LEAD LEVEL DESIGNER

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE III

2022 – 2024

My most recent challenge was to lead the team to create the opening mission of a Modern Warfare game. The ‘Tier 1’ fantasy was a shift in tone from ‘Vanguard’ which necessitated a re-think of how we approached the level design.

After a few months, a narrative pivot resulted in us starting from scratch. To re-motivate the team, I leaned on visual communication tools like Miro in early pre-pro to allow greater team collaboration and get directors on-board.

I also learned the importance of getting the entire level stood up in rough block-out form ASAP to de-risk and discover large issues early.

One blessing but also challenge was that we were starting with an existing geo footprint – the Gulag. It was a balancing act to feature iconic spaces but also create appropriate new spaces to serve the gameplay when necessary.

During this time I also managed up to 4 LDs locally and collaborated with 2-3 more internationally, while still final-ing a major beat (cell block descend). I learned the value of time management and when to delegate.

Again, the level was called out in reviews as one of the best of the campaign. And again, we could not have done it without the incredible talents of the COD veterans at SHG.

 

 

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - OPERATION 627

Personally finalled ‘cell block descend’ beat, amongst others in first half of level. Learned the value of staying on-sticks and in-systems as much as possible even in a highly cinematic level.

SENIOR LEVEL DESIGNER (LEVEL LEAD)

CALL OF DUTY: VANGUARD

2020 – 2022

After a busy 2019 mentoring and consulting, I was fortunate to join Sledgehammer Melbourne in 2020. There, I built and mentored a LD team, while getting a level off the ground (Lady Nightingale), learning the ropes of making COD and dealing with the brave new world of working from home.

While at first I saw many similarities between Polina Petrova and Lara Croft (strike and disappear loop, sniper/bow mastery), the levels in which they existed could not have been built more differently. Whereas Tomb Raider was ‘environment driven’, COD was ‘level driven’, which put a lot of emphasis on block-out. I learned the importance of a great relationship with art – leaning on them when you might not have the staff or expertise yet to achieve your goals.

Like Tomb Raider, COD: Vanguard sought to tell personal stories. One of the joys was working with the incredible SHG narrative team to intertwine story and gameplay to create an immersive, emotional experience.

The importance of user research was reinforced as I lead the team to analyse our feedback. I’m proud to say that our user score went up after each test. As a result, ‘Lady Nightingale’ was the equal-top rated level in the campaign by ship time (and called out by most reviews as a stand-out level).

My biggest takeaway from Vanguard was the power of listening. There was such incredible talent at SHG, we spent the majority of the time ‘learning from the masters’ and checking our egos at the door. There is simply no way we could have achieved the final result without the incredible COD veterans who graciously mentored us and steered us to collaborative success.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - LADY NIGHTINGALE

Collaborated with directors to flesh out high-level pitch into fully-fledged vision. Championed ‘department store’ as evocative final ascension for Polina to confront Steiner and his troops. Spearheaded new ability (knife glint), challenge (hunter-killer enemy) and boss-fight (Steiner in mannequins) amongst other memorable moments.

LEAD GAME DESIGNER

SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER

2016 – 2018

After the privilege of working with the team at Crystal Dynamics on ‘Rise’, I was given the honor of leading a team of up to 6 designers with two main goals – close out a trilogy of beloved games and surpass players’ expectations.

Bringing the jungle to stealth game-play was a unique challenge. Tomb Raider has always encouraged players to keep moving in combat. I directed the team to focus on jungle stealth ingredients that enabled this – seamless vine wall camouflage and contiguous canopy traversal.

I also lead the team to bring the concept of fear into combat. After some early attempts at systemic fear causing enemies to shout off-screen, the answer lay in their fear being seen, not just heard. Tools that allowed players to witness enemies’ fear became the focus, leading to Fear Arrows and Chained Take-downs.

I worked with the team to bring more puzzle and social experiences to the game, balancing the mix of combat, traversal and exploration. As Lara had grown, so too had fans’ expectations, and we received many ‘thank yous’ for this.

