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Profession: Game Designer, Programmer, and Founder of Conifer Games
Working at: Conifer Games



Jon Shafer is the president and founder of Conifer Games, a small game development studio originally established in Michigan in 2012 and now based out of Maryland. Jon is also currently the designer and gameplay/AI programmer for At The Gates, an upcoming 4X strategy game in which players are tasked with leading a barbarian kingdom to glory amidst the fall of the Roman Empire.

Jon joined the industry in 2005 as a programming intern for Firaxis Games, and over six years working on the Civilization franchise eventually served as lead designer and principal gameplay/AI programmer for Sid Meier’s Civilization V. He subsequently joined Stardock Entertainment as a design consultant and project lead for an unannounced project before eventually founding Conifer.

For most of his career Jon’s primary focus has been hardcore PC strategy games. Since becoming independent he has started branching out into other genres, and the mission statement he now pursues through his studio is to be “committed to crafting a new generation of games that are deep, meaningful, and forever replayable.” Jon also maintains a personal game design blog titled Jon Shafer On Design, and was formerly a co-host of The Game Design Round Table podcast.

My Recommended Podcasts:

The Game Design Round Table

Dirk Knemeyer, David Heron, Rob Daviau

Designer Notes

Soren Johnson, Adam Saltsman

Sirlin on Game Design

David Sirlin

Three Moves Ahead

Rob Zacny, Troy Goodfellow

Game Wisdom

Josh Bycer

The Clockwork Game Design Podcast

Keith Burgun

Magic: The Gathering ‘Drive to Work’ Podcast

Mark Rosewater
My Recommended Blogs:

David Sirlin

Derek Yu

Dirk Knemeyer

Jamey Stegmaier

Soren Johnson

Tom Francis

Tomislav Uzelac

Vic Davis