Design Samples

Latest Résumé

Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa)

Shadowslayer

Super Hero Squad Online

Space Siege

Supreme Commander

Dungeon Siege II: Broken World

Dungeon Siege II

Bicycle Casino

Unreal II: The Awakening

The Wheel of Time

(Creature Hunter Online)

Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa)

Developed by: E-Line Seattle
Published by: Upper One Games
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Released: November 18, 2014

After almost six years in the realm of free-to-play, I returned to the land of the living when I started as Lead Game Designer at E-Line Media. I joined a team of AAA veterans who were similarly revitalized by the idea of making not just something that we could be proud of, but something that everyone could be proud of.

Part of that is because we made one of the most beautiful games that's ever been seen in Unity (which it was a pleasure to return to). The visuals that Dima Veryovka and the rest of the art team provided were an inspiration every day — they set the bar so high that it was easy to mistake for a constellation in the night sky. If that sounds overly florid, forgive me — when you work on a project as uplifting as Never Alone, you can't help but wax poetic.

When I started at E-Line, the design team was two level designers and me. The rest of the team wasn't much bigger — we were still a plucky indie shop no one had really heard of. A year later, I'm fronting a design team of six as one of the leaders of the studio, but I still have time along the way to pick up any design or production tasks that slip through the cracks. And although E-Line is now on everyone's radar after delivering a strong first effort, there's nowhere to go but up. I can't wait for the next project.

Shadowslayer: Dawn of the Lightforge

Developed by: Z2
Published by: Z2
Platform: iOS
Released: October 9, 2013

My last day at The Amazing Society was May 15, 2012. The next day I started at what was then called "Z2Live". In a market full of me-toos and not-very-goods, Z2Live stood out as a company that was making really fun games in the free-to-play market. When I was playing a lot of mobile games for research back in 2012, Battle Nations and Metalstorm were two of the ones that I kept coming back to. So I was pretty excited to take the reins as Lead Designer on their new action RPG / city builder hybrid.

The goal from the beginning was to "make a casual Torchlight". My personal goal was to "make Battle Nations with swords". Doing the latter turned out to be the easier of the two. It turns out that "a casual Torchlight" really means "a more accessible Torchlight on a platform without mouseover". Less easy. Still, the 16 months I spent on the project (and at Z2) were an incredible learning experience, and even if Shadowslayer didn't have the longevity of some other Z2 games, we still shipped an action RPG on iOS with a new IP.

I managed four designers on the project, but still had time to create the world, characters, progression, quests, and design the bulk of the systems and content. It was a little like having two full-time jobs at times, but the combination of leadership/mentoring a diverse team and implementing so many of my (and others' designs) was immensely rewarding.

Super Hero Squad Online

Developed by: The Amazing Society
Published by: Gazillion
Platform: Web Browser
Released: April 15, 2011

When I first interviewed at The Amazing Society, it was called "Aristo Digital" and housed all of its employees in one room. Two and a half years later, our team of almost 100 people released a MMO that was built basically from scratch. My duties on SHSO started with designing combat missions, but soon became "whatever needed doing". I designed entire systems, wrote hero-themed comic books, gave press interviews, and yes, designed the hell out of those missions. Yes, it's a game targeted at kids, but I played it every day and it never stopped being fun.

By the time we released in April 2011, I was leading the 13-person missions team. After that, I took over the entire Live Content Team, which numbered 24 people and produced characters, missions, objects, and locations that are, well, amazing. Luckily, I still found time to write all the dialogue for the game -- the voiceover for over 100 characters went live shortly before the studio shut down in May 2012.

Space Siege

Developed by:Gas Powered Games
Published by:Sega
Platform:PC
Released:August 12, 2008

Technically, I was laid off (along with quite a few others) before Space Siege actually shipped. However, since I was responsible for creating the characters, back story, missions, dialogue, and pretty much everything else about the game's world, I'm putting it on this list.