The most valuable lessons I learned from Shadow were the values of mentor-ship – taking the time to teach and guide the team – and interdepartmental management skills – in order to see features not only get approved, but flourish as all departments championed them as their own.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - JUNGLE COMBAT

I led the systems and level collaboration on a number of features to bring the fantasy of Jungle Combat to SOTTR. Featured in this video are rope-pull takedowns, contiguous canopy traversal, vine and mud wall concealment and fear arrows.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - FEAR ARROW

I oversaw the development of the Fear Arrow to bring the fantasy of ‘fear’ to SOTTR Combat. The bow was re-contextualised from the weapon of chaos in ROTTR to the weapon of control in SOTTR to show Lara’s more strategic, professional approach.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - FEAR TAKEDOWN

After systemic fear proved not that fun or believable in playtests, I spearheaded its transformation into individual mechanics and abilities (see also: Fear Arrow). With the chained takedown we allow the player to witness the terrified reaction of the enemy in slow-motion.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - THERMAL VISION

I worked with the team to champion the inclusion of thermal vision enemies to challenge Lara’s new mud camouflage ability.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - UNDERWATER

Lead the team in development of underwater swimming mechanics, underwater threats (piranhas and moray eels) and underwater concealment. Full 360 degree swimming mechanics were a first for Tomb Raider reboot series.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - RAPPEL & WALL RUN

Lead the team in development of rappel and wall run mechanics.
Championed the inclusion of wall run to bring back classic TR feel. Championed iteration of controls until they felt like a seamless addition to existing axe mechanics.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - HERBAL REMEDIES

A selection of Smart Resourceful Lara features I oversaw including:
Perception Herbal Remedy, Critters & Focus Herbal Remedy.
Herbal Remedies re-contextualize healing from reactive (when injured) to proactive (for advantage), echoing Lara’s growth from Survivor to Tomb Raider.

 

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - FOCUS

Led the team in bringing systemic bullet-time to TR to fulfill the player fantasy of being in control. With the team fully booked, I scripted a prototype using existing tech to prove the fun and get all departments on board to polish the feature.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - JAGUARS

Jaguars were the new apex predator and needed to teach Lara – and the player – to use the environment to their advantage. Jaguars also taught the player the stealth loop – plan, strike, disappear – through their behavior. I oversaw the team in charge of development of the jaguar boss fights. Here you can also see the player take advantage of the perception mixture just introduced.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - LIVING HISTORY

After starting the project as a Senior Designer working on the concept of ‘living history’ and friendly NPCs, I continued to oversee it’s implementation until ship. A massive challenge to have 100s of NPCs with animations, reactions, awareness, conversations, streaming concerns etc. A first for the trilogy. I advocated re-use of old tech to fulfill new requirements, ensuring timely delivery. I also collaborated heavily with level design, narrative and animation to ensure historically accurate behaviours.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - OUTFITS

Oversaw designers in charge of development of the outfits system – mix and match top half and bottom half – and unique gameplay effects for different play-style categories.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - MERCHANTS

Oversaw designers in charge of developing the merchants system (new for SOTTR) including rational distribution of what is bought/sold where, for how much, shop interface, etc. A challenge as the direction came quite late in development but feature proved to be fun for players.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - SKILL TREE

Oversaw the refactoring of the Skill Tree to provide an element of strategy – adding the concepts of different costs and adjacency. Worked with leadership in UI and other departments to get buy-in. Worked with the designers to refactor the content of the skill tree many times and ensured all skills were delivered on time to de-risk delivery.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - RIDDLE MONOLITHS

Championed the refactoring of monoliths into a riddle-based system to give players more of an interpretation challenge – representing Lara’s journey to Tomb Raider.
Collaborated with narrative and art departments to create riddles. Mentored junior system and level designers to deliver.

REVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW)

INTERVIEWS

ARTICLES

PANELS

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath on Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In both cases, we were working in separate studios across a country from each other, but Heath is an excellent collaborator and we worked amazingly well despite the distance. He is a great communicator and designer and was able to handle the difficult task of working remotely extremely well.

It is clear to anyone who has worked with Heath that he has an innate design sense that is extremely fine tuned. It doesn’t take long for Heath to land on an answer that fulfills our goals but manages to stay within resource constrictions. But besides that innate sense, Heath is also extremely good at listening. When I had questions or concerns or didn’t understand something about the project, I could go to Heath and ask those questions, knowing I would get a well thought out answer.

I would love to work with Heath again, either in person or remotely.

Grant Parker – Game Designer II, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider & Rise Of The Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics)

TESTIMONIALS

“I worked with Heath during the development of Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

He is an incredibly energetic individual and not only applies this energy into his tasks but also beyond. He would be thinking two steps ahead, do research and catch balls before they drop. He would see ideas through to execution and be always ready to push the envelope. His proactive style and quick thinking was inspiring and a huge benefit to the teams he worked with.

Apart from his design skills his strong social skills stood out. He was consistently able to bind teams together and unlock the potential of people around him. Quick wit and charisma combined with a strong sense of focus and purpose allowed teams around him to stay unified even in rough weather.

I wish him all the best!”

Arne Oehme – Level Design Director, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Heath in shipping Shadow of the Tomb Raider. I have no doubt that the quality of the game wouldn’t be the same without his presence. Everyday, Heath worked diligently and with passion to bring out the best game possible.

Heath has a very strong design sense. I saw him being able to go from creative to pragmatic depending on the situation.

Heath is also very cultivated. I miss discussing with him music and cinema and videogames.

I would work with him again any day.

Daniel Drapeau – Gameplay Director, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

We worked together on Rise and Shadow of the Tomb Raider where he helped to shape the design and give each game its own identity and flavour – a huge challenge given the 25 years of history behind the franchise.

He is detail oriented in his design philosophies, communicates his team’s intentions well and still isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when needed. Heath also brings smiles to the team with his brand of memorable “pun” humor. I wish him the best of luck with his future endeavours.

Wilson Mui – Animation Director, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider & Rise Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

I had the pleasure of working with Heath on both, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow if the Tomb Raider. I absolutely love working along side him. He’s extremely hardworking, intuitive, and a master at his craft. But more importantly, he’s a joy to work with and makes every day and great one. I’m happy to endorse Heath.

Ben Stanton – Principal Lead Animator, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider & Rise Of The Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics)

TESTIMONIALS

I had the great pleasure of working with Heath at Square Enix Montreal and at Eidos Montreal.

Heath is an extremely-driven talented game designer, who is passionate about his work and takes his responsibilities very seriously. His dedication to continually developing his skills and knowledge is inspiring.

He’s an excellent leader who sets well-defined goals, and dedicates time to ensure his teammates can do their best work. Heath’s likable and gregarious personality brings fun to the projects he works on, and help him forge strong relationships with his colleagues.

I would work with Heath again in a heartbeat!

Stuart Wheeler – Senior Game Designer, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

I was lucky enough to work with Heath on Shadow of the Tomb Raider at Eidos Montreal. His work ethic and talents were a huge part of what made Heath a great team member. He was always willing to give a hand to help out in any way he could. He took the time to sit with me and explain his workflow which greatly improved how I handled integrating some of my animations in engine. Heath had a great attitude and was very passionate about the project.

It was a pleasure to work with Heath and I would be happy to have the chance to work with again in the future.

Steven Miller – Senior 3D Animator, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

“A true pleasure being around the most cordial with all his co-workers, Heath is also passionate and highly knowledgeable of his craft and video games in general. On Shadow of the Tomb Raider he was one of the strongest pillars and key in building the most solid foundation of the design and beyond as other directors were always keen in asking for his valuable feedback about their own work.

