Big games in small packages

These days, whether you play a game on your phone, your home computer, your tablet, or your TV, one thing is for sure:  chances are you downloaded it.  And you probably didn't pay $60 for it like we used to in the Olden Tymes.

Sure, everybody likes the idea of paying $4.99, or $0.99 or even NOTHING for a game. But let's face it -- you still want it to be awesome.  On some level, you still want that $60 game experience.

At Vector Unit, our mission is to take that big game experience and cram every ounce of its goodness into every tiny downloadable game we develop.

For gamers, that means downloadable games that don't skimp on the production values. Games with moxie, with spirit, with pip and verve. Games you can show to your friends to make them jealous of your new phone or whatever, and leave you with enough cash left in your pocket to pay for the pizza.

For our business partners, it means we apply our experience working at major studios on AAA games to an indie development model. It means blending reliable project management, solid tools, and technical aptitude with small teams, agile design, and independent spirit.

Our team

One of the things people are often surprised to learn about Vector Unit is how small we are.  Currently the permanent staff consists of four people.  Yeah, that's right:  FOUR!  So next time someone tells you their awesome new mobile game with a budget of millions of dollars and a staff of forty people, you tell them to shut up because Vector Unit makes awesome games and the whole company fits inside a Smart Car (almost).

How do we do it?  Are we magic?  No, we're just ordinary people who love making games.

We are:

Ralf Knoesel
Technical Director and Founder

Ralf's career in the game industry started as a graphics programmer in 1995 at Stormfront Studios in San Rafael.  While working onMadden '97 PC and Madden '98 PC, he co-developed a PC graphics engine which was used in several Stormfront sports and racing titles.

In 1998 Ralf switched over to console development as a co-lead programmer on Hot Wheels Turbo Racing, which shipped in 1999 on both N64 and PS1.  After this he developed a boat simulation prototype which became Blood Wake, shipping on Xbox in early 2002.

Over the next several years, Ralf worked on a variety of licensed properties as either a principal or lead programmer.  These titles included Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (PS2, Xbox), Demonstone (PS2, Xbox), Eragon (PS2, Xbox, Xbox360, PC), andSpiderwick (Wii, Xbox360, PS2, PC).

In December 2007 Ralf left Stormfront to co-found Vector Unit Inc.

Matt Small
Creative Director and Founder

Matt began his career as a digital artist in the early nineties creating animated screen savers like After Dark 3.0 and The Simpsons Screen Saver for Berkeley Systems.

After a stint as an independent art contractor, he joined Stormfront Studios in 1998, where he worked on a number of projects as a senior and lead artist, including teaming up with Ralf on Hotwheels Turbo Racing, Blood Wake, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

In 2003 Matt left Stormfront to join Electronic Arts Redwood Shores, where he led teams of artists on Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, Godfather, and James Bond: From Russia with Love. In 2006, he transferred to EA Emeryville to join the Spore team.

In December 2007 Matt left EA to co-found Vector Unit Inc.

Elizabeth "Timm" Sewell
Artist Extraordinaire

Timm joined Vector Unit in January 2012.  Aside from that, very little is publicly known about her. She's mysterious.  Like, "Why two M's in Timm"?  Nobody knows.  But she's a really good artist and if you love Beach Buggy Blitz and Riptide GP2 then you love her too because she did a lot of the art in those games.

Steve Mariotti
Senior Programmer

Steve started making video games in 1993, developing and publishing Close Combat and Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far for Atomic Games through Microsoft Game Studios. He then moved to Activision Santa Monica and was Lead Programmer and Technical Director on Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2.

In 2000, Steve started work at Stormfront Studios on The Legend of Alon D'ar (PS2) doing gameplay, AI, UI, and combat. This was followed by work on the AI, camera, FMV and gameplay for The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (PS2) before leaving Stormfront to join Nihilistic Software Inc. There, he worked on StarCraft: Ghost and Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (Xbox 1 (the original) and GameCube). After that, he wrote the AI system for Conan, published by THQ, and Zombie Apocalypse (PSN and Xbox Live). In 2007, Steve and his family spent a year in New Zealand where he worked on rugby games (PS2, Wii) at Sidhe Interactive.

In 2008, he returned to Nihilistic Software to work on Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (PS VITA). After Nihilistic, Steve worked as a Technical Director for a short time at KIXEYE, Inc. on an unannounced title before joining the awesome folks at Vector Unit in January of 2014.

Steve likes non-caveman-hipster beard maintenance, playing death metal on guitar, doing electronics projects and playing with his wife and two teenage daughters.