The bad news is that GPG re-wrote and re-recorded everything after I left. It's kind of a long story. The good news? I've still got the complete script and entire game's worth of VO for my portfolio -- along with the most satisfying and exhilarating experience of my life.

Supreme Commander

Developed by:Legend Entertainment
Published by:THQ
Platform:PC (also released on Xbox)
Released:February 20, 2007

After shipping two role-playing games in a year, the level design team on the Dungeon Siege series took a break to help out on a real-time strategy title for a while. During these months, I had to learn a lot of Lua in a short period of time -- which I put to use by focusing on one single-player mission from start to finish.

RTS games aren't really my thing (as you'd see in a hurry if you ever watched me play Starcraft), but this one was a lot of fun to work on and test.

Dungeon Siege II: Broken World

Developed by:Gas Powered Games
Published by:2K Games
Platform:PC
Released:August 22, 2006

The M-rated expansion to Dungeon Siege II. The two classes it added (one in particular) made this a pretty good expansion, along with a reasonably compelling story and lots of cool quests.

This was my first full project as a level designer, and I took full advantage of my newfound abilities. I implemented the bulk of the game's quests, scripted combat scenarios, and built almost a dozen environments. But most importantly, I got the opportunity to write a lot of dialogue and back story.

Dungeon Siege II

Developed by:Gas Powered Games
Published by:Microsoft Games Studios
Platform:PC
Released:August 16, 2005

The sequel to what a lot of people were calling "the Diablo killer", until it was released and was "merely" a great loot-grabbing RPG. Dungeon Siege II improved on the original in every way, but didn't get nearly as much press.

This was another project that I joined near the end, but I seized every opportunity I could lay my hands on: scenario scripting, cutscene editing, and much more.

Bicycle Casino

Developed by:Leaping Lizard Software
Published by:Activision
Platform:Xbox
Released:October 26, 2004

After Legend Entertainment was shut down in early 2004, I moved to Leaping Lizard. I joined the company towards the end of development on one the first casino games for Xbox Live, but in my short time on the project, I learned a lot about a wide range of issues, from UI design to console certification.

Unfortunately, a publishing deal never materialized for a sequel, and the company disintegrated a few months later. Fortunately, this triggered my long-awaited leap from the crumbling ladder of production to the healthy vine of design.

Unreal II: The Awakening

Developed by:Legend Entertainment
Published by:Atari
Platform:PC (also released on Xbox)
Released:February 3, 2003

While the real sequel to Unreal was often mistaken for its multiplayer cousin, it is a distinctly different game from Unreal Tournament. And while other games were taking the first-person action genre in new directions, Unreal II was designed to be a pure FPS, with a little story thrown in for good measure.

In addition to writing assorted dialogue, cutting up and post-processing all the VO, and many other duties, I provided the voice of one of the main characters. This was enough to get me onto the Internet Movie Database as "Grant Roberts (I)".

The Wheel of Time

Developed by:Legend Entertainment
Published by:GT Interactive
Platform:PC
Released:October 31, 1999

A first-person shooter based on Robert Jordan's hugely popular fantasy books. I was only on the project for a few months before it shipped, but that was enough time to see some amazing people doing some amazing work.

The environments still hold up today as some of the most gorgeous ever made in a first-person shooter, and the gameplay (especially in multiplayer) is still a breath of fresh air. That's probably why GameSpy named it #10 on their list of the most twenty-five underrated games of all time.

Close, but not quite:

Creature Hunter Online

Developed by: Sierra Online Seattle
Published by: Activision Blizzard
Platform: PC
Released: Studio closed in 2008

After I left Gas Powered Games, I went south to Issaquah and joined the team working on this teen-targeted MMO. From the get-go, I was in charge of the world again: back story, culture, factions, and more.

But this time, the scope was much larger. CHO was going to be a full-fledged MMO, with fifteen combat zones at launch -- each of which would contain dozens of quests. I was able to rewrite the game's entire fiction and completely flesh out half of those combat zones before the Activision-Vivendi merger was finalized in the middle of 2008, resulting in my third studio closure in four years.