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Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Meet the Team

Our Wee Team

Ben Lowing

CEO

As well as being an experienced game developer, Ben holds a doctorate in the computational dynamics of galaxy formation, making 3D space his natural home.

Mike Bell

CTO

Mike is a vastly experienced software engineer. He has long held an interest in developing space games, and has over five years’ professional experience developing game AI.

Grant Murray

Business Development

A marketing professional, Grant was seeking a new challenge after recently completing an MBA.  He met Ben and Mike through a mutual friend and is thrilled to become part of their journey.

Our Story

Mercuna is a small software company based in Scotland started by Mike and me, with the aim of developing the best possible 3D navigation solution for games that about more than just 3D pathfinding. Although the company is young, it has a long history behind it – a story of friendship, passion and lots of late nights. We can trace its beginnings from hobby projects at university, through writing AI for Star Citizen, to being lead developers on Kythera, and finally to creating Mercuna. In many ways Mercuna is the culmination of a career spent trying to attain perfection for AI in space games.

Mike and I first met as undergraduates at Cambridge, where I was reading Physics and Mike was studying Maths. We quickly became good friends, sharing a mutual love of space games, which led Mike teaching me how to code and us starting our first of many space game based hobby projects together. We are still quite proud of Iridium Rising, as the first (and probably only) multiplayer 3D space game for the Raspberry Pi!

We got together professionally for the first time at Moon Collider, where we were tasked with developing the dogfighting AI for the crowd-funded space sim, Star Citizen. The initial results were very successful, but as development continued our focus moved away from the space gameplay to concentrate on other areas. Sadly, we always felt we were unable to achieve our full ambitions for 3D navigation and overall spaceflight AI, as the game has such a broad scope that space flight is only a small part of the overall AI needs.

After Star Citizen we continued to work at Moon Collider on their AI middleware, Kythera. We continued to specialise on games involving 3D flight, including Digital Arrow’s Aquanox: Deep Descent and Descendent Studio’s Descent:Underground, iteratively improving Kythera’s 3D navigation system at each stage. However, we knew that to take 3D navigation to the next level, we needed to build a new system from the bottom up.

And so we launched Mercuna as an independent company, initially to bring a 3D navigation plugin to Unreal. In the process we’ve created a brand new system, with many new features and massively improved performance, taking Mercuna beyond simple 3D pathfinding.

I hope you enjoy using Mercuna as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

Ben Lowing