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Darrin Horbal   |   Resume   |   Portfolio

Darrin Horbal


High Summary of qualifications   – Game Maker and Graphic Designer

     • Direct, wide and deep experience with the development of MMO product with strong social gaming elements

       (See Stronghold Kingdoms Below)

     • Strong Graphic Design skills in both print and digital mediums.

     • Board Game creation from design mechanics through graphical development.

     • 23 years professional experience in entertainment software creation with thorough knowledge of the

       development process from conception to completion
     • Strong leadership skills and experiences at the studio,

       team, and department levels

     • Strong hands-on creation skills and experiences, particularly in rapid prototyping, design and art creation

     • Specific skills in: graphic design, game design, prototyping, production, art direction/creation and

       entertainment software development


 Summary of software skills – Tools in my tool bag

     • Any third party tools: Ability to pick up new and varied tools quickly and start employing them effectively

     • Any internal tools: Ability to pick up new and varied internal tools quickly and start operating them effectively;

       ability to spec out and help design internal tools

     • 2D Graphics and animation: Photoshop (A core strength), Flash, Fireworks and Painter

       - Have helped design and utilize many internally developed 2D tools, usually in the area of sprite manipulation

     • 3D Modeling and Animation: 3ds MAX, Vue terrain modeling, some MODO,  MAYA and SketchUp

     • 3D Exporters: Trinigy Vision 3rd party engine, Granny exporter, as well as internally developed exporters

     • 3D Editors: Trinigy Vision third party engine

       - Internally developed terrain editor for CivCity Rome/Stronghold 2/Stronghold Legends

         (which I contributed to the design)

       - Internally developed character  editor for CivCity Rome/Stronghold 2/Stronghold Legends

         (which I contributed to the design)

       - Internally developed building  editor for CivCity Rome/Stronghold 2/Stronghold Legends

         (which I contributed to the design)

       - Have helped design and utilize internally developed 3d tools for Lords of the Realm 3 while at Impressions

     • Game development tools: Gamemaker(strong), Unity, Flash, Director, Toolbook, some Torque 2D

       - Have helped design and utilize many internally developed game development tools such as mission editors

         and level editors

       - SourceSafe, Alienbrain, TortoiseSVN plus many small utility tools


     • Video: Premiere (strong), After Effects, Encore

     • Web development: Muse, Dreamweaver, Flash and some Site Grinder

       - Have exploited the limited design capabilities of Facebook and YouTube to good effect

     • Production: MS Word(strong), MS Excel(strong), MS Project, MS Notebook, MS Outlook


Work Experiences – Where I have made games, and my part in making those games

Firefly Studios (March 2003 to present)

       Firefly is a small studio (30 to 40 people in three countries when at its peak)

       yet it is still capable of creating high quality products that have sold in the millions of units.

       As a key member of the Firefly staff, I believe I have contributed toward that success in numerous unspecified

       ways.  Some of the more quantifiable ways are listed below.

     Position: General Manager of US office in Canton, CT   -       Helped locate and set up office space for US office

       - Helped build team for US office, with a specific concentration on the art department

       - Maintained strong relations with staff and provide leadership support

     Projects Role: Stronghold Kingdoms (http://www.strongholdkingdoms.com/)

     For over a year the project largely consisted of a programmer and me with periodic input from the lead designer

     Rapid Prototype Programmer (while in communication with lead designer) utilizing Game Maker

       -  Implemented first pass of village level of game play,

       -  Implemented Jousting mini game protoytype

       -  Implemented first pass of castle level of game play

       -  Designed and implemented user interface interaction (including graphic design and art)

       -  Designed and implemented first pass of heraldry editor (including graphic design and art)

     Art Director and Primary Production Artist

       -  Worked primarily at the crossroads of design, programming and art

       -  Created and maintained graphics lists

       -  Designed and created user interface

       -  Designed various tiles systems for world map and technology tree

       -  Created and prepared all building graphics, sometimes utilizing pre-existing assets

       -  Created and prepared all unit graphics, sometimes utilizing pre-existing assets

       -  Created intro video utilizing multiple grabbed sources

       -  Collaborated in the design of various sub systems

       -  Created all promotional and pitch materials for print and web


     Projects Role: Stronghold 3 (present)

     While technically on Stronghold Kingdoms, I have assisted Stronghold 3’s development in many ways as the

     team is being built.

