About Me

Nathan Cheever

Immersive Game Designer

With almost 20 years of experience, I’ve helped create AAA+ titles through innovative designs, adaptive methods, and collaborative efforts. Prior to game design, my focus was in film and graphic arts. This knowledge has helped me to maximize the player’s experience with its presentation, pacing, risk, and reward. By knowing your audience and understanding mood, tone, and framing, an emotional impact can be achieved through gameplay! Developing games lets me feed my passion for creating something exciting that people talk about for years to come.

  • Create and execute gameplay to enrich the product’s vision.
  • Enjoy the hands-on approach to discovering what’s fun!
  • Self-motivated and objective.
  • Both creative and analytical.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Deconstruct complex needs into simple solutions.
  • Design transparent pipelines for game content.
  • Highly adaptable to new technology and management styles.
  • Cross-department skills (Art, Design, Scripting, QA).
  • Experience developing for the PC, PLAYSTATION, and XBOX.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Fine and Studio Arts
(focus in Electronic Arts)

Atlanta College of Art
19951997

Associate of Arts (AA), Computer Graphics

Montgomery College
19931994

Awards: Computer Artist of the Year (1993)

Film & Video Production

Southern Illinois University
January 1992December 1992

Graphic Design & Theater

Montana State University
September 1990May 1991

School of Fine Arts

Winthrop College
September 1989May 1990

Lead World Designer
Hangar 13

Pʀᴏᴊᴇᴄᴛ W ● Lead World Designer
April 2013 – present

Developing a dynamic world experience with a clever group of individuals!

Lead World Designer
Human Head Studios

Pʀᴏᴊᴇᴄᴛ P ● Lead World Designer
October 2012 – April 2013

Vast open-world urban environment set in a famous European city around the turn-of-the-century.

PREY 2 ● Lead World Designer
October 2009 – November 2011

Designed and created compelling game locales with incentives to revisit them. Ensured world continuity and believability within project needs. Maintained asset integrity and performance across all levels. Provided agile team management and adaptive schedules to help 55+ team realize their vision!

Directed and designed new toolsets for managing massive content. Improved pipelines for confident team sharing. Resolved conflicts before they impacted the project. Always seeking ways to remove technical hurdles and increase team creativity!

Always considering the User Experience and Player Investment with constant competitive product evaluation for future trends and expectations. Took the initiative to design the In-Game and Front End Menus. Co-Managed the UI Dept.

Defiance ● World Environment Artist
August 2012 – October 2012

Collaborated with Trion Worlds to shape large outdoor environments, landmarks, and routes to events for the MMO.

Bioshock Inifinite ● Multiplayer Designer
May 2012 – August 2012

Collaborated with Irrational Games to support, design, and build multiplayer environments. Managed three-man strike team remotely. (Multiplayer feature cancelled.)

Lead Designer
Destineer Studios / Atomic Games

SIX DAYS IN FALLUJAH ● Lead Mission Designer
August 2007 – August 2009

Designed game progression (story, mission, enemy, weapons, and gameplay types) with meaningful, intuitive, and escalating content encompassing real-world events.

Directed, mentored, and assisted other designers with level production. Simultaneously managed multiple goals and teams across multiple studios. Assisted and created design department schedules. Helped guide 75+ team to implement short and long-term scenarios. Endeavored to provide a positive work place with open communication.

Re-directed core tools suite, game scripting features, and mission management, improving production quality and creativity.

*Project delayed indefinitely (controversial topic lost funding)

AUTHENTIC ESPIONAGE THRILLER ● Lead Designer (unannounced)
JUDGEMENT SHOOTING SIMULATION ● Senior Designer (CIA-FBI Training)
February 2007 – April 2008

Design consultant for Six Days in Fallujah to simplify and focus project efforts. Interfaced with CIA to adhere to realistic techniques. Researched and maintained unique vision against competitive products.

Prototyped new tactical gameplay mechanics using level creation and scripting. Helped create new destructible prefab content and pipeline. Collaborated with management to improve team unity.

