It’s with a sad heart that I have to report that the Ham and Jam team has suffered the loss of one of our earliest and long serving team members.
Mitchell Curtis Keesee known to the team by his nickname, “Engineer”, passed away at home on Monday 26th September at the age of 23.
Mitchell was our sound engineer and joined the team in early 2006 not long after the game got started proper. He has created almost all of the games sound effects and was passionate and dedicated in his work.
Mitchell’s obsession with tweaking and getting things perfect was often a blessing and a curse as he could never stop fiddling no matter how much we told him he didn’t need too. He would often disappear for a month at a time only to come back with a massive update.
He was a tireless perfectionist when it came to his craft. To quote the log entry of his last submission to our SVN server:
“New sten sound, superior to previous incarnations.”
He was creative in his work not just aiming to clone a sound but to engineer it to give a specific effect or impact within the scope of the game. He saw the soundscape as something that is experienced rather than just heard. Something we’re sure came from his love of classical music.
Mitchell worked on other games, most notably Firearms:Source, but was always considered a core member of our team and was a staunch supporter of the game who would promote and praise it whenever asked about it. He was a true team player.
Apart from his work as a sound artist we’ll also remember him for his bizarre, absurd and often irreverent sense of humour which has lightened the mood on various bad times during Ham and Jams development.
On a personal note, I first met Mitchell on-line as far back as 2003 when he was a 15 year old kid interested in making 3D models. I shared many tips and tricks with him and watched him tackle new weapon models, textures and even dabble with the odd character model.
Around 2005 he started to become more focused in sound production and was already making sound effects for game such as Day of Defeat, Duke Nukem 3D and was working on The Trenches when I approached him to help with our then new venture Ham and Jam.
He had worked on a number of games that failed to see the light of day but his dedication to Ham and Jam I take as a sign in his belief that something great will eventually come out of all this.
He’ll be missed by all of us but he’ll live on with every grunt, groan, boom and bang you hear in Ham and Jam.
Our thoughts are with him and his family.