I joined Amaze Entertainment in August of 2008 as an Environment Artist. The studios primary focus was on licensed titles for all gaming platforms including XBOX, Playstation, and Nintendo. The average production cycle for each project was only 8 to 10 months, with hard delivery dates based on the license title release.

I worked closely with several Art Leads and Art Directors and quickly learned the ins and outs of world building in a fast paced production environment. In my time at the studio I wore many hats including: Senior Environment Artist, Lead Artist, and Art Manager. I was able to see projects from design inception and prototype, through production, certification, final release and live operations. I also traveled to Hyderabad India, to help setup an in-source studio for additional resources.

In July of 2009 Amaze Entertainment was rebranded as Griptonite Games, it's former subsidiary that focused on handheld projects.

Amaze Wntertainment
Griptonite Games

X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Nintendo Wii and Sony PS2 was my first project at Amaze Entertainment. I joined the team shortly after pre-production and was given the task of visualizing the entirety of the New Orleans mission environments. This included the interior of several floors of a building, an elevator assent, rooftop chase, and culminated in a ship yard boss battle. For the final battle, I was able to work closely with our Lead Animator to choreograph the main quicktime event, and adjust the environment to take advantage of the various unique camera angles we decided to use.

After my first environment was finished, I was asked to tackle three other mission maps. This included a redesign of the Alkali Lake mission, the second map in the game and key to the narrative. I worked side by side with the design director to modify or replace several key areas of the environment.

Where The Wild Things Are

My next project was the ambitious Where The Wild Things Are game. The project was to release at the same time as the feature film adaptation, but was not tied to the movie, instead featuring its own narrative.

This would be the first project the studio would create for the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 console systems, but would also be ported to the Nintendo Wii. Many new graphical features were added to the proprietary engine including normal maps and lightmapping. Our goal was to try and produce a variety of richly details natural environments that showcased flora and fauna, rivers, waterfalls, and animal life.

After completing several lush environments, I was asked to assist with another project that was struggling.

Disney's Princess & the Frog

Disney's Princess & the Frog for the Nintendo Wii was a direct movie tie-in project that featured a large collection of mini games for up to 4 players at a time. Each game tied into specific locations or events in the feature film. The studio was asked by the client to provide a small demo to present at that years E3 convention. However, the team was still working on nailing the animated feature look Disney had requested. Shaders were updated with rim-light options to emulate a hand drawn look. I was asked to step in and complete all shader and lighting work for the demo and achieve the final look for the game. Under a very short deadline, and working closely with the Art Director, I was able to hit the quality bar the client had been requesting.

After the demo, I was assigned to the team full time and began training several of the artists on proper lighting and shading, as well as completing many mini games myself.

Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet

The next project the studio was contracted for was Marvel's Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet and I was promoted to Lead Environment Artist on the project. There had been a previous Super Hero Squad game, but it was tied to the toy line, and not the children's cartoon that the client was requesting. We took on the task of reshaping the design of the cartoon into a three-dimensional project. The game would loosely tie into the second season of the show, which was still in pre-production at the time.

The narrative of the game captured the silliness of the show, while providing some very action oriented game elements. Gameplay mechanics mimicked those of the popular LEGO games of the time. One to two players would defeat enemies, solve puzzles and collect jewels to progress through the game. The artists under me worked closely with the level designers to figure out game space and puzzle elements. It was a great collaboration that created a solid working environment.

Being my first lead role, there is a long list of things I would do different now. However, in the end I am very happy with what the team created in the time we were given. Also, how many projects get to have George Takei's voice Galactus in a giant boss battle?!?

Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters

After completing a Marvel project, it seemed fitting to move onto a DC project, hence I was assigned as Lead Environmnet Artist on Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii. This was a very unique project as a version of the game had been completed for the Nintendo DS. We were tasked with converting assets, creating new assets to utilize the 3D effect and upgrading all the graphics for a new engine still in development. This would be doubly hard as the 3DS hardware was still in development and we were limited to one dev kit for the team.

Although not a project I would consider a graphical accomplishment, the experience of working closely with various other departments to solve all the issues that arose, is one that has stayed with me. It helped to solidify the need for open communication between all departments during any production, something I now strive for moving forward.


At the end of Green Lantern, I was asked by the Studio Lead and Art Director to quickly prototype a new Kinect experience the studio could present at the upcoming E3. Another team had just completed a Kinect game featuring kung fu, and the hope was I could take the combat from that project, and showcase a more mature experience. At this time the very popular show Spartacus was airing on the STARZ cable channel, so a GLADIATOR: KINECT game made sense.

I was given a little over a month to create the demo. With a very small art team and limited resources, one individual from each department, we knew we had to keep our expectations under control. I hit the ground running and assigned my lone environment artist the task of reshaping one of our environment into a Roman arena. Next, after some quick character concepts, mostly photo-bashing of elements, the character artist began creating the two combatants. UI would be limited, but I made sure it's design was in-line with the theme. I worked with Animation, VFX, and Tech Art to make sure our presentation was at it's highest level in our proprietary engine.

One success I was able to achieve was the use of the Lead Composer from our sister studio in India. He was able to create the unique score I asked for, a blend of traditional and metal rock sounds. Somehow we managed to pull everything together in that short time and although we had a playable demo, a video presentation was much easier to distribute.