest and realtime client-server systems of both consumer and B2B platforms.
Technologies: iOS, Swift, SwiftUI, AWS Amplify

Senior Architect

2021 - 2021
Discovery Channel | Globant
  • Served as a senior team architect for the app and systems for this major media provider.
  • Focused on time to market with the alpha app, resolving ongoing issues.
  • Managed the team under the CTO, resolving more complex large-project issues, particularly automated testing and custom automation.
Technologies: Roku, Node.js

Product Lead | iOS, Android, Firebase

2021 - 2021
  • Architected and developed version two of these highly commercially successful apps.
  • Engineered the iOS, Android, Firebase, and AWS/Node.js real-time cloud-side for version two of these apps, which combine social media and camera/image manipulation tech.
  • Included shader image manipulation, extensive use of camera technology on the two platforms, and typical real-time scaled social media type feed and features.
Technologies: iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Firebase, Architecture, Social APIs, Realtime, Database Design

Product Lead | Unity3D, Cloud

2020 - 2021
Learning Design Network
  • Engineered an extremely complex Unity-based multi-user game-like business training platform, fully incorporating video chat. For this, a long-established business training company is moving online.
  • Engineered the scratch-built real-time multiuser game server (Photon, AWS, Node.js, Sockets, MySQL, Express). Arranged the complex real-time telemetry WWW admin side, including the dynamic reach-in control of all online apps in real-time.
  • Executed detailed real-time Unity desktop apps from automated networked NPCs to networking to gameplay layers, architecture to engineering.
  • Developed perhaps the most complex existing Agora video chat application, with highly dynamic rooms and user transport, working closely with Agora.
  • Sourced, hired, and managed technical specialists. Developed the testing regime and created the test department. Sourced, employed, and managed a large real-time multiuser test team. Discovered, hired, and supervised the test lead.
Technologies: Game Development, Realtime, Node.js, Agora

iOS Research Engineer

2020 - 2020
W.L. Gore Research Division
  • Worked with the materials science research team, engineered the low-level bench app for their needs.
  • Used the Greenfield approach to this fascinating small project in the materials science field.
  • Worked on total project from architecture to basic idea discovery to daily project explorations.
Technologies: Videos, Low-level Programming, iOS, Swift

iOS Social Media Project Lead

2019 - 2020
  • Served as the iOS/product lead for, a highly novel, audio-oriented social media startup.
  • Engineered various cloud-side services, such as a real-time audio generation service (Firebase/AWS/Node.js/Express.js/SQL).
  • Executed the extremely interactive, real-time, "perfectionist" apps.
  • Invented and executed several key gamification, highly novel social features, and other key IPs.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, iOS, Firebase

Lead Unity | iOS Researcher

2018 - 2019
A Major Media Group
  • Utilized my in-depth knowledge of video streaming, low-level iOS, mesh generation, shader engineering, technical Unity, Metal/OpenGL, streaming, HLS, low-level plugins to rendering engines, VR/AR, and the rendering pipeline.
  • Worked directly with the cutting-edge math group of a major global media and content company.
  • Led this breakthrough 3D/networking research project on the Unity/iOS side.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Networks, HTC Vive, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Unity3D, Streaming, Low-level Programming, 3D, iOS, Unity

Product Lead | Head of Research

2013 - 2019
  • Created hugely successful, technically novel attraction products, which are the core of Smaaash's sports-oriented urban theme parks.
  • Developed attractions for the world's biggest sports figures, such as Ronaldo and Sachin Tendulkar.
  • Invented and engineered the single highest money-making Unity VR product in existence—the Fingercoaster.
  • Led research in bleeding-edge Unity generative mesh, the most novel VR real-time rendering, real-time multiuser XR, networked competitive NPCs, and motion control machinery.
  • Imagineered with a broad range of mesh-level generative systems, robotics, image processing, sensors, stadium apps, motion capture, animation, and filmmaking.
  • Led projects that resulted in spectacular ticket sales, installation sales, and investments key to the organization's global expansion.
  • Staffed and managed leading figures in Unity, technical fields, 3D and 2D art departments, and global tech lead on major theme park openings. Oversaw new factory lines.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, Game Design, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Unity3D, Game Engine Programming, Robotics, Photon Unity Networking (PUN), Unity, Unity3D Pathfinding, Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Product Lead | CTO