*Studio re-branded to Atomic Games on March 8, 2009.

Level Designer
Propaganda Games

TUROK ● Assistant Lead Level Designer
December 2005 – January 2007

Crafted high moment-to-moment gameplay, encounters, and puzzles. Designed, modeled, and maintain inspiring and memorable levels. Scripted AI, missions, and interaction events. Acted as liaison between leads and design team for quality and efficiency.

Senior Designer
Surreal Software

THE SUFFERING: Ties That Bind ● Senior Designer
April 2004 – September 2005

THE SUFFERING ● Senior Designer
July 2002 – March 2004

Created bloodcurdling gameplay, horrific encounters, and formidable puzzles. Designed, modeled, and maintain inspiring and memorable levels. Scripted AI, missions, and interactive events. Responsible for environment lighting and gameplay mood.

Mentored new employees in company-specific technology. Designed new toolsets for improving quality and productivity. Streamlined asset databases for performance. Created layout guidelines for environmental artists.

Level Designer / Lead Multiplayer Designer
Monolith Productions

NO ONE LIVES FOREVER 2 ● Lead Multiplayer Designer
December 2001 – June 2002

Designed a 4-player CO-OP multiplayer mode after prototyping a separate competitive teamplay mode. Amplified single-player encounters with layout and mission scripting. Responsible for environment lighting and gameplay mood.

ALIENS VS. PREDATOR 2 ● Level Designer
November 1999 – November 2001

Created tense gameplay, chilling encounters, and rewarding puzzles. Designed, modeled, and maintain inspiring and memorable levels. Scripted AI, missions, and interactive events. Responsible for environment lighting and gameplay mood. Contributed to prop models and environment textures. Spearheaded post-release programming support for public modding.

GDC 2002:
» Aliens vs. Predator 2 postmortem presentation.
» Lithtech technologies presentation.

E3 2002:
» Lithtech technologies presentation (with Tron 2.0).

Lead World Designer
Sierra On-Line

MIDDLE EARTH ONLINE ● Lead World Designer
(aka LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE version 1)
July 1999 – September 1999

Prototyped ways for populating vast landscapes and towns. Integrated world art and building construction sets with existing pieces. Worked with programming to develop flexible, user-friendly flexible tools.

*Project Canceled (marketing trends overshadowed innovation)

Designer, Animator, Modeler
Heuristic Park, Inc.

UNREAL 2 ● Character Artist
UNREAL 1: Return to Na Pali ● Character Artist
July 1998 – June 1999

Collaborated with Legend Entertainment providing character models, textures, and animation.

WIZARDS & WARRIORS ● RPG Designer
(aka SWORDS & SORCERY)
June 1996 – June 1998

Designed, modeled, and maintained inspiring and memorable levels. Assisted in designing gameplay, encounters, and puzzle events. Responsible for environment lighting and gameplay mood. Animated, modeled, and textured characters and props. Co-designed UI and related art.

Art

Game Development

  • Concepts -– PART 1: To build great experiences, you need to know the concepts!
  • Structure -– PART 2: To build great experiences, you need to know the structure!
  • Production -– PART 3: To build great experiences, you need a schedule!

Levels and Missions

Tools

I’ve had the pleasure now to work closely with Nathan on a second major AAA title, something that has made me further appreciate his diverse skill set. Nathan is a talented artist and designer who can not only design and layout visually rich and fun world levels, but who also possesses a great understanding of the tool chains necessary to create such levels. Nathan is someone who can recognize weak places in a game content pipeline and work with programmers to rapidly improve designer and artist iteration time for an entire studio. Nathan can also easily adapt to unfamiliar engines and tool sets without any loss of productivity. Nathan would be an integral and incredibly productive member of any development team.

Ross Tredinnick, Technology Programmer
worked directly with Nathan at Human Head Studios

Nathan is a fantastic designer with artistic sensibilities and a great get-it-done positive outlook. He interfaces with all members of the team to get the job done. The level of his organization and problem-solving skills on Prey 2 allowed us to make inspiring and diverse areas. At the same time, he also designed new tools with our tech team that allowed us to have a smooth pipeline for world creation.

