Brad Wardell bigraphy, stories - American businessman, programmer and author

Brad Wardell : biography

24 June 1971 -

Bradley R. Wardell (born 24 June 1971), commonly known as Brad Wardell, is an American businessman, programmer and author residing in Michigan. He is the founder, President, and CEO of Stardock, a software development and computer games company.

Wardell's specialty is the design and programming of artificial intelligence and game mechanics for turn-based strategy games.


Online personality

Wardell has participated in online news, magazines and forums since his days running Commodore 64 BBSes in the late 1980s. He made over 10,000 posts to Usenet during 1992–2006, being particularly active in and subgroups of comp.os.os2. - Google Groups - Google Groups - Google Groups

Wardell is a regular poster on Stardock's forums,Wardell usually uses the screen name name Frogboy for corporate matters, while going by Draginol from home. and is actively involved in public debates, including those relating to Stardock. Sometimes criticized for this, he says the risk of alienating potential customers – especially those who feel they have "a license to behave terribly" – is "a price I'm willing to pay to be able to do what I want."

Personal life

Wardell is married to Deborah (Debbie) Wardell, whom he met at college; they have three children: Alex, Ryan and Ashley. His hobbies include beekeeping.

Fantasy author

Wardell wrote the fantasy novel Elemental: Destiny's Embers (ISBN 0345517865; August 24, 2010), published by Del Rey to accompany Elemental: War of Magic. The book is set a thousand years after the Cataclysm, after the time of the game itself, and involves the quest of a former messenger to save mankind from the Fallen. The book came with a coupon to download an exclusive campaign for the game.


Wardell was a member of Crain's Detroit's 40 under 40 in 2003, and has been a finalist for Ernst & Young's Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002-4 and 2007.


Wardell believes that "nice guys finish first," and that customers are "part of the team." Politically, he is a self-identified conservative.] October 10, 2012]

Digital rights management

Wardell endorses digital distribution, despite the potential for piracy. He believes that while copyright infringement is an issue, blaming it for poor sales – and insisting on "stupid" forms of digital rights management – "hides other underlying causes." Indeed, he argues that extreme anti-piracy measures result in poor sales:

The reason why we don't put copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates.

Wardell says any system of protection "should be completely invisible to the user," and that it is not enough to make a good product while disrespecting your customers:

Stardock is consumer friendly because we're a bunch of greedy capitalists who have recognized what should be an obvious truth: If you treat people as potential customers and not potential criminals you are likely to get more sales.

To this end, Wardell created a "Gamers Bill of Rights," released at PAX 2008. Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor – who was working with Stardock on Demigod at the time – called the bill "an awesome framework for the industry to aspire to."

Software and economics

Wardell is willing to use free software or freeware when it is equal in quality to commercial software, or when it is all that can be afforded; the first OS/2 version of Galactic Civilizations was created using the GNU toolchain. He even funded hosting for competing freeware utility Samurize. However, he believes that freeware users often drive their developers away, and that – on average – commercial developers have greater incentives to improve quality, resulting in better products:

Living octopus

Living octopus

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