I truly enjoyed my time working alongside Heath and would renew the experience with no hesitation. An undeniable force for any team looking for a hard working innovator and true game enthusiast.”

Jean-Francois Mignault – Senior Art Director, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

TESTIMONIALS

Heath is an enthusiastic collaborator who brings a lot of energy and insight to game design. Always keeping both the player and the team in mind, his creativity and optimism are a boon in both the good and the tough times of the development cycle.

Jill Murray – Lead Writer, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

SENIOR DESIGNER (LEVEL DESIGN)

RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

2013 – 2015

On Rise Of The Tomb Raider, I was in charge of ‘putting the tombs back into Tomb Raider’ – a mandate I enjoyed immensely because of my passion for narrative, historical research and puzzles. Together with the Creative Director I defined the vision for Rise’s challenge tombs:

  • Ancient, undiscovered spaces (vs inhabited caves in Tomb Raider 2013)
  • Unique stories and mechanisms based on historical fact
  • Knowledge as Lara’s greatest reward (skills as rewards instead of XP).

In leading the tomb team, I applied my empower with clear goals learning from Square-Enix Montreal to ensure we could remain creative while still delivering on time and quality, earning the trust of the directorship at Eidos and Crystal. We produced seven challenge tombs, two of which were so well received that they were inserted into the storyline to bring more classic Tomb Raider to the game. I was also blessed with the honor of going to Crystal to share our best practices with their team!

None of this would have been possible without the incredible knowledge of the Crystal Dynamics team. I learned so much about level, narrative and puzzle design working with their industry veterans, as well as those in Montreal. I also learned about the different working cultures of Montreal and the Bay Area, how they complimented and contrasted with each other. And as my first true remote collaboration, I saw the value of constant clear and honest communication in achieving success.

The challenge tombs were consistently called out in reviews as one of the highlights of the game, which I believe was due to the values of creative freedom and honest communication we ran the team by.

REVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW)

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - HOUSE OF THE AFFLICTED

This was the first tomb I worked on. Learned a valuable lesson from playtests – always have the goal visible when the player enters the puzzle space.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - CATACOMB OF SACRED WATERS

This was the second tomb I worked on.
Tells the story of Byzantine burial practices (embalm, ferryman’s boat, inter).

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - PIT OF JUDGEMENT

This was the third tomb I worked on. Where did the Byzantine empire get its riches after the 9th century? We wanted to pay homage to Indy mine cart action. Also showed nature taking over as you get further into the tomb. Amazing ancient mechanism realisation from the team!

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - THE VOICE OF GOD

Voice Of God was when we started to hit our stride. Puzzle re-used from cut concept on main path. Love the context of the monks who would torture themselves to be closer to God. Love the mysterious natural wind organ thing. Love the dangerous traversal to get there too. One of my favorites!

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - ICE SHIP

The fifth and final Challenge Tomb I supervised directly was Ice Ship. Originally designed to be the ultimate test at the end of the game, it was moved to the start to front-load some ‘wow’ and ‘ancient fantasy’. Thus we transformed the hardest puzzle into the easiest. Props to designer Bjorn Swenson for his incredible work on this!

SENIOR GAME DESIGNER

HITMAN 6, TABLET PROTOTYPES

2013

In 2013 I moved to Montreal and joined one of the best studios I have worked at – Square-Enix Montreal.

The studio was formed to reimagine the Hitman franchise. I took ownership of the vision for combat (based on the high-level vision of the Creative Director), leading small cross-discipline teams to produce rapid prototypes.

During this time I learned the values of:

  • Transparency and openness in running a studio and project
  • Empowering talented, senior individuals by giving them clear goals and deadlines but allowing them to be creative within those parameters.
  • Live wall displays and constant communication of the vision

After a few months, the game was cancelled and SEM transitioned to a mobile-focused studio. It was a testament to the studio culture that almost everyone stayed to see what could be done on the new platform.

I was involved in multiple rapid Unity prototypes via the Incubation team. Here I learned the value of looking beyond Wikipedia for inspiration, and failing fast to find the fun.