Michael Abell, Development Director
managed Nathan at Human Head Studios

Working with Nathan on Prey 2 was a pleasure. He’s a great guy to hang out with and he made business trips so much more bearable. I was consistently amazed by his ability to take over a piece of the game world, sit down with it for a little while, and end up with something that both looked better and played better. Nathan is my definition of veteran game designer–in this crazy industry nothing throws him for a loop because he’s navigated it all before. I hope that someday, somewhere in the world, I’ll be lucky enough to work with him again.

David Lorentz, Level Scripter
worked directly with Nathan at Human Head Studios

Nathan is one of the most positive guys that I’ve ever worked with. He comes to the studio with so many creative ideas: game level design, tools design and system processes to improve our development efficiencies. I find that we often go back to Nathan for fresh ideas on what we should do to make things better and he always has an elegant answer. In addition to all that, he gives great direction to our art and design departments in his role as Lead Designer. He’s a smart team-builder with a good sense of humor. I’m glad we’re on the same team.

John T. Farnsworth, Studio Director
managed Nathan indirectly at Atomic Games

It was a pleasure working with Nathan at Atomic Games. He’s seriously one the the nicest guys out there and has a great grasp for the complete design process. Nathan was concise in his design documentation and always open to any comments or suggestions. He has a wealth of knowledge that is invaluable and is only gained through job experience. Nathan is someone I’d be proud to work with and I highly recommend.

Patrick Sebring, Lead Technical Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is one of the best conceptual designers I’ve worked with. He does an awesome job of channeling information into an organized format for use by the development team. He’s got a great understanding of the development process and is an excellent communicator. His documentation is top notch and he did a good job of managing the campaign team in a difficult development process. I would definitely work with him again if I have the opportunity!

Mike Pearson, Senior Producer
managed Nathan indirectly at Atomic Games

Nathan has the greatest vision for game tool development out of anyone I’ve worked with so far in the industry. Nathan and myself have worked together for the past year on tools at Atomic Games and have greatly improved the data pipeline and work-flow for artists and designers. This has largely been due to the fact that, as a product owner, Nathan knows what he wants and understands what feature enhancements can bring the greatest benefit to a team. Nathan’s communication skills and commitment exceed that of all other employees. Overall, working with someone like Nathan makes game tools development very enjoyable.

Ross Tredinnick, Software Engineer
worked directly with Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is one of the most dependable designers I’ve ever met. Fabulous at organizing and communicating with the team, he’s always collected and keeps a positive outlook. He’s particularly talented at designing tools and making games fun. On a personal note, he’s got this quirky sense of humor that we just couldn’t get enough of. He is a truly gifted designer and lead that I hope to work with again.

Chris Roby, Lead Technical Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Atomic Games

As campaign lead for Six Days in Fallujah, Nathan provided an exceptionally well-organized and coherent framework for level designers, while remaining transparent and flexible to individual contribution in the most important ways. He is collected, passionate, and positive, often the calm center of those fueled creative debates, and demonstrated his wide and deep experience in everything from level documentation to refined tools design. I’ve met few people as well equipped as a manger or leader to cultivate a strong, healthy design environment.

Jonathan Lamb, Game Designer
reported to Nathan at Atomic Games

As the Lead Designer in charge of those of us working on the Campaign (missions, levels) for Six Days In Fallujah, Nathan was both very organized and adept at putting together the thorough documentation and research we needed to do our jobs, as well as being extremely cool under pressure no matter what the situation. Nathan has a wealth of expertise and experience in all matters of game design and his mild-mannered management tact made him a real pleasure to work with. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again, and can easily recommend him as a Design Lead or Director to anyone. Top-notch and very professional.

Sean Lynn, Game Designer
reported to Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is a great guy to have around. He brings alot of energy to the team, and his many years of experience are testament to his abilities. Whenever I was in need of a little guidance, he was definitely that go to guy. Nathan would make an excellent addition to anyone looking to strenghthen their studio.

