Brian Conrad

Software Development and More.

Brian Conrad Pic

About Me

Growing up I had two major interests: electronics and and the arts. I build electronic kits as a kid and could sing as soon as I could speak. When I could hold a pencil I began drawing. Piano lessons came later on and influenced by my older brother took up drums for the school band. Computers came later.

I majored in music at the University of Washington and for my summer job after my freshman year had gig playing drums at a club in Butte, Montana with a group called “The Icemen”. I was more a fan of jazz and had spent my freshman year playing the the “Ted Shreffler Trio” and the UW stage band. But upon returning decided to have some fun playing in a rock group. So was told a band started by UW students called “The Fern” needed a drummer. The name came from Steve Allen asking guests on his late night TV show “how’s your fern?” The name was changed to Magic Fern to reflect the change in personnel. If you look around on the web and YouTube you can find some recordings of the band and if you watch the Adam Sandler produced Strange Wilderness movie our recording of “Maggie” is in the soundtrack.

In the 1970s I worked with “The Jerry Frank Trio” in Seattle, a jazz group, that frequently performed at the Doubletree Inn in Tukwila. Also during that time I took up Transcendental Meditation and in 1975 traveled to France to learn to teach TM. After returning I taught TM in Bellevue and South Center. I also played with the a salsa band called Ankora as well as a club band “Spindrift”.

In 1982 I returned to my hometown and wound up teaching and playing music in two cities east and west of me. Then in 1983 when the Commodore VIC-20 went on sale for $88 I bought one and began my career programming computers. Two weeks after purchasing the system I was teaching myself 6502 assembler. The following year I purchased a Commodore 64 and developed several programs for it, some which were free were uploaded to various BBS systems.

In 1986 I purchased a Commodore Amiga system and began programming with Aztec C. I released a few programs that were distributed on the Fred Fish disks and wrote articles for Compute Gazette and other magazines.

In 1988, Jeff Braun, who had a startup contacted me to write some games for his new company, Maxis. I took over the Amiga version of a project called “Micropolis”. Later the title was changed to SimCity. My Amiga version released in June 1989.

Later, after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area I worked at Maxis as their Technical Director and Publishing Director of Sims Titles. I left the company in 1997 just before they were acquired by Electronic Arts.

In 1998 I decided to take a serious look at C++ with Visual C++ and to motivate myself built the first free Windows Vedic astrology program called Junior Jyotish. Later I followed up with a Palm app called “Jyotish To Go”. In 2003 I released a Pocket PC program called “Jyotish Tools” and used much of that code to build a Windows program with the same name.

In 2000 I took over the version “Myst” for the NUON DVD player/Game machine. The software was beta in 2001 but NUON closed it’s doors before it could be published. I reused that code for a Sony PSP version in 2006 distributed in Japan by SEGA, Europe by Midway and the South Pacific by THQ.

In early 2009 I built GPS Prasna, a Vedic astrology program for Android and followed it with Quick Jyotish which currently has over 70,000 downloads. That year I followed with an Android version of Jyotish Tools and later with the western astrology program Tropical Skies Astrology. Versions of “JyotishTools” and “Tropical Skies Astrology” are also available on Amazon.

Recently I released two hybrid HTML5/Javascript games on Android Drone Dodge and Crash the Drone. These are also available as web games at Clay.io.

Though not actively performing in musical groups these days I still enjoy composing and arranging music.