Roger Keating

Roger Keating


Strategic Studies Group

Roger Keating is one of the two original founders of Strategic Studies Group (SSG). In 1979 Keating wrote and produced his first computer game called ‘Conflict’ for the Apple II. The game was picked up by the American strategy games company Strategic Simulations, Inc and published as ‘Computer Conflict’. During the next few years Roger produced seven games for SSI. He turned down and opportunity to work with SSI in the United States choosing to join Ian Trout, war game aficionado and owner of Napoleon’s Military Bookshops to combine their skills to found SSG in Australia. 

Roger is recognised for his ingenious AI programming which is the hallmark of SSG’s games. Acknowledged as one of the best in the world at AI systems Keating was invited to speak about his unique approach to AI at one of the fledgling games developers’ conference in the early 1980s.

Trained as a mathematician Roger worked originally as a high school teacher. In 1978 he established the Computer Education Group of New South Wales. Working with John Hughes from UTS and Laurie Shiff another NSW teacher they held conventions and lobbied the government on the value of teaching computing in schools. As a teacher he ran a computing club at his school, as well as a chess club and war gaming club for the students. He was actively involved in the Sydney Apple Users Group and wrote software for distribution amongst it members. His first commercial game “Conflict” began as a give away to the Apple User Group however he was encouraged by a student that it was worthy of commercial release. He published it himself as Keating Software sold about 50 but most importantly sent some review copies to publishers including SSI. Roger accepted an offer from SSI to publish his game packaged with another. Making the big decision to leave teaching and pursue games design he thought he better visit SSI to see what a games company did.

He travelled to the states, in part, in his role as the International Apple Corp Director for Australia, an unpaid role that oversaw the top level communication between Australia’s Apple Users groups and Apple Headquarters. In addition to the Apple people on his travels he met developers such as Joel Billings from SSI, Dan Bunton and Trip Hawkings. Roger reflects on the value of actually meeting with people at the start and how important some of these early relationships were. He spent several months working from SSI’s offices designing and programming games and observing all the other roles that were required to releases a game before choosing to leave SSI and return to Australia where he established SSG with Ian Trout. Over the last twenty years Roger has been involved with the production of over 50 computer games.

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