What a year! Happy to be here & excited for the future… meet Black Girls Dive!

Where to start… when we cancelled our plans to attend Beneath the Sea and EarthX a year ago, who knew that we’d still be hunkered down in March 2021? That we’d be doubling up on masks, trying to schedule vaccines, and still wondering when we will be able to safely visit our families out-of-state, play live music, go to a movie, or host a neighborhood BBQ? That we would have lost over 527,000 of our fellow citizens to #COVID19?

527,000. It’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of a number that big. I grew up in Carlisle, Iowa (population 3200), just outside of Des Moines (population 200,000). Using that scale, that’s like everyone in my hometown dying 165 times. Or two and a half cities of Des Moines dying. Or two-thirds of Seattle, my current home. What’s not difficult to understand is a fierce bass player gone. A dedicated diving mentor gone. A wise and witty college professor gone. A brilliant but troubled colleague gone.

One of the unexpected silver linings of this sad and aggravating year has been the “Fauci Effect“, a record increase in medical school applications due to the inspiring example set by medical workers and public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is now a chief medical advisor for President Biden. Knowing that so many young people are determined to follow in these footsteps dedicated to public health gives reason for hope.

Rebuilding trust in science is a critical part of our nation’s recovery, both from the virus and from the willingness to believe so-called ‘alternative’ facts. As the number of people vaccinated rises, the virus recedes, the country re-opens safely, and we embark on our new normal, hopefully, the ascendance of science and high-integrity news sources will continue and prevail. The Black Death led to the Italian Renaissance. The Spanish Flu led to the Roaring 20s. Where will COVID19 lead us? Will we leverage the rebuilding process to right some of the historic wrongs in the US regarding racial injustice and economic inequality? We must. This is embarrassingly long overdue. The challenge of climate change is staring us down and we need to focus on our common humanity to get all hands on deck, pronto.

Another unexpected silver lining of our COVID19 year has been meeting more people who miss scuba diving in the real world and use our game to tide them over until they can dive and travel again. (Scuba Diving magazine featured us in a story about this.) We also provided our game free to scuba diving businesses doing virtual outreach with their customers and to parents and teachers looking for high-integrity science content for home schooling. One of the awesome groups we met is Black Girls Dive, whose mission is “keeping young girls and women afloat”. They use scuba diving to get girls excited about science! How cool is that? We are thrilled to announce a partnership with them today – we are collaborating to include Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) content in Infinite Scuba.

Black Girls Dive Foundation announces partnership with Infinite Scuba

Stay safe and healthy out there! We’re here when you need a few moments of underwater Zen.

kathie and the Infinite Scuba team at Cascade Game Foundry

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

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The planet demands a reset.

After two months in quarantine, I’ve mostly made peace with the new normal. The Groundhog Day sameness can work to your favor when you have a long to-do list. We already worked from home, so the shutdown didn’t effect our work, aside from eliminating my side hustle/fitness regimen as a lifeguard at the local pool. I do miss swimming. Yoga on youtube is lovely, but can’t hold a candle to the cardio, muscle, and meditative aspects of a pool workout. Before the virus shutdown, it hadn’t occurred to me that the pool could be indefinitely unavailable. I miss the immersion. But, the planet has clearly had enough of destructive humans. Perhaps COVID19 is our time-out, a reminder that we’re all on this planet together and we need to take care of it and each other more kindly.

So, aside from contemplating existential issues and missing our friends, what have we been up to at Cascade Game Foundry? Ferociously tackling the to-do list and contract gigs, as usual as we can be. Some highlights…

Since dive shops are among the small business casualties caused by COVID19 – we are working with DEMA to provide free codes for Infinite Scuba to dive shops as something they can give to their audiences via newsletters or social media, to help them keep diving front-of-mind while real-life diving and travel are on hold. Through this outreach, we have met so many wonderful diving and ocean fans we might not have ordinarily. We’ve also had more requests for using the game in home-school scenarios, which we have always provided for free, as we do for conventional school settings.

