In the spring of 2016, Scott Adams, one of the founders of the computer gaming industry, was invited to present his history in gaming at the Christian Game Developer Conference (CGDC). His wife, Roxanne had just retired and encouraged Scott to attend. After praying that God would guide them, they felt prompted to attend and that summer traveled to Portland, Oregon.
Upon arriving the first morning of the conference in July, they heard a presentation by Phil Conrod of Biblebyte Games on the history of gaming. It was entitled “The First 20 Years of Christian Game Development”. Scott, who was included in one of Phil’s slides, watched from the audience and recalled many of the events Phil presented. The audience was delighted to learn Scott was in attendance, as the Speaker Lineup had not been widely advertised.
Subsequently, Scott gave a heartfelt Powerpoint presentation, entitled “That was then / This is now”, about his work/faith journey and how God had lead him to CGDC. Afterwards, both Scott and Roxanne met several people who relayed that they felt blessed by Scott’s presentation. This, in conjunction with a subsequent read through of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, instilled a renewed sense of purpose and directly inspired what was to follow.
A New Identity
Scott and Roxanne felt led towards a name that focused less on Scott and more on God. After praying with Phil, they came up with Clopas (which means “Glory to the Father” from John 10:25). That was the meaning both Scott and Roxanne wanted for their new company. And so they chose that to be their new name and identity. When sharing with others, they received positive affirmation that this was the right name indeed. July 2016 was the birth of Clopas.
The Early Years
Through prayer, Scott realized that the work he had been doing on his last game, The Inheritance, was not written for a 21st century audience. This realization, along with a discussion with his friend, Jonathan at Florida Free Play, led to the birth of Conversational Adventure™ games.The Spirit was leading Scott and Roxanne to create a new style of games. Scott spent about a year developing the framework of the proprietary tech which the company uses today.
Then, in July of 2017, while attending the CGDC for a second time, Scott and Roxanne had a discussion with another attendee, Chris Skaggs of Soma Games. Chris told Scott about a new project set in Redwall, series of books written by Brian Jacques. Soma Games had acquired the license from Random House and was seeking to partner with Clopas on a game set in that world. Scott was given a title from Chris: Escape the Gloomer and Team Clopas (originally just Scott and Roxanne) decided to focus their efforts on this new project. By mid October Clopas had delivered a preliminary demo of one chapter of the project to Soma Games.
Creating Team Clopas
Scott’s grandson, Nathan Johnson, had been around the gaming industry all his life. He admired his grandfather’s work and was eager to participate in it. Indeed, he was the first beta tester for The Inheritance and was happy to help. It was natural for Nathan to become part of Team Clopas in August 2017, first as a student, later as an intern at high school. Nathan learned about and helped with game design ideas, testing, and database work.
Scott and Roxanne had known April Way for many years. But, it was her aptitude to work alongside Roxanne, that led to her hire in January 2018 as Clopas’ first employee. April began by assisting Roxanne with office work and has since become Operations Assistant as her workload has tripled since joining the team.
Similar to April, David Ababio was a longtime family friend. Prior to his college days in 2011, David helped Scott with The Inheritance doing narrative design and testing. As a huge Redwall fan, David was happy to play a demo of Escape the Gloomer during Christmas 2017. The next month, he accepted a position with Clopas as game developer and began doing database work. David went on to become Narrative Lead, and then later, Vice President of Clopas.
David brought two of his friends on board to help with the effort: Alyssa McGaw, a mechanical engineer, was an extraordinary organizer and Jeremy Rako, a software engineer, dedicated his time after a full days work to assist with programming. In turn Jeremy recommended his cousin Jacob Klein, who was a junior at University earning a game design degree.
Melchiah Mauck, who had heard about the game idea from Soma Games before Clopas was officially involved, joined Team Clopas a short time later to help make it a reality.
Outgrowing the Studio Space
The Clopas workspace had humble beginnings – four developers and a student in a basement room with a table and laptops. After two months, they made a dramatic change, and moved into their present facilities. The new office space consists of a large open area, parking spaces, front sign, and an employee break room complete with kitchen. This established a permanent, comfortable, and dedicated environment for productive work.
Clopas has progressed into the future with additional hires, exciting new directions, and trust that good things lay ahead.