In middle school, calculators are used for three things: playing games, doing math, and programming. The founders of Diamond Bullet Studios (DBS) spent most of their time doing the latter. They were the type of student that turns every assignment into an exploration of technology. Memorizing the quadratic equation becomes writing a program that solves it automatically. A presentation about the weather in Spanish class turns into a videotaped weather report with green screen and animated backgrounds. A FIRST® Lego League research PowerPoint ends up as a 3D animation. It didn't take long for the founders to become friends, considering their common interests. They joined the local FRC® team, taught each other to solve Rubik's cubes, and celebrated birthdays by playing video games all night. In December of 2007, their sophomore year of high school, they decided to create an outlet for their emerging technological skills in the form of Diamond Bullet Studios, a company that would design and produce video games.
At the company's first meeting, they decided to make three games in the next year or two. They soon got to work on a first person shooter known simply as "the game." Three years and a few overly optimistic release dates later, Diamond Bullet Studios emerged, disillusioned but proud, with Contention. While not exactly a commercial success, Contention was a vital step in the evolution of the company. Over the years some team members chose to escape the company with their sanity. Those that remained gained a wealth of experience in their duties, which ranged from days-long coding marathons to hitting propane tanks and tomatoes with rocks.
In the summer of 2010 three team members, Curtis Todd, Eric Bickle Jr., and Seth Greenstein, decided it was time for a change of pace. As a proof of concept, in two weeks they churned out Mower, a lawn mowing simulator. Despite its bizarre genre, Mower has been a modest success on the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace. Its success has largely been attributed to the allure of running over cats with a virtual lawn mower.
In the spring of 2011 while mentoring FRC® Team 2751, the team he helped found, Curtis began work on a new simulator. While it was intended simply to teach 2751's students to drive the robot, Curtis soon realized the immense benefits a simulator could have for both FRC® teams and FIRST®. Among other things, teams would be able to design robots, practice driving, and spread the word about FIRST® in an engaging way. Curtis proposed the idea to the rest of the DBS team, which now included Chris Zeigler, and, being FIRST® alumni themselves, they readily agreed to begin the project. Through a fortuitous series of meetings and pitches, the DBS team was able to catch the interest of the top officials at FIRST®, making the possible what is now known as Catalyst 2012.