2017 - 2018
  • Led programming, staffing, and research for this novel video-oriented social media project for a California VC team.
  • Achieved the game-like, physics-based interface of the project in native low-level iOS and Android.
  • Crafted the top-to-bottom architecture, built a five-person team, and engineered for this video-focused social media startup.
  • Implemented the security and engineering of an in-house USD-based app currency system (AWS, Node.js, SQL, and Firebase).
  • Handled many typical systems of a modern social project—provisioning, messaging, Firebase, third-party testing companies, Algolia, a Neo4j-based data science team, and so on.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Product Management, Unity3D, Animation, Physics, BaaS, Cloud, Data Science, Currency Exchange, iOS, Firebase

Cloud Engineer | iOS Engineer

2016 - 2017
Service Fusion
  • Implemented the in-house real-time device-cloud system for this mapping and scheduling-oriented, high-volume, white-label app system. Included a custom CFRD-like system on AWS.
  • Engineered the real-time iOS libraries and apps—emphasis on threading, instantaneous response, performance programming, detailed UX, for this mapping, calendar, and scheduling oriented app system.
  • Wrangled all day-to-day app/server issues such as tracking, testing, provisioning, app store, transactions, social, analytics, and pipeline.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, MySQL, Networks, Architecture, Database Design, Realtime, SQL, Android, iOS, Mapping

Game Lead | Unity, Cloud

2012 - 2016
Defy Media (Viacom), LA
  • Created the enormously financially successful, hit celebrity game for kids: Super Head Esploder X, for the top YouTube celebrities of the day. It is one of the fastest-ever apps in the top ten.
  • Invented highly successful additional minor features. For example, a crowdfunding campaign, which generated $258,000 in a few weeks, and an in-app-purchase idea, which cost $3,000 to produce and generated low six figures in two weekends.
  • Organized the Unity through cloud architecture for the social features of the huge user base.
  • Helped streamline Unity development, multiplayer networking, and in-app purchase systems for the corporation's stable of game development.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, Architecture, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Game Design, Games, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Unity3D, Google Play Store, Unity, App Store


2009 - 2016
SMHK, Ltd.
  • Engineered for many brands with major successes for 15+ years with clients based in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Focused only on high-value technical challenges. For example, secure transaction projects, "maker" technology for games, and mesh generation research.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Networks, Architecture, Product Engineering, Game Design, Database Design, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Cloud, iOS

Cloud Architect | App Engineer

2005 - 2016
Sourcetop, NY
  • Handled all the app engineering for this 20-person East Coast web development team.
  • Worked with clients like BRANY for a major pharmaceutical company and a streaming reviews startup for Android and iOS.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Unity3D, Firebase, PubNub, Cloud, Android, iOS

App Engineer

2009 - 2015
360Design, NY
  • Handled all app engineering for this quality downtown design studio.
  • Worked on projects such as the Metrie AR catalog app; a Tylko-like AR furniture app.
Technologies: Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Cloud, Android, iOS

CTO | Lead Programmer

2011 - 2012
de Clermont-Tonnerre, Belgium
  • Created, in a few months, a social dot-com for a European startup associated with high-profile investors.
  • Worked on iOS and Android engineering, architecture, and staffing.
  • Developed a novel prototyping framework which slashed costs.
Technologies: C#, Swift, Apps, Social APIs, MySQL, Architecture, Product Engineering, Database Design, Realtime, Product Management, BaaS, iOS, Android

CTO, Online Transactions and Gaming

1997 - 2009
InterSoftware Ltd, HK
  • Created one of the first in-browser software sets for online casinos. Highly successful for a number of gaming properties in Asia and Europe with a number of six-figure sales.
  • Built the PSB server for online blackjack and poker, an early server (C++) for real-time, secure, multiplayer, card-gaming. Three installations with some 20 million hands played and were bought out.
  • Operated a successful white-label prepaid debit card company. it provided software services for a number of card companies in Canada and Europe.
  • Developed software services for a number of digital currencies such as bank card interoperability and secure provisioning.
Technologies: AWS Mobile Hub, C#, Swift, Apps, MySQL, API Development, Networks, Architecture, Game Design, Database Design, Games, Realtime, Game Technology Development, Product Management, Unity3D, Gaming, Financials Streaming Service
Developed a top-to-bottom iOS, tvOS, and Unity 3D generalist senior programmer. The creation and launch of this US streaming service aimed at kids. It launched at #1 in kid's categories in all app stores, with 1500 reviews and 4.8 stars on Apple.


