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Mike Z

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Mike Zaimont
Mike-z-qa
Information
Gender: Male
Age: 33
Birthday: June 28, 1981

Mike Zaimont, better known as “Mike Z”, is the lead design director and a programmer at Lab Zero Games. He and Alex Ahad, together with Reverge Labs, developed the captivating and forward-minded 2D fighting game Skullgirls.

Studies

Mike Z took computer science in high school, majored in it in college, and got his start in game development the same way many people did back before Digipen and game-focused education programs existed: as a tester. The job gave him much experience with the development process, as well as getting to know the dev team, all while being slightly underpaid and vastly overworked but mostly enjoying it.

Career

Mike's game development career began when his parents bought him an Amiga as a bribe to stop him from doing dangerous things on his dirt bike. Eventually this led to a 6-year tenure as programmer/combat designer at Pandemic Studios. Highlights of this time at Pandemic include designing and scripting all of the Jedi and heroes for Star Wars Battlefront II, creating a groundbreaking animation system for next-gen games, and leading a triage team for the combat in Lord of the Rings: Conquest. An EVO tournament champion, his passion for fighting games led to several extracurricular opportunities, including helping balance BlazBlue: Continuum Shift and improving Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for PS3/360, ultimately culminating in the creation of Skullgirls. In 2009, Zaimont was programming his own fan-made fighter when a friend suggested he meet with Ahad. The two found that Ahad’s designs and Zaimont’s engine complemented each other, and that by working together, they could focus on their individual strengths.

Design

  • Star Wars Battlefront II - programmer/combat designer (2003 – 2009)
  • Skullgirls - Project Lead and Designer (2012)

Trivia

  • Mike Z is a fighting game champion, and one of the best BlazBlue players in the country. He attends the Evolution Fighting Game (EVO) Tournament every year and has participated in Japan's Super Battle Opera.
  • When Cerebella connects with her Lock n' Load special move, there's a .02% chance of a random, poorly-drawn cat popping out of nowhere and skittering across the stage. As detailed on the main page, an animator sketched a cat in one frame but forgot to take it out, and Mike Z said he wanted to keep it in as part of an Easter egg. The rest of the dev team agreed - but only if Mike animated it himself.

External links

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