animation, graphics, games, and other projects

Archive for the 'General' Category

Rock Obama lives on as MeowWalker

13th February 2010

I meant to post about this a couple months ago – Rock Obama never made it through Apple’s review process, but thanks to the very talented artist I met, Gabe Swarr, a revised version of the project has hit the App Store starring a lanky cat character with Michael Jackson’s stylings. The game is called MeowWalker, and actually seeks MJ tracks from your iPod to build the game’s soundtrack and has some great hand animated art + hilarious sound effects. Also not to be missed – the global Lick Leaderboard, where players can compete for the most time spent, uh, licking themselves :)

MeowWalker screenshot

The trailer is here:

You can download it from the App Store here

Posted in General | 146 Comments »


18th May 2009

Just a quick note – I moved to Boston a few months ago to start work at Harmonix, the MTV-owned maker of my favorite music games.  We’re currently finishing up The Beatles: Rock Band, which will be out in September :)   I’m super excited to join the engineering team, working closely with artists to develop new tools and technologies.

harmonix logo

rock band logo

Posted in General | 101 Comments »

Rock Obama iPhone Game Details

7th February 2009

Here is a preview of the finished version of Rock Obama, a game I developed for the iPhone. The game puts you in control of Obama as he tries to gain popularity at a rally by spreading his message of change!

It has been rejected by Apple 3 times because it “contains content that ridicules public figures”.  While I believe its all in good fun, does anyone in the community have suggestions on how we can change the game so it isn’t objectionable to Apple?

See for more information on the game and the associated short comedy film.

Additional Screenshots:

Posted in General | 127 Comments »

Job Update + Project Details

29th January 2008

Got married in June of last year right before leaving Apple in Pittsburgh for Electronic Arts way out in LA! The last 6 months have been really exciting on the new project, which EA is doing with Steven Spielberg and lead by Doug Church, to be released on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Can’t say much about it yet, but I’m glad to return to animation technology, focusing on creating “digital actors” that express emotion through their performances. I’ll post more information when its available, but there are a couple vague details in these announcements: [link 1] [link 2] [link 3] [link 4]. EA’s CTO on the project:

“We believe the Spielberg game will set a new bar,” … “That team has the right goals and they’re going to try to get intensely game-oriented emotional experiences.”

We’ll see if we can live up to that :)

I also posted some details at my gameplay prototypes page on a little experiment from awhile back that explored playing a Guitar Hero-like game on a portable touchscreen device by modifying the open source FretsOnFire game. YouTube video of the results embedded below…

Posted in General | 287 Comments »

CMU’s Spring Carnival: Magic Kingdom Monorail Racer project details…

24th April 2006

Carnegie Mellon University’s Spring Carnival was this past weekend. I’m always impressed with the quality of the booths made by the student organizations in such a short amount of time. Highlights this year were the Star Wars Death Star from Sigma Phi Epsilon and Arabian Nights from Kappa Delta Rho:

SigEp's Star Wars booth exterior KDR's Arabian Nights booth exterior

The games inside displayed some impressive engineering efforts such as Sig Ep’s “Force Pong” game, where you waved your hand over a screen to hit the virtual ball back at your opponent. KDR had a magic carpet ride where you leaned left and right on an actual carpet to control a virtual carpet through a 3D world projected on the wall. You can tell these things were a collaboration between students from a bunch of different disciplines.

This reminded me of the game project I worked with a few others for Phi Kappa Theta’s Magical Kingdom booth at Carnival in 2004 (my final year at CMU):

Magical Kingdom booth exterior

The Magic Kingdom Monorail Racer challenged the player to race a monorail car around the interior of the booth without running out of fuel. It was unique in that it combined a typical joystick controlled videogame with objects in the physical world – in this case a real RC car. Custom hardware circuits were developed to interface the PC game with the real world to accelerate the car, toggle lights in the booth in response to game events, and sense when the car crossed the finish line. I have posted more technical details, screenshots, and movies on Monorail Racer’s project page.

Below is a video and some pictures of the game in action:

guest player Monorail Racer game

Monorail Racer lost fuel tank

Posted in Code, Games, General | 302 Comments »

iWork ’06 Released

12th February 2006

I can finally relax (a bit) now that we shipped iWork ’06. Overall, I’m very pleased with this release, and glad to see that the product making progress in the market (reviews have been positive as well). My responsibilities were on the engineering efforts for the new real-time 3D charts feature. Below are some pictures from Steve Jobs’ recent keynote at Macworld where he was using the new charts :) I also included a picture from the iWork display on the expo floor.

 Photos Uncategorized 3D Slide
 Photos Uncategorized 3D Slide2
 Photos Uncategorized Watt Large
Iwork Macworld Expo
3d chart from Nintendo E3 2008 keynote

Update (4/5/08):
iWork ’08 shipped earlier this year and was my last project at Apple. I worked mostly on improvements to 3D Charts – resolution/hardware independent tile rendering allowing infinite zoom and high quality printing, improved materials selectable in new texture browser, integration with the new spreadsheet app Numbers, and lots of performance improvements under the hood. You can watch an Apple marketing video showing some of the new features here.

Posted in General, Graphics | 156 Comments »

New host, site design, and blog…

31st January 2006


After finally moving over to a good hosting service, I decided to get with the times and use some blogging software to make updating the site easier. You can still access my old homepage here, however, I will be tranferring most of the old content to this site shortly.

Posted in General | 198 Comments »

Upcoming Talks on My Thesis Work (GDC 2005, etc.)

23rd November 2004

I’m giving a talk on my thesis work at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in March. You can see the abstract here. I’m also the winner of the scholarship program for the Game Tech character seminar next week. I’ll be giving a short talk there on my thesis work. Also, look for my article on creating simulated behaviors using feedback control systems in the Game Programming Gems 5 book available in March.




Posted in General | 28 Comments »

My BRIMS Paper Receives Award!!

3rd June 2004

My publication entitled “Modeling Physical Variability for Synthetic MOUT Agents” has won the Recommended Reading Award at the 2004 Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation conference.

Posted in General | 456 Comments »

BRIMS and AAMAS Publications

30th April 2004

I recently did some work with a robotics student at Carnegie Mellon that looked at extracting information on a human’s physical capabilities from motion capture data to develop more intelligent AI agents. We have two recent publications. Our first publication is in the proceedings of the 2004 Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS) conference. The AAMAS paper can be downloaded here. Some follow up work will be published at the 2004 Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (BRIMS) conference. Download the BRIMS paper here.
Monte Carlo2

Posted in General | 27 Comments »