Jason Woronicz, Level Designer
reported to Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan was a great lead designer, I learned so much from him in my time at Destineer/Atomic games. He was always super helpful, very organized and a very hard worker, putting in many extra hours and doing whatever it took to reach a deadline. Also he is a very nice guy and really easy to work with, I really hope to work with him again someday.

Kevin Sizer, Level Designer
reported to Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is everything you need in a Lead Designer: organized, creative, fair, and extremely knowledgeable. I greatly enjoyed my time working with him and would love to get the chance to do it again.

Keith Friedly, Game Designer
reported to Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan did a great job on planning and leading the level design effort on Six Days in Fallujah, as well as designing the campaign. As the lead AI programmer on the team, I found that Nathan had a good understanding for how AI and level design would work together, and we could always find the best solutions to our mutual problems.

Tobias Karlsson, Lead AI Programmer
worked directly with Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is a brilliant designer on many levels. He was always impressing me with his ability to organize in a way that clarified systems and needs, and therefore, improved productivity team-wide. Anyone in need of a designer who can bridge the gap between technical prowess and functional elegance would be wise to bring Nathan on board.

Derek Ehrman, Core Tech Engineer
worked indirectly for Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan Cheever is a designer who is unusually talented in understanding the flow of a game and how a game is crafted to get the best results for the player. Even more importantly – in an industry with so many personalities and agendas, Nathan is just plain very pleasant to work with and continuously makes decisions based on what’s best for the team and end product. I would very much like to work with Nathan again in the future.

James Cowgill, Producer
managed Nathan indirectly at Atomic Games

Nate is great. His skill set is broad. He has solid foundations in design. He’s an excellent communicator… and just a blast to work with.
He gets things done, and usually manages to toss in a hilarious anecdote or goofy observation to go along with it.
I’ve learned quite a bit by working with him, and definitely recommend him to YOU, oh reader of this!

Clint Richards, Senior Game Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is an extremely well-rounded designer who is capable of both the hands-on creation of levels and gameplay in addition to management tasks. As a good-natured Lead Designer who inspires confidence and trust among his teammates, Nathan is an excellent example to his team, multitasking exceptionally well and maintaining an equally excellent work ethic. Specializing in the creation of clear, fleshed out design documentation, Nathan is able to back it up with in-game working examples for the rest of his team to learn from, use, and adapt. It was a pleasure working with Nathan and I recommend him without reservation.

Juan Benito, Creative Director
managed Nathan at Atomic Games

Nathan is a very talented designer who has an incredibly deep understanding of the development process. He impressed me with his extraordinary work analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Destineer’s tools and technology, and then leading the effort to improve them. As a lead designer Nathan demonstrated excellent leadership and outstanding communications skills. He easily earned the respect of everyone on the team. One of his best traits as a leader is his ability to keep his cool and his sense of humor in the face of serious challenges. I would happily work with Nathan again.

David Wessman, Senior Game Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Destineer Studios

Nathan was a pleasure to work through early pre-production on Turok. His ability to develop key work flows and his creative passion for level design established some early prototypes that helped define the vision for Turok. Along with his deep tool knowledge and upbeat demeanor, I look forward to the opportunity to work with Nathan again.

Josh Bridge, Lead Level Designer
managed Nathan at Propaganda Games

Nathan is a highly commited level designer skilled in both creative and technical displines and has a great awareness of both the detail and the big picture. Of the many many level designers I’ve worked with in the last 10 years Nathan is one of the very very few I would brand a 5* level designer.

Martin Blackmore, Senior Level Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Propaganda Games

I had the pleasure of working with Nathan during the pre-production of Turok. Nathan was an extremely dedicated and hard working team mate with keen creative skills. He played a huge role in pushing early technical limitations and boundaries through his vast technical knowledge. Nathan was a fantastic colleague and friend, I look forward to future opportunities working with Nathan.

