Taylor reckons he’s the luckiest person alive. Not only does he get to guide students into making amazing and successful games, he also gets to play them…at work! Taylor is responsible for writing and managing the Diploma in Game Art. He came on board as a tutor in 2014 and within a year had been promoted to Head of Faculty.
Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Visual and Game Programming as well as TAE40110 – Certification IV in Training and Assessment. His study covered film and games, with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence and Emergent Behaviours. He forged much of his career in San Francisco, where he worked on MMOs, children’s games, built gaming devices (carved and moulded), and was part of the beginnings of Free to Play. He was also a professional Counterstrike player for several years, sponsored by computer hardware companies and internet cafes. Taylor says although it was fun making Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Zynga Poker, he’d been in San Fran too long. When Weta offered him a job in New Zealand, he jumped at the chance.
After 15 films with Weta, Taylor left to do interactive art projects with an artist named Tatiana Plakhova, which funded a private studio for him on Cuba Street for nearly two years.
Taylor, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Just play the game”. Kenny Mencher, my Art History teacher.
In my teens/early twenties I mistakenly believed I was anti-establishment. I thought interviews were unnatural, CVs were inaccurate portrayals of a person, and the entire job hunting process was hopelessly flawed. While complaining about these 1st world problems, Mr. Mencher grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me violently, and said “Taylor, just play the game”. That stuck to this day, things are the way they are. Play the game, get your foot in the door, and learn why the game is played the way it is… perhaps even improve it. You’re not going to change anything by complaining from the outside.