W. Thomas Grové

thomas@dxsaigon.com

Summary:

Over thirteen years of creative industry experience, including leadership and management roles in creative direction, design, production, marketing, and business development.

Work Experience:

dxSaigon: Saigon, Vietnam; January 2014 – Present

Founder, Creative Director

  • Created dxMag, a free online magazine about art and design from Saigon and beyond.
  • Organising DX events to improve design awareness and knowledge exchange among the creative community.
  • Providing creative solutions to clients around the world.

Gameloft: Saigon, Vietnam; January 2013 – January 2014

Vietnam Creative Director

  • Guiding teams in navigating the uncertain waters of creating original IP for the Mobile/Social/Freemium space.
  • Hands on mentoring in the entire design process, from research, to ideation, prototyping, and tuning.
  • Facilitating team brainstorming and sprint planing.
  • Defending team vision and product integrity.
  • Comedic relief – we're making games after all!

Gameloft: Saigon, Vietnam; May 2011 – January 2013

Vietnam Game Design Lead

  • I lead a department of 95+ Game Designers across four studios
  • Kaizen: I look for, and drive, ongoing improvements in process, product quality, employee training, and employee quality of life
  • Design and Production Advisor/Mentor for creation teams.

Studio Interrupt: San Francisco, CA; April 2008 – February 2009, October 2010 – April 2011

Director

  • Currently producing three multi-platform projects with a focus on iPad as the lead SKU
  • Game design and UX: Q8ISMobile, Mighty Play, Mastiff, Sirlin Games, Disco Pixel
  • Business development: Sirlin Games, YetiZen
  • Unity training: Flying Wisdom Studios, BAVC
  • Consultation by proxy: Mattel, Kongregate, Mega Brands
  • Shipped: Yomi (Card) — The Dice Tower's 2010 Game of the Year!
  • Additional Contributions: Kongai (Web), Xtractaurs (Web), Neo Shifters (Web)

Unity Technologies: San Francisco, CA; July 2009 – October 2010

Marketing Communications Manager

  • Responsible for Unity’s break out presence at GDC 2010 including event budget, booth direction, conference/union logistics, personnel logistics, inter-company demo trades, and content
  • General MarCom: Represented Unity at industry events, evaluated event sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, product demonstrations, collateral and advertisement creation (including copywriting, graphic design, layout, and video production), copywriting and copyediting for press releases, newsletters, blogs and articles, and point person for marketing inquiries
  • Products Launched: Unity iPhone 1.5, Unity 2.6, Unity iPhone 1.5.1, Unity 2.6.1, Unity Asset Server 2.0, Unity iPhone 1.6, Unity iPhone 1.7, and Unity 3.0
  • Spearheaded Unity’s first Japan strategy and official excursion into the Japanese market; issuing Japanese press releases, creating online and print marketing collateral, and leveraging contacts to secure and promote a packed week of meetings and standing room only presentations including the Tokyo Ginza Apple Store, a booth and session at CEDEC, and business meetings with 24 Japanese game companies
  • Succeeded in promoting Unity out of relative obscurity and into an industry staple; registered users went from 10,000 to 250,000 during my time with the company

Sirlin Games: Emeryville, CA; March 2005 – August 2010

Co-Creator: Yomi

  • Significant contributions to graphic design, usability design, and mechanics design
  • Created the card data flow and formatting pipeline, automating Indesign with XML and Javascript
  • General production and business development: processed art assets, sourced printers, printed beta decks, and set up meetings with potential publishers and licensors

Core Talent Games: San Francisco, CA; September 2008 – December 2009

Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer

  • Co-conceived the venture; laying strategic ground work and conducting competitive analysis during the planning phase prior to incorporation (April-September, 2008)
  • Reviewed design submissions, scouted design talent, helped shape CTGs evolving strategy, and engaged in general business development

SEGA Studios: San Francisco, CA; March 2009 – July 2009

Senior Game Designer

  • Enemy systems designer for Iron Man 2 (PS3, 360) – Defined the enemy archetypes and sub types and implemented weapon and AI behaviors from early production until systems complete

