Certain Affinity Partners with SMU Guildhall on Merit-Based Scholarship
Certain Affinity Nels Memorial Scholarship Commemorates Life and Work of Nels Nelson
Austin, TX (March 13, 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.
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.
Certain Affinity 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.
Learn more about the scholarship
About Certain Affinity
Certain 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
Since its genesis, SMU Guildhall has set the bar in game development education. Recognized as one of the best game design graduate programs in the world, SMU Guildhall works collaboratively across disciplines and industries to train the next generation of game developers. It’s long held a seat in the Top 10 rankings for game development programs across the world by the Princeton Review, sitting at Number 1 for the past two years. In addition to its Team Game Production curriculum, the Guildhall has been commended for the high quality of its faculty of industry veterans and professionals as well as its career services achievements. The program has graduated over 770 alumni, who now work at more than 270 video game studios and tech companies around the world. The program’s achievements can also be seen in its high-caliber game successes including record breaking downloads, awards, and contest wins. 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, and it is the only program to offer specializations in all four cornerstones of game development — Art, Design, Production, and Programming.