We adapted Dive with Sylvia VR to support Windows MR hardware, so it now runs on that as well as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Thanks to our new contacts at Microsoft – we are excited to see where this new relationship leads!

We have also been approached by VR arcades who want to offer Dive with Sylvia VR, so we adapted the experience for their use, when they re-open.

Infinite Scuba is now available for sale on the Windows Store – we only had a free trial out there until a few weeks ago. Mac store version is in progress now for release this summer.

We’re still working on our Salish Sea dive site, at our typical slow-but-stable pace. It is awesome to see our local diving grounds finally come together and come alive for release! We are super excited to share this with the kids we meet doing school outreach and at the Pacific Science Center – too many people don’t know what’s in their local waters. If people know what lives there, they will want to protect them.

Last, we did a cool VR gig for robotic surgery prep. Fascinating to use this tech in a medical setting.

So, we’re busy!! We miss the in-person camaraderie of friends and music and environmental events. With environmental events cancelled and the Pacific Science Center closed, our next in-person event is possibly Tacoma Ocean Festival, which postponed from June to September.

We are beyond thankful to have work we can do from home, and to have unexpected time and focus to tackle our to-do list.

Stay safe and healthy out there! We’re here when you need a few moments of blissful underwater Zen.

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Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… #UNClimateWeek2019 #ClimateActionSummit2019

Yikes, how did it get to be September?? It’s been ages since we have posted an update out here – our apologies! We tend to go heads down into the software and content while working on game updates or doing contract work, and only come up for air during events, where we typically communicate via Facebook or Twitter. I always forget Instagram… the “new” one that is our neglected youngest child. Sigh. Can we blame that on #indielife :/ One of the things they tell you about running a small business is that you have to wear a lot of hats. What they neglect to tell you is that some hats look really, desperately bad on you. We have yet to find someone who wears the marketing hat well and actually wants to wear it, so we keep working on the software ‘cause that hat looks awesome on us and we all love it. We only put on the flashy, uncomfortable marketing hat occasionally before going back to the comfy, understated, flattering software development hat.

Personally, I suspect this is because of us growing up in the pre-social media era. When we were growing up, people who talked about themselves all the time were not highly regarded. We grew up being told not to blow our own horns, but to work hard and let the work speak for itself. If someone else said something nice, you could thank them, but it was poor form to say those things yourself. Bragging wasn’t a virtue, it was a character flaw. Marketing, especially in the social media era, is all about bragging, so… we are conflicted and have a love-hate relationship to it at best.

Anyway, here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to…

  • Installed Infinite Scuba and Dive with Sylvia VR at the Pacific Science Center in June, in time for World Oceans Day. We’re so proud and excited to be in our local museum!
  • Released Dive with Sylvia VR on Steam – our VR experience now runs on HTC Vive, as well as Oculus Rift.
  • Shared the latest Dive with Sylvia VR, Infinite Scuba, and Submersible Sim VR at the Tacoma Ocean Festival, iFest Seattle, and several local elementary- and middle-school events.
  • Completed a major overhaul of the in-game store and backend game architecture, as well as made numerous gameplay improvements requested by our users. The latter is sort of a never-ending task for an indie studio working on an ocean simulation game, but every incremental improvement feels like victory. We refer to our development style as the crockpot – slow, but very tasty.
  • Invited to be a Science Communication Fellow at the Pacific Science Center this fall, so I get to participate in workshops and work directly with professional science educators to hone our treatment of scientific facts in our game and in presentations.

