Adam Billyard

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Adam Michael Billyard [1]

1964 (age 59–60)
Alma materQueen Mary University of London
OccupationVideo game programmer and developer
Known forCo-founding Criterion Software Ltd and Polystream and Creating RenderWare

Adam Michael Billyard (born 1964) is a British game developer and 3D interactive streaming professional known for his high-level expertise in real-time computer graphics and his part in the development of RenderWare, a popular 3D rendering engine. He co-founded Criterion Software Limited and created a games division called Criterion Games. More recently, he co-founded Polystream and serves as its CTO.

Billyard is named as the leader inventor on a string of patents related to the field of isualization.[2]

Early life

During his teens, Billyard was caught up in the early days of home computer use, teaching himself computer programming on his Olivetti Programma 101, ELF II, and Atari 400. He soon became hooked on Space Invaders along with many other teens in his generation. His passion and skill grew, and he first published the video game Bellum through the Atari Program Exchange at 17.[3]

Billyard’s early career began as a freelance consultant in Minneapolis, USA, in 1982 before attending university. During this period, he created a custom Computer-aided design system and aided with the automation of facilities management.

Billyard attended the Queen Mary University of London gaining a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science (1983 -1986). From here he progressed to undertaking a PhD in Visual Programming from the same institution (1987–1990).

While progressing with his education, Billyard continued to develop his career. Firstly, he worked as a game developer in Manchester between 1984 and 1985, where he single-handedly designed and implemented a number of popular video games, such as Chop Suey [4], Elektraglide [5], and Q-Ball (nl), each reaching No 1 in the UK listings at the time.

A few years later, in 1990, Billyard started working as a contractor for Canon Research Europe, where he took on implementing a visual programming system for image manipulation.

Following his PhD, Billyard became a Research Scientist at Canon Research Europe, working there from 1991 to 1993. During his time in the role, he worked in setting up a research project within the organisation to develop software-based solutions for 3D computer graphics.[6] Notably he was the architect of, and technical lead, on the RenderWare project.

Founding companies

Criterion Software Limited was born out of Canon Research Europe in 1993,[7] with Billyard as co-founder and Technical Director/CTO. Criterion was established to develop and monetise RenderWare.[8] Under his leadership at Criterion, the company grew from just three founders to a global workforce of over 240 employees. In 1996, Criterion Games was born as a subdivision of the company, dedicated exclusively to the development of games.[9]

Following the success of Criterion, in 2003 Billyard became the CTO and VP of Electronic Arts, based in Guildford, UK, after it acquired Criterion Software Ltd.[10] Once again, he was working to expand the adoption of RenderWare technology, as well as driving its future development. In 2007, Billyard decided to move on from Electronic Arts in order to pursue other projects.

In 2008, Billyard used a personal project as a starting point to form another company, LightUp, based in Brighton in the UK. Working within a niche area of architectural lighting design, LightUp was created with the purpose of delivering real-time pre-visualization and lighting analysis to global corporations in the fields of movie pre-production and production (e.g. Pixar), interior design and set design, video game asset creation and solar analysis.[11]

Between 2009 and 2011, Billyard was also the CTO for t5labs, a pre-revenue/personally-funded startup within the arena of patented technology for streaming video games to regular STB. Billyard then completed a short placement as CTO at PlayJam.[12]

After working on it since March 2013, in May 2014 Billyard formed Elektraglide Ltd, determined to develop novel technology for real time streaming.[13] In 2015, this shifted seamlessly to become Polystream, co-founded by Billyard and Bruce Grove. Polystream is revolutionising command streaming, connecting the cloud to billions of GPUs, facilitating the delivery of 3D interactive content on a mass scale, without the need for downloads or installs.

Published works

  • A Statistical Comparison of Two Hidden Surface Techniques: the Scan-line and Z-buffer Algorithms[14] (1992) Mel Slater, Kieron Drake, Allan Davison, Emmanouell Kordakis, Adam Billyard, Eliot Miranda.
  • VPL: An Active, Declarative Visual Programming System[15] (1991) David Lau-Kee, Adam Billyard, Robin Faichney, Yasuo Kozato, Paul Otto, Mark Smith, Ian Wilkinson.

Honours and recognition

Adam Billyard is listed on game credits for [16]

  • C64 Classix (2005): Thanks
  • Call of Duty: Finest Hour (2004): Thanks
  • Scorched Planet (1996): Game Conception and Programming
  • Back to Baghdad (1996): For Criterion software
  • Chop Suey (1985): Written by
  • Elektraglide (1985): Written by


  1. "Adam Michael Billyard". Companies House UK. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  2. "Adam Michael Billyard Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications". Justia Patents. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  3. "Adam Billyard". Dadgum: the Giant List of Classic Game Programmers. 1997. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  4. "Chop Suey (Atari 8-bit)". Moby Games. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  5. "Elektraglide". Moby Games. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  6. "Technology: Computer graphics learns rules of the game". NewScientist. May 23, 1992. Retrieved April 6, 2020. Adam Billyard, inventor of Canon Interactive Graphics (CIG)
  7. KPMG Peat Marwick (December 31, 1993). "Criterion Software Limited (formerly Rapid 9562 Limited). Director's report and financial statements". Companies House, 20 July 1993. Retrieved April 6, 2020. The company [...] did not commence trading until 1 July 1993. It's name was changed [to Criterion Software Ltd] on 21 July 1993
  8. "RenderWare 4 for Next Generation". Game Planet. March 23, 2004. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  9. "About Us at Criterion Studios". Criterion Studios. 1997. Archived from the original on October 8, 1997. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  10. "Games giant EA spreads its wings". BBC News. July 29, 2004. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  11. "LightUp, About Us". LightUp. 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020. Thousands of professionals, from one-person architecture practices to movie-makers at Pixar, choose the LightUp plugin for SketchUp to instantly illuminate their models and show their work in the best possible light.
  12. "Criterion Co-Founder becomes PlayJam CTO". Gamasutra. May 29, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  13. Registrar of Companies for England and Wales (May 15, 2014). "Certificate of Incorporation of a Private Limited Company". Companies House 15th May 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  14. Slater, Mel; Drake, Kieron; Davison, Allan; Kordakis, Emmanouell; Billyard, Adam; Miranda, Eliot (1992). "A Statistical Comparison of Two Hidden Surface Techniques: the Scan-line and Z-buffer Algorithms". Computer Graphics Forum. 11 (2): 131–138. doi:10.1111/1467-8659.1120131. ISSN 1467-8659.
  15. Lau-Kee, D.; Billyard, A.; Faichney, R.; Kozato, Y.; Otto, P.; Smith, M.; Wilkinson, I. (1991). "VPL: an active, declarative visual programming system". Proceedings 1991 IEEE Workshop on Visual Languages: 40–46. doi:10.1109/WVL.1991.238852.
  16. "Adam Billyard". Moby Games. Retrieved April 8, 2020.

External links

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