Andrew Willmott


From 2014 through 2018 I worked at Sports Interactive (Sega) on Football Manager, a game with a culture entirely its own. Working on a yearly title that ships across five platforms (while dealing with a 20-year-old codebase) was an interesting experience.

From 2001 through 2013 I worked for the 'Sim' game studio, Maxis, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Initially at Walnut Creek, then Redwood Shores, and then Emeryville, and then remotely from London for a few years.)

The major Maxis games I worked on were:

  SimCity (2013)

Lead Architect




Lead project and lead graphics engineer

WebsiteSporepedia -- 160 million+ player-created models here.


The Sims 2

Graphics engineer



  SimCity 4

Graphics engineer



My easter egg -- snow at Christmas.

On the graphics side I've dealt with visual effects, lighting, shadows, material systems, LOD, mesh animation, terrain, and procedural generation systems. On the systems side, a little bit of everything. Technology I've worked on has shipped as part of several other games, e.g., My Sims, Sims 3, Darkspore

Some of the systems behind the games I've worked on are covered on my talks page.

Graphics R & D

Before joining Maxis I was doing research work in the area of global illumination, in particular hierarchical methods for ray-tracing and radiosity. At CMU I worked on a comparison of radiosity algorithms, various ray-tracing projects, wavelets for triangular elements, and hierarchical radiosity using multiresolution models, which led to the development of the face clustering algorithm. My PhD advisor was Paul Heckbert.

Since then a lot of my work has involved R & D in the area of real-time rendering. Some recent publications and other output:

  • Technical sketches at SIGGRAPH 2007. Procedural Texturing! Planets! Distribution! Rigblocks!

See my papers, talks, and tech notes pages for a complete overview.

I'm currently on the editorial board for JCGT, an open-access journal with a practical focus that I can highly recommend.


I'm originally from Auckland, New Zealand. My partner is Alma Whitten.  I've lived a variety of places, including Jakarta, Indonesia and Pittsburgh, U.S.A, which were quite different, but these days I'm a UK native living in London and Wales.

Education: Auckland Grammar School. BSc. in Physics, MSc. in Computer Science, University of Auckland. PhD., Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, advised by Paul Heckbert.