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David Maxwell

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DavidMaxwell
David Maxwell
Biographical information


Nationality

American[1]

Career
Occupation
Companies
Star Wars work

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Other works of note

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Official site

3D GAME CREATION

David "Max" Maxwell is a video game developer, who was one of the mission builders of the LucasArts Entertainment Company video games Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: TIE Fighter. A Computer Science graduate of Columbia Basin College, he initially joined Lucasfilm Games as a tester, before joining Lawrence Holland's Peregrine Software. He has since taught game design courses at the College of Marin and Stanford University.

BiographyEdit

David Maxwell was born in San Francisco and spent his early years in San Rafael. He did his higher education at Columbia Basin College in Washington and graduated with a degree in Computer Science.[1]

Maxwell began working with Lucasfilm Games in 1991[2] as a technician in the Quality Assurance department. His early work with the company involved testing video games, including Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Defenders of Dynatron City and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe,[5] along with its expansion packs. Maxwell did not work exclusively for Lucasfilm, working also as a tester for Spectrum HoloByte around this time,[2] where he was involved with National Lampoon's Chess Maniac 5 Billion and 1.[3] When fellow Lucasfilm developers Lawrence Holland and Edward Kilham began working on the Star Wars flight simulator Star Wars: X-Wing early in the 1990s, Maxwell joined their team as a mission builder. Around this time he acquired the nickname "Max."[5]

Working with his longtime friend David Wessman, Maxwell was responsible for designing the missions in the game, and the two also served as the lead testers.[6] Maxwell and Wessman attempted to make the missions progress differently based on what the player did. To this end, certain events were triggered specifically by players attacking certain targets. Some missions also featured multiple endings. For example, failing in the mission "Protect a Disabled X-wing" resulted in the arrival of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Intrepid to capture a T-65 X-wing starfighter, while winning saw the starfighter rescued by Rebel CR90 corvettes. However, it was possible to do the mission in such a way that both would arrive simultaneously, resulting in a battle between the capital ships.[5]

MaxwellWessman

David Maxwell and David Wessman

As an avid simulator pilot, Maxwell tended to make difficult missions and had to learn to make them more approachable for less experienced players—this led him to be concerned that the game would prove too easy. One of his favorite missions, "Guard Vital Supply Depot," saw the player using Maxwell's starfighter of choice, the A-wing interceptor, to defend a Rebel weapons cache from attack by the Imperial EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate Retsub. When the mission proved too difficult, Maxwell implemented three versions of it, varying the difficulty by having the frigate start in different locations. The original version remained and, though many players considered it impossible, Maxwell maintained that drawing the frigate's fire to the player would allow the weapons cache to survive.[5]

Following the release of X-wing in February 1993, Maxwell worked with Wessman and Rusel DeMaria to write X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide. The book featured the story of the player character, Keyan Farlander, as written by DeMaria. Maxwell and Wessman contributed mission strategies and general tactics, along with most of the screenshots in the book.[5] He continued his involvement with X-wing, designing levels for the game's two expansion packs, Imperial Pursuit and Star Wars: X-wing Tour of Duty: B-wing.[2]

After Holland formed Peregrine Software in 1994, Maxwell joined him there in working on the sequel to X-wing, Star Wars: TIE Fighter. On TIE Fighter, Maxwell once more worked on designing the missions—which he still found too easy[7]—with David Wessman, and also joined Wessman, Holland and Kilham in developing the overall story for the game.[8] He later contributed missions to the game's expansion packs, Defender of the Empire and Enemies of the Empire, the latter only included on the Collector's CD-ROM edition of the game.[2] Maxwell also worked with Wessman once more in submitting strategies and screenshots for the subsequent TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide, which also featured the story of Maarek Stele by DeMaria.[7]

Following his work on TIE Fighter, Maxwell took some time off from the industry to become a full time single parent, before returning to education to refresh his skills. He studied digital, animation and authorization courses at the College of Marin in California and was asked to teach a class on game design.[1] Since 2006, Maxwell has worked as an Instructor in Game Design at the College of Marin and has also taught at Stanford University.[1] Maxwell also returned to the games industry, working as a designer for Stormfront Studios from 2007 to 2008,[2] and starting a new company, Level 13 Studio.[4]

Game creditsEdit

Star WarsEdit

TitleYearContributionPublisherFormat
Star Wars1991Quality AssuranceLucasfilm GamesNES
The Empire Strikes Back1991Quality AssuranceLucasfilm GamesNES
Star Wars: X-wing1993Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: X-wing Tour of Duty: Imperial Pursuit1993Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: X-wing Tour of Duty: B-wing1993Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: TIE Fighter1994Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire1994Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: X-wing (Collector's CD-ROM)1994Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: TIE Fighter (Collector's CD-ROM)1995Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: X-wing Collector Series1998Level DesignerLucasArtsPC
Star Wars: X-wing Trilogy2000Level DesignerLucasArtsPC

OtherEdit

TitleYearContributionPublisherFormat
The Secret of Monkey Island1990Quality AssuranceLucasfilm GamesAmiga
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe1991Quality AssuranceLucasfilm GamesPC
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe P-38 Tour of Duty1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsPC
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe P-80 Tour of Duty1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsPC
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe Do 335 Tour of Duty1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsPC
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe He 162 Tour of Duty1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsPC
Defenders of Dynatron City1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsNES
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis1992Quality AssuranceLucasArtsPC
National Lampoon's Chess Maniac 5 Billion and 11993Quality AssuranceSpectrum HoloBytePC
The Spiderwick Chronicles2008Game DesignerSierra EntertainmentNintendo DS
PC
Wii
Xbox 360
PlayStation 2
Adventures of Marshal Marshmallow2010Game DesignerLevel 13 StudioiPhone
iPod Touch
iPad

Star Wars bibliographyEdit

TitleYearFormatPublisher
X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide (with Rusel DeMaria and David Wessman)1993Strategy guidePrima Games
TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide (with Rusel DeMaria and David Wessman)1994Strategy guidePrima Games
TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire Campaign Disc: Official Secrets & Solutions (with Rusel DeMaria and David Wessman)1994Strategy guidePrima Games
X-wing Collector's CD-ROM: The Official Strategy Guide (with Rusel DeMaria and David Wessman)1995Strategy guidePrima Games
TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM: The Official Strategy Guide (with Rusel DeMaria and David Wessman)1995Strategy guidePrima Games

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 David Maxwell. David Maxwell Biography. theDavidMaxwell.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 David Maxwell. David Maxwell Resume. theDavidMaxwell.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 MobyGames favicon David Maxwell at the MobyGames website
  4. 4.0 4.1 David Maxwell. David Maxwell Game Creator. theDavidMaxwell.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 X-Wing: The Official Strategy Guide
  6. Star Wars: X-Wing
  7. 7.0 7.1 TIE Fighter: The Official Strategy Guide
  8. Star Wars: TIE Fighter

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