An incredible experience with invaluable lessons that I carry forward throughout my career.

TESTIMONIALS

I had the great pleasure of working with Heath at Square Enix Montreal and at Eidos Montreal.

Heath is an extremely-driven talented game designer, who is passionate about his work and takes his responsibilities very seriously. His dedication to continually developing his skills and knowledge is inspiring.

He’s an excellent leader who sets well-defined goals, and dedicates time to ensure his teammates can do their best work. Heath’s likable and gregarious personality brings fun to the projects he works on, and help him forge strong relationships with his colleagues.

I would work with Heath again in a heartbeat!

Stuart Wheeler – Senior Game Designer, Square-Enix Montreal

TESTIMONIALS

Heath and I worked together as a team back at Square-Enix Montreal, on Hitman and various other projects big and small. I also got to see his management style when we worked on different projects at Eidos Montreal. It’s clear we both share a strong, no-nonsense desire to look past ego and make the decisions a game needs to excel, and that level of thinking and organization is what makes him an excellent game designer and project leader.

It was a pleasure to work with Heath and I’d absolutely work with him again the future.

Richard Knight – Senior Game Designer, Square-Enix Montreal

SENIOR GAME DESIGNER

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

2011 – 2012

In early 2011, I made the jump from +30 degrees Melbourne summer to -30 degrees Quebec City winter – not something I’d soon forget! All in the name of chasing a dream – working on a 3rd-person action adventure.

At Beenox I found myself surrounded by some of the most talented, experienced industry veterans. I learned so much on The Amazing Spider-Man – what it meant to aspire for AAA quality and iterating on something until it was not just done, but right.

I led a cross-discipline team to deliver melee combat inspired by the Arkham series, but with the agility of Spider-Man. In addition, we ambitiously added a full stealth loop… from the walls and ceiling… with the player able to pause time at any moment! After much iteration I settled on a height-based stealth solution with clear enemy search feedback (flashlights).

I designed multiple enemy archetypes to challenge players’ abilities, working with level designers on their rational pacing. I also took charge of the game’s economy and upgrades.

My biggest takeaway was the same lesson Spidey learns… with great power should come great responsibility. While we provided a great power fantasy, we could have required the player to manage that power better for a more satisfying experience.

REVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW)

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - MELEE & STEALTH COMBAT

I was in charge of melee, stealth and web-rush in combat.
Designed and revised stealth many times to deliver an accessible experience. Rewards for both melee and stealth approaches.
Developed all enemy archetypes to test player skills.

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath on The Amazing Spider-Man. He was the Senior Game Designer/Combat Team Lead. From day one (seriously) his interest and passion for the project was clear – he gave nothing but the best.

He is passionate in his work and he is not satisfied with just ‘good’ if there’s room to go beyond! Be prepared – he doesn’t accept things half-done, he will expect from others AT LEAST the same that he gives. He’s smart and ambitious and understands the process of making AAA games, producing excellent results.

Heath also has great people skills – you feel like you have known him for a long time, and you know what? This united the team with amazing results from all disciplines: animation, programming, game design – you name it. He got the best of every team member – that’s a leader. Well, he won best employee of the year, need I say more?

It was a pleasure to work with him on the project and he earned our respect with his creativity, great attitude, and critical sense and communication skills.

Without a doubt, without Heath it wouldn’t have been the same. You just have to look at the combat system, level pacing (the best with limited resources) and UI design, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Heath, it has been a pleasure working with you!

Guillermo Dupinet – Art Director Animation, The Amazing Spider-Man

TESTIMONIALS

Heath was one of my game designers on Amazing Spider-Man. Quickly, he became a senior and my “right hand”. He took more leadership responsibilities and gained the respect of the entire team. Amazing Spider-Man was a really ambitious project which required Beenox to reimagine the core mechanics of Spider-Man through the lens of the movie license. Heath was mainly responsible of the new combat system and AI under my supervision, but his great work and professionalism proved to me that he was able to also take more responsibilities in other areas.

