HobbyGameDev http://www.hobbygamedev.com Hobby Videogame Development for all experience levels Mon, 10 Aug 2015 19:48:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 GameDevsLikeYou Podcasts 1-7 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/gamedevslikeyou-podcasts-1-7-and-live-weekend-workshop-aug-8-9/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/gamedevslikeyou-podcasts-1-7-and-live-weekend-workshop-aug-8-9/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:55:56 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12255 Hello everyone!

As promised in the previous post I’ve been redirecting my monthly blogging energy into getting a new episode of the Game Developers Like You podcast posted at the start of each week. Already you’ll find in that mix a variety of viewpoints and experience levels: a studio founder, a pre-teen iPhone game programmer, a professional artist building her business on the Unity Asset Store, the founder of One-Game-a-Month, a representative from a large indie studio creating a popular social RPG overseas, and a developer with stories to share from making games for OUYA and VR. Check it out – you don’t even need an iTunes account to listen, since you can hear the full episodes right there on the site.

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/gamedevslikeyou-podcasts-1-7-and-live-weekend-workshop-aug-8-9/feed/ 0
HobbyGameDev Blog is turning into the GameDevsLikeYou Podcast http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/hobbygamedev-blog-is-turning-into-the-gamedevslikeyou-podcast/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/hobbygamedev-blog-is-turning-into-the-gamedevslikeyou-podcast/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:39:06 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12230 You can find future interviews (a great first one is posted there already!) at GameDevsLikeYou.com, by subscribing to the official podcast page on iTunes, or subscribing via RSS.

In just a few minutes here’s some information about the transition:

 


 

Also, as one additional bit of news on the horizon, I’m starting a new local Game Development Club in Los Angeles. It’s going to be based closely on the patterns and processes iterated on for the previous game development clubs I helped kick off and grow in Pittsburgh and Atlanta (except unlike those, this one won’t be connected to a university):

 


 

For more information on that up and coming organization check out LA Game Devs.com.

Thanks for following along with my journey so far these past six years on this blog, and I of course hope you’ll choose to continue to follow along as I share more developer stories through Game Developers Like You via the site, iTunes podcast, or new RSS to follow the weekly episodes.

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/articles/hobbygamedev-blog-is-turning-into-the-gamedevslikeyou-podcast/feed/ 2
Developer Interview: Matthew Hagen http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-matthew-hagen/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-matthew-hagen/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 06:55:19 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12150 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with Matthew Hagen of Minnesota.

Q: Hi Matthew! How’d you find your way into game development?

A: In school I majored in animation and multimedia, with a 3D emphasis. I got my first game development job at a local mobile game studio called Troop 13 while I was still in college.

I was hired at Troop 13 to help create a new game for the budding company, but I had no prior knowledge of how to make games, let alone mobile games. Since then we have released 2 games, and are working on our third game now. I also have started another project on the side.

Q: What size of projects do you tend to work on?

A: Mobile games with a team of 4-6. Generally the projects take a few months each.

Q: What’s a typical day in your life as a game developer like?

A: Every week day I spend two hours at a local Perkins.

I go to Perkins so that I’m away from distractions. It’s a consistent place that I’ve designated for work. It’s also across the street from my day job.

While at Perkins I model, texture, market, plan, or whatever I need to do for Fleet Calamity – my side project – on that particular day.

Then I go to my day job at Troop 13 from 9-5. The day acts the same as if I’m at Perkins. I model, texture, plan, market or whatever is needed of me that particular day.

On weekends I play test Fleet Calamity since most people are free Friday-Sunday. I try to get 1 or 2 play test sessions each weekend and collect data to make alterations the following Monday.

Thats pretty much my day to day. Overall I work 10 hours a day, sometimes extra if I need to. I like to ensure I’m not working in the evening so I can dedicate some time to my family and recovery.

Q: What are some of the videogames that you’ve worked on?

A: Troop 13’s two launched games are Banonkey Town and QD3. Both are mobile games. Banonkey Town is an adventure game in which you are an employee at the zoo. All the monkeys have escaped and it’s your duty to capture them all again.

QD3 is a match-3 puzzle game in 3D space where you rotate the playfield to find matches for score.

The current game we are working on is like Star Fox. You navigate a star ship through hazards. You must be quick and dexterous or your ship will be crushed or smashed.

