Video games, photography, and the lost divine.

30th April 2014

Video with 19 notes

Evening everyone,

I just got home from a hectic and crazy day.  In case you missed it, we announced Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 edition.  For me the most exciting part of the event was John Blackburn announcing that we are hiring a team of Toy Box artists to work with us at Avalanche Software.  (I get to work directly with them!)  We are going to see if we can push the boundaries of what user-generated content can become and help forge the future of the Toy Box; think of it as the ultimate Toy Box Challenge.  We are looking for the very best people, (I’m talking to you, and you, and you.)  As John mentioned we have already hired CrazyByNick and we are starting to interview other talented artists and designers.  I haven’t ever seen an opportunity quite like this and I think it’s going to be a blast!  If you love creating games, and you are good at it, don’t let the opportunity slip by.  You can get more information and apply here.  If you have any questions feel free to send me a message.


Tagged: Disney Infinity 2.0Toy BoxToy Box Team CaptainopportunityToy Box artistsTalentedelitebest toy boxcreatorscreationteamhiringcareerDisney MagicJohn Blackburnjohn vignocchiMarvelDisneyDI2minecraftbest minecraft creationsbest little big planet creationslbpgame designvideo gamesvideo game design careervideo game careerplayersbest playersgame creation


30th April 2014

Question with 3 notes

iliam said: Hi Chad, The DI 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes announcement was amazing today. One question I had and I'm sure I will think of more, but it was mentioned that specific logic toys would be possible to create story moments, e.g. fade in/out. Will their be other toys like camera controls(for a cut scene), and text overlays? Thank you, and congrats on the announcement.

Thank you iliam.  I’m glad you enjoyed the announcement.  Indeed, there are a variety of new logic toys and enhancements that we are creating to improve the experience of creating stories in the Toy Box.  There are two new camera types and all of the cameras have fancy new features including screen fades.  Text is coming too, with specifics TBA. 


2nd March 2014

Video with 6 notes

I just finished watching Grounded: The Making the Last of Us.  If you have played the game and you haven’t seen the film put whatever you are doing down and click play.  Not only is it one of the most insightful depictions of the game making process ever created, but it shows the depth of thought possessed by the best designers, artist, and programmers developing games.  It eloquently shows the most important aspect of game creation- the emotions that you want to feel as a player should drive every decision that goes into creating a game.  Bravo Naughty Dog and Level 5!

Tagged: Naughty DogdocumentaryGrounded: making The Last of Usgame designexcellencedepthpsychologyemotionSony


9th February 2014

Photoset with 18 notes

Evening everyone.  Last year I received a handful of Disney Inventor Awards.  (Three are pictured here and I’m waiting to receive another one or two.)  They were given for design work I did on Disney Infinity that resulted in patents for Disney.  I’m particularly proud of the award that is shown top center.  I received it for conceiving and designing the logic and creativitoy system in the Toy Box.

I also photographed the Disney Employee Recognition award that I received a couple of years ago.  I posted about it previously, but at the time Infinity hadn’t been announced so I wasn’t able to say why I received it.  The inscription on the award reads-

As part of the Avalanche team working on Disney Infinity, Chad leads and acts with enthusiasm. Chad had a vision for the Toy Box that extended beyond common ground and a drive that allowed him to in essence, change the game. His efforts provided an experience so compelling that the Toy Box is now the centerpiece of the Disney Infinity experience.

It’s kind of funny to me how things change.  When I received the award I don’t think anyone had any idea how significant Disney Infinity would be and I certainly didn’t know how, with the help of a lot of people, my little prototype would develop into the centerpiece of the game that helped return Disney Interactive to profitability.  It’s a huge honor and blessing to be a part of and I will forever treasure these mementos of my contribution.

On the photography side these shots were a significant challenge to take.  By the time I was done I think I used nine light stands, three monolights, two speedlights, five or six flags, and a whole lot of trial and error.  I snapped a behind the scenes shot of the setup.  If anyone is interested in it let me know and I’ll post it.

Tagged: awardthe Walt Disney CompanyDisneyDisney InfinityinfinitepossibilitiesDisney Interactiveprofitabilitybusinessfinancesuccessemployee recognition awarddisney inventor awardpatentproprietaryToy Boxlogiccreativitoysphotographimagephotographybtsavalanche softwareexperiencecompellingleadershipenthusiasmteam captaindesigngame designdesigner


21st January 2014


Nooooo!!!!  They shot this in my secret alley, one of the few places in SLC that actually feels authentically urban.  I’ve been shooting here for twenty years.  Many a wall texture in Twisted Metal came from this alley.  Something tells me it’s never going to be the same.

Tagged: star warstwerkTwisted MetalphotographyalleyurbanSalt Lake Citystorm troopersDarth Vader


10th January 2014

Post with 6 notes

Hi everyone.  As most people who know me are aware, I’m very passionate about the idea of teaching people, particularly children, how to harness creativity and logic skills.  Recently I’ve been reading about academic thought on the subject of teaching these specific skills.  Various articles are creeping into mainstream media, (,, etc.,) covering the best methods for teaching and in particular I’ve been paying attention to thought relating to teaching children about programming.  The consensus seems to be that academia would like to see programming concepts taught at a much younger age.  I’m not going to get into that side much.  But thinking about this coaxed me out of my cocoon to share some thoughts and I would like to make a request as well.

In Disney Infinity, the entire Creativitoys system inside the Toy Box is our effort to help children learn programming concepts and apply them in a creative way.  My belief when I set out to design the logic system was that there is probably no better way to teach children programming concepts than in a mainstream video game.  I felt we could essentially sneak in teaching programming concepts in a fun and transparent way.  

