I have been designing video game content and systems for seven years, and I have been an avid tabletop and video gamer since I can remember. My background as an environment artist is reflected in my designs through a set of personal tenets by which I bring worlds to life and deepen immersion.
I began my career in interactive media as a Flash Developer for Echelon in Orlando, Florida. However, because I've always been a gamer at heart, I spent all the free time I could muster building a industry-worthy portfolio. In 2008, my hard work paid off when I landed my first gaming gig at Budcat Creations as Environment Artist for the Guitar Hero series.
After the Guitar Hero craze was over, Budcat shut its doors and I joined Wayforward Technologies in Valencia, California as Level & Mission Designer on a handful of console and mobile titles. From there, I made the leap to World Designer on the acclaimed MMO City of Heroes at Paragon Studios in Mountain View, California. When Paragon shuttered, I joined Gazillion Entertainment as Content Designer on the action RPG Marvel Heroes.
PEOPLE ARE TALKING
Content Design Lead
It is rare that one can point to a designer who is able to both seize effective command of a design feature while at the same time able to remove his own ego from the challenge of shepherding that feature to be the best that it can be.
Michael is receptive and innovative, while at the same time managing to consistently pull clever rabbits out of the hat in the form of ideas that nobody else thought of but which neatly and cleanly solve difficult problems.
I worked with Michael on Marvel Heroes 2015 at Gazillion Entertainment, where I serve as producer for the content design group he was a key part of. Michael is a creative and committed designer who manages to think both from a player perspective and a developer perspective. He could not only create experiences that were deeply engaging, but he could find a way to get there that somehow cut a 40-hour project down to a 20-hour project. He is dedicated, talented, communicative, humble, and deeply funny. I'd look forward to working with him on any team in the future.
Senior Game Designer
Michael excelled at the unenviable position he was put in at Paragon. We had just lost his mentor World Designer and did not get a rec to replace him, putting all the work squarely on Michael's shoulders. I have never seen someone adapt as quickly to the situation as Michael did. He took charge like he was one of the old-time veterans on the project, asking the right questions to the right people and getting the job done at a level I didn't expect so soon. Michael made the best of a bad situation and came through with flying colors.
Michael's world design work was terrific in City of Heroes. He had a deep care to getting the details working just right, whether it was from how a spawn should properly interact with players to how the set up scene of a zone event looked. Michael cared very deeply for making things right, and it showed in his work. I look forward to seeing further work from Michael in the future and working together with him one day!
Okay, the first name is technically Philip, but I call him Michael. Michael is an emerging world designer who is very friendly and easy-going, always looking to learn more and more about the craft. He's meticulous, great at documentation, and isn't afraid to jump in and get his feet wet when approaching a new project. I enjoyed working with him because, with City of Heroes especially, there was ten years worth of information and "foibles" he had no idea about and had to pick up very quickly so that he would be effective and efficient with his time. And he did! He is unflappable and committed to making sure he has what he needs and that he's done everything in his power (liaising with other designers and/or disciplines) to make his zone great.
Matt Van Dinter
Mike's dedication, professionalism and modesty made working with him a pleasure, and I was very sad to see him leave Budcat. Mike was a ready learner, always anxious to improve as an artist. Long hours and focused attention are just part of his nature, and he had no hesitation or ego when it came to the inevitable revising of assets that is part of high-pressure production deadlines. Although Mike's tendency is to make very personal and idiosyncratic art, he was ready and able to to adapt to whatever style demands were put on him. I know that Mike will be a valuable contributor to any project he takes on.