RIP: Rick Tumanis (1956-2011)

Our good friend and Art Director has passed away.

Rick Tumanis (1956-2011)Last Friday, Richard A. “Rick” Tumanis, my long-time business partner and longer term friend, died unexpectedly in his sleep.  Rick served as Art Director for SophSoft, Incorporated and Digital Gamecraft, of which he was a founding member.

Raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, Rick received a degree in English from the University of Michigan, followed by a law degree from Cooley Law School, but he chose to pursue a career in video game artwork, as well as his personal love of making music.  Rick began in the video game industry in 1987 when he joined Quest Software and provided artwork for the classic title, Legacy of the Ancients (Electronic Arts); he followed that up by creating all of the artwork for its quasi-sequel, Legend of Blacksilver (Epyx).

In 1995, Rick joined up with (then) Sophisticated Software Systems, contributing to games such as Mission Critical (Legend Entertainment), ZPC (Zombie), Vegas Fever (Encore), Card Crazy 2 (Encore), Slot City 2 (Encore), and MVP Backgammon Professional (MVP Software).  He was lead artist on Bicycle Card Collection (Microsoft), included in Microsoft Plus! Game Pack: Cards & Puzzles.  This led to a collaboration with Goodsol Development, for which he provided almost all artwork for more than 10 years, on games including Pretty Good Solitaire, Most Popular Solitaire, Action Solitaire, FreeCell Plus, and Pretty Good MahJongg.

At the time of his death, Rick was working on a couple of upcoming iOS games and completing work on his most recent solo album, Earfull.

Services were held 1:30pm, Thursday, August 4, at Farley-Estes & Dowdle in Battle Creek, with visitation an hour prior.  Click here for Rick’s obituary page.  [edited 08/08/2011]

Rest In Peace, Rick.  It is a shame that you did not see all of our big plans come to fruition.  You will be greatly missed.

RIP: Mike Dulin (1943-2010)

A friend and colleague passes away.

Last Wednesday, July 28, 2010, Michael Dennis Dulin died from complications of pulmonary fibrosis; he was 66.  [Here is his Obituary from the Janesville [Wisconsin] Gazette.]

Mike Dulin

Mike Dulin at SIC 2006

Mike Dulin was the founder of SharewareJunkies.com and other related web sites.  Within the shareware industry, he was perhaps better known as a perennially upbeat attendee at industry conferences, an advocate for software entrepreneurs, and the driving force (and voice) behind SharewareRadio.com.  (He interviewed me for his site back in 2007.)  Mike always had a story at the ready, including some amusing anecdotes from his previous career as an air traffic controller at Chicago O’Hare.  He qualified as a true “character” (in the best way), living and working in both Finland and Guatemala, commuting a couple of times each year.

At the time of his death, Mike Dulin was serving as the President of the Association of Software Professionals, a position to which I was instrumental in appointing him back in 2008 (when I was ASP Chairman of the Board).  Mike remained in that role and was still performing his duties for the ASP at the Software Industry Conference less than two weeks before his passing (and I am sorely disappointed that I was not there at SIC 2010).

Rest in Peace, Mike.  You will be missed.

RIP: Majel Barrett

The voice of the Star Trek computer passes away.

Yesterday, Majel Barrett, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, died at the age of 76 after a battle with leukemia. For those unaware of her career, she played the recurring roles of Nurse Chapel on the original Star Trek series (TOS) and Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). She was also the voice of the computer on the Enterprise in ST:TNG, which is my connection to her (though we never met).

I share credits with Majel Barrett on Star Trek: The Next Generation, “A Final Unity”. I was the lead programmer for the project, and after we made the (risky, at the time) decision to ship only on CD-ROM, it was decided that the game should feature voice acting from all of the stars of the series. Unfortunately, the management at Spectrum HoloByte only counted seven actors in this group, failing to consider the voice of the computer, for which they were going to use a generic voice actress. I suspected that fans would notice the different voice, but after my wife pointed out that they would also notice the absence of Majel Barrett (or Barrett-Roddenberry) in the game credits, I went and argued the point, successfully. The computer in our game found its proper voice.

It may be interesting to see where the Star Trek universe goes from here.

For more details (and pictures), see these articles from the New York Daily News and NBC Los Angeles.

In other news, Deep Throat, the key informant in the Watergate scandal, also died yesterday, perhaps having lived long enough to see something he may have never expected in his lifetime.

To end on a positive note, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was published 165 year ago today. I celebrated by watching the TNT version, starring Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard on ST:TNG, including in the aforementioned game.

And Tiny Tim, “who did NOT die,” lives on to this day…