Kuma War

You've seen it on the news, now play it! Kuma War lets you recreate some of the toughest fighting from the War on Terror. Play actual military events: Hunt for al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan, take down Uday and Qusay Hussein in Iraq, and more. Wherever the war takes our forces, Kuma War puts you there.

Kuma War: The War on Terror
Platform PC CD-ROM
Publisher Kuma Reality Games
Released 2004
Language C++, Perl
Credited Role Tools Programmer
Kuma War (Online Service)
Platform PC Downloadable / Subscription
Publisher Kuma Reality Games
Released 2004-2005
Language C++, PHP, Java
Credited Role Technical Support Manager, Programmer

Kuma War was an interesting title to work on, especially coming from a background in girls' games and kids games. It was all about taking real-life news events and building them into playable levels in a matter of weeks, including as much real-life verified information as possible (and making best guesses about the rest). It was sold as a service, where for a monthly subscription the user would get access to all the past missions as well as new missions every few weeks. More than just a game, Kuma War provided real insight into the events that shaped it, including expert military analysis by high-up generals as well as the very people on the front lines who lived the missions that Kuma War brought to your home.

When I started at Kuma Reality Games, I was managing the technical support staff, which included e-mail support, phone, forums, and live chat. I would also help the marketing department with various web tasks, including PHP work and data analysis, so they could track the performance of promotions, advertising, etc. I also worked on the maintaining the Java billing software, which performed the credit card transactions for all the game's subscribers.

As knowledge of my programming skill became better known, I started to do some work on the actual game. Though most of the development was done via external companies, there was still plenty to do in-house. The first feature I added was voice chat. I integrated the GameSpy Voice library into the game, allowing players to communicate when playing multiplayer. I also added gameplay features in later missions, including new vehicles and vehicle-mounted weapons. I also wrote GUI-based software in Perl for managing dedicated servers, which I used to manage a collection of company-run dedicated servers as well as distributed to users.

Eventually, Kuma released a CD compilation of the first set of missions, which also included some exclusive content. I worked on the installation system and tools for this, and wrote a system that allowed the company to generate CD keys in groups assigned to individual retailers, which could then track the performance of the retail game's sales at each different retailer in real time.

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