About me

I’m currently between jobs!  Here’s a history of what I’ve done so far:

Realtime Worlds (2004-2010)

CrackdownI moved to Realtime Worlds in 2004, and had a great time, up to the sudden post-APB implosion!!  Our projects were creatively and technically ambitious, which led to unusually rewarding and intellectually challenging work.

I spent most of my time working on procedural environment generation technology.  Our first project was Crackdown, which used our technology for all the road layout.  The software wasn’t complete enough to generate the final road geometry on the game disc (for example, it didn’t produce good UV coordinates), but it was used very effectively by designers to rapidly iterate on Crackdown’s roads during development.

After Crackdown, we had time to finish off this toolset (and add a building editor), which was used to build all the environments for APB. We effectively ended up building a modelling package around the procedural technology, for the artists on APB.  It turned out that the “writing a modelling package” part was far more work than the underlying procedural geometry generation code, and the art team would have preferred, guess what, a professional modelling package!  Still, we learned a lot in preparation for “Project MyWorld” [http://playmyworld.com] – which treated the entire world (initially, just the UK) as a playground for a variety of social games.  This was always the ultimate goal of the procedural environment technology we built – we absolutely needed it to make an environment this big.

VIS Entertainment (2001-2004)

Tom & JerryMy first games job was at VIS Entertainment in Dundee, starting out on Tom & Jerry where I did special effects and level events. We actually had a surprising amount of fun considering it was such a cheesy low-budget game. We then moved onto NARC which had some promise for a while but turned out pretty awful.

NARCI made truly great friends at VIS but the company as a whole clearly wasn’t headed for success. Finances were shaky, the games were mediocre at best, management was disorganised, and we got some pretty crappy treatment from publishers. They went under a year or so after I left. I thought I’d learned a lot from the mistakes of VIS; Realtime Worlds then showed there are many different ways to fail.

Data Connection (1998-2001)

While at university, I worked summer jobs for Data Connection (now “MetaSwitch Networks”). Their pre-university and summer student positions are tough to get into, but well worthwhile. They’ll teach you programming by dropping you into the deep end on real work on their projects, and if you’re lucky they might even sponsor you through university. It’s a good time living in the company house with all the other summer students, and they organise loads of social events so you feel that you belong pretty quickly. It’s an incredibly successful and professional place to work.

10 Responses to About me

  1. brucehood says:

    Hi Luke,
    I looked up your site as it was listed as a fastest growing on WordPress and was pleasantly surprised to see a banner shot of the Law & Dundee taken from Broughty Ferry where I spent my youth and began University (still haven’t managed to leave).

    I must say it comes as delight to see that Dundee appears to be emerging as the gaming development centre for Europe..Does everything look rosy or is this likely to suffer with the recession? ..Genuine question.


  2. lukehalliwell says:

    I honestly don’t know how the recession will affect the games industry: I don’t believe anyone can predict the future like that!

    Having said that, there are some reasons to be cautiously optimistic – the argument being that games represent quite a cheap form of entertainment, providing good value in terms of hours of play for given cost. Staying in as a family and playing games together may seem like a good option right now.

    There have been a variety of articles about this recently, e.g. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10107412-52.html

    Our website lists at least 30 open vacancies right now, so I guess that’s an indication that things are still looking up, for us at least! 🙂

  3. alsoran says:

    A frank and honest description of VIS there – nice one 😉 I hope you, the family and the menagerie are doing well.

  4. Shawn Green says:

    Hi Luke,
    Sorry to hear about your studio shutting down. If you or any of the guys you work with are interested, my company Escalation Studios is hiring. Drop me a note if you’d like to talk further.

  5. john says:

    Im gutted for you and the shutdown of APB i loved the game bought 2 copies me and a friend spent many hours in game customising etc i just can’t belive its gone ive followed this kind of game since gta vice city had a third party online mod made.
    I was kind of hoping somewhere somehow one of the ex game devs could some how help the community gamers of APB to leak the server files or contribute as ppl are currently talking and trying to revive APB by using private servers but its apparently difficult as they dont have enough code to construct the server software.
    Here is just one of the sites http://www.actiondistrict.com that are trying hard to save all the hard work you guys did and let APB live on and who knows maybe you could even help.

  6. Roman says:

    Greetings, I don’t know that to you to write such that you have understood that people need
    In your project,
    We are ready to be ready to do anything what servers APB have earned.
    We sit on my site http://www.apb.org.ru we search for new news about APB but unfortunately we find only negative articles. Every day we wait for one moment. This moment means for us more than all. This moment happiness, pleasure, friendship, dialogue, emotions. This moment is when We double cliques on a mouse will press a label “APBLauncher.exe” and we will see there the button to play! Also we will be glad, and that us won’t stop, and We when we will not leave from APB. APB has presented to us new views on virtual life, dialogue of people became more more interesting.
    Without APB people receive a psychological trauma, soul frustration.
    They have lost meaning of the life, they don’t know that by it to do, than in it to be engaged?
    You can answer these questions?

    It is very interesting to know answers.

  7. Antonio says:

    return a.p.b.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Johanna Arthur says:

    I’m a student at Dundee university, studying Digital Interaction Design. We’re currently doing a documentary project on modern technology, and we have chosen to investigate the downfall of Real Time Worlds and were wondering if you’d be willing/able to help us with this?


  9. rathin says:

    Hey Luke how’s it going?
    just clicked on the stack overflow link to the critique of agile post – hey presto landed on your blog!

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