By: Javier Navarro Photo courtesy of the North Texas Daily Denton Live Fall-Winter 2015
In the bowels of a historic building that used to protect the assets of the people and businesses that founded this city is a room now filled with comic book action figures, high-end tower computers and four guys working like mad men on their projects.
In the middle of this frenetic activity is a man sporting a graying beard and dark circles under his eyes from too many sleepless nights working on his latest project. But this is what Mike Christian wanted to do. Ever since he was 14, Mike knew developing video games was his destiny.
“That was during a time where arcades were out, and it blew my mind,” Mike said.
Mike’s youthful inspiration led to the development of From the Future, his independent video game and application development company. The company is taking entertainment technology forward with games and apps for mobile devices and exploring new application fields.
From developing high profile projects such as the American Airlines app to The Terminator video game, the company is making great and fast strides.
Before becoming a player in the small, independent video game scene, Mike was a programmer at Paradigm Entertainment, a video game development company filled with hundreds of employees. Among the sea of employees, Mike would meet his future co-founders of From the Future: Joey Bryant, Stephen Hess and Kyle Rives.
Paradigm Entertainment was bought out by Toy Head Quarters in 2006, and then closed its doors in 2008. It was during that time Mike, Joey, Stephen and Kyle decided to launch their own company, originally named Jovian Minds.
The company began in Lewisville and moved to Denton six years ago. Besides affordable rent and a location conveniently close to the staff, Mike said they enjoyed the creative energy of the Denton community and wanted to be a part of it.
“We just liked the whole vibe and music scene here,” Mike said. “I like the square and the fact that we can just walk to one of the bars here after a long day of work.”
The long days of work have led to the development of many apps and mobile games such as Dig Little d. The crew teamed up with the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau to create an app that would help residents and visitors find their way around the downtown area.
Most notably, it features a game that involves a red mohawked Chihuahua named Little d, controlled by the player. Little d digs for coins in a virtual downtown Denton while avoiding Cluck Gable, the aptly named rooster guarding the buried treasure.
Winning players redeem coins for real rewards such as Denton swag, records, gift cards and coupons to certain shops.
From the Future is currently looking at developing games for the Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality device. Mike believes that since the device is new, jumping on the technology early will land them into what he thinks will be a major market lead.
Mike’s upside for his chosen career and company? Working in a creative environment with people passionate about video games. This is the drive behind him and the company.
“You have to be optimistic about the way your company is going,” he said. “[Making games] is my way to create. I’m able to create these characters and breathe life into them.”