Our current game is my favorite yet by far. We have an experienced team and the company we work for allows us to make a game that we can really be proud of. The project is just starting and has a short production period, but we are all enthused about it. The team has worked together for some time now so we know each others skills and weaknesses, allowing us to really shine in our expertise.

Q: What’s your process like?

I keep a blog for Fleet Calamity that documents my process and progress.

After the concept I made a physical prototype to test and see if it’s fun. I play test the prototype as much as possible before writing code, since this is cheap and easy and reveals issues in the game. It’s also easy to change large chunks of the game during that phase without worrying about reprogramming everything.

Once I feel the game is fun and there are no obvious issues I work with programmers who do their magic. Once a playable build is up we then test it for bugs. We then continue forward, making sure ‘must have’ features are working and looking good before we move on to lesser features.

I also find its important to make sure your builds look very nice when you need to show the public or a client. People want something that feels finished, even if it’s obviously not. I’m not only making something I like, but hopefully something that other people will buy or invest in. It needs to look appealing for my audience, too.

Q: What role(s) do you typically serve on projects?

A: At Troop 13 I was hired to write story and animate the characters. As I grew with the company I started coming up with the game ideas and how the mechanics would work. I also moved onto modeling.

For my own game I do everything but the programming. My math skills are dismal. However I do the models, GUI design, game concept, marketing, and the like.

Q: Why did you want to get into making videogames? Is it different from why you continue to do it?

A: At first I got into it because it was an animation job. I was excited to use my skills and prove myself as an artist. However, I quickly noticed that the actual development, modeling, and animating process for games is much different than movies. This captivated me!

The challenge kept me working hard at it. I can’t get enough of that challenge and the hard work it takes to make something really enjoyable.

Q: Do you have education or specific training related to game development? If so, how has or hasn’t it helped?

A: I have an associates degree in animations and a bachelors in animation and multi media. I know how to animate, rig, model, draw… how to be a general artist. However, my schools taught me to make movies and tv shows, where you only render once and from one angle and you could really make it shine. Well, in games, it renders constantly and you can view things from all sorts of angles. Things have to be aesthetically pleasing from all angles. Plus, the super high poly stuff I did in school had to be made much simpler a ton so it could work seamlessly on smartphones.

Overall School was great. I met cool people and I learned a bunch of basic things that I need. However I learned just as much on the job and I learn new things every day.

Q: What do you do to learn and improve at your game making role(s)?

A: I make mistakes. I make tons and tons of mistakes. I’ll just try something and see if it works. If it doesn’t I’ll try a new approach until it does work as intended.

I also linger on a few forums and talk to people in the industry to see what they did or are trying.

I spend many hours scouring the internet to see what other people are doing and how it’s working for them. Then I try and think about how their approach or solution might help me in my situation. But in the end I find that every situation is unique and you’ll just have to keep trying in your own way.

Q: Any projects currently in development that you’d like to talk about?

Troop 13’s star ship game is coming out for mobile devices very soon. It’s easy to pick up and play so you can get in and out with no effort. Just start the game and get playing. Last as long as you can and earn new ships.

As for the game I’m making, Fleet Calamity, imagine Magic the Gathering meets chess. Take over the galaxy as humans or machines, using cards to build up your army and fill your battle ships or fortify defenses. Annihilate the enemy fleet!

 


 

Q: If you have a brand, company name, or developer alias, how did you come up with it or what does it mean?

A: My personal studio is called “Half Heart Games”. This is because I was born with half a heart. In total I’ve had 18 surgeries on my heart alone and I’m due for a heart catheter this summer.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: I always suggest to just get involved. Find a group that is making a game and join in. Learn what you can with some people who might be more knowledgeable than you. Join communities and game jams.

If you want to make your own game start small. Really small! Find an idea or mechanic that you really want to learn. Explore and develop that idea. Make sure you finish it. You’ll learn more from making a finished product, no matter how lame you may feel it is. Doing this will also boost your confidence and you’ll know better what to do next time.

Q: Any shout outs that you’d like to mention?

A: I really want to thank my beautiful wife who inspired me to pursue my life choices. Same goes to my mom, who is always eager to give a word of encouragement. And, of course, the Troop 13 team. They continue to mold me as a developer.

Q: What’s your website, Twitter handle, or other links about your games?

