Carl Sanford Joslyn Petersen (born September 16, 1955) is a game designer.
Petersen was born in St. Louis, Missouri and attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in zoology.
He is a well-known fan of H.P. Lovecraft, whose work he first encountered in a World War II Armed Services edition of The Dunwich Horror and other Weird Tales (anthology) found in his father's library. In 1974, Dungeons & Dragons brought his interest to role-playing games. His interest for role-playing games and H.P. Lovecraft were fused when he became principal author of the game Call of Cthulhu, published 1981, and many scenarios and background pieces thereafter. While working for Chaosium he co-authored the third edition of RuneQuest, for which he also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Trollpack, and a number of other Gloranthan supplements.
He worked some time for Microprose, where he is credited for work between 1989 and 1992 on the games Darklands, Hyperspeed, Lightspeed, Sid Meier's Pirates! and Sword of the Samurai. He also made minor contributions for Civilization. During this time he also authored a regular computer and console gaming column for DRAGON magazine.
Primarily interested by the first-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D, Petersen joined id Software about 10 weeks before the December 1993 release of DOOM and in that time created 19 levels for it (of which 8 were based to some extent on early drafts by Tom Hall). He later created 17 of the levels for DOOM II, and 7 levels for Quake. His Lovecraftian influences also affected some of the monster design for these games.
He left id Software for Ensemble Studios in June 1997. There, he has worked as a game designer on several of their Age of Empires titles, including Rise of Rome, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion. During this time, he was a frequent poster on the Heavengames forums under the username ES_Sandyman. He ran an extremely popular series of threads, "Ask Sandyman", where forummers could ask him about anything they wanted (though there were some questions he did not answer).
Petersen is a Mormon, but his religion has not prevented him from designing games involving Satanic elements. While working on DOOM, he said to John Romero: "I have no problems with the demons in the game. They're just cartoons. And, anyway, they're the bad guys."
References and further reading
- David Kushner: Masters of DOOM: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, Random House Publishing Group 2003, ISBN 0-3755-0524-5
- Shoggoth.Net Interview Conducted December, 2004
- GameSpy interview (2002)
- yog-sothoth.com interview
- ensemblestudios.com profile
- Pen & Paper: Roleplaying Game Credits for Sandy Petersen
- MobyGames biography
Original Wiki source: Wikipedia