Stormfront Studios: San Rafael, CA; February 2007 – March 2008

Lead Combat Designer

  • Shipped: The Spiderwick Chronicles (PS2, 360, Wii, PC) – responsible for all character control, combat, and ai. Additional contributions to core mechanics, quests, and scene flow
  • Involved in preproduction design for three unannounced games (1*360/PS3, 1*Live Arcade/PSN, 1*Wii)

Backbone Entertainment: Emeryville, CA; August 2005 – February 2007

Game Designer, Associate Producer

  • Shipped: Capcom Classics Collection (PS2, XBOX), Capcom Classics Collection Remixed (PSP), Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (PS2, XBOX), Sega Genesis Collection (PS2, PSP)
  • Additional Contributions: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PSN, XBLA), Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PSN, XBLA), SEGA Vintage Collection (XBLA), Commando 3: Wolves of the Battlefield (PSN, XBLA), 1942: Joint Strike (PSN, XBLA)
  • Involved in all aspects of pitch development and preproduction including art direction, document creation, gameplay design, and scenario planning for ten games (2*PS3/Xbox 360, 2*PSP, 5*Live Arcade/PSN, 1*DS)

Shaba Games: San Francisco, CA; May 2005 – August 2005

Game Analyst (Contract)

  • Shipped: Shrek SuperSlam (PS2, XBOX, Gamecube) – analyzed and wrote reports concerning the design and balance of the game’s characters, weapons, core mechanics, and levels; created a bonus stage for the game’s Challenge Mode

“Breakerz” MFA Project: San Francisco, CA; July 2004 – December 2004

Game Director

  • Conceptualized the game, wrote the game design document, and set a consistent and appealing aesthetic style
  • Executed the entire production pipeline including character designs, environment design, modeling, texturing, character setup, animation, scene integration, interface design, sound design, and compositing

Studio Interrupt (v1): Columbus, OH; Colombo, Sri Lanka; August 2001 – August 2003

Freelance Producer, Film Maker, & Designer

  • Shot, directed, and edited award winning documentaries and experimental films
  • Shot video and produced DVDs for clients including Opera Columbus, JICA, and Master Mollica

Mythryn: Evanston, IL; March 2000 – July 2001

Interactive Media Designer

  • Developed extensive HTML and Flash based websites and CD-ROMs
  • Created 2D and 3D graphic design and animations
  • Integrated design, animation, and scripting elements into interactive projects for web and CD-ROM delivery

Software Experience:

3D

  • 3D Studio Max
  • Maya
  • Motionbuilder
  • Wings 3D / Nendo
  • Softimage 3D
  • Rhinoceros 3D
  • Cheetah 3D
  • Cinema 4D

Interactive

  • Unity
  • Flash
  • WordPress
  • Dreamweaver
  • Director
  • DVD Studio Pro
  • Encore DVD

2D

  • InDesign
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Freehand
  • Fireworks
  • Sketch
  • Flipbook Pro

Audio

  • Cubase
  • Audition/Cool Edit Pro
  • ProTools
  • Renoise Tracker
  • Ableton Live

Video

  • Final Cut Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Premiere
  • After Effects
  • Motion
  • Avid

Programming

  • proprietary AI systems
  • C#
  • JavaScript
  • HTML/PHP/CSS
  • MEL
  • PlayMaker

Business & Production

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Google Docs
  • Google Analytics
  • Keynote
  • Perforce, SVN
  • Filemaker Pro
  • MediaWiki
  • WordPress
  • MailChimp

Awards For Media Works Created:

Yomi:

  • The Dice Tower's Game of the Year, 2010

SICACA, Vol. 1:

  • Character design selected for publication and exhibition at the first Seoul International Character Animation Cartoon Artist Invite Exhibition, Seoul, Korea, 2006

Sega Genesis Collection:

  • Gamespot Reader’s Choice Awards, Best Classic Compilation, 2006
  • 96%, Retro Gamer Magazine

The Quality of Music:

  • Official Selection: Dallas South Asian Film Festival , Irving , Texas , 2002
  • Honorable Mention: Columbus International Film and Video Festival aka The Chris Awards , Columbus Ohio , 2002