For my personal game: fleetcalamity.blogspot.com

Previous game site: qd3game.com

My personal games Twitter, most active: @HalfHeartgames

My personal Twitter: @Impisus

Previous game Twitter: @QD3game

Q: Any question(s) for me, the interviewer (Chris DeLeon)?

Matthew’s question for Chris, 1 of 2: What’s your favorite game that you’ve worked on and why?

DeLeon’s reply: My favorite games to play that I worked on are either Zylatov Sisters: Degamified (Flash link to play in-browser) or Battleship 88 (video).

As for my favorite game to work on that was probably Burn 2. Creating it involved figuring out some real-time destroyable terrain, per-pixel 2D colored lighting effects, procedural setting generation, and some of the first heuristics-driven AI that I worked on.

Matthew’s question for Chris, 2 of 2: What kind of things would you like to see in the future of games?

DeLeon’s reply: As not-so-subtly hinted by the title of this blog, for many years what I wished to see more of was people creating their own computer games as an engaging and enriching hobby. I’d love to see more games made by people who find doing it inherently valuable as an outlet for imagination, expression, math, and social bonding, without needing to always frame it mainly as a business activity or as a step assumed toward doing it as a business to feel that it’s worth doing.

I’m not in any way opposed to it being done as a business. However just like poetry, recreational sports, painting, dancing, martial arts, and singing it’s something I’d love to see touch many more lives in many more ways than the consumer market is going to sustain. People should not feel as though they need to (a.) bet their savings on it or redirect their whole educational/career tracks just to participate in it, or (b.) feel as though their game creation is invalid or illegitimate if it isn’t commercial in nature.

With the tremendous improvements in tools like Unity and better, cheaper means of sharing games it’s clear that this is already going on more today than it was only 5-10 years ago. However thanks to a rapid growth of new and even partial funding models (Patreon, Kickstarter, streaming, balances of freelancing with indie projects, etc.) there is a far richer and more diverse range of game development contexts than there used to be. That includes a massive amount of gray area on the continuum between full commercial studio and hobbyist. My interest in hearing, learning from, and sharing more about the diversity of game development experiences today is what led to these Game Developers Like You interviews.

I find hearing these perspective so valuable that going forward I will be shifting entirely from HobbyGameDev.com to continue on with more interviews in other formats as an upcoming podcast and more at GameDevsLikeYou.com

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-matthew-hagen/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: _jpcote_ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-_jpcote_/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-_jpcote_/#comments Sun, 31 May 2015 10:00:17 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12146 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with_jpcote_ of Montreal, Canada. He’s a 32-year-old dad with a day job in software engineering.

Q: What are the first things that you would like for us to know?

A: I love designing games. I have hundreds of designs in my notebook. I spend most of my time off from dad duty on coding and designing games. I find jams perfect for my chaotic schedule, and for one weekend at a time, I get to live my dream job.

Q: What are some games that you’ve worked on?

A: I worked on ten games – so far mostly game jams.

When I started in 2012 I attempted more complex projects but I found that I was unable to complete them. I instead turned to tutorials and simple games, including a memory game (Mini-Memory). I found it challenging and rewarding to create that game in just a weekend. In the process I learned a lot about NGUI and audio.

I participated in another competition later that year with a team of coworkers. We created Get Out! The game finished 55th out of 776. I served as the main programmer.

Kazee, another small project, was inspired by the classic game Joust. We had to make a game that fit entirely on one screen, so we decided to do an arcade game with quick inputs and instant play. Two of us programmers built it together using Unity’s 2D features, with Kenney.NL’s CC0 graphic assets.

My most recent project was for Global Game Jam in Montreal. I went there alone looking for a team, and ended up with two 3d artists as well as a second programmer. We made a game for the theme “What do we do now?” and we won a judge’s award for that game, The Bedroom.

The Bedroom is a game about a schizophrenic person that needs to regain his life. The player will travel in his bedroom through several stages that will illustrate some symptoms of this sickness.Through repeated verbal assaults and symptoms effects, you’ll have to conquer the painful task of leaving your own bedroom.The game’s artistic direction and puzzles are influenced by Piet Mondrian’s abstract work. The main challenges of this project were in matters of team and time management. It was the first time that I worked with artists who custom created all the game’s assets. It was hard to keep them working the whole the weekend since we reused many of their level models. I think we ended up with a great result!

Q: How has making videogames been different from what you expected going into it?

