A Muslim and a Jew — Both Game Developers Themselves — Build a New Paradigm for Game Developers Around the World

**inter-TECH-ion intern Penelope Rivera wrote this article**

The political framework of the Middle East has been fraught with tension and volatility for decades. And, it continues to be so.

But slivers of hope have also emerged through the decades, in the form of those on opposite sides working together, whether it’s politically or professionally.

That’s the case now with two entrepreneurs who personify the spirit of hope and reconciliation: Iman Khabazian and Dan Parker.

A Muslim Iranian American and a Jewish American, they joined forces to create a framework for building games that bring people together.

Their creation, known as Game Plumbing Framework, works exclusively on top of the Unity Engine.

Developed by Unity Technologies, the Unity Game Engine is a global platform used for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3-D content, known in gaming vernacular as RT3D.

How It Works
The goal of the Unity Game Engine is to make it easy for developers to build fun and cool 3D experiences — in a way that can be distributed to many platforms.

Game Plumbing Framework adds what’s known as “middleware” to the Unity Engine. The mission of the framework is to make it easy for these experiences to be shared among different players.

The framework also takes care of moving data around seamlessly, with the intention of freeing up the time and attention of developers, so they can focus more exclusively on integrating innovative features to create rich, multiplayer experiences.

Khabazian and Parker tout the differentiating factor of their framework, explaining that it involves a new paradigm for software development where objects are automatically “deployed to the cloud, persisted and kept in sync across clients.”

This dovetails with the framework’s mission of liberating game developers from having to worry about infrastructure and diminishes the need for game studios to hire back-end engineers, according to the co-founders.

They also claim their framework speeds up the time for a developer to get a game to market.

“Because developers only need to define game logic in one place, as opposed to putting it in every technological layer, as is currently done,” Khabazian explained to inter-TECH-ion, adding his claim that the framework “reduces overall engineering costs by at least a factor of three.”

The Founders
It’s not surprising that co-founders Iman Khabazian, who lives in Mission Viejo, and Dan Parker, a resident of Salt Lake City, are both game developers themselves.

Iman Khabazian
Dan Parker

They first met virtually while working together at VIEW, where they joined forces to build three apps: Fluentworlds, a 3D language learning game (see related article on this company here); 3D Meet, a 3D software for virtual meetings; and Cell World, a 3D educational tour of a human cell.

Years after leaving VIEW, Khabazian decided to build a “reactive backend” for multiplayer games, which means that the system was made up of subsystems that react to changes in a robust way.

He decided to demo his project to Parker, who just happened to be working on a reactive user interface framework.

They “were shocked to realize their projects fit perfectly with one another,” Khabazian said.

This alignment inspired them to work together.

First, they decided to coordinate their separate projects. Later, they decided to merge their projects into Game Plumbing Framework.

The duo founded Launch It Labs, the parent company for their framework, earlier this year.

They are currently self-funding their new venture with their own money, but plan on raising funds early next year.

Passion & Talent

Passion and talent are both important for a startup. Parker said that Khabazian has both in spades.

“The other inspiration (for coordinating our projects) was Iman’s passion for empowering people in varying disciplines, and at every skill level, to make positive, meaningful contributions to projects independently,” Parker said. “Iman would always architect projects so visual artists could see their work in the final form without assistance from a developer. Writers were able to see and experience their stories without needing to have an engineer as a gatekeeper. And management could directly edit and control the economics of the final product, without changing the focus of their engineers.”

That dovetails with the co-founders’ goals of reducing code complexity, making their framework globally accessible, and freeing up each team member to work independently, quickly, and nimbly.

Diverse Backgrounds Complement Each Other
Tuning into one of the co-founders’ conversations, it may just sound like the lingo of typical American engineers, but they are more than that. They also embody similar values and temperaments.

“We are both low-ego individuals who trust each other and are driven to build transformational tech,” Khabazian said. “I have to wonder how much of our shared values are a result of our backgrounds.”

With their different ethnic and religious backgrounds, Parker shared his opinion on how he and Khabazian interact: They treat each other with empathy and respect and try to refrain from making any assumptions about anything. This naturally spilled over into their process for creating the framework.

“As a Jew who grew up in Utah, I can’t expect to be surrounded by people just like me,” Parker said. “However, casual observers will not see me as any different than other white people. Iman had a different experience when growing up, but neither of us were in the religious majority. Being different from each other, and different from those around us, actually benefits our product. We are always keeping each other’s assumptions in check, which inspired us to develop a more globally-accessible technology.”

As they transcended their different backgrounds to create a new framework, they believe gaming can also bring together people globally, with friendly competition that’s more unifying than divisive.