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About Sense of Wonder

Founded in 2012 by online game veterans, Sense of Wonder is a fun-first game studio with a social mission. Dedicated to making “smart fun” games in the tradition of Sid Meier and Will Wright, Sense of Wonder combines an indie art sensibility with engaging mechanics that bring out the natural wonder in the world. Sense of Wonder’s mobile and tablet games use “true social” mechanics that meaningfully connect players, and employ compassionate player policies to ensure that customer loyalty is not just earned, but kept over the years.

  • We create transformative play experiences that bring meaning to players of all ages
  • We create games that inspire curiosity and wonder about the real world
  • We create game-like products that generate delight, connection, and engagement in hard-to-reach places
  • We are a results-oriented company that attracts the finest talent in games & learning

Technology

Sense of Wonder’s proprietary Foundation Server is a self-scaling C++ server for games super-optimized for supporting millions of players cleanly and efficiently. Our Unity-based client infrastructure is highly customized after several products shipped for tablets and phones (iOS and Android), and our methodologies coordinate developers across the US seamlessly. For a detailed expansion of our key technology, check out our technology page.

Key Competencies

  • Third party game development

    We work as a third party game developer on projects that fit our core values.
  • Online social

    With Facebook, Game Center, and in-house accounts.
  • Iterative Design & playtesting

    We are a highly iterative studio that thrives when charged with solving hard problems quickly. We prototype fast, throw ourselves in front of users, and tweak, tweak, tweak.
  • Games for Learning

    Games for learning are where our heart is -- the trickier the competency the better. But we're also interested in 'big' tent competencies like reading that have endless room for iteration.
  • Subject Matter Expert Collaboration

    We have a proven methodology that takes advantage of subject matter expertise and integrates them into the development process.
  • Ethical Free-to-Play Monetization

    Free-to-play is in our blood. We were early members of the free-to-play movement in the US and in Asia, and are experts in designing monetization models that players love.
  • Scalable Online Services

    Our proprietary server technology allows us to quickly spin up and scale cost effective servers and online services.
  • Unity-based products

    Our unity infrastructure has shipped multiple 2D and 3D games.
  • New demographics

    Our lean and design thinking based process makes us adaptable to new demographics. We love making games for new audiences.

Founders

  • Erin Hoffman-John

    CEO & Chief Designer Erin Hoffman-John has been making games since 1999.

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    CEO and chief designer Erin Hoffman-John has been designing compelling online game experiences since 1999. With award-winning products such as SimCityEdu: Pollution Challenge, FrontierVille, Kung Fu Panda World, and GoPets: Vacation Island, her strong narrative chops (including fantasy novel series The Chaos Knight with Pyr Books) blend with compelling systems design to create experiences that inspire years of loyalty in millions of players. A sought-after international speaker and design theorist, she also has an established online following.

  • Michal Todorovic

    Chief Technologist Michal Todorovic has been making games since 1993.

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    COO and CTO Michal Todorovic shipped his first game in 1993, The Labyrinth of Time, published by Electronic Arts. A serial entrepreneur and technology shapeshifter, Michal has built multiple tech teams that have gone on to win numerous technology awards at large companies such as Zynga. He excels at building strong foundational technologies that scale elegantly and at mentoring programmers and teams. His games, including Farmville, Pirates of the Caribbean, Starfleet Command 2, and GoPets, have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of players.

Hire Us

  • Game Development

    We occasionally develop games on a for-hire basis for aligned companies/missions.

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    For companies with missions aligned with ours (check out our vision for more), we occasionally do partnered work or even work-for-hire. If you think we might be a good fit for your needs, contact us!

  • Design Consultation

    We provide game design consultation for commercial and nonprofit games.

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    We regularly provide design consultation for commercial and nonprofit game companies working on PC, mobile, and web-based games in the casual, online, and learning game space. For more on our design services and a select client list, contact us using this site (or reach out on your social media platform of choice).

  • Analytics & Monetization Consultation

    We specialize in analytics and can provide infrastructure and monetization design consultation.