Heath clearly understood the vision we established for ASM. His passion, analytic sense, ambition and easy-going nature were high assets to push the team in the right direction to deliver a AAA game.

I feel lucky to hire Heath and it would be a great pleasure to work with him again.

Therefore, you have to be quick before I keep him for me!

Rodolphe Recca – Lead Game Designer, The Amazing Spider-Man

TESTIMONIALS

I had the pleasure to work with Heath on The Amazing Spider-Man. Heath was Senior Game Designer / Combat Team Lead and very quickly became a reference on how to achieve AAA quality material.

The whole combat system of the game was driven by Heath and he proved himself completely up to the challenge. He led his team to ensure that the combat was fun and well-paced and never lost focus. His team was always the first in production to show really cool mechanics and combat moves. By doing so, Heath allowed all the team to understand what we wanted to achieve in terms of quality.

Heath is very creative and funny (a great + when you’re working on a Spider-Man game). He was a pleasure to work with from a narrative design standpoint. He came up with many wonderful narrative ideas during the course of the project. That convinced me of the fact that he could be a great Narrative Designer. Actually, with his intelligence and high level of commitment, Heath could be pretty much anything he wants. He proved it by helping narrative, level and game designers with their tasks (proof reading, UI design, level pacing…).

Heath is simply the best game analyst I’ve ever worked with. His internal reviews combined with his sharp problem solving skills and attitude helped everyone from other designers to programmers to raise the quality of our product.

I can easily recommend Heath for any project, he is one of the cleverest persons I’ve worked with and I would absolutely love to work with him again!

Benjamin Schirtz – Lead Narrative Designer, The Amazing Spider-Man

TESTIMONIALS

I had the pleasure of working with Heath for nearly two years at Activision’s Quebec City studio, Beenox. There he was working in the role of the Senior Game Designer/Combat Team Lead and our teams interacted on a daily basis.

Having known that he hailed from previous leadership positions in Australia it was no surprise to me when he performed his role on The Amazing Spider-Man with the passion and drive of someone with experience. Over the production, he had become someone known for setting a high water mark for quality across many departments. While his primary duties were dealing with combat, he was directly responsible for quality being raised on many areas of the game, including player and NPC behavior/Ai, narrative proofing, in-game experience tracking and levelling, UI design, game documentation, and NPC voiceover accuracy.

I would certainly recommend Heath for any project, and would myself, love to work with him again one day.

Eric Vervaet – Audio Director, The Amazing Spider-Man

TESTIMONIALS

Heath was Game Designer on “The Amazing Spider-Man” 2012, in Activision Beenox. I arrived in the company almost in the same time than him and I must say that Heath was very impressive.

Heath was in charge of the whole combat system of the game, and the upgrade/economy system (and many other stuff). Heath was nice, VERY motivated, talented and determined. He never backed down. During this year alongside Heath, I had the opportunity to learn a lot from him. Heath was a source of inspiration and a great support. I am proud of his work and I hope to work with him again in the future! I miss you, man!

Nicolas Briere – Game Designer, The Amazing Spider-Man

TESTIMONIALS

I met Heath when he joined my team during the development of The Amazing Spider Man (PS3/X360). 

As a Senior Game Designer on the project, he worked on an incredible amount of game systems in the game. And not only did each time he touched something it magically worked perfectly, but he proved he has great leadership skills: planning tasks, helping and teaching juniors and intermediates, never stressed and always the right attitude.

He was also inspiring to people around him, motivating people with his behavior, a team player, always coming up with the solutions, working with others’ ideas and giving a soul and consistency to everything he worked on within the production constraints.

I have to admit that, in terms of game design, Heath was the man!”

Gerard Lehainy – Creative Director, The Amazing Spider-Man

LEAD GAME DESIGNER

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET 2010

2009 – 2010

After the success of Ashes Cricket 2009, Codemasters were keen for a sequel.

