Alumni Notes


More Than a Game: Bringing Simulation to the Masses

Those who perceive computer gaming as merely a vile diversion haven't yet witnessed the creations of Dave Kaemmer '85. As the co-founder and chief technical officer of Papyrus Software, Kaemmer has authored or co-authored a game series credited with popularizing an entirely new genre of PC entertainment: the uncompromisingly realistic simulation. Few in the industry can rival his knowledge of the subject--auto racing--combined with his level of skill on a networked computer.

The result: a series of auto-racing titles that extend the genre. Attempts to master "Grand Prix Legends" is like reading a Who's Who of the 1960s Grand Prix circuit. Grand Prix Legends, or "GPL," as enthusiasts call it, remains popular years after its release, especially in Europe. Fans say, too, that Kaemmer's "NASCAR Racing 2002" has some of the best multi-user networking capabilities of any game available, allowing seamless online racing against drivers from as far away as Europe and Australia.

Kaemmer's interest in computing and math began early. He arrived at Oberlin in 1981 on his second personal computer, an Osborne. By the time the College began offering classes in computer science, he had already written a compiler for the Scheme language. After graduating, he moved to Boston and became a full-fledged game developer at an educational software company.

In 1987, Kaemmer and his partner created Papyrus, where their first project was "Indianapolis 500: The Simulation." As technical director of the company, Kaemmer is involved in most parts of the technology, though his specialty is designing the elaborate car physics used in the games.

­-Dan Beale '85


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