Christopher Weaver

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Christopher Weaver
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation software and technology innovator, entrepreneur
Known for founder of Bethesda Softworks and ZeniMax Media

Christopher S. Weaver is an American entrepreneur, software developer, scientist, author, and educator. He is known for founding of Bethesda Softworks, where he was one of the creators and Executive Producer of the original The Elder Scrolls role-playing series.[1][2]

Weaver and Bethesda are credited with developing of the first real-time physics engine for sports simulation, used in Bethesda's Gridiron! videogame.[3] Weaver also developed game screen captioning for the deaf and made it available as open source software.[4]


In college, Weaver helped redesign the campus radio and television, studios and modified Link Trainers to better simulate situational spatial awareness. This experience resulted in his creating AeroTechnology Enterprises specializing in analog training simulators for aviation.[2]

Weaver moved to New York where for post-graduate work at Columbia University and got a night job as an Assistant Director of News at NBC. He was then hired by the American Broadcasting Company, where he established the first office of Technology Forecasting for the network. He then became the Vice-President for Science and Technology at the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), followed by an appointment as Chief Engineer to the Congressional Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.[2]

Weaver later started Videomagic Laboratories, a company working in vehicular simulators for military and entertainment purposes.[2] He temporarily moved to Los Angeles to work on the Universal Studios lot in Burbank, working on new camera technology with Panavision for interactive media. During this time, Weaver contributed to early work in graphical interfaces, optical storage and computer-assisted editing, including encoding spatial information for tracking camera shots.[2]

In the 1980s, Weaver was introduced to video games when he was asked by one of his engineers to look at a football game idea he was developing – Weaver felt it "was boring". His fix was a physics engine, bounded by football rules. They decided to produce the game, resulting in the formation of Bethesda Softworks. The game was released as Gridiron! for the Atari ST and Commodore 64/128, in 1986.[2] Bethesda later found widespread success as a game developer with its Elder Scrolls series of games.

In 1999, Weaver cofounded ZeniMax Media with Robert A. Altman, as a new parent company for Bethesda. Weaver contributing his stake in Bethesda to ZeniMax,[2] and served as CTO until 2002, then was pushed out. He filed a lawsuit against ZeniMax, claiming he was ousted by his new business partners and was owed severance when ZeniMax didn't renew his employment contract.[5] They filed counterclaims saying he had gone through emails of other employees to make his case.[6][7] In the end, the case was resolved out of court. Although still the largest shareholder as of 2007, Weaver no longer had any day-to-day responsibilities with ZeniMax.[8]


Weaver has been published in science and technology journals and periodicals, including IEEE Spectrum, Techline, Edge Magazine, SCTE Journal, NCTA Bulletin, ITU Standards, Video Magazine, and Next Generation Magazine. He has written on subjects ranging from microprocessors to copyright law.[9][10] He is also a co-writer/creator of the science-fiction series The Tenth Planet published by Ballantine Books[11] and was the technical editor and contributor for Fundamentals of Game Design.[12]


  1. ^ "Christopher Weaver". MobyGames. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ramsay, Morgan (2012). Gamers at work : stories behind the games people play. [New York]: Apress. ISBN 9781430233510. 
  3. ^ "Games and Their MIT Makers". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ Ramsay, Morgan (2012). Gamers at Work:Stories Behind the Games People Play. New York: Apress. ISBN 978-1-4302-3351-0. 
  5. ^ "Christopher Weaver vs ZeniMax Media" (PDF). Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Weaver v. ZeniMax Media". Justia Law. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Christopher S. WEAVER v. ZENIMAX MEDIA, INC. -". Archived from the original on 2017-03-13. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Bethesda: The Right Direction". The Escapist. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Microphotonics:Hardware for the Information Age". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ [1]. Retrieved on March 31, 2015.
  11. ^ [2]. Retrieved on March 31, 2015.
  12. ^ Adams, Ernest (2010). Fundamentals of Game Design. Berkeley: New Riders. ISBN 0-321-64337-2. 
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