Full name

Lara Kehler

Title

Game Developer

Location

Mission, BC

Blurb

Game Developer: Pixel Pusher, Voxel Wrangler, Spread Sheet Shape Shifter, Design Diva.

Biography

I have been working in the game industry since 2006 as an Artist and more recently a Game Designer, but really I have been making games since the 80's on my Mac Classic using HyperCard, some simple coding and lots of pixel art.

I was home schooled as a kid and learned that 'learning' is the true 'spice' of my life. I have applied that understanding to everything I do since, and predominantly enjoy putting myself in new and challenging situations in order to learn the most I can.

1999 - 2004
I traveled Europe, completed college, and then learned how to use Flash to create interactive media and games. I enjoyed the freelance life style working as a Flash/Web developer on various web games and interfaces, pixel art for early mobile apps as well as interactive content for online courseware.

2004 - 05
Received a grant to attend Art Institute - Burnaby in the Game Art & Design program. I completed this 1 year program, as well as took colour theory & sculpting at CAP college.

2005 - 06
Started my "official" career working as an artist in the animation industry on the Broken Saints DVD project and then at Mainframe Entertainment in the Marketing Department creating high rez composite imagery for print using photoshop. I also worked on various direct to DVD productions to create heads up display motion graphics and title sequences.

2006 - 09
I got my first gig in the game industry working with a previous instructor. I worked as an art lead for a small team through all stages of prototyping, IP creation, pitching to clients and releasing games for PC, Big Fish & Facebook with Threewave Software & Gnosis Games.

My art director Eduardo Gonzalez really invested in me throughout this time and I view my experience working with him as a highly valuable education towards my design thinking and process.

2009 - 10
Our first child was born. While I was pregnant and on matt leave, I worked on some indie projects under the title Frogtoss Games. We released Zombie Minesweeper after winning in a Kongragate Unity contest. Graham Jans and I worked for 6 months solid to bring this to iOS, Android and PC.

2010 - 12
I took on contracting for a handful of different companies doing mostly UI design and some Art Direction.

2012 - 13
Bought a house and moved to Mission. Took on a full time job with Spry Fox. Working with these guys was really a career changing time for me. I learned a lot about designing icons sets for puzzle games, and earned a deeper respect for game developers and designers who have a lot of experience.

Since 2013
I have been at East Side Games in senior positions as Artist or Game Designer.

At East Side I have learned about the economies of Free to Play games, the up side and down side of self publishing, taking risks, having failures, and also the impact of not planning for successes. ESG has given me a wealth of freedom and opportunities to experiment, flex unused muscles, expand my design skills and really grow my soft skills.

2014 - Present
Along side my work in games, I started a unique school called 'Fraser Valley Free Learners' with my some friends and colleagues. Democratic/Free Schools have become a passion of mine and since we didn't have one locally in the Fraser Valley we decided to make it happen. This has been a life changing endeavor and I am very excited to see this project come to life and the students thriving there.

Family Life
I live with my husband and two young kids in Mission, BC. We love to go camping with our tiny trailer, make & build stuff together and play games.

Experience

Senior Game Designer

East Side Games

Vancouver, Canada · Dec 2013 – Present

As a designer and artist I explored the puzzle genre for ESG by leading small teams through various stages of prototyping and production on three different games.

Currently as a member of the design team on Trailer Park Boys I have helped improve designers Live Ops work flow through creating better design practices for weekly events. This includes improving our Google Sheets to save hours of design time per event, and tracking our event designs in order to improve iteration and also diversity of event styles between events. I have established reward schedules and introduce novel event designs for our mini events. After joining the team and implementing these changes our process has improved and profits from mini events have increased by 150%.

Game Developer

Frogtoss Games

Vancouver, Canada · June 2009 – Sept 2010

Worked independently as concept artist and game designer with Graham Jans & Mike Labbe on an unreleased 2D platformer (see portfolio for art ‘sand god’).

We also created and released for IOS, Android, and PC the game ‘Zombie Minesweeper: A Love Story’ after winning an award on Kongregate. Zombie Minesweeper was met with rave reviews from fans and reviewers and was featured on Google Play.

2D Artist

SpryFox

Tele-Commute · March 2012 – Nov 2013

Created in game assets & marketing material for Triple Town and Steam Birds. (Steam Birds has since been re-made from the ground up)

Supervising Artist

Gnosis Games

Vancouver, Canada · Jan 2006 – April 2009

Concept through to final art for PC/Online, Social network games and new IP. Responsible for leading a small team of artists through all stages of production.

Worked closely with game designers to establish the flow and game play elements both visually and from a game play perspective.

Continuing Studies Instructor

Langara College

Vancouver, BC · March 2004 – March 2005

Course content creation and instruction of intro Adobe Flash and Photoshop courses.
Received consistently excellent student reviews of the course layout, assignments, and instruction.

Skills

UI Design, Voxel Modeling & Design, 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, Vector Graphics, Photoshop, Art Direction for Games, Game Design - Free to Play Economies, Game Design - Puzzle, Game Design - Live Ops, Unity Game Dev - Generalist, Flash Art & Game Development, IP Creation, Google Spread Sheet / Excell

Elsewhere