I created Fingercoaster for Smaaash Entertainment, Asia—by far the world's most successful VR ride.

It's the most complex existing VR product. A rack of PCs builds worlds in real-time, driving novel VR-motion-platform software and hardware. Riders "draw their own world" on kiosks and then pay to ride a multi-user, VR-motion experience.

A huge industry hit, it immediately achieved seven figures in machine sales. It is by far the highest ticket sales VR attraction. It often outsells competitors (such as Cruden, Simuline, etc.) by 10-to-1 in side-by-side sites.

Super Head-Esploder X for Viacom
An enormous financial success and a perfectly executed "retro" kid's game for the world's number one YouTube celebrities of the day. Celebrity apps are a problematic field: the direct competitor's app, which was created in response, ultimately failed.

Just the whacky promotional video for Head Esploder had around 13 million views in a few weeks—it is by far the most successful promo video ever for a digital product for that organization.

As an experienced comedy and advertising writer, I also wrote many comedy bits between the celebrities in the app!

Discovery Channel

During a staffing shortage, I was pleased to step in as an instant-emergency senior architect for Discovery Channel for some months. I worked on the Roku app, animation tech, and, in particular, a number of tools relating to testing automation.

Learning Design Network Training Platform

I led this major business training platform for a traditional pen-and-paper training company. I worked with real-time architecture (AWS, Node.js, Agora stack), game-like 3D desktop apps, and a complex move-between-rooms trainer/participant video chat concept.

Mobeus Desktop Video Research Project
I was pleased to be the first research programmer for the unusual project, taking it to beta. It combines real-time GPU processing of the user's desktop with live, completely flexible multi-room video chat and a highly novel interface. Additionally, I "just" created the real-time cloud system (AWS serverless services, Node.js, etc.) to allow for the flexible multi-room video system.


My own company made the smash indie hit called PadRacer. It made six figures in a few months and touched number one in a couple of countries.

It was the 1st phone-to-pad networking game. This is an excellent example of how being the 1st with new technology can lead to commercial success.

It received much coverage from Mashable, Wired, and conventional news outlets worldwide. It is an excellent example of combining a gimmick with a difficult new technology. iOS device-to-device real-time networking is simple now but was utterly scratch-written UDP programming at the time.


I created the first good finger-to-mesh system. Starting with a line drawing, it creates a 3D mesh and other assets needed for racetracks for car racing games. The toolset was sold to several studios—an example of financial success by executing a technology first. Spline-based Loft systems are now commonplace in 3D technical software.


While with Star Sports Asia and developing their VR theme park chains in Asia and the Middle East, we worked with several major global sports brands. For example, for the Ronaldo group, I created a number of "Imagineering"-like installations and simulators such as Goalstopper.

ProtocolBuilder and Other Dot-coms
As an example of general app/cloud development, I built for the pharma industry. Other typical app-cloud projects include (web architecture, apps, staffing), (AR-catalog apps), and Skywall (a European social startup).


Objective-C, Swift, C#, Swift 5, JavaScript, SQL, Kotlin


Unity, .NET, Core Data, Unity3D, Realtime, UIKit, Photon Unity Networking (PUN), SwiftUI


Core Animation, Sockets, API Development, Social APIs, CocoaPods, PubNub, Node.js, AWS Amplify


Agora, Xcode, AWS Mobile Hub, Git, GitHub


Database Design, Mobile Development, Agile, Data Science, Model View Viewmodel (MVVM)


iOS, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Firebase, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), tvOS, MacOS




Freelancing, In-app Purchases, Product Engineering, Gaming, Physics, 3D, Streaming, Apps, Social Media Apps, AR Foundation, Augmented Reality (AR), APIs, Transactions, Mesh Development, Architecture, Networks, Game Technology Development, BaaS, Product Management, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), HTC Vive, Google Play Store, Game Design, Mobile UI, Mobile UX, Software Architecture, Roku, WebSockets, eCommerce, Mobile Architecture, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Technical Leadership, Mobile Apps, .NET MAUI, 3D Math, Full-stack, Cloud, App Store, Game Engine Programming, Financials, Currency Exchange, Animation, Low-level Programming, Game Development, Videos, Mapping, Mechanical Engineering, Image Analytics, Robotics, mmp, Networking, GPU Computing, Video Streaming, Unity3D Pathfinding, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Video & Audio Processing

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