When I started this blog, I shared with my brother that Beamdog was going to be one of my first interviews. His reaction tied into why we need to showcase Alberta Tech. You see… Beamdog is a gaming company, and my brother is a gamer, who just happens to own several of their games. My brother had no idea that he works just across the river from Beamdog’s Edmonton studio.
It was a pleasure to interview Beamdog’s CEO and co-founder, Trent Oster, and learn more about this great Edmonton success story. Trent started designing games back in the ‘90s on a bet. He and a few friends decided that if they could make a game by the end of the summer, he might just have a shot as a game developer By the end of the summer, Trent had a product in hand and this set his career trajectory towards gaming. Trent admits he learned a lot from building that first game including how to not use 100% of the memory on the machine but the key was it worked.
Trent played an important role in launching BioWare (another gaming company that also got its start here in Edmonton) and stayed with them until 2009 when he and Cam Tofer set up Beamdog. Their company has taken an interesting approach, focusing on legacy products from the ‘90s like Baldur’s Gate, and updating them to today’s standards for graphics and speed and letting them run across platforms. On Apple? Google? Or looking to game on your machine? Any of the above can be used.
Interested in trying something new? Their team launched Axis & Allies 1942 Online with Hasbro last year. And keep an eye out for something new from Beamdog in the future as they have some in-house development taking place that sounds pretty exciting.
Beamdog’s team of 60 people is focused on creating an amazing player experience. Their games are elegant, simple, and well-crafted. They want to keep in touch with their customers and create something interesting—an approach that is working for them. Their products can be found in homes across the globe with downloads from all but one country in the world. Some games are available in 19 languages (and were translated with help by fans).
Why did Trent and his team choose Edmonton and Alberta? Beyond already being in Alberta and having a great network, Edmonton is home to the University of Alberta and boasts graduates from there and another world-class institution, the University of Calgary. Both universities have strong computer science programs that provide a great pool of talent from which to hire. We are also lucky to have the Alberta University of the Arts, who produce quality art graduates which is key to great game design. The tech vibe in Edmonton was also a big draw as there is a great deal of diversity here from gaming to biotech to AI that allow you to learn and grow.
Best thing I learned about Beamdog and Trent? Beyond their approach to work, I think it might be that Trent also is a blacksmith in his spare time.
Want to learn more? Tune into my full interview with Trent Oster:
And check out Beamdog’s site: www.beamdog.com/
Interested in career opportunities at Beamdog?