Chris Haluke, Level Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Propaganda Games

While I worked with Nathan he showed intense dedication to his job and the project. He was always willing to help in all capacities even if outside of his discipline. He is not only a brilliant designer, but a joy to work with. He is the kind of designer that is open to ideas and encourages feedback. He would be a phenomenal addition to any team and I highly recommend him.

Darci Morales, Lead QA Software Engineer
worked indirectly for Nathan at Surreal Software

When I worked with Nathan at Surreal, he was under extreme pressure to deliver a large quantity of work in a short period of time; despite the rough circumstance, in the end he and his team delivered at a quality level that set the bar for the entire project. Nathan was a pleasure to work with even under pressure. I would work with Nathan again in a heartbeat.

Beau Folsom, Lead Artist
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan is an excellent game designer, both creative and technical with great communication skills. His designer skills set on “The Suffering / Ties That Bind” were pivotal to content/systems and tools development. Give this man the tools he needs! You won’t regret it.

Brigitte Samson, Senior Animator
worked with Nathan at Surreal Software

As a designer on The Suffering/Ties That Bind, Nathan brought a tremendous level of enthusiasm and talent to both projects. He had an instinctive grasp of pacing, within the levels he was responsible for as well as how they fit into the overarching story, which is especially crucial for horror games. Nathan also stood out for his unrelenting desire to improve tools, tech and general workflow for the Design team. He was a consistent source of collaborative feedback and suggestions for the programming team in regards to improving the tools necessary for the game.

Bach Payson, Associate Producer
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan was great to work with, creative & diligent, he was one of the few that would really put some of our systems through their paces thoroughly & those of us on the programming team really appreciated his feedback. His sense of humor helped too!

Matt Edmonds, Senior Programmer
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan helped out the Tools department greatly by providing many suggestions and feedback on how to improve Surreal’s game tools – including full design documents for new features, UI mockups and more. He works well with programmers and artists alike, and was an incredible asset for the company. I’ll miss him greatly.

Simon Cooke, Lead Gameplay Engineer
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan’s experience, skills and attention to detail are his strengths. I have seen some amazing things from him in the last 3 years. Working on both The Suffering and The Suffering 2, his innovative thinking helped to hoist The Suffering 2 from good to great! I would not hesitate to work with him again.

Cory Lee, Level Artist
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan has an eye for detail, and a desire to make playable areas that are as fun and engrossing as possible. His desire to make games a good as they possibly can, and his penchant for making engrossing gamespaces are valuable resources to the project he applies them to.

Chris Johnson, Animator
worked directly with Nathan at Surreal Software

Nathan is a great designer who I really enjoyed working with. His passion and originality were huge assets to our project. If given the chance I would highly recommend him.

Dan Thibadeau, Senior Level Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Monolith Productions

Without Nathan. we couldn’t have polished AvP2 to such a high caliber, his work was excellent.

Rhett Baldwin, Level Designer
worked directly with Nathan at Monolith Productions

Nate is an excellent level designer with solid technical and aesthetic skills. His designs are creative, functional and play well. He also is highly proficient with Photoshop and a variety of 3d modeling tools, and can pinch hit in other game development areas if needed. If the opportunity arose, I’d absolutely want him on my team again.

Chris Appel, Lead artist
managed Nathan at Heuristic Park, Inc.

Nathan is kind of creative energy that should come in a bottle. Just when we ran out of ideas and everybody goes home, here comes Nathan to save the day! I remember on multiple occasions when he wouldn’t leave the office until he found graphic solution for the project. Sometimes for days he wouldn’t leave the office. I remember having to shave him, feed him, and brush his teeth once.

Despite those memories, I would enjoy working with him again.

Like quenching our thirst, Nathan brought a refreshing approach to design and composition. Minus the mysterious hole in the wall that all of sudden appeared on one of his late nights, I think Nathan is valuable resource to any graphic design team.

Scott Padgett, Graphic Artist
worked directly with Nathan at Heuristic Park, Inc.

Nathan is an extremely capable artist and designer and his quirky sense of humor makes for good times.

Paul Neuhaus, 3D Artist
worked directly with Nathan at Heuristic Park, Inc.

twitter