Mythseekers: Waiting for the Phantom Menace:

  • Best Student Film: Crossroads Film Festival , Jackson Mississippi, USA 2000
  • Runner Up; Documentary: Flicker Film Festival , Northwestern University, 2000
  • Honorable Mention; Student Film: Communicator Awards 2000

Motion Sickness:

  • Best Experimental Film: Flicker Film Festival , Northwestern University, 2000

Education:

Academy of Art University: San Francisco, California; Autumn 2003 – Spring 2005

MFA Candidate: Video Game Design

  • Artwork selected for the 2004 Spring Show
  • Training in traditional art, 3D CG, and game design

Northwestern University: Evanston, Illinois; Graduated June 2001

BS: School of Communication; Department of Radio, Television, and Film

  • Dean’s List for Academic Achievement
  • Four years of film theory and practical hands on application
  • Three years of Eastern philosophy
  • One and a half years of Japanese language
  • Music technology: synthesis & electronic music composition
  • Taught classes in web design, graphic design, and interactive design

The Ohio State University: Columbus, Ohio; Autumn 2002

  • Attended Japanese language classes as a Continuing Education student

Innerspace Adventures: Singapore; Autumn 2001

PADI Dive Master Apprenticeship

  • Lead groups of scuba divers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore: responsible for their whereabouts and safety while on the boat and in the water
  • Assisted in the education and certification of PADI Open Water and Rescue Diver Students; prepared and maintained students’ equipment

Additional Experience:

Video Game Industry:

Game Developers Conference (GDC)

  • Attendee: 2003-2011
  • Co-designed the inaugural East Meets West Reception (GDC 2005)

IGDA, San Francisco Chapter

  • An active member since 2003 and a co-organizer since Autumn 2007

Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra, Game Career Guide, Develop

  • I occasionally write for these publications

Bay Area Video Coalition; Next Generation; Digital Arts and Gaming

  • Developed the inaugural curriculum (2008) for this after school program for public school children
  • Taught the inaugural semester; introducing high school students to game development

Academy of Art University

  • Frequent guest lecturer; critiquing final projects and imparting career advice and design philosophy

Life:

Extensive world travel and cultural exposure:

  • Americas – USA, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Grand Cayman
  • Europe – England, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark
  • Africa – South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania
  • Asia – Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Cambodia, Thailand

Intensive Bush Survival Training Course – Ndzalama Game Reserve, Northern South Africa

Summited Uhuru Peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro – Successfully made it to the “Roof of Africa”

Scuba Diving – PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Medic First Aid, Rescue Diver, Night Diver, and Dive Master certifications

Acting, Voice Acting, and Singing – Both professional and community based ; performed many lead roles and earned the title of Honor Thespian

Zen – 13 years of kung fu and snow skiing, several years of kendo and rock climbing, and ongoing formal training in Zen, Zen meditation, and yoga

Music:

89.3 FM WNUR Evanston/Chicago – DJ and Host of “Grover’s Groove” on Streetbeat, 1998-2001

Promotion of large electronic music events for Dronetek and Streetbeat (WNUR) – Responsibilities included flyer design, booking talent, arranging transportation, and reserving locations

Interrupt Audio: “Shattered Sound” (a limited edition audio CD) – Contributed four of the twelve songs, designed the disc and cover art, mastered the disc’s audio, and managed the disc manufacturing, distribution, and online sales

Niteskool: “Volition” – Planning Committee member for the 1999 Northwestern University Niteskool Audio/Multimedia CD. Contributed one song to the compilation and authored and designed the entire multimedia section of the CD

D-Tao – I compose music for fun and post it online

Part-Time Work Experience:

Film Council of Greater Columbus – Responsibilities included database and website management, public relations, and film festival administration

Screenz: Digital Universe (internet café) – Taught classes in Photoshop and Illustrator, manned the cash register, and made cappuccinos

Northwestern University’s Kellogg Information Services – Computer education, repair, and troubleshooting

Magic Box Editorial – Video Editing Internship

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