Early History

Zensoft was founded in 1990 by Robert J. Sundling in a dark and sometimes damp basement in south-central Wisconsin.

Scientific Software, Hardware, and Consulting

Zensoft has regularly partnered with scientists to develop hardware and software while also providing general scientific consulting.

Since 2006, Zensoft has developed a number of physics simulations for the U.S. Department of Energy, including real-time X-ray diffraction simulations for both zone plates and carbon nanotubes. Zensoft has also developed RBIS, which serves as a robust simulation of mutual inductance in superconductors along with a system to rapidly correlate those simulations with experimental results.

Zensoft has particular expertise in Oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy (OMBE) systems, having written software to control OMBE machines since 1999. Our ZenMBE software has been used daily since then in laboratories around the world, and has been involved in the growth of thousands of films.

Zensoft has also created ZOM, a novel cutting-edge solution consisting of hardware and software for conducting scattering scanning near-field optical microscopy (sSNOM).

Games and Entertainment Software

The first product from Zensoft was Zentris for DOS, which was released in 1991 and was met with great success (copies of the original Zentris were still being sold twenty-five years later). A sequel, Super Zentris, was released in 1993.

In 1995, William P. Jacobson joined Zensoft as a game designer, artist, and programmer. He contributed to Zensoft’s final DOS game, ZONG for DOS, which was initially released as a prototype in the summer of 1995 with the final revision in 1996. Additionally, a final, updated, version of Super Zentris incorporating ZONG technology was released at this time.

With DOS declining and Windows 95 taking over the mainstream, Zensoft spent the next several years developing an advanced solution for 32-bit game development. By 1998, the result was the Rasdan Gaming Engine and the Zen programming language. Together, the pair provided a platform-neutral system for game development with a deep, integrated asynchronous design, greatly reducing the cost and time of developing computer games of arbitrary complexity.

After 1999, Zensoft’s internal focus shifted from technology development to the utilization of the developed technology through the creation of games based on the Rasdan engine. In 2004 and 2005, Zensoft released two new computer games, Zaxxoids and Zentris 3000. In 2008, Zensoft used the Zen programming language and Rasdan engine to create the popular Super Obama World, taking advantage of the cross-platform nature of the tools. In 2012, Zensoft discontinued direct sales of its games.

Security Software

In July 2002, Zensoft introduced Batch User Manager, software that managed local user accounts on Windows networks. It allowed users to perform batch operations on user accounts across dozens, or even thousands, of Windows machines while providing a suitable audit trail. We sold licenses for hundreds of thousands of machines and Batch User Manager was used by corporations and organizations worldwide.

Zensoft stopped development on Batch User Manager shortly after Microsoft acquired DesktopStandard Corp. in October 2006 and integrated their PolicyMaker software into Windows. This meant all of the capabilities of Batch User Manager were directly available through Group Policy Preferences (GPP), so long as all the clients were running Windows XP SP2 or higher, albeit in a less-secure fashion.

Zensoft continued to offer licenses for Batch User Manager until 2011 to support legacy installations. However, most organizations had long since upgraded to at least Windows XP SP2 on all client machines, and the Microsoft-provided solution was so convenient that we had no reason to continue selling Batch User Manager. (In May 2014, however, Microsoft entirely removed the Group Policy Preferences functionality with MS14-025, when they realized the insecurity of using GPP for changing passwords, but by then our codebase was long obsolete.)