A: I knew that it would be hard in terms of coding. What I did not expect are all the business challenges it can involve. To do it commercially in the future I now see that I’ll need to create a company, hire a lawyer, get contracts written, hire an accountant, and so on. It’s important to me that contracts and taxes should be done correctly. I don’t wish to be involved in any kind of shady affair or wind up sued over something that I didn’t know.

For now it is still a hobby for me. I know I someday may have to do all that, though.

Q: Why did you want to get into making videogames? Is it different from why you continue to do it?

A: I wanted to make game mostly because my dream game doesn’t exist yet. I was always thinking that if I could create my game, it would be awesome and rewarding to see other people playing it. (Even if a Let’s Play player doesn’t like my game, it is just fun to watch someone else playing my game.)

Now that I have started creating games, I learned that I need to create a lot of smaller and non-dream games before trying to tackle my dream project. The games I create today are mainly about improving my skills.

Q: Do you have education or specific training related to game development?

A: I’m an electrical engineer who specialized in software engineering, so I knew (non-game) programming well before I got started. However I am self-taught for most of the game design skills, which I learned so far from video tutorials, reading books, and discussions with other developers.

Q: What are your goals as a game developer?

A: For the foreseeable future, making games remains a hobby, and I’m creating more games to expand my skills. Perhaps one day though I will make my dream game, or even start a small studio to make simulation games, city builders, RTS, kid games, and more.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: You might think that you need to watch thousand of hours of tutorials, follow hundred of hours of courses, or buy many books. But my advice is to instead make a simple game as soon as possible, it can even be a clone of an existing game for practice, anything to get you making. You will either fail or feel unsatisfied at first, but with time you will become more confident and skilled. More importantly: You will be designing games!

Q: Any shout outs that you’d like to mention?

A: Special Thanks to KENNEY.NL – his assets are so helpful for jams and prototypes.

Q: What’s your website, Twitter handle, or other links about your games?

Twitter: @_jpcote_

One-Game-a-Month: also as _jpcote_ for #1GAM

Play: Kazee

Play: Bedroom

Play: Save the Town

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-_jpcote_/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: Mystery Corgi http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-mystery-corgi/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-mystery-corgi/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 09:59:10 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12144 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with Mystery Corgi – real name Morgana – a 23 year old developer making games in northern California.

Q: For starters, what do you do?

A: I’m a gaming-centric artist, musician, writer, and programmer. I prefer to write scripts and stories for games, but I occasionally do logos, GUI, and soundtrack work. I want to get better at programming and sprite art. I live off commissions for indie games and also run a small bookkeeping business to help independent game developers.

Q: What’s a typical day in your life as a developer like?

A: Get up, make tea and breakfast, turn computer on and check email and Twitter, make more tea, do some work until lunch time, more tea and lunch, work until I can’t, more tea, play videogames, tea, take medicine, pass out.

Q: How and when did you start making games?

A: When I was younger I stumbled upon games on DeviantArt by a user named Zeiva. I enjoyed those games and decided to try to find more like them. I later found out the games were stylistically similar to visual novels, which I fell in love with. I decided that, as a story writer, I too could make visual novels. In 2011 I made my first game, Frequencies, after helping on several other projects.

Q: Any game development role models or heroes?

A: My hero is my fiancé, as cliche’d as that might sound. He makes great games but rarely publishes them, which is a shame. But he just keeps creating, almost every waking minute of every day. He believes in my abilities and that inspires me.

Q: What are some of the videogames that you’ve worked on?

A: The first game I assisted with was That Cheap and Sacred Thing, a Visual Novel. You can download That Cheap and Sacred Thing here. I colored most of the sprites and helped test it.

My first original game was a Visual Novel called Frequencies. You can check out Frequencies here. While I’m happy that I finished it and I learned a lot from it, I mostly glad that I’ve improved so much since I made it.

The first game that I made a soundtrack for was my fiance’s game, XD83C8. You can play XD83C8 here. It’s a local co-op game. It was a lot of fun to test.

The game I’m currently working on is Culina. I’m programming the story scripts for it.

Q: Which tools, technologies, or platforms do you use? Why?

A: I use Unity and Ren’Py for engines, Fungus in Unity for programming, and FL Studio for music. For art assets I use Paint Tool SAI, Adobe Illustrator. and Photoshop. I back everything up on Google Drive, which is usually where I write my scripts and have spreadsheets for everything.

Q: Is your game development non-commercial, commercial, some hybrid of the two?