In Infinity, the, “language,” portion of programming is a magic wand and it works it’s programming magic simply by pointing at various objects and connecting them to each other.  In programming terms each object you connect with the magic wand represents a function, operator, or other type of logic controller.  By connecting them you create programs, and it scales to handle pretty shockingly complex functionality.  It has proven to be a very effective interface or language to teach just about anyone, including children as young as five, to program.

The process of developing the system combined with parsing user data gave us a mountain of insight into the subject of teaching children programming.  One of the most shocking observations was that pretty much anyone can program.  The easy part of the problem is actually learning the language side.  And it doesn’t really matter how old a person is.  Within 15 minutes or so I’m pretty confident I can get almost anyone to make their own, “programs,” in Infinity.  The takeaway was teaching someone the language of programming isn’t particularly hard if the language isn’t abstract or overtly technical.

By far the most difficult thing to do is to help an individual turn that language understanding into something creative or useful.  While it is easy to learn the core functionality it’s very difficult to transition into understanding the potential applications for that understanding.  In Infinity I’ve watched countless people connect a trigger plate to a confetti cannon, step on the plate and watch the fireworks.  This is a program, but it’s not particularly useful or innovative.  However, I haven’t seen too many people do something like this.  Why?  

This phenomenon where understanding and usefulness don’t necessarily correlate actually parallels both traditional language learning and usage as well as traditional programming.  Everyone learns to speak and write but how many of us innovate with it?  I think the pinnacle of many individual’s creative writing skills are probably making a shopping list.  And how many professional programmers actively engage in writing innovative code to create compelling and valuable applications?  What are a legion of students who understand the concepts of programming going to do with it?  Will they do more than the average person does with any other primary school taught skill?

So, to me the great challenge is how can educators, parents, and *gasp* video game creators, take a pupil, (or, “player,” as we call them,) by the hand and lead them from understanding programming principles to creatively applying them to create art, solve problems, or simply innovate?  And, can we make this process more engaging and, dare I say, fun?  Moving towards a better way of doing this is at the core of my responsibilities on our current project.  I would love to open a dialog with Infinity players, parents, kids, and academics on how to better accomplish this.  If you or someone you know with an expertise in this would be willing to volunteer some insight I would love to start a dialog.

Tagged: learning programmingeducationDisney InfinityinfinitepossibilitiescreativitoyslogicyouthchildrenyoungschoolteacherDisneyacademicsacademiateachlearn to programlearnlearningteachingstudentpupilcreativitycreativeintelligencedesigntheorywired.comwiredted.orgted


9th October 2013

Link with 11 notes

Extra Life →

Evening everyone.  I’m super excited that a group of our most die hard Disney Infinity fans are participating in a charity event through  Will at, Jason at, and Steve at Media Meltdown Mousecast are committing to play Infinity for 25 hours(!) on November 2 to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network.  I have happily donated, (along with many others by the look of it,) and I am going to join them for a portion of their play session.  Maybe we can do a questions and answers sort of thing. 

If you are able to pitch in please do so.  This is an awesome way to help out sick kids who really need our help and the event is going to be a blast.  You can reach their donation page at the above link.  Thank you everyone who donates and a HUGE thanks to Steve, Jason, and Will.  You guys are THE POWER!

Tagged: infinitepossibilitiesDisney InfinityDisneycharitykidschildren's miracle networkinsidedisneyinfinity.comdisneyinfinityblog.netMedia Meltdown Mousecasthelpaidsick kids


2nd October 2013

Video reblogged from mutatedjellyfish with 22 notes


Posted the first couple of making-of videos of my work on Disney Infinity’s Toybox. This one shows how the customization system works within the Toybox and some of the customization sets that I worked on.  More to come!

This was put together by Worth Dayley.  He is an extraordinarily talented part time artist on Infinity.  I’ve mentioned him here before.  Worth is the guy who created all of the Tron assets on his own time.  He is one of those guys who loves making games, is extremely good at it, and goes above and beyond what is asked.  Worth has unlimited potential and he is going to make a fantastic full-time employee for someone.  Please check out his portfolio site at

Tagged: Worth DayleyDisney Infinityinfinitepossibilitiesportfoliolooking for a jobdeserves a job


29th September 2013

Link with 4 notes

The History of Naughty Dog: Part I (1982-1994) - IGN →

I just finished reading this fantastic history of Naughty Dog by Colin Moriarty at IGN.  It’s a great read.  I’m a huge Naughty Dog fan.  I played Keef the Thief to death in the day and I have a special place in my heart for Way of the Warrior.  It came out when I was just getting into games and it had a huge effect on how I viewed games.  (I was one of those dorks who bought a 3do on launch day for I believe $700, which was a huge chunk of change back then.)  Anyway, I became a Naughty Dog disciple when I played Way of the Warrior.  I remember EGM gave them a bad review.  I was so mad I sent them hate mail and cancelled my subscription.  The jerks obviously didn’t even play it;)  Later I met Jason Rubin when I was at Sony.  There was an interesting, (likely one-way,) rivalry between Mr. Rubin and the studio head I was working for at the time.  But after about three minutes of being in the vicinity of Jason Rubin I knew knew he was the real deal.  Even though he is no longer there I look at Naughty Dog with pure awe and admiration.  They are a model of perfection in development and I’m insanely jealous of their dev model.  I can’t wait for the second part of the article.  Kudos IGN.

Tagged: Naughty DogJason RubinWay of the WarriorIGNColin MoriartyHistoryRetrospective


23rd September 2013

Link with 6 notes

Infinity's Visual Past →

Sam Nielson, one of the amazing concept artists at Avalanche, has been posting a ton of concept art for Infinity.  I personally enjoyed looking through this as it brought back a lot of memories.  Plus Sam has more talent in his pinky than ten gorillas, or something…

Tagged: infinitepossibilitiesdisney infinitysam nielsonart godtalentconcept art