With International Cricket 2010, I saw an opportunity to bring some of the excitement I remembered playing cricket when I was a kid.

At the time, Wii Sports had just hit with it’s you are there design philosophy, as had the Codemasters racing games that highlighted the in-car view. I thought, if Cricket is fun to play, why not offer a view that feels like you are there?

I designed, prototyped and iterated on new behind-batsman and behind-bowler 3rd-person game-play views. The response in reviews was universal praise with calls of “long overdue”. One of my early proud moments. The acceptance of this potentially disruptive new feature was helped by making it the default view, but making it easily toggle-able.

This was the first project where I learned to work in an Agile way, which was crucial to its success as we only had a short development cycle. Scoped well, it had a good balance of ambitious back-of-box features and solid improvements (e.g. AI) that excited players while still allowing us to hit our deadlines.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - ACTION CAM

A brief overview of action cam (behind batsman and bowler views).
You can also see the new bowling HUD (refactored for depth perception), and the power stick feature (using the analogue stick to adjust shot power).

REVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW) 

    

INTERVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW)

 

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath at Trickstar Games when he was the principal designer on International Cricket 2010, and previously for many years while he was a programmer at Transmission Games.

Heath is an outstanding designer. Every feature which makes Cricket 2010 shine over its predecessor can be directly attributed to him. Not only are his ideas well thought out, Heath has the tenacity to see them through until the end.

Heath has the ability to get people around him on board with his ideas, and motivate them to get them implemented. His leadership made some of the most innovative features in Cricket 2010 see the light of day, such as the immersive batsman camera.

As the lead programmer on that title, I found Heath great to work with. He is eminently approachable, a great communicator, and gets along with everybody. His programming background gives him a clear advantage in that he can take the technical intricacies of game development into account in his design work.

Matt Delbosc – Lead Programmer, International Cricket 2010

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath at both Transmission Games and Trickstar Games. Heath always proved to be a passionate about design and is very good at getting his ideas across. His experience and abilities are a great fit within a team and his attention to detail is really something to be admired.

International Cricket 2010 was a better game due to Heaths determination and drive.

Pair this with a personable, well rounded individual and you have someone I would happily work with again and again.

Andrei Nadin – Senior Producer, International Cricket 2010

LEAD GAME DESIGNER

ASHES CRICKET 2009

2008 – 2009

In 2008, I was given my first Lead Game Design opportunity – help get Ashes Cricket 2009 (originally slated for 2008) back in-shape and delivered on time.

The team was a little demotivated when told the game wouldn’t ship that year, so I took them on an excursion to learn how to play cricket. I thought this would help re-motivate and bond them, plus benefit the game if the team better understood the sport! I received great feedback about this day which gave me an early confidence boost in my new role.

Analysing the game in 2008, it was clear that while it had potential, there wasn’t enough UI or feedback to help players ‘pick up and play’ the game and know when they were succeeding. My primary focus became getting casual players (our primary audience) to understand the game in just a few minutes. To this end, I championed and ran a series of playtets which were very successful.

When the game was finally released in 2009, it was a sales hit and reviewed well. I had found my calling – Lead Game Design – and was determined to grow and succeed.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - BOWLING

 This video shows the work I did to enhance the ‘pick up and play’ nature of the game for bowling controls and delivery selection.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - BATTING

 This video shows the work I did to enhance the ‘pick up and play’ nature of the game, with button prompts appearing for batting controls.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS - CATCHING

 I spearheaded a new more immersive catching mode so you feel like you’re watching the ball and waiting for the right moment to catch it.

REVIEWS

(CLICK TO VIEW)

  

INTERVIEWS

 (CLICK TO VIEW)

   

 

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath for almost 2 years at Transmission Games, while he was an engineer and then a designer on the Ashes Cricket games.

