Dallas Snell is a designer of many games and a CEO of Portalarium, Inc. He also made a blog called Playing Together.
With over twenty-five years experience in game development and publishing, Dallas Snell is a veteran (i.e. old-timer) of the computer and video game industry. Dallas got his first computer in 1980, an Apple II+ system, while working as a field engineer for Brown & Root Construction. Within months he was leasing the computer system, along with specially designed engineering software he developed, to Brown & Root.
Dallas left Brown & Root in May 1982 to become a freelance game developer. His first game was the Apple II graphic adventure, The Quest. Managing the efforts of co-designer and artist, Joe Toler, and the programming assistance of Joel Rea, The Quest was published through Penguin Software in July 1983. The Quest then went on to become Penguin’s fastest selling game and topped the charts as the #1 adventure game for the Apple II market. Ring Quest, also published by Penguin Software, in March 1985, followed up The Quest.
From 1983 through 1985, Dallas was contracted to develop educational computer products for Borg-Warner Educational Systems. Those products included All Sorts Of Meggles, The Grimble Process, Learning The Loop, The Playwriter’s Theater, A Treasure Hunt Of Facts In Addition And Subtraction, A Treasure Hunt Of Facts In Multiplication And Division, Weather Wise, and Math Bonz. During this same period, Dallas coordinated the efforts of co-designer Ronald Goebel, Ph.D. and educational consultant Susan Vigen, Ph.D. in the development of a children’s educational program entitled Alphabet Academy. Jostens Learning Systems published Alphabet Academy in the school market for the Apple II system in 1985.
In October 1985, Dallas was employed as a game developer for Origin Systems Inc., located in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 1986, Dallas and Origin’s co-founder, Richard Garriott, relocated to Austin, Texas to open a satellite development studio. Dallas operated as Project Manager on Ultima V and all new products originating from the newly founded Austin development studio. Promoted to producer in the summer of 1987, Dallas produced the products 2400 A.D. and Chris Roberts’ first US title, Times of Lore. In 1988, Dallas was promoted to Origin’s Executive Producer, which included responsibility for all Origin’s product development operations in Texas and New Hampshire, involving the coordination, budgeting, scheduling and general management of internal and external resources.
As Executive Producer for Origin, Dallas produced Tangled Tales and The Ultima Trilogy for spring 1989 release, and Omega, Wind Walker, Knights of Legend, and Space Rogue for fall 1989. In 1989, Dallas was promoted to Vice President of Product Development. Dallas continued to operate as Origin’s Executive Producer on the products Ultima VI, Bad Blood, Wing Commander, Wing Commander Secret Missions 1 & Secret Missions 2, Savage Empire, Martian Dreams, Wing Commander II, Ultima V Nintendo, and Ultima Gameboy. During the next several years, Dallas grew Origin’s product development department to over 200 employees, and managed a core group of producers that released such groundbreaking titles as Ultima VII, Underworld I & II, Strike Commander, Privateer, Wing Commander III, Wing Commander Academy, Serpent Isle, Pacific Strike, Super Wing Commander, Ultima VIII, and Wing Commander Armada.
In 1992 Origin Systems Inc. was purchased by Electronic Arts, and in 1993 Dallas became the first General Manager of the Origin Division of Electronic Arts.
After sixteen years in the industry, ten of them with Origin Systems, Dallas left the interactive entertainment industry in 1996 to pursue other interests. Relocating to San Antonio in 2000, Dallas took time off from business activities to spend with his young son and to self-study in the growing convergence of the cognitive, behavioral, affective, social, relational, and neural sciences and the practical application of those sciences in the field of individual, group, and organizational development. In 2003, Dallas spent a year at the University of Texas in San Antonio in the Honors College Psychology Department focusing on research studies in affective and social sciences. During this period, Dallas operated part-time as a consultant, specializing in organizational and personal growth.
Fascination with the social dynamics at play in massively multiplayer online games proved more than he could resist, and Dallas rejoined his former Origin partners at NCsoft in 2006 as Director of Business Development.
In 2009, he co-founded Portalarium, Inc. to provide online social games, virtual worlds, services, and learning environments that foster community, learning, goodwill, and people playing together.