As I write this, I am in NYC for UN Climate Week, meeting with old friends, current partners, and new collaborators in the environmental space. The energy, passion, and determination to help the planet heal is palpable and delicious. If you ever feel discouraged about science denial or any of the other sad and bizarre things happening in our world right now, please attend an environmental event. Sign up for a local beach cleanup or a trail maintenance project or roadside trash pickup crew. We humans created this mess and it’s up to us to make it right while we still can. If you need help finding an opportunity to help, this website has a fantastic list of organizations you can volunteer with, donate to, or just learn more:


Peace out and listen to Greta Thunberg,
kathie and the tenacious planet warriors at Cascade Game Foundry SPC

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Graphics, gameplay, and research…

The latest build of Infinite Scuba® is live on our website and Steam! Woohoo! We are recently home from the #DEMAShow 2018 in Las Vegas, where we got the latest scoop from the people dive for a living. This is an inspiring and dedicated crew who share our love of diving and concern for the health of the ocean. These people know what real diving looks and feels like, and they are digging the game’s stunning new graphics – check out a video here: https://youtu.be/G0eNf9KTA3c

The game is now localized into Spanish, French, German, and Hungarian. (Long story on that last one. Add it to our extensive list of #indielife adventures. We will write a book someday. 🙂

Dive with Sylvia VR and Submersible Pilot VR are also hits, and often people’s first experience with interactive virtual reality. The oohs, aahs, and gasps are super entertaining, and the emotional tears from people who can’t dive in the real world anymore choke us up, too. Every time.

It is gratifying to see so many people react so enthusiastically to our work, whether they are wowed by our technical abilities, appreciate our efforts to raise awareness for ocean environmental issues, or impressed by our sheer tenacity. It’s also awesome to reconnect with all our old friends in the diving industry, as well as meet new ones.

If you can get in the water, do it. Go. Dive. Now. #godivenow

If you can’t get into the water right now, or want to visit faraway waters, get your digital Zen with us. Stay tuned for more gameplay improvements, dive sites, and sweet new gear.

Peace out.
kathie & the CGF Ocean Warriors

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Coming up for air…

To get you caught up on #indielife at CGF, we have been working on a sparkling new release of Infinite Scuba® that features improved lighting and localization. After our inspiring trip to Chile for the International Marine Protected Areas Conference last fall, we are especially proud to add Spanish to our French, German, and Hungarian translations.

We started 2018 with the public release of Dive with Sylvia VR, our acclaimed virtual reality diving experience for the Oculus Rift. This 5-minute tour of a Belize dive site with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle has opened doors we never imagined and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next. (We donate all proceeds from Dive with Sylvia VR to Dr. Earle’s ocean awareness non-profit Mission Blue.)

We had a blast working with wonderful students and teachers from the New York Harbor School during the Beneath the Sea show in March. We were also honored to show our game and VR at EarthX (Dallas) and Trammel Crow’s house in April, as well as the Scuba & H2O Adventure Show. The inaugural Tacoma Ocean Fest was an unexpected treat, too. In July, we were invited to show our work at the Pacific Science Center Curiosity Days Games! event. Working with students and scientists gives us hope -for the future, for video games, for virtual reality experiences, and for the planet. Plus, our participation in events provides a handy forcing function to deliver on regular deadlines.

For the rest of the summer, we are focused on finishing the new release – we are excited to share it with you! We hope you are having a fabulous summer, too! Use sunscreen.

The Crew at Cascade Game Foundry SPC

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The adventure continues…

On Friday, we left Seattle on a beautiful late summer afternoon. Tonight, we find ourselves in La Serena, Chile, on a beautiful (but in a totally different way) late winter evening prepping for the opening of IMPAC4, the International Marine Protected Areas Conference.

As David Byrne once sang, How did I get here?

A year ago, we were very excited that two papers we helped to write had just been published in Aquatic Conservation (Wiley). The release event for the journal was held at the World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Honolulu, where we were showing our scuba diving simulation game, Infinite Scuba®, and its new VR companion, a 5-minute dive in Belize with Dr. Sylvia Earle.

