Professional Work

This page is for descriptions of projects I have worked on professionally. Unfortunately I don't have very good screen-shots of my earlier work; at the time I was too caught up in development and I didn't always walk away with a full, complete version of the work at the end of the day.

Double Negative Visual Effects
Double Negative is one of the largest visual effects studios in Europe, working exclusively on visual effects in films. I worked on various tools in the publishing system and in 3D modelling and compositing software, including some that were central to the whole company's workflow. My tools have been used in the production of films including John Carter, Captain America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II, Snow White and the Huntsman, James Bond: Skyfall, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables, and more.

Check out the company showreel:

Knowledge Oasis Muscat
I worked as part of an initiative to encourage the gaming and animation industry in Oman. In addition to working on specific projects I also performed in something of an advisory role in building up local development capacity and on projects that I didn't actually work on myself. This involved coordinating between several local and international entities including development studios, government organizations, and educational establishments such as Coventry University, specifically their Serious Games Institute.

The first project I worked on was the architectural visualization of a building that was under construction. While I didn't do any of the development myself, mainly being involved in management and support duties, I was exposed to most of the development process.

The second project, which was actually developed simultaneously with the first, was an interactive visualization of a historic Omani landmark: Bahla Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site. The application was web enabled and could also be distributed stand-alone. In addition to overall management of the project and coordination with the Omani government, I also scripted the player interface and controls, including a HUD, inventory, and data presentation system that allowed either images or a small user-controllable 3D rendering of objects to be displayed. Furthermore, I collected information about the fort from various sources and formatted it for use in the program. I also mentored a trainee artist in the specifics of 3D modeling for real-time applications. Finally I managed the actual engine, integrating all the assets and even setting up the appropriate engine-specific shaders.

The third project was to develop the first published Omani-developed mobile games. We developed two games in Java ME, designed to be accessible to as many different mobile devices as possible. The games submit scores to an online leader-board for a promotional competition. The games were topical, based on two significant local events: the Gulf Cup and the Muscat Asian Beach Games. Development was on a very compressed schedule. In addition to management I was involved with game design and logic, graphic design, sound effects and of course QA.

Free Radical Design
I worked on a the Wii version of a multi-platform third-person/first-person shooter. I was mainly involved in converting visual effects from the XBox 360 and PS3 versions to the Wii's fixed-pipeline, including water, weather, height-variable multi-colour fog, bloom, screen filters, lightning, bullet trails, energy shields, and other special effects.

I also worked on a second Wii game that was briefly under development. I did some programming for the game framework and gameplay, including character animation and motion control recognition.

Unfortunately both games were canceled so I don't have any media to show.

Dare to be Digital 2007
I was part of a five man team that produced a game prototype in under 9 weeks. The game concept was mine: a ninja stealth game in which actual sound is visible, and enemies and objects can be realistically cut in real-time.
Ninja stealth action!

Even till now sound is a neglected part of stealth games; as long as players use the "crouch" button when approaching enemies they never have to worry about how much sound they are making, and there is no need to listen for the sounds the enemies are making. This is hardly indicative of the actual stealth. In our game the sound was to play a major part in the visual style of the game, and the player would need to worry both about the sound he was making and the sound his enemies make; enemies in other rooms or even floors could be pinpointed by the sound of their footsteps, pitch black sections would force the player to advance slowly and try to spot the subtle breath or heartbeat of guards, guards yell warnings that alert other nearby guards when they spot the player.
The player can see sound

The guard sounds the alarm

Using a sword in most games is not very satisfying: you can strike an unarmored opponent with a blade that's larger than a man and he simply falls over. Actually cutting into characters gives the weapon weight and realism. Pre-baked cuts are usually easy to spot and increase the complexity of the game models. Allowing the player to cut objects and characters in real-time makes the game more immersive and allows the inclusion of environmental puzzles; the simplest example would be cutting a tree at an angle to allow it to fall across a chasm and act as a bridge.
The bisected body of a guard is visible below

Development shots of mesh-splitting in action

My main job was to develop the real-time mesh-splitting system and integrate it into the game engine. Unfortunately due to the limited development time the ideas were not fully realized, however the cutting system worked at a basic level, we had a stylized Japanese mansion and garden, a functional "sound-shader", a two-part animation blending system for the characters, ninja and samurai guard models with movement and combat animations, and effective enemy A.I. that would sound the alarm and initiate combat until it's health was low, at which point it would run away in order to search for help.

It's worth mentioning that after we produced the game demo, real-time cutting started to show up in mainstream video-games - the first game I know of personally was the Afro Samurai video-game, released in 2009 (also set in Japan featuring ninja, samurai, and a unique visual style - coincidence?). I believe the current Metal Gear game has been showing off a real cutting system in the latest previews.