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    Us and analytics go way back. (Like, WAY back.) We often consult for commercial and nonprofit game companies, and learning companies, at many phases of development for analytics and monetization. We can review your existing systems or collaborate with you on future projects. If you think we might be a good fit for your needs, contact us!

  • Market Analysis

    We provide market analysis services, including market sizing, revenue forecasting, and competitive analysis, for mobile and learning games.

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    If you’re new to the games or learning markets, or you’re just looking for some additional insight from experienced eyes, we provide market analysis — including growth forecasting, competitive analysis, market sizing, and more — for the mobile, casual, and learning game markets. If you think we might be a good fit for your needs, contact us!

Key Allies

  • William Johnson

    Senior Engineer

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    A thirty year veteran software engineer, Bill Johnson began his career with The Dreamers Guild in Los Angeles. He has evolved with new technologies ranging from the Playstation to several generations of PCs to modern web programming and Unity core customization. A formidable engineer with the ability to build rock solid foundations, Bill is the kind of programmer we can throw any problem at and rely on him to find solutions. His game credits include Pirates of the Caribbean, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Six Flags Fun Park, Shrek the Third, and others. (And yes, he does look just like Sam the Eagle.)

  • Johnny Burgess

    Art Director & Lead Animator

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    A fantastic art director, animator, and character designer, Johnny Burgess is a Sense of Wonder “original”. He directed and created the artwork and animation for Snow Day, and his other game credits include Cloudforest Expedition, SuperPocus, Ghost Recon Commander, Diner Dash, Demi Lovato: Path to Fame, and others. As an independent artist, Johnny’s illustrations and character designs have appeared on t-shirts, in galleries, and on the web.

  • Sarah Bergh

    Lead Illustrator & UI Designer

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    With six years of experience in UI art, environmental painting, 2D assets, and visual design, Sarah has a BFA from DigiPen. Her game credits include Age of Empires Online, Dora’s Great Big World, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, and others. For Sense of Wonder, she created new interfaces for glasslabgames.org, many educational infographics, and is the lead artist on Alphabet Rescue and Fact or Not. Based in Seattle, Sarah is also a local herpetoculturist.

  • Kate Marshall

    Writer, Customer Relations, QA

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    Our head of customer relations and quality assurance, Kate is a Jill-of-all-trades: from design work to documentation to talking clients out of trees, she can do it all. With game credits including Fitposse and Jane Austen’s Estate of Affairs, as well as others, Kate has also worked as a copyeditor for Zulily and as a Catalog Specialist for Amazon. She is a published romance novelist with Berkley (the Birch Hall Romances, which New York Times Bestselling author Madeline Hunter said “adds a new star to the romance galaxy”) and celebrated short storyist.

  • Brenden Conte

    Senior Engineer

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    With credits including The Sims, Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, Marvel Superheroes, and more, Brenden has twelve years of experience as a programmer, five of those years as a lead on game projects. He also has a Cisco certification and an MS in computer science, along with experience standing up, maintaining, and optimizing servers. Brenden is another of our all-around solid-fundamentals engineers, and comes with the added bonus that, as far as we can tell, he doesn’t actually sleep.

  • Cody Miles

    Artist & Animator

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    An amazingly talented artist who has worked with artist collectives like Massive Black, Cody Miles’s game credits include Ghost Recon Commander, City of Bones, Star Trek Online, CityZen, and more, Cody contributed environments and animations to Snow Day, and has worked closely with Johnny on many projects. His personal work has an edgy urban style and his skills also include graphic design and logo development.

  • Joe Pearce

    Senior Engineer

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    Joe is the founder of Wyrmkeep Entertainment and goes back with us a long way. He specializes in Mac technology and collaborates with us on game projects when the mood takes him.

  • Dren McDonald

    Sound Design & Music

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    Dren is our go-to musician and sound designer. If you’ve played Snow Day, Alphabet Rescue, Mars Generation One, or Ratio Rancher, you have been graced by his epic stylings.