Will Harvey

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Will Harvey (born 1967) is a software developer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He wrote Music Construction Set (1984) for the Apple II, the first commercial sheet music processor for home computers. Music Construction Set was ported to other systems by its publisher, Electronic Arts. He wrote two games for the Apple IIGS: Zany Golf (1988) and The Immortal (1990). Harvey founded two consumer virtual world Internet companies: IMVU, an instant messaging company, and There, Inc., an MMOG company.


After high school, Harvey studied computer science at Stanford University, where he earned his Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D.[1] During this period, he started two game development companies and published several additional titles through Electronic Arts.[2]

Early games[edit]

Harvey went to the Nueva School for middle school. The first game Harvey developed was an abstract shooter for the Apple II called Lancaster (1983). He said:

When I wrote the video game I was just fifteen. I did not know any better, so I wrote this video game that I thought was as good as any other game being sold at the time. I wanted to find a publisher but I was only fifteen, so I did not know anything about publishers. I went to a local computer shop, looked at the back of the boxes on the games in the computer shop, and found the one that had the best package artwork. That is how I picked my publisher. The company was Sirius Software in Sacramento.[3]

Harvey contacted the president of Sirius,[3] but game was eventually released by minor publisher Silicon Valley Systems in 1983[4] and was not successful. The need for music in this game led to his development of 1984's Music Construction Set,[5] published by Electronic Arts. It was a tremendous success.[6]

Following the success of Music Construction Set, Harvey ported Atari Games's Marble Madness to the Commodore 64 (1986)[7] and developed two original titles: Zany Golf (1988) and The Immortal (1990). All three projects were for Electronic Arts. The Immortal and Zany Golf were written for the Apple IIGS and ported to other systems by EA.

Other companies[edit]

In 1995, Harvey founded Sandcastle, an Internet technology company that addressed the network latency problems underlying virtual worlds and massively multiplayer games. Sandcastle was acquired by Adobe Systems.

Harvey was one of the chief technical architects at San Francisco game studio Rocket Science Games, a company which was a high profile failure and closed its doors in 1997.

In 1998, Harvey went on to found There, Inc., which produced a virtual 3D world designed for online socializing.[8]

In 2003, Harvey founded IMVU, which combined the idea of avatars with instant messaging.

In 2011, Harvey founded Finale Inventory, an inventory management system that helps companies achieve smooth running operations. [9]



  1. ^ Duran, Michelle (March 5, 1992). "Computer whiz designs his own video games". The Stanford Daily, p. 3.
  2. ^ Lohr, Steve (March 1, 1994). "Silver Disks Enter the Boom Phase". The New York Times, pp. A1, D6.
  3. ^ a b "A Conversation with Will Harvey". ACM Queue. February 24, 2004. 
  4. ^ "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". dadgum.com. 
  5. ^ "Making Music with a Joy Stick". (October 17, 1983). Time Magazine, p. 59.
  6. ^ Mitra, Sramana (August 1, 2010). "Learning From Failures: IMVU Founder Will Harvey (Part 1)". sramanamitra.com. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Marble Madness". Lemon 64. 
  8. ^ Dibbell, Julian (March 2003). "Meet Your Next Customer". Business 2.0, p. 71.
  9. ^ "About Us - Finale Inventory". Finale Inventory. Retrieved 2018-08-16. 

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