We work hard to create a realistic scuba diving experience with real dive locations, real wildlife and behaviors, real dive science, and real gear, as well as opportunities for players to learn about the ocean and its environmental issues. Our conventional (Win/Mac) scuba diving simulation game has always been warmly received at ocean-related events. Our #VR dive, however, was generating a much stronger reaction, something far more emotional and enthusiastic than anything we had seen with the conventional game. “Wow!” Applause. “Congratulations!” Stunned silence followed by a huge smile and thumbs up. Tears of joy. Requests to dive again and again. And again. “This feels like I am really diving!” “This makes me want to learn to dive in the real world.” “I forgot I was here… I thought I was in the ocean.” A standing ovation. “Who built this? You must tell me.” (Some people seem genuinely surprised that the people showing the VR dive are the same ones who built it. Not sure what to make of that. 🙂 )

When we re-read the papers we had just published, we realized that VR wasn’t even in our plans when we had written them. I mentioned this to John Baxter, the journal’s editor, and he immediately said “It sounds like you need to do a follow-up. Want to write it?” We talked about trying to clear up the confusion in VR terminology and wondered what other directions the paper might go. I reminded him that we had been co-authors, not lead authors, on the other papers. I reminded him that none of us have our PhD. He said the deadlines would be tight. He was optimistic anyway, and said he thought we were up to the challenge.

He was right. It was a wild ride from last year to now, from the seed of a paper to the real, reviewed, published article. But, here we are! Our VR work keeps opening the coolest doors for us! Here are some of the other events we have shown our VR dive and conventional game this year:

  • VRFest, Las Vegas, Jan ’17 (Nominated for Best Travel/Tourism VR)
  • Game Developer’s Conference, San Francisco, Feb ’17
  • Earth Day TX, Dallas TX, April ’17
  • Power of Play/Intel Buzz, Bellevue WA, April ’17
  • iFest, Seattle WA, May ’17
  • Earth Games on Tap, May ’17
  • World Oceans Festival, NYC, Jun ’17
  • UN Ocean Conference, NYC, Jun ’17

We also visited local western Washington schools, hosted students at our office, and participated in online discussions with students out of state. We continue to make the game available free to any teacher or school who contacts us, and we donate $1 of each copy sold to ocean conservation non-profits, like Mission Blue (founded and led by Dr. Sylvia Earle).

Oh yeah, we also released the conventional game on Steam Early Access earlier this year. (Steam is the premier website for downloadable games.) Our VR dive is nearly ready for public release. We continue to add new dive sites, new gear, and new activities, to our game/VR, as well as do custom development work for other companies.

We are thrilled to be doing all of this work. Being able to combine our expertise from the games industry with our love of scuba diving, our drive to help save the planet, and our commitment to education is an honor and privilege.

Years ago, we decided the company totem would be the green sea turtle, or honu, the Hawaiian symbol of longevity, endurance, and good luck. Since we are land-based, we are actually more of a tortoise who admires and emulates the honu from afar.

Slow and steady…
The Infinite Scuba team at Cascade Game Foundry SPC


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Wow, it’s 2017! Time really does fly when you’re having fun!

Happy 2017! We had an incredible 2016 at Cascade Game Foundry, adding awesome new gear and VR capabilities to our diving simulation game, Infinite Scuba®, expanding our reach to new audiences, and doing super-cool contract work for our innovative clients, so we wanted to get you up-to-date on our adventures.

We started the year creating a virtual experience for Jurassic World – The Exhibition, which opened in Melbourne, Australia in March and is currently at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. We integrated assets from the movie into our Dino Design Station and holographic videos, and we learned 3D printing.


Our travels took us to the annual Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco CA in March, where we co-presented with Intel. In April, we presented at Earth Day TX in Dallas, then at the Serious Play Conference in Chapel Hill CD in July, SIGGRAPH (short for Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) in Anaheim (July, w/Intel), World Conservation Congress in Honolulu HI (September), and the DEMA dive industry show in Las Vegas (November).

In April, our partners at Mission Blue (Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ocean awareness non-profit) invited us to co-present the latest version of Infinite Scuba in their booth at Earth Day TX, the largest and oldest Earth Day event in the world. We created an Oculus Rift VR demo of a dive with Dr. Earle in Belize that had long lines every day of the show.

Back home in Seattle in May/June, we continued to get rave reviews for our #VR and conventional game at local indie game shows: Power of Play, iFest, and the Intel Buzz Workshop, where we earned a Runner-Up award.

