Rachel Rutherford team-teaches game development classes with former Microsoft software developer Benjamin Ellinger. While Ellinger focuses on the technical and design aspects of game development, Rutherford focuses on the team and producing aspects. Together, this immerses student teams in leading-edge game development practices.
Rutherford has a B.A. in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley, and studied Piano and Dance for three years at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. She is an ensemble theater director who has studied and directed theater in Seattle, Poland, Wales, Russia, and Denmark, and has assistant-directed at the Seattle Opera, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Intiman Theatre (with Tony-award winning director Bartlett Sher), and the Grotowski-lineage physical theatre company, Akropolis Performance Lab. She also taught Acting, Movement, and Shakespeare through Bellevue College’s Continuing Education department for seven years.
Rutherford is a professional software and game creator. She has worked at Xerox PARC, Apple Computer, ImMIX, and Microsoft Game Studios, primarily as a program manager. She has published game titles on the PC, web, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Surface, as well as in traditional media such as card, board, magnet, and spinner games. She worked for eight years in Microsoft Game Studios, where she was a program manager in the Kids Games group, the Action/Arcade/Strategy group, the Sports Games Studio, and the Casual Games Group’s first-party studio, Carbonated Games. For two of those years she was stationed in Sydney, Australia, where she worked for Microsoft with Australian game companies.
Rutherford’s professional focus is on teams as chaotic systems. She studies how to increase the acceleration rate of breakthroughs and phase shifts in teams. She is a Certified Associate Core Director of the McCarthy Core Protocols system for high-performance teams, and was in fact one of the early members of McCarthy Technologies, co-leading Software Development Bootcamps and teaching the Core Protocol system for 12 years. She also offers Core Protocol trainings for local CEOs, venture capitalists, leadership teams, game teams, and charitable organizations.
“What I love about DigiPen students is their integrity and passion,” Rutherford says. “The caliber and dedication of DigiPen’s game developers must be experienced to be believed. DigiPen is the top game college in the world. Outwardly plain, consisting mostly of computer labs, it is full of haggard luminous programmers, glorious emergent games, and a monastic single-mindedness. It is a conservatory training, a special forces one; elite, grueling, punishing, virtuosic, and culminating in a graduate-level math/physics/computer science education with four year-long completed games.
“I believe that inside this rigorous game programmer training, inside game development itself, a new kind of artist is being born, and with it a new kind of art. We are not training these game developers for the industry that exists. We are training them for the one that they will create.”
Game and Product Credits
- Firefly, a demo by Microsoft, deployed on Microsoft Surface
- Hop-It!, a web game by Microsoft, on msngames.com
- Solitaire In Motion, a web game by Microsoft, on msngames.com
- You Know It! Trivia 2, a web game by Microsoft, on msngames.com
- Mythbots, the prototype of an Xbox 360 game by Microsoft
- NHL Rivals 2004, an Xbox game by Microsoft, shipped retail
- NBA Live 2003, an Xbox game by Microsoft, shipped retail
- Reach For The Stars II, the prototype of a PC game, by Microsoft
- Roller Hockey, the prototype of a PC game, by Microsoft
- Horrorland and Say Cheese And Die, prototypes of two PC games, based on the Goosebumps book series, by Microsoft
- Mountain, River, Wonderland, Factory, and two other kids’ adventure game prototypes, by Microsoft
- Over 100 children’s educational games in traditional media (card games, board games, magnet games, and spinner games) by Intelligy
- Workspaces, a demo for the Macintosh IIcx, by Apple
- Hummingbird, a demo for the Macintosh IIcx, by Apple
- The VideoCube, an $80,000 high-end realtime Mac-based video-editing system, by ImMIX