Heath has one of the best attitudes of anyone I’ve ever worked with. He will do whatever it takes to support his systems, explain his designs, help his fellow team members, and generally focus everyone on a common goal. Heath was a key part of the designer and artist support structure on the team. This was in addition to his ability to develop and maintain well thought out, well written systems.

Either as an engineer or a designer, Heath is the type of person who helps bring up the performance of his whole team.

Cam Dunn – Studio Technical Director, Transmission Games

TESTIMONIALS

Heath was a well respected designer at Transmission who revamped and revolutionised the Ashes Cricket game we were working on. He has excellent communication skills and unquestionable initiative and loyalty. He did a great job of ensuring the project maintained the highest quality through his insightful proposals and excellent documentation. I look forward to working with Heath again in the future.

Sean Holmesby – Junior Programmer, Ashes Cricket 2009

TESTIMONIALS

I can only echo other peoples comments in saying that Heath is very passionate in his work. He is prepared to take apart a game and rethink it which helped Ashes 2009 wonders. He has great ideas and is willing to take on board comments from others.

Ian Uniacke – Senior Programmer, Ashes Cricket 2009

TESTIMONIALS

Heath is a pleasure to work with, I would describe his work ethic as professional and enthusiastic. I worked with Heath to create interface audio assets and was delighted to find that Heath understood the audio creation process and overall, displayed a great respect and interest in the audio and music.

Kim Dellavedova – Sound Designer, Ashes Cricket 2009

GAME/LEVEL DESIGNER

VARIOUS PROJECTS

2006 – 2007

After completing my studies at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Melbourne, I landed my first job at one of the best studios in the city – Transmission Games.

During my first two years, I was lucky to experience a few different projects, soaking up as much knowledge as I could each time.

I started with mission and cut-scene scripting on a PSP port of Heroes Of The Pacific (unreleased).

I also spent a little time as an engineer (I had a C++ background) on a PSP port of Heatseeker (a ‘Top Gun’ version of Heroes Of The Pacific). I learned how to work remotely with a team in New Zealand (Halfbrick), as well as the challenges of memory management on handheld devices.

My most memorable role was as a level designer on Frank Miller’s Sin City (unreleased) – a 3rd-person Action Adventure, which was always my dream. I wrote level design documents and researched Sin City lore in order to get the characters’ voices right. However, sometimes it’s better that your dreams don’t come true

Finally, I worked on pitching a new IP with some very talented Unreal experts. I learned a lot about working with concept artists as well as Unreal visual scripting and cinematics.

TESTIMONIALS

Heath is a truly energetic and talented designer, with a head so full of ideas that he has trouble stopping the flow to talk about anything else. His love of games, and his efforts to develop his projects and his own skillset to the highest level possible make for infectious outbreaks of excitement among those working with him.

Although I was only able to work with him a short time, the work we were undertaking to develop new IP was made hugely rewarding, and his disciplined approach to game design made sure non of that effort was wasted.

I hope very much to work alongside Heath again, and to take further some of the fantastic ideas and designs he carries in his head, as they will make for truly excellent games.

Nick Martinelli – Studio Art Director, Transmission Games

TESTIMONIALS

I worked with Heath on a small pitch project over a short period of time. All sorts of adjectives come to mind – enthusiastic, passionate, professional, insightful, thorough… but probably the best description I can give is that Heath just wants to make kick-ass games, and he’s really quite good at it! Great communicator, totally ego-less, astonishingly productive, and impatient – in a good way, the sort of impatience that gets results from the rest of us. If this were eBay, I’d be saying “AAA+++ would definitely buy again”.

Adrian Hofman – Lead Programmer, Transmission Games

TESTIMONIALS

Heath is a talented and extremely dedicated designer. He was brilliant to work with for his sly wit and presence.

Heath has a strong work ethic and was committed to achieving fun mechanics and balanced game play, and was able to balance lead design with his responsibilities in game pitching. Heath is also a capable coder and a strong leader. I would love to work with Heath again, and I fully recommend him.

Mike Blackney – Programmer, Transmission Games

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