|Alma mater||Indiana University (B.S.)|
Deborah Todd is an American game designer, writer, and producer who began her career in the entertainment industry in 1991 writing cartoons for MGM/UA's new Pink Panther Saturday morning cartoon series. She is known for her pioneering work in children's interactive media, and as one of the first women game designer-writers in the industry, working with many of the early video game icons including Ron Gilbert and Humongous Entertainment, Broderbund, the Discovery Channel, Disney Interactive, 20th Century Fox, Houghton Mifflin Interactive, McGraw Hill, Warner Bros., and the Starlight Children's Foundation.
She is a member of the IGDA, the National Association of Science Writers, the Writers Guild of America, west, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a New Media Council Board Delegate of the Producers Guild of America. Todd is also the author of several books including an algebra book, an astronomy book, and the industry book Game Design: From Blue Sky to Green Light, which includes a forward by film producer Jon Landau (Avatar).
Television and video games
Todd's early career began in the Hanna-Barbera animation writing program. Within months of graduating from the program she made her first sale to MGM, writing for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation Saturday morning cartoon series The Pink Panther featuring the voice of Matt Frewer. Her television and children's writing background paved the way to write, design, and produce her first game, an interactive storybook for the Discovery Channel based on the children's television show Professor Iris. Her next two projects were with Gilbert at Humongous Entertainment, writing two of the three Junior Field Trips titles. She returned years later to work with Humongous again, this time on the Blue's Clues 1-2-3 Time early math game in conjunction with Nickelodeon.
Todd was the writer on the first Curious George CD-ROM, Curious George Comes Home, which was honored with the ABA Book Seller's Choice New Media Award, and the ComputEd Best Interactive Story Award. Todd's other children's titles include the Anastasia CD-ROM game released in conjunction with the Anastasia animated feature by 20th Century Fox, and Disney's 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor released with the live-action feature starring Glenn Close. Todd's Dalmatians game is also featured in the lyrics of Will Smith's "Just the Two of Us," a top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hit that reached number 2 in the UK Singles chart, and top 10 on the Billboard 200 with his album Big Willy Style (1997).
In addition to young children's titles, Todd created projects designed specifically for the teen market. A computer-based training project for new drivers, created with Adept Driving, has been in use since 1995. It is currently the American Automobile Association TeenSmart Driving Course, which claims the product has resulted in a decrease in the crash rates of 16- to 19-year-olds by 30%.
She also created three teen-centric online games for the National Endowment for Financial Education, and wrote Grade Builder: Algebra 1 for the Learning Company, which won a U.S. News & World Report Top 12 Titles of the Year award. Other projects within the Serious Games segment of the industry include an Astronomy reference title for software publisher Mindscape, and MyBrainGames, a cognitive exercise game for Multiple Sclerosis patients.
Another serious game written, produced, and directed by Todd was a First-person shooter entitled The Monkey Wrench Conspiracy, designed to teach engineers how to use CAD software. This game was developed in conjunction with the CEO of think3, Joseph Costello, and learning expert Marc Prensky, best known for coining the terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant." The company shipped more than 1 million copies of the game. It was a little known fact that the voice of the computer in the game is Todd's, who recorded at the urging of Costello.
Todd immersed herself in the world of MMOG's as designer and writer of MiniMonos with the New Zealand developer/publisher of the same name. The game, for kids ages 6–12, has an underlying theme of sustainability, with NPCs (non-player characters) and mini-games that play cooperatively with each other. The game's narrative places the island of MiniMonos in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle, where highly evolved monkeys – the NPCs and player avatars – play together and take care of their portion of the planet. The game was released from Beta on April 1, 2011, and achieved over 1 million registered users by its one-year anniversary. It also launched a full-page comic series in April 2012, written by Todd, in the UK's #1 boys periodical Toxic.
Todd is the author of Algebra Handbook, and lead author of The A to Z of Scientists in Space and Astronomy, both published by Facts on File.
Todd's Game Design:From Blue Sky to Green Light was published by AK Peters in 2007. Game Design was a Frontline Award finalist and named one of the top five industry books of 2007 by the video game industry periodical Game Developer.
- Game Design: From Blue Sky to Green Light, AK Peters 2007
- Enhanced WebAssign, Thomson Higher Education 2007
- Smart Start Guide for Students, Thomson Higher Education 2006
- Smart Start Guide for Instructors, Thomson Higher Education 2006
- A to Z of Scientists in Space & Astronomy, w/Joe DiAngelo, Facts on File 2005
- Algebra Handbook, Facts on File 2003
- MiniMonos, MiniMonos
- CityGirl, Playdom/Disney
- BioArcade, Redhill Studios and PBS
- MyBrainGames, Redhill Studios and Multiple Sclerosis Technology Collaborative
- Blue's Clues 1-2-3 Time Activities, Nickelodeon and Humongous Entertainment
- Professor Iris' Animal Safari, Discovery Channel
- The Monkey Wrench Conspiracy, Think 3/Corporate Gameware
- Curious George Comes Home, Houghton Mifflin
- 101 Dalmatians: Escape from DeVil Manor, Disney Interactive
- Anastasia, Fox Interactive
- Let's Explore the Airport, Random House and Humongous Entertainment
- Let's Explore the Farm, Random House and Humongous Entertainment
- Grade Builder: Algebra 1, The Learning Company
- The Universe Beyond, Mindscape
- Adept Driving, Interactive Masters and Adept
- Read-It, Soliloquy Learning
- Buying a Car, National Endowment for Financial Education
- Job Hunt, National Endowment for Financial Education
- Good Credit, National Endowment for Financial Education
- Guide to Multimedia, Asymetrix
- Careers in Multimedia (1996)
- Who's Who in Media and Communications (1998/1999)
- Writing for Interactive Media: The Complete Guide (1998)
- Developers Guide to Computer Game Design (1999)
- Game Design: From Blue Sky to Green Light (2007)
- Written By (June 2009)