Tell us a little about your history here at Santa Monica Studio and what you do?
I’ve been at Sony Santa Monica for almost 13 years. Before that I was the Creative Director for Red Storm Entertainment where I designed Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. My title at Sony is Senior Game Designer, but when I’m describing my job to people I usually say I’m “a script doctor for games”. I’m in the external group that handles small indie games. At any time I’m collaborating on 3-4 different titles. I give feedback, critique and design support – whatever is necessary to help the team achieve their vision.
To date, what has been one of your favorite Santa Monica Studio games you worked on and why?
My favorite title was the one that was the hardest to bring to completion: Sorcery for the PlayStation 3. It was a Move exclusive, and there were a lot of challenging design problems to solve around using the motion controller for casting spells. I still love the organic feel of playing it.
What inspired you to write a book? With family and a full-time job, this takes a large commitment of time, over a long period time, what drove your motivation for this?
Two things: I was unhappy with a lot of the design books I was reading – I didn’t feel like they addressed the things I valued in design – and I’d just had several tough projects at Sony. One game in particular that I cared a lot about was cancelled (in retrospect, deservedly) while it was still in preproduction. I was at a low point in my career and wondering if I even should be working as designer at all.
So the book started out as something I could work on that was all mine. I didn’t have to worry about collaborating with anybody, or anybody cancelling it. I could just focus on writing something that felt useful and true. Of course when it came time to talk to publishers all that changed – the final book is the result of a lot of collaboration with a number of readers and editors. But for the first few years it was just me.
The bulk of the writing was done in the time between when I’d drop my kids off at school and when I started my day at Sony. After drop off, I’d go straight to Starbucks and write on my laptop for 60-90 minutes before I’d have to pack up and head into work. It turns out if you do that for five years straight you can write a book.