I have loved video games ever since I was
old enough to hold a controller. Many hours of my childhood were spent
in front of a television challenging my brother or my friends to all manner
of virtual contest, and many more were the hours I simply got lost in the
world of a game by myself. It should be no surprise that I now choose to
give back to the industry that captured my imagination, inspired me, and gave me so much pleasure in
my youth. Art was always a hobby for me as well, combined with my love
for fantastic literature and games. My imagination gave weight to my pencil
and my practice never ceased!
After graduating from DigiPen Institute of
Technology I enjoyed employment with Moral Productions as a lead animator
for their limited release children's animation "The Agents of the Spirit Episode
1: The Phantom Influence." Over the course of my time at Moral Productions
I had the pleasure of completing thirteen minutes of animation, eight of which can be found in the first Agents of the
Spirit episode. I thoroughly enjoyed the close knit team environment that
the office held
and still look back at that start up with fondness and gratitude for the opportunity presented to me fresh out of college.
offered me a position as a video game artist starting on their "Godzilla:
Save the Earth" project. Though I was originally hired simply to
flesh out the enormous city stages with destructible buildings, it wasn't long before I started
sneaking in at night with the lead designer and getting my hands on the animation.
By the end of Save the Earth, I was considered an animator in everything except title.
I got my hands dirty with concept art and level design on other projects that came
along until the previous Character Art Lead left the company. I took the role with some
reservations, but am proud of the results. I was head of the character art and
animation department during the two largest projects Pipeworks has ever undertaken,
managed to meet every milestone, and even kept my team sane and safe from excessive
amounts of overtime. After the loss of the original System Designer early production on new projects grew troublesome and I began to spend more and more time assisting in the design of characters, controls, and gameplay in general. Seeking to more efficiently influence the developement of new games I switched departments and managed to spend the better part of 2009 working
in design with the fresh crew on new IPs, prototypes, and pitches for future projects. The
pendulum seemed to swing both ways, however, as I spent almost half my time as a
Designer animating and eventually opted to return to the artist pit when it was made clear that the design and scope work I was producing during pre-production were not what was desired. It wasn't long after my return to the art department that hard times forced Pipeworks to downsize and drastically reduce the
animation staff and I found myself out in the cold through what I'm told was luck of the draw.
I spent about a year working freelance providing art and design for two local start up game companies primarily founded by other ex-employees of Pipeworks. Both studios launched mobile games for iOS and/or Android platforms and one has continued on into Steam space. Working on a few small scale projects was exceptionally rewarding after having bounced between million dollar projects under unwieldy management and unreasonable promises to publishers. Being one of three voices in the room for a little while was rewarding, educational, and certainly convinced me to carry on with my passion for games.
In 2012 I moved down to San Francisco to start work at KIXEYE during their big shift into AAA game in 3D. I was the second animator they hired and hit the ground running as soon as I arrived, adding new content and getting my hands on some of the previously outsourced work that needed a lot of revision. It would be another year before TOME: Immortal Arena would be announced to the public and go through a drastic change to shift from a browser based flash game to a downloadable Steam game rebuilt in Unreal, so I got to watch the development process of a (closed) live game shift and grow dramatically. I was also the primary point of feedback for tech art doing a lot of testing and skin weight polish as they built us rigs and tools for that first year. At full swing TOME had six full time animators and four tech artists, two of which were integrated with the character artists and animators. Communication was excellent, the pipeline was always flowing and well optimized for the high bar of quality being set not just for the look but for the feel of each character released. The TOME team is by far the best development team I've ever worked among or even heard tales. Even for the hiccups it had, there were no nightmares anywhere near those I'd previously endured or had learned about at other studios. I can hope to find a team that solid and sociable again in the future and to take these experiences into whatever environment the future holds!