Prolific Publishing Inc. Jim Sachs of Burbank-based Prolific Publishing Incorporated feels strongly about realism, and that attention to detail has made the company’s screen savers, utilities, and DVDs top sellers. Sachs recently talked about the company’s mission and goals.
How did digital entertainment software get started at Prolific?
In 1999, I had already established myself in 3D computer graphics. I had implemented Defender the Crown, arguably the turning point in computer graphic implementation. It had made a boatload of money for the publisher, but a measly $8,000 for me. I was making a decent living, but others were making a killing.
At this same time, I was observing that other products with 3D implementations, especially those with aquariums, were presenting decidedly disappointing results. Although the state of the art at the time allowed realism, the products on the market were not reaching this state of realistic presentation.
I began a marine aquarium software project with the goals of showing the 3-D community what could really be done. Each fish, each piece of coral, each plant was built from a single pixel on up. After SereneScreen Marine Aquarium was released in early 2000, 3Dfiles.com was receiving about 100,000 hits per day requesting it.
When the sales became too big for me to handle alone, I approached my longtime friend, Baron R.K. Von Wolfsheild, owner and CTO of Prolific Publishing, to help him manage the sales, and grow the distribution of the product from a downloadable to including a retail presence.
What got you personally interested in doing this work?
I’m a self-taught computer programmer. My college training is in the area of architecture, and his 6-year Air Force duty was flying C-141 Starlifters. The artistic side of computers has always captured my imagination and fueled my creative needs.
Where do you want to build the company from here? What are your main goals for the year ahead?
We have several other like products in the works–not necessarily undersea. That’s all we can say right now. We want to continue to bring products to market that show advanced technology implementation at its finest, and frankly, there’s nothing like watching someone experience these products for the first time.
We have been building technology and wowing our audience for a long time, longer than people would realize. What is really interesting is that the team that brought you Marine Aquarium, Goldfish, and Sharks have all worked together on all sorts of different projects for almost two decades. It’s a little like musicians who get the chance to play together from time to time.
What do you like best about what you do?
The best thing about bringing these types of products to market is getting the feedback from those who own them. People use these products for a large variety of reasons, aside from screen saving, everything from cats trying to climb into the monitor to war veterans using the products as a stress reducer.
One of our team was in a Fry’s Electronics, and overheard two people arguing whether what they were looking at was real or fake. That is a great feeling–we created the illusion of like.
What all of us love best is that it is the art that people think about first. This turns to wonderment as they realize they’re not quite sure what they’re looking at. Then curiosity sets in and they are determined to study it to try and figure it out, which brings them back to appreciating the art of it again.
And then, there are the children, the most honest critics, and our happiest customers.
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