PEOPLE



MEL CROUCHER, Founder & Grand Wazoo
Mel Croucher founded the UK video games industry on 19th November 1977, setting up Automata as a multi-media asylum producing computer games for a market that didn't yet exist. A qualified architect and crap musician, he still writes the longest-running column in the history of computer magazines. Mel created the first computer game stereo soundtrack, the first broadcast of computer data via FM radio, the first real-world prize video game, the first interactive screensaver, the first user-controlled rock album, and the first million-user internet marketing campaign. He can also rollerskate and play the accordion at the same time.



ANDREW STAGG, Managing Director
Andrew joined Automata as a 17 year-old school leaver, and became a programming hero to a generation of gamers in the 1980s. Golden Joy Stick nominee and Game Of The Year award winner, he achieved the impossible by coding a fully-synchronised interactive movie to run on a 48K machine. Andrew became an independent programmer, then ran the Trident empire of hardware manufacture and multiple retail outlets. He started working with Mel Croucher again in 2004 on database-driven social networks. In 2010 he masterminded the database engine which now drives the feedback and communication with our players. Andrew took over the day-to-day running of Automata a mere thirty years after he first joined us.



JOHN PIPER, Co-Founder & Financial Supremo
John is one of the world's most respected and able market analysts, and is the UK's most experienced trader in futures on the web. A best-selling author of books on the psychology of achieving online market success, he is the founder of The Technical Trader, the definitive trading resource since 1989. Working with Mel Croucher since 2007, John is a living example of how to run a successful business from anywhere on the planet, carry an entire office in your pocket, and then have the unmitigated audacity to relax and have fun while doing it.



KARL JEFFERY, The Voice Of Reason
Karl Jeffey is a legend in the video games industry who is passionate about the power of innovation & entrepreneurship to transform our world. One lunchtime in 2012, at the seaside with Mel Croucher, John Piper and Andy Stagg, they were celebrating how today's games opportunities felt like the golden age of the 1980s all over again. And Karl said, "OK, so let's become Automata all over again, and have some fun!" They agreed on the spot. A successful games programmer in his own right since 1987 (Rampage, Populous, Back To The Future, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Silent Hill), Karl Jeffrey is also Director of Hyperion, CEO of Arooga and Chairman of Climax, the independent video game development company he founded.



JOHN WOOLLCOMBE, Media Sheriff
Qualified barrister and specialist in copyright, media and entertainment law, John Woollcombe is Commercial Director of live performance concerts from the world's best musicians. John's philosophy for entertainment matches ours exactly: no intermediaries, no hosts, no sponsorship, no adverts, just direct contact between the performers and you, the audience. His list of productions is a who's-who of contemporary music: Radiohead, White Stripes, Beck, Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Fall, The Kills, Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey, Queens Of The Stone Age, Iggy And The Stooges, Sonic Youth, and loads more. John is also Strategic Content Consultant to the space tourism business Virgin Galactic, so at least one of our team is out of this world.



KELLI RICHARDS, Digital Media Innovator
Kelli Richards is a true trailblazer in the digital media arena and helped launch the entire digital music revolution. For 10 years she drove all music initiatives with the market leader, Apple. A senior executive at EMI Music, Kelli went on to Silicon Graphics, where she helped launched their entertainment division, before she developed the world's first internet-based artist subscription service. Based in Cupertino, California, Kelli Richards has worked with Mel and his team since 2002 on web-based projects for some of the world's leading celebrities, connecting innovators in technology with creative leaders in entertainment.



CHYNA WHYNE, New Talent Ambassador
Chyna Whyne is the voice and face of Deus Ex Machina 2. You may have seen her on tour with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan or The Who, or maybe you know her better as a solo performer, fashion icon and author, and she has had a very special role in Automata since first joining the team in 2010. Chyna brings her expertise in the world of top-flight entertainment to help us spot the very best in new, upcoming and undiscovered talent: audio, video, performance, design, originality, and above all ... fun!



