Certain Affinity Nels Memorial Scholarship Commemorates Life and Work of Nels Nelson
(March 14, 2019) Certain Affinity, Austin’s largest independent video game
developer, has expanded on its relationship with SMU Guildhall to offer an
annual $5,000 merit-based scholarship to honor colleague Nels Nelson. The Certain
Affinity Nels Memorial Scholarship commemorates the life and work of Nels
Nelson and continues his legacy of excellence, generosity, and leadership by
supporting talented future game developers. For more information about how to
apply go to SMU Guildhall’s or Certain Affinity’s
Nels Nelson joined Certain Affinity in 2013. Although an English major from Cornell, Nels’ love for computers and programming started at a young age. He taught beginner and advanced computer courses during high school and over his winter and summer breaks from college. As a hobby, Nels started designing video games, which turned into a professional game development career that spanned nearly two decades. “Nels’ passion, upstanding character and leadership made him a valued member of the Certain Affinity team,” said Max Hoberman, President of Certain Affinity. “We want to foster Guildhall students who embody his values and traits, and are honored to contribute to his memory.”
In addition to hiring several Guildhall alums, Certain Affinity currently supports Guildhall students through teaching, portfolio reviews, career days and guest lectures. The company recently celebrated its 12th anniversary; during its history it has developed or co-developed 29 products with more than 100 million units sold across 12 different franchises, including “Call of Duty,” “Halo,”, “DOOM,” and “Left 4 Dead.” Along with co-development work, the Austin studio is currently developing an ambitious original title as well as an original IP game.
Certain Affinity has also played an important part in the growth of the Austin game development industry. Its leaders are active and vocal members of the community, with Max Hoberman serving as an advisory board member for the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at UT Austin and as the Vice Chair of Technology for the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2017, and Mojdeh Gharbi, VP of Marketing and Operations, recently joining the boards of Goodwill of Central Texas and Workforce Solutions Capital Area. She also serves on the Media Production Advisory Committee representing the game industry at the Texas Film Commission, and is part of the leadership team for Good Work Austin.
Certain Affinity was recognized by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce as part of its annual A-List that focuses on companies that have breakout potential. The company currently has more than 170 full-time employees in Austin, with plans for approximately 60 additional hires in its soon-to-open Toronto, Ontario, office, plus numerous additional hires in Austin.
About Certain Affinity
Affinity (CA) was founded in 2006 as a bootstrap startup with the goal of
creating innovative, top-quality action games. CA brings together an
exceptionally experienced, unusually talented group to form one of the largest
independent game developers in Austin, Texas. The company’s 170+ full-time
employees include veterans from dozens of successful game studios, with Max Hoberman,
CA’s founder and former Multiplayer and Online Lead for the Halo series,
serving as President.
About SMU Guildhall
SMU Guildhall is the #1 Graduate Program for Game Design in the world, ranked by the Princeton Review in 2017 and 2018. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. Since 2003, the program has graduated over 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in Art, Design, Production, and Programming.