In July, we road-tripped to the East Coast for business meetings and a speaking engagement. Our talk (21st Century Tortoise – Slow & Steady Indie Survival) and our game were enthusiastically received at the Serious Play Conference (Chapel Hill NC), a gathering of visionary educators and software developers who believe games can revolutionize learning.

In September, we presented Infinite Scuba at the World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Honolulu in the #NatureForAll Pavilion and the Mission Blue booth. Dr. Earle did a #VR dive with herself in our game – we continue to be honored by her support. During WCC, two articles we co-authored were published in the academic journal Aquatic Conservation – Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems during the event. We also snorkeled with spinner dolphins, courtesy of local surfing and videography legend Ray Hollowell (PlanSea.org). #AchievementsUnlocked

Sylvia Earle Dives with #VR Sylvia Earle, World Conservation Congress 2016

During the summer and fall, we developed and delivered Rescue Bear Operation, a children’s forest-fire prevention game getting great reviews.


We presented Infinite Scuba (#VR and conventional Windows/Mac) at the annual DEMA (Diving Equipment & Marketing Association) show in November for the 4th consecutive year, where we received numerous invitations to demo at other events around the world in 2017. The ocean artist Wyland loved our #VR dive!

Wyland points out a whaleshark in our #VR dive, DEMA 2016

In December, we hit the milestone of 250K downloads of Infinite Scuba, a staggering accomplishment for an indie game. We are wrapping up 2016 with the final work to launch Infinite Scuba on Steam Early Access, the premier site for downloadable games. Our first #VR release on the Oculus Rift store is also scheduled for 2017.

We are registered as a Social Purpose Corporation (SPC), B-Corp, in the state of Washington. Our social goals are environmental education and the promotion of STEM skills. Throughout the school year, we visited and presented virtually to many schools in Washington and around the country, ranging from elementary to high school, about game development and ocean/environmental issues.

As we start 2017, we are excited to release our first cold-water dive site (Salish Sea, Puget Sound), new dive gear, final Steam release and new activities, as well as advance our #VR work and evaluate new contract work for clients. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with so many fine partners in the diving industry, software industry, and ocean environmental world. Thank you!

Best wishes for a healthy, peaceful, and productive 2017!!

Your friends at Cascade Game Foundry

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Happy Spring – Welcome to VR!

Why, yes, we do virtual reality! 🙂 We were honored to be invited to Earth Day TX 22-24 April 2016 in Dallas with our esteemed partner, Mission Blue. We showed our first Oculus Rift VR build at the show, as well as our conventional Windows/Mac version of the game. Wow! There was a line at the booth all weekend long! It’s a blast to see people react as if they are really diving above the reef with their guide, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

We are used to a friendly reception to the game, but the sheer joy emanating from people who try our VR version is overwhelming. We are thrilled that we took the time and attention to detail to craft a beautiful, accurate, living dive experience and that VR technology enables us to crank up the realism even more. It’s an incredibly exhilarating time to be part of the gaming industry, as well as help people understand more about – and hopefully be inspired to protect – the ocean.

Our spring is loaded with presentations to students in Western Washington schools, as well as iFest Seattle (14 May), Power of Play (Bellevue WA, 20-21 May), and E3 (Los Angeles, 16-18 June). Drop by those shows or contact us if you’d like us to come to you, in-person or virtually. 😀

The Infinite Scuba team at Cascade Game Foundry

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2015 Rocked! Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Happy 2016! We had an incredible 2015 at Cascade Game Foundry, adding to our diving simulation game, Infinite Scuba, learning how to be better marketers, and doing contract gigs, so we wanted to get you up-to-date on our adventures.

In February, we were featured in a Seattle Times story by Nicole Brodeur, which sparked a year of exciting opportunities for us.

We were honored that our US Representative, Suzan DelBene, visited our office in April – we appreciate her support of small businesses in Washington state and caught up on our shared roots at Microsoft.

