He grew up in New Jersey and went to North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey before attending Virginia Tech from 1999-2003. After graduating he took a job with Valve Software and is currently a game designer for them, and also worked on maps for Half-Life: Deathmatch.
While still attending college Cliffe ran a site named "Silo X" for Half-Life. The website's main purpose was to enable map/level designers to upload their maps and get them to major audiences world wide. When working together with Minh Le on the first Counter-Strike version, Jess Cliffe quit working for the "Silo X" website and was followed up by Tom Konings known as HaLf-DeAd in the Half-Life gaming community. When Half-Life became outdated the "Silo X" website shut down.
In the late 1990s, Cliffe was also a moderator and leader of the group JKMAG, otherwise known as the Jedi Knight Multiplayer Addon Group, an online community dedicated to providing customized map and skin packs for the Jedi Knight community.
It could also be noted that the popular Counter-Strike map, "cs_militia" is based in and on the vicinity of Cliffe's house.
Since May 2007, Cliffe has been running the blog http://VintageSeattle.org, "a high-resolution blog visualizing Seattle's past," whose goal is "to document the city's history by way of old photographs, vintage postcards, advertisements, historic building profiles, etc."
- Vargas, Jose Antonio (2005). "Big Games Hunter." Washington Post. October 25.
- Wallis, Alistair (2007). "Is Modding Useful?" Game Developer. July 1.
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