Meet Kaz, the creator of Toyforming
Favorite Games: Ico, The Last of Us, Super Mario Bros.
Hobby: Going for drives with his family
Kazutomo Sasaki (佐々木一知), who goes by Kaz, is the CEO of Toyforming Studios and the creator of Toyforming.
At the start of his career, he contacted Sony Interactive Entertainment about working there as a game programmer after he finished graduate school; Sony liked him so much that, in 2004, a year before graduating with his Master's degree from Toin University of Yokohama, Sony hired him as a part-time employee and promoted him to a full-time game programmer after his graduation.
Kaz's specialty was character movement, which led him to be in charge of animating numerous creatures and animals in the titles "Shadow of the Colossus" and "Astro Bot: Rescue Mission."
He currently lives in Tokyo and is a girl dad to three young daughters, which he raises together with his wife.
Kaz's inspiration for Toyforming began in 2008 while he was working at Sony Interactive Entertainment with the release of "Little Big Planet" for the PlayStation 3, a game that allowed players to create their own stages while making use of the game's physics engine.
At the time, Kaz had started to feel that Japanese game production was at a standstill and no longer a leader in the world, so he was struck by the fact that game creators outside of Japan were continuing to advance game technology with innovative ideas. He strove to search for a way that Japanese game studios could compete with these innovators and also progress the technology used in games.
He came to the conclusion that, in contrast to the highly developed graphics and physics engines, there had not been much progress in AI. Believing that AI was the future, he began his search for games that use AI as their core technology.
In 2013, he was managing the development of "Toy Maker," a pre-installed mini-game for The Playroom™ app on the PlayStation 4 in which a picture drawn on a smartphone, tablet, or PlayStation Vita system through the PlayStation app was turned into a 3D object in the game; however, the objects players could draw were simple, balloon-like, and didn't move.
Fast-forwarding to 2016, Kaz began teaching himself how to create a deep-learning AI system to be ahead of the curve.
Then, in his free time in 2019, he independently developed a prototype combining deep-learning AI and Toy Maker and presented it within Sony Interactive Entertainment to much acclaim.
In 2021, he left Sony Interactive Entertainment to go independent and start Toyforming Studios. He changed the platform to a mobile-based one, rethought the concept, and started developing Toyforming, a terraforming-based planet-making application that incorporates progressive AR technology. Kaz developed Toyforming completely from scratch with no pre-built game engine.
Being independent and developing Toyforming is perfect for a devoted father like Kaz who loves spending time with his daughters and watching them play Toyforming!