I’m a writer and technical designer for videogames. My ideal role on a game development team is always ‘Narrative Designer’ — someone who works to sew the thread of narrative seamlessly into gameplay. Games are interactive experiences, and making story truly interactive is one of the most exciting challenges in this constantly evolving artform.
Who I Was
I first learnt to program on DarkBlade, a MUCK/MUD text game I created, coded and ran in my teens. This hooked me on programming, world creation, and by extension, game development. I learnt scripting languages based on LISP and Forth, and over the course of several years I wrote 18,000 lines of code across 370 programs in the game, gaining 2300 players who used the game’s chat command over 800,000 times.
At 18, I taught myself web development with PHP + MySQL, and at 20 I founded a small web development company, Ice Cool Code, where I showcased my portfolio, eventually developing a Content Management System for the MP for Cambridge, which remained active 2005 to 2010. I taught myself C++ using the excellent C++ How To Program by Deitel & Deitel. When university beckoned, my dream degree was a combination of Creative Writing with Computer Science: but they don’t offer that kind of thing in the UK. So I chose to study English at Cambridge, and spent my spare time coding and dreaming of game development.
What I Became
After breaking free from the gin-soaked shackles of academia, I went on to work for:
- Free Radical Design, as Game Designer for Cutscenes on Star Wars: Battlefront III
- Ubisoft, as Narrative Designer on Driver: San Francisco
- Chillingo, writing marketing copy for their mobile catalog, including games like Angry Birds and Predators
- Zindagi Games and Sony, as cutscenes Scriptwriter for Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest
- Rotor Games, as freelance writer for their iOS debut title, Final Run.
I recently moved permanently from London to Austin, Texas, to take up a position as Technical Designer / Writer with developer Certain Affinity. I now work there full-time. I’m permitted to tell you that Certain Affinity’s been working on Halo 4. I’d love to be more specific about my role, but I can’t. Still — exciting stuff!
Kind of Irrelevant Information
In my non-games time, I am part of a startup which deals with location-based information services. In my non-games, non-entrepreneur time (what little there is), I occasionally take another stab at finishing an English translation of the opera The Marriage of Figaro. I’m halfway through Act IV, so I really have no excuse. My other personal writing project involves completing a final rewrite for a film script — a script I’d never have stood a chance at finishing if it weren’t for the support of my friend James Hurley, Director extraordinaire.