Andrew Willmott

Videogames

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

Website

Wikipedia


  Spore

Lead project and lead graphics engineer

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

Wikipedia



The Sims 2

Graphics engineer

Website

Wikipedia


  SimCity 4

Graphics engineer

Website

Wikipedia

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.


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.


Personal

I'm originally from Auckland, New Zealand. I'm married to 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.

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.