Traveling the world is just one of the things Lisa Brown recently checked off of a long to-do list. She took a moment out of her six-week trek of rigorous adventures in Europe to share her excitement about joining Harrisburg University of Science and Technology as its latest Game Designer in Residence.
“I feel like I can offer focused, practical guidance to students as they iterate on their work, and it’s a process I’ve very much enjoyed working with students on in the past,” she said from Poland, one of several stops on her independent trip across Europe.
As Brown, who most recently worked out of Los Angeles, gets ready to join Harrisburg University in 2016, she brings with her years of experience working as a game designer and mentor to students from across the country. At 33, she’s already accomplished things in the industry that make her a great addition to what Harrisburg University has to offer.
Brown double majoring in art and computer science at Centre College in Kentucky before working in theater and then web development. She later went on to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center in Pittsburgh.
Her professional career path led her to Insomniac Games, where she worked as a designer for six years on projects such as “Resistance 3,” “Sunset Overdrive” and “Slow Down, Bull.”
This past spring, she “went indie” to work on live development streaming on Twitch to teach people about game design and development. She also released “Imaginal,” an ambient, personal game about catching lightning bugs, and has been working on assisting in level design on the indie action-RPG “Hyper Light Drifter.”
When Brown heard about Harrisburg University adding the Game Designer in Residence position last year, it struck her as an opportunity to dabble in experimental work while mentoring students.
Charles Palmer, associate professor and program coordinator for HU’s Interactive Media program, knew Brown from graduate school and thought she would be a good fit for the program.
“When we bring in one person, we’re bringing that person along with their entire network of professionals,” Palmer said. “The idea of cross-pollination means we take what we do well at HU and sprinkle experts from outside of the field. There aren’t many game developers here in Central Pennsylvania that can provide this service to our students, so we make an effort to bring those mentors here.”
Brown will begin teaching a class in January, as well as be featured as a guest speaker in other classes while mentoring students working on semester projects.
Palmer also is looking forward to bringing an accomplished female game designer into the classroom to showcase that diverse teams often have the most success.
While she wraps up her time in Europe, Brown looks forward to jumping into her new position early next year. After visiting the campus several times, Brown said, she quickly fell in love with the drive of the program to give students access to working professionals.
“I hope to be able to help students on a very practical basis with their projects and their growth as game developers,” she said. “As someone who is active in the industry, I want to help them learn to be good developers and good teammates but also help them learn to be aware of the tumultuous changes in the industry. Learning to see the changes unfold is critical to someone making it in the professional world of games.”