Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Carnegie
During her twelve-year career in the gaming industry, Heather Kelley has worked
on everything from next generation console games, to interactive smart toys, to
web communities for girls. She is now the Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of
Art and Adjunct Faculty at the Entertainment
both at Carnegie Mellon
Before becoming a professor, Kelley worked as a game
designer at Artificial Mind & Movement and at Ubisoft in Montreal, where
she played an important role as a level designer and multimedia artist on such
titles as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
Most recently she has collaborated with The Hexagram Institute for Research and
Creation in Media Arts and Technologies on a game that integrates full-body
interactive gallery exhibits into the gameplay experience.
With her dedication to designing games for women and
girls, it's no surprise that Kelley served as co-chair of the IGDA's Women in
Development special interest group for seven years -- while simultaneously working
on award-winning games and her own interactive media projects.
Kelley is perhaps best known for the game prototype she developed for the 2005
Montreal Games Summit game design challenge, the theme of which was sex. Lapis, a colorful title that was mocked up as if
for the Nintendo DS, simulated female orgasm without any graphic imagery.
the player was represented by a small rabbit, whose thoughts rose high above
the clouds and items that represented happiness (like cupcakes) in a symbolic
form of ecstasy. Games don't get more innovative than that.
What her peers say
Bonnie: "Though, of course, Heather Kelley stole my heart with Lapis,
it's her consistently solid work as a designer (and on top of that her clear
creativity) that earns her my serious respect. Who else could make a game about
a bunny experiencing pleasure as a flight past a series of baked goods, and
then help develop hardcore games?
The fact that she's now entered into the
academic world is also wonderfully promising. An entire class of students
taught with her unique approach is a class that's bound to produce amazing
Photo credit: Copyright 2003–2008 Simon Law, and available under the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later.