A: I used to make free games, but now I’ve turned to the Pay What You Want model in the hopes of supporting myself. I believe firmly in this payment model, as someone who has had to go without games because of the starving artist life I lead. However, despite having very little income, I still try to support others who use PWYW because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

Q: Do you still play Has your experience or preference among games changed since you became a developer?

A: I play and review visual novels for my review site. I also play some action games and strategy games. When I get nostalgic I play the .hack games on my PS2 and old Pokemon titles.

Since I’ve become a developer, I try to study how other Visual Novels go about doing things, so that’s what I now predominantly play.

Q: Do you have education or specific training related to game development?

A: I am completely self-taught.

 


 

Q: How do you choose which ideas to develop into a full game?

A: If the idea sticks in my head and screams to be made for over three months, I’ll take it out of my “idea dump” and make it a more permanent option for “future games.”

Q: Any projects currently in development that you’d like to talk about?

A: I’m currently working on AIdol. Here’s the synopsis: Idols are the most popular thing in the media right now, and the rising idol company Lyriq has a convention to run this weekend. There’s one catch – the virtual idol, Aiko, is malfunctioning. Only one thing can fix Aiko: finding the person who programmed her. But it isn’t easy for a sapient computer program to find her creator. That’s where super fan Hana and a ragtag team of convention attendees come in to save the day.

Q: What do you do to get word out about your games?

A: I find Twitter a great platform for game developers. Gamejolt is also great for getting news out about free games. If you work on story-heavy interactive games or visual novels, try the Lemmasoft forums for the Ren’Py engine. They’re a pretty friendly group.

Q: Long(er) term what are your aspirations or goals as a game developer?

A: I hope to help Visual Novels flourish as a game genre with my creative works.

Q: What’s your website, Twitter handle, or other links about your games?

My portfolio site

My current game (AIdol)

My current game on GameJolt

Twitter: @MysteryCorgi and @AIdolVN

XD83C8 is available here

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-mystery-corgi/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: Graham Dolle http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-graham-dolle/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-graham-dolle/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 09:20:46 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12148 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with Graham Dolle of Baltimore, Maryland.

Q: Hi Graham! What’s your story of getting into games and game development?

A: I first started playing videogames with my grandma. She had an N64 with Mario 64, both Zeldas, Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day (I probably wasn’t supposed to be playing that last one). I used to brag to my friends that my grandma beat Zelda and was super cool. I always had a weird sense of pride for that.

I was really into drawing for most of my childhood, and worked to be among the best artists in class. I would draw the game characters that I was playing. I wanted to become a comic book artist. At some point I lost interest in that path, and by my first year of high school I discovered programming and started building games in C++ with SDL.

I’ve used a variety of different tools in the five years since, creating a variety of games. I regret that I’ll never be able to play my games with my grandma, as she passed from cancer before I started making them.

Q: What’s your process like?

A: Usually I start with an idea or a feeling, then just get something on the screen. That frees me from empty canvas syndrome, and the game begins to develop naturally from that point forward.

Q: Any game development role models or heroes?

A: Devine Lu Linvega, or xxiivv, is like a wizard to me. He’s so amazingly productive and versatile. I consider him a modern day renaissance man. He really inspires me and keeps me going.

When I’m not working I feel like I’m not living to my fullest potential. I think Devine is a role model for me in that regard.

Q: How has making videogames been different from what you expected going into it?

A: Making games is more artistic than I thought as a kid. I saw coding and art as extremely different. Now that I make games it blends together. Design is also more important to me now than when I was little.

Q: What are some of the videogames that you’ve worked on?

A: My first big project,Just Drive, was inspired by Hotline Miami and driving at night. It’s a procedurally generated narrative about a boy who, unable to remember what he did the day before, drives around trying to remember. This was my longest project and it took a lot out of me. I worked with musician Ben Burnes to create a cool mixtape-style soundtrack. You can check out Just Drive here.

Another project that I’m fond of is a color puzzle game called Leyerro. It was a fun and short game to make. I enjoyed making it because it was so easy to add new mechanics and a bunch of levels. Find Leyerro here.

The last major project I want to mention is one that I’m really proud of – I just could not stop working on it. My game Cooties & Cuties is pretty much tag, except you smooch other player to transfer cooties. The game features a bunch of arenas, each with different mechanics, as well as customizable characters. The game was originally made as a present for my girlfriend and still has our likenesses as the default characters. Try Cooties & Cuties here.

