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Biography

Ever since I was a boy (about 10 years old) I wanted to get into making games, a common theme among the folks who work in our industry today. I knew what I wanted, but not necessarily how to get there. Also, I didn't have much access to a computer (other than a TI 99), so I spent most of my time playing games. As high school came along, I started to play with more computers and learned basic programming (Apple Logo and Basic). I used this to write simple programs, but was impatient with the storage mediums at the time (tape and floppy disk). I completed high school, and decided it was time to try a different approach. I moved back to Seattle (having lived there most of my youth) from my current home of San Diego to begin my career.

In Seattle, I was able to get my first job in the industry at Nintendo. I was a game play counselor (I played games and helped customers get through them when they were stuck) for my first year in 1989. I then went into management in 1990. I assisted a lead in managing a team of 15+ game play counselors for several years. In 1992, I began going to a small community college (Belleveue Community College) so I could start learning the skills I would need to make games. I took the courses necessary to transfer to a major college in hopes of getting into a computer science department. I continued working full time while going to school part time.

In my later stages as an Assistant Lead, I was in charge of teams of contract (temporary) employees for the times they were with us. There were usually 15-20 per team and I managed these teams for two years (about 2-3 groups a year). In the last months of my Customer Support Assistant Lead position, I managed 10 full time employees in Nintendo's correspondence department. I not only made sure they took calls, monitored these and wrote reviews (as were my duties for the entire stint of my Assistant Lead position), I also had to monitor the written work of the representatives (mainly letters with the occasional email). Over the course of the years through 1996, I managed around 100 people total.

It was at this time that I knew I wasn't going to progress any further towards my goal of making games unless I changed my position. I had just received my Associates in Arts and Sciences degree in December of 1995, and I wanted to put that to use (learning Pascal and many other math and science skills in the process). I had just transferred to the University of Washington to continue my education and needed to make sure I was moving towards my goal of making games. I decided to take a lateral transfer to Nintendo's Lot Check department to begin testing games.

Here I was responsible for testing every game for every platform that was going to be released. The systems I tested games for were the Super NES (SNES), Game Boy (GB), Virtual Boy (VB), Game Boy Color (GBC) and Nintendo 64 (N64). Generally, this group just tests games to make sure they are compatible with all the system revisions released. However, I was given the opportunity to test Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for its production cycle. This game was the first game I got my name in the credits. It was an awesome feeling, though I knew I didn't want to stay a tester for long.

After 18 months as a tester, I was offered a position with Nintendo's engineering department to put my organizational skills to use. I was in charge of getting developer documents, code module comments and other items translated for release to the English speaking developers. I also created installation programs for the developer tool suites (for example Partner 64 for the N64 development environment). I didn't stay here long as I was offered another position six months later.

I moved to Nintendo's Developer Support Group for my last two years at Nintendo (spending a total of 11 years there). In the Developer Support Group, I was placed in charge of handling developer questions for one of the audio tools used by the N64 and GBC (MusyX). I also fielded questions and created demos for the GBC. I helped edit the developer documents to make sure they made sense after translation. As the release of the Game Boy Advance (GBA) drew closer, I was given the opportunity to speak at the Game Boy Advance Developer's Conference as well. It gave me an opportunity to actually meet the developers I had been assisting for the previous two years. I finished my Bachelor's in Arts and Sciences (I had decided to go with a math major instead of a computer science degree, as I had been informed that Math is harder to learn outside of school) by this time and was looking for a way to start actually coding games.

My next step moved me to Amaze Entertainment, where I spent the next three years. At Amaze (in the Griptonite studio), I was able to put my programming skills to use. I was given the opportunity to work on two games right as I arrived (Racin' Ratz and Heroes of Might and Magic II - both for the GBC). I also assisted in starting the engine for the soon to be released GBA. I was fortunate enough to be allocated to the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone project for the GBA as my first full development cycle. I was made the Technology Lead for this project, and worked with the team to develop the basic game engine that would be used by Griptonite for most of its titles. I soon took over the task of managing the programmers on Harry Potter, to make sure the game was released on time. I also helped to design the first scripting tool used by Griptonite for the game.

After the success of Harry Potter, I was given the task of being the lead for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (GBA). Here I spent a good deal of my time managing the programming team, allocating tasks and making sure they were complete. I also worked with our producer to design a random item generation system. I took it upon myself to do the more menial tasks, like menus and front end. I worked with my team to make the engine better as well. We used the enhanced engine to help create the next game as well, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (GBA). In the pre-production stages, I managed a few more programmers to help build the studio's next scripting program which could be used by more projects, as the one we used for Harry Potter was too limiting. I continued to do the same tasks for The Return of the King as I did for The Two Towers, continuing to help with the enhancements of the engine the whole time. I moved on to The Sims (GBA) as the lead programmer just before the end of The Return of the King project. Here I allocated the menu tasks and spent my time working on the mini games and their interface. I also continued to improve on the engine and scripting system. It was at the end of this project that I decided to move with my wife to London, UK. I spent the remainder of my time at Griptonite helping out the team doing the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (GBA) project. I did a bit of clean up work and imported the actor (sprite) system from The Sims to this project.

I then moved to London, UK, and spent a year working as an independent programming contractor. I contracted with Griptonite to assist them with The Urbz (GBA) projects. I worked on most of the mini games for the game. I also helped port those mini games over to the Nintendo DS (NDS) version, and created the paint mini application. After my contract with Griptonite ended, I was asked by a former producer to help Ideaworks3D with the Sims2 Mobile project. I really enjoyed designing and writing the autonomy and scripting engines for this project (working closely with another talented engineer to get it done in time). I then became a full time employee with Ideaworks3D to help finish the Sims2 Mobile games. I lead the programming team with the small versions, assisting with design when asked. After the Sims2 Mobile project completed, I decided it was time to move on and become a producer, for which I feel is what am more suited. I spent the remainder of my time with Ideaworks3D working on various pitch documents and in the producer role for System Rush: Evolution. Unfortunately, the game was put on hold and it was time for me to return to Seattle, so I couldn't be around to finish the project. The game was released a year later.

On my return to Seattle, I was offered a position back at Amaze Entertainment, now a Foundation 9 studio. I took the role of Development Manager, and started working with the console group. This was my first foray into console development and I took the opportunity to learn as much as I could about the process. As Development Manager, I was in charge of the project budget, schedule and equipment aquisition. I worked closely with the Producer to make sure the project vision was kept within budget and hit the required deadlines. This also included working with the publisher as necessary to explain why features could be added or had to be removed due to these constraints. I worked in this capacity for the Where the Wild Things Are project. I assisted with the finalization process in this capacity for the Shrek 3 game. As The Princess and the Frog project went through some design changes I was asked to take on a more studio centric role - Senior Studio Resource Manager. I left The Princess and the Frog project in the team's capable hands and began creating the outsourcing management procedures for the studio. I was also tasked with creating and maintaining the studio budget and resource allocation. In March 2009, I had finished the outsourcing systems and had another opportunity arise. It was time for my wife and I to follow our plan to travel the world for a year, so I resigned and have yet to return to the industry.

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