Rep. Suzan DelBene visits Cascade Game Foundry, April 2015

Our work travels took us to San Francisco (Game Developer’s Conference, March), Los Angeles (E3 and MIX shows, June), Cologne, Germany (gamescom, August), Orlando (DEMA dive industry show, November), and Monaco (BLUE Ocean Film Festival, November).

In late July, we rode our bicycles across Iowa on RAGBRAI. We wore Infinite Scuba jerseys, visited libraries in the towns on the route, and gave away gift cards with codes for free copies of the game to the people we met. Hottest. Marketing. Trip. Ever. But, it was very fun to meet so many wonderful people on the ride and talk to them about the ocean!

In October, we went on tour with Neil Young! His concerts include a “Village of Action” – a dozen or so environmental and political groups whose work he supports.  We were proud representatives of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ocean awareness non-profit, Mission Blue. We talked to people about Dr. Earle and showed her diver avatar in our game at concerts in Montana, Washington, and British Columbia. We also created custom art for Neil’s Go Earth! website.

During the school year, we visited many schools in Washington and Iowa to talk to students ranging from elementary to high school about game development, STEM skills, and ocean/environment issues. (We are registered as a SPC, Social Purpose Corporation, aka B-Corp, in the state of Washington.)

We also did contract work for other companies, much of which we can’t discuss publicly due to non-disclosure agreements. Let’s just say creating and running a small business is one of the most strange, interesting, and gratifying challenges we’ve had the opportunity to tackle. Call us if you want the gory details. 🙂

As we start 2016, we are excited to be working on our first cold-water dive site, new dive gear, new activities, and several new releases of the game, in addition to more contract work. We are so happy to be here and grateful to be doing this rewarding work!

Many thanks for your interest in our game and all the kind emails! Best wishes for a healthy, peaceful, and productive 2016!!

kathie and the crew at Cascade Game Foundry

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Fall Continues to Rock!

Neil Young & the Promise of the Real, WaMu Theater, Seattle WA

Neil Young & the Promise of the Real, WaMu Theater, Seattle WA

Howdy Simulations Fans! What a fun fall we are having! In October, we got to go on tour with Neil Young for 4 concerts in 5 days. No kidding. We even got to make some art for the show which Neil liked so much that it’s now used on his GoEarth.org website.

How did we get so lucky? Well… in addition to being a legendary rockstar, Neil is a huge environmentalist and social justice warrior. He invites a dozen or so groups to participate in his “Village of Action” each night before and during his shows. The Village includes non-profit and social benefit groups in categories like Earth & Ecology, News You Can Trust, the Future of Farming, Energy & Climate, Freedom & Justice, and so on. (You can see the groups who have participated at www.goearth.org)

The groups change from night to night, and the Village itself is set up differently each night depending on the space available in the venue. Our environmental partner Mission Blue was asked to participate, but they don’t have staff in the Pacific Northwest, so they asked us. Enter Cascade Game Foundry! We represented Mission Blue in Neil’s Village at his shows in Missoula MT, Spokane WA, Seattle WA, and Vancouver BC. What a fantastic experience! We talked to people about the inspiring Dr. Sylvia Earle, her 2009 Ted Wish, the Mission Blue organization, and the entertaining and enlightening Mission Blue movie. We also showed Sylvia diving in our game, Infinite Scuba. And yes, we also got to see Neil Young and the Promise of the Real in concert. Wow! It was cool to see our artwork on the big screens before and after the concerts, too. 🙂

One of Neil Young's big screens at Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC

One of Neil Young’s big screens at Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC

After we returned home, we worked on a contract gig for an unannounced (hopefully not for long!) game and resumed work on Infinite Scuba. Our newest dive site is coming along nicely and we are doing a sneak peek of it during this week’s DEMA (dive industry) show in Orlando and at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monaco next week. So exciting!

More news soon!
The Infinite Scuba team at Cascade Game Foundry

Shown on the big screens at Neil Young's Rebel Content Tour, 2015

Shown on the big screens at Neil Young’s Rebel Content Tour, 2015

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