I also recently made a smaller arcade-style versus game. Seeing people play it was really fun, witnessing them yelling and getting amped up over it. Knowing people play your games is always a highlight, but that also brings harsh criticism which can be a real challenge.

Q: Is there anything about game development that troubles you?

A: Just not being good enough. Wondering why I make these little games. These questions keep me up at night.

But when I wake up in the morning I’m always determined to keep going.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: What you use to make games doesn’t matter. Use Game Maker, Unity, your own engine, or a graphing calculator. Just make games. Get started. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not a game developer!

Q: What’s your brand?

A: My brand is Color-Coding. I love it. I named it this because I’m a programmer, thus the “Coding” half, but I’m also an artist.

Q: What are your goals as a game developer?

A: I just want to make games and meet more people like me. That’s really all I hope for.

Q: What’s your website, Twitter handle, or other links about your games?

Visit color-coding.tumblr.com, find me on Twitter as @cbear_wallis, and try my games at cbear_wallis.itch.io.

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-graham-dolle/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: Ian ‘McTeddy’ Richard http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-ian-mcteddy-richard/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-ian-mcteddy-richard/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 09:29:17 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12152 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with Ian ‘McTeddy’ Richard of Maine.

Q: What are some of the videogames that you’ve worked on?

A: I worked on Go Play: Circus Stars and Medieval Games for the Nintendo Wii as a professional programmer.

Last year, I did the OneGameAMonth challenge alternating between Retro-Remakes of “Bad” games… and purely experimental concepts.I did everything from remakes of Final Fight Streetwise to an attempted procedural generated game book.

Also, though not a videogame, I also developed Cards of Cthulhu, published by DVG. Buy it today!

Q: What are some of your favorite projects so far?

A: In terms of videogames: my Dr. Jekyll remake.

It was a fascinating experience because I first designed what I felt was a “fixed” version of the game that addressed the major flaws in the original. Yet, after implementing that I found flaws in my version… so I fixed those… and suddenly, I realized I was recreating the original.

I finally understood why they did many of the things the way they did.

In terms of board games, the entire transition has been amazing. Getting to learn a brand new field and a new audience has been awesome.

The other fun experience is the expansion I’m currently working on is being built WITH the game’s players. I’ve invited a bunch of people who enjoyed the original Cards of Cthulhu to help me build the expansion.

It’s amazing to work with players and interact with them directly. I’m honored that they’ve given me this chance. It really has been one of the coolest experiences of my dev life.

 


 

Q: How would you describe your technique?

A: It’s a blend of “What if?” and “Can I?”

I try things. I push buttons. I go places where no sane person would go.

Driven by pure curiosity I’ll make something happen and then see the results. I use these results to guide my next step.

Q: How and when did you start making videogames?

A: In fifth grade or so I stumbled on this tiny yellow book “How to make your own computer games.” That night, I wrote my first game: “The Dragons Cave.” I never stopped.

Q: Any game development role models or heroes?

A: Miyamoto’s devotion to pure fun shaped many of my opinions. Chris Crawford on the other hand opened my eyes to what games can possibly become. Together, they created my love of games.

I’ve also had a chance to get advice from Chris Avallone, Steve Jackson, Martin Wallace, and dozens more amazing designers over the past couple years. I’ve learned so much from them.

Q: Do you still play games? Which or what kinds? Has your experience or preference among games changed since you became a developer?

A: No, I don’t really play much anymore. I try plenty of them, and make a point to play sometimes in search of something unique… but very few games hold my interest.

That said, I do watch Let’s Plays. That lets me experience the game through someone else’s eyes. I can study the player while also seeing the game’s features in action.

 


 

Q: Do you have education or specific training related to game development? If so, how has or hasn’t it helped?

A: I have a CS degree specializing in game development, but I don’t think it really contributed much.

If you want to make games, you have to make games. Go online, learn how to make games, and get to work. Your experience will mean more to many employers.

I’d recommend a non-game-specific degree, that way you can still learn programming or animation… but also qualify for jobs in other fields.

Q: Any projects currently in development that you’d like to talk about?

A: I am currently pushing towards finishing the Cards Of Cthulhu: Beyond the Veil Expansion. We don’t have a date just yet, but I know we’ll be running a Kickstarter for it in the future.