     Graphics go-to guy (since at the time I was the only in-house artist in the company)

       - Repaired, converted and exported (using Trinigy Vision tools and in-house tools) 3D character mesh files

       - Repaired, converted and exported (using Trinigy Vision tools and in-house tools) 3D building mesh files

       - Repaired, converted and exported (using Trinigy Vision tools and in-house tools) 3D character and building

         animation files

       - Repaired, converted and exported (using Trinigy Vision tools and in-house tools) 3D terrain files

       - Created various marketing graphics and documents, including product logo

       - Created quick and dirty interface graphics for presentation purposes

       - Anything graphical, large or small would come to me in some way


     Projects Role: CivCity Rome (2006)


       - High Level planning of overall project in conjunction with Executive Producer

       - Milestone list creation in conjunction with Executive Producer

       - Scheduled production teams tasks

       - Tracked and delivered monthly milestones in conjunction with department leads

       - Facilitated communication within and between departments

       - CivCity branding caused project scope to expand, monitored and tracked that evolution


     Art Director

     - Established and maintained visual look in conjunction with Lead Designer

     - Prototyped graphics technology and established graphics production pipeline

     - Delegated art tasks and responsibilities based on employee capabilities

     - Designed and created most of user interface

     - Contributed to design of in-house exporting and editing tools

     - Heavily involved with terrain from tool design, through asset creation and ultimately map building

     - Directed video sequences and was hands on for much of their creation

     - Created numerous promotional and pitch materials for print and web


     Systems Designer

       - Designed numerous building subsystems in terms of both game play and implementation

       - Designed most of user interface experience

       - Contributed small and large ideas to almost all aspects of game play


     Projects Role: Medieval Life (2007 - backburner)

     Medieval Life is a Flash-based multimedia encyclopedia intended as a supplemental project for our various

     stronghold titles

     Producer/Designer/Art Director/ Production Artist

       - Designed product based on high level specifications

       - Implemented design using flash

       - Graphic design and layout of project, including in working up authentic medieval art

       - Worked with writers to gather text content for product


Impressions Game Studio (1995 - 2003)

     Much of my time at Impressions was spent as the company’s Art Director for both internal and external projects.

     Toward the end, I was promoted to Studio Manager and assisted the company through a difficult transition

     period due to a significant layoff, after which time I rebuilt each of the studio's departments through strategic



     Position: Studio Head (2002 – 2003)

       - Rebuilt team after layoff starting with department heads and producers

       - Managed overall functioning of studio, facilitating communication throughout company

       - Communicated progress with corporate headquarters and made monthly milestone presentations

       - Producer for Lords of the Realm 3 (which was completed after I left the company for Firefly)


     Position: Art Director (1996 – 2002)

       - Created and maintained tight graphics schedules for all Impressions projects

       - Established look and feel for all Impressions products, primarily in historically based city building games

       - Worked closely with artists to ensure quality and approved all art work going into project

       - Developed detail oriented production pipeline bringing graphics through a series of development levels

       - Maintained strong communication within the art department and facilitated weekly department meetings


     Role on all City Builder titles

       - Art direction as noted above

       - Technical Artist – For all city builder games I tended to work on the more exacting aspects of the projects


       - Designing and creating user interface

       - Designing and creating terrain tiling systems

       - Designing various sprite grabbing art and animation tools

       - Directing and editing videos employing Adobe Premier


     Specific titles for Impressions

       - Art Director for Zeus official expansion: Poseidon (2001)

       - Art Director for Zeus  (2000)

       - Art Director for Pharaoh (1999) – nominated for best Art Director at GDC

       - Art Director for Caesar III (1998)

       - Art Director for Lords of Magic: Special Edition (1998)


     Position: Assistant Art Director (1995 – 1996)

       - Art Director for smaller projects with shorter development cycles

       - Art Director for Ultimate Soccer Manager 2 (1996)


Intellipro (1994-1995)

At the time, Intellipro was an education software company focusing on college level subject matter primarily comprised of math, science and accounting.

     Positions: Team Leader

       - Held weekly meeting and worked with different departments to facilitate project development


     Positions:  Art Director

       - Worked  with internal and external clients to create desired look and feel of projects

       - Created graphics and animated visualizations for all products



       - Art director, production artist and team leader for Calculus Connections

       - Art director for various educational software titles


Westwind Media (1992 – 1994)

     Positions: Founding member, designer and art director


       - Designer and art director for DinoSource

       - Designer and art director for Tales of the Wild Zeep

       - Designer and art director for The Fall of the House of Usher

       - Art director for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Theseus & Constitution Hall (unreleased)


Multidimensional Communications Inc (1991 – 1992)

     Positions: Production artist 


       - Production artist with design input on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

       - Production artist with design input on Beauty and the Beast

       - Production artist with design input on Talking Classic Tales



     • Graduated from SUNY Purchase in 1991 with a BFA

     • Led graphics presentation for my Alma mater,

       discussing computer generated art and animation technology within computer games

     • Education based primarily in independent study in the (then) relatively new field of computer graphics

     • TA for multiple computer art and design classes

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