Hi, I'm Mike Fitzgerald. I'm currently the CTO at Harmonix, where I've worked since finishing grad school in 2008.

CTO

Since 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to hold the CTO position at Harmonix Music Systems. I’ve focused on a few main goals over that time:

  • I've directed (and contributed to) the ongoing development of our internal engine and audio technology, prioritizing the reduction of technical debt and the intelligent use of third-party tools and open source projects when appropriate.
  • I've made a number of process and technology changes to enable efficient and effective simultaneous development of multiple projects on multiple platforms. In the past 2–3 years we've shipped 9 titles on 7 platforms, with a team of ~25 engineers.
  • I've advised and aided project lead programmers through planning and development of their titles. This has included mentorship of engineers who were new to the role.

Special Projects

I was the programmer on the initial DropMix team before our partnership with Hasbro. We spent just under a year developing prototypes of our music-mixing card game to flesh out the concept and make a compelling publisher pitch for the technology.

Around 2013 I began slowly porting our engine and toolchain to iOS and OS X in my free time, learning a tremendous amount about engine development and low-level programming in the process. Porting our DirectX 11 renderer to Metal was a feet-to-the-fire learning experience in graphics programming, which I now consider to be a strong part of my skill set. This process culminated in an appearance in the 2015 Apple announcement event for the Apple TV, in which I demoed Beat Sports on Apple’s newly-announced hardware—an incredible experience and a cap on a few of the most demanding months of my life.

Fantasia

From 2011 to 2014, I was the Lead Programmer on Fantasia: Music Evolved, a collaboration with Disney based on the classic film. Working with a company like Disney was immensely difficult, but I learned some valuable lessons during this time period, and ultimately we shipped a beautiful, ambitious product that gave the player more creative agency than any title of ours previous. The development team grew to as large as ~90 by the time we finished. I had the opportinuty to give multiple presentations about our work on Fantasia at SIGGRAPH 2014.

Rock Band

Prior to working on Fantasia, I'd been in a lead role on the cancelled Rock Band Sessions. I worked on multiple Harmonix games on the UI and metagame teams, including Rock Band 3, The Beatles: Rock Band, and Rock Band 2. I also contributed code to Green Day: Rock Band and the Rock Band Network.

Education

Before starting full-time at Harmonix, I did my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at MIT, finishing my thesis with the UID Group at CSAIL. During school I interned at Harmonix, working a tiny bit on Guitar Hero, as well as at Google on the embeddable Calendar feature (which still works!).