In my free time, I’m currently toying with “Gold City: League of Supers” a custom super hero game for PC. It combines the gameplay of Gold Box D&D with the freedom to create ANY hero you want (like in Freedom Force).

Q: What’s the biggest challenge, struggle, issue or complication that you’re dealing with as a developer?

A: Marketing myself. Social interactions like these have never been my strong point and it’s a constant drain both on productivity and morale.

That said, I’m learning. Nothing else I can do.

Q: Do you do game jams? Competitions? Streaming? Any other related kinds of activities or events besides game development?

A: I’m a chronic dabbler.

I do a bit of YouTube. I do some streaming. I do Jams from time to time. I don’t have a following in the any of the above so I just keep trying new things. Maybe something will eventually catch on.

 


 

Q: Do you have strong feelings about anything recently going on in the game industry or game development scene? What’s the topic, and what are your views on it?

A: I’ll say this: Be professional, both on the job and in life.

The real world is complicated and messy. Sometimes, two people can be looking at the same object and see different things because they are at different angles.

It’s far too easy to claim that your point of view is right, implying anyone else is wrong. Nothing good can come of this. It limits your own growth and causes unneeded tension.

Remember that that developer, audience member, or other individual on the opposite side of the computer screen is a human being. They might have a different point of view, or they might even be wrong, but you still need to remember they are a person.

Acting like a professional means you’ll treat them like one.

Q: Long(er) term what are your aspirations or goals as a game developer?

A: Putting food on the table, mostly.

Dream goal: I’d love to spend less time on game development and more time on community. I’d love to do Patreon-funded retro-remakes, and hanging out with actual gamers for streaming some unknown games from my collection.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: Stop thinking and do it.

Sit down and try making a game. Put in the time to learn so that you’ll know one way or the other whether it’s a field for you.

Never let yourself wonder “what if?” Find out.

Q: What’s something that you’d specifically like to say to other developers?

A: YOU ROCK! Don’t you ever forget that!

Q: What’s your website, Twitter handle, or other links about your games?

Twitter: @McTeddyGames

One Game-a-Month: #1GAM as McTeddyGames

Info about my recent card game: Cards of Cthulhu

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-ian-mcteddy-richard/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: Celestipoo http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-celestipoo/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-celestipoo/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 07:30:35 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12093 Today’s Game Developers Like You interview is with Celestipoo of Miami Beach, FL.

Q: What’s a typical day in your life as a game developer like?

A: I work gamedev contracts and we also develop our own software; some game related, some not. I wake up at 11am and make my way to the kitchen to get the kids some breakfast. Check my email. Check my sales. Tweet something. Three hours and lots of parenting stuff later, I may eat. Check my email, respond to any users on the forum. Do I get any work done? Yeah, between the hours of 2-4am. Work is sporadic when I’m off contract. On contract though, I wake up and start work by 9amish, work till about 3pmish.

I’m a mother of 3 kiddos and have a wonderful husband. He is also a developer! (My husband and I are the sole developers of our own company, Stay At Home Devs.)

Q: What’s your career been like leading up to having your own company today?

A: The two most notable games I’ve worked on are Age of Empires III and Words With Friends. AoE3 is an RTS for the PC that was released in 2005. The site is still up! I gained lots of career achievements on that team, among them: First Released Game, First AAA Title, First Crunch Experience, and First Time Giving Game Demos at E3. I also worked on Words With Friends. WWF is now available for just about every platform, but I was around for iPhone/iPad/Android, and a little bit of the Facebook version. Working on that team lead me to create my own company, Stay At Home Devs. If it wasn’t for Zynga’s shenanigans, I wouldn’t be here running my own gig.

Q: What’s your favorite project so far?

A: My favorite project is my own, Game Data Editor for Unity. GDE is a highly flexible visual data editor and data management system for Unity. It was recently a 24 Hour Deal on the Unity Asset Store. It broke into the top paid assets list at #8! It was also 3rd most popular for a while. Didn’t quite overtake Playmaker, but a girl can dream right? Working on GDE is so rewarding. All decisions are my own. The idea, the implementation, the marketing, the feature set, the copy… it all came from me and/or people that I commissioned to make my vision come to life. My career, up until this point, has been doing my best work for other people and their ideas. To see my idea living and breathing and enabling other gamedevs to do their best work is simply amazing.

Q: What role(s) do