ROBIN EVANS, Toonmonger
Robin Grenville-Evans is a founder-member of the original 1970s Automata team, and has never stopped churning out his graphical lunacy for us since the day he joined. He and Mel produce the Great Moments In Computing cartoon strip together, as an antidote to seriousness in technology, still going strong since 1987. Creator of the cult hero The PiMan, and responsible for our cover art, cartoon strips and animated fantasies, Robin still tends to fall over backwards when he gets excited. Now living safely in exile in deepest Cumbria, we have once again allowed him access to sharp objects for the pleasuring of our players.



RICKY FOYLE, Graphics and Video Production
Ricky joined the team in 2006 as the creative force in key graphics and visuals. Since then he's licked, caressed and punched the eyeballs for Mel's client projects in the field of entertainment. That includes working together on web-based and online visuals for best-selling authors, top musicians, award-winning theatre, and no less than 33 movies and tv productions. Now, with Automata Source, Ricky is the mastermind behind our new video and web-based productions. And he also designed the Deus Ex Machina website. Which needs updating. But Mel hasn't got round to it yet.



MATTHIAS RICH, Gamer-Player's Tribune
"By day I'm a stone mason, I live in Bath with my wife, daughter and cat. I'm a creature of the arts and technology. In 1984 I naively loaded Automata's Deus Ex Machina onto my 48K Spectrum+. It changed my brain chemistry forever and permanently raised the bar on my expectations of what a digital game can be. Since then I have been on many adventures, eating gold rings, jumping on mushrooms, exploring tombs and getting my hands dirty in the occasional war. Lessons learnt so far: The most memorable adventures, the ones that really stick with you and talk to your soul are not about conflict and fighting, they are about imagination, personal connections, beauty, art and being. My function is to represent you, the games player, and make sure Automata delivers what you really want."



CATHERINE LEYRELOUP, Visual Artist
Catherine Leyreloup was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1998. A renowned impressionist painter and creator of kinetic light sculptures, she is our guiding light and explorer-in-chief of Automata virtual reality worlds. She sets our scenes intuitively, sketching, writing and making audio recordings in the real world before reimagining new fantasies and new realities in her studio. After meeting Mel Croucher in 2004, she moved as far away from him as possible, and now hides out in the Blue Mountains of North Wales.



JAS AUSTIN, Game Creator
A child born of the 60s, Jas had the honour of working with Automata in the early days, writing a couple of PiMan titles. And he's been creating games ever since, blaming Mel Croucher for his 30+ years in the games industry. From bedroom to indie with Triple A hits under his studded belt, we still owe him 57p in royalties. Author of the award-winning Gameboy title R-Type, Jas Austin is also the aspiring rock star IamXERO, currently working on that difficult 2nd album. His remaining ambition is to get a proper job so he can retire from it.



TANYA RICH, Audio Dominatrix
Audio has always been a vital element to Automata productions, and Tanya works every day from her purpose-built studio, sometimes in her pyjamas. A voice-over expert and creator of productions from Lamborghini to The Labour Party, Tanya continues to perform Burlesque with her celebrated trio, The Belle-Fleurs. She also does some great character voices herself, from the wickedest witch to the flightiest fairy.


MEL CROUCHER
Founder & Grand Wazoo

ANDREW STAGG
Managing Director

JOHN PIPER
Co-Founder & Financial Supremo

KARL JEFFERY
The Voice Of Reason

JOHN WOOLLCOMBE
Media Sheriff

KELLI RICHARDS
Digital Media Innovator

CHYNA WHYNE
New Talent Ambassador

ROBIN EVANS
Toonmonger

RICKY FOYLE
Graphics and Video Production

MATTHIAS RICH
Gamer-Player's Tribune

CATHERINE LEYRELOUP
Visual Artist

JAS AUSTIN
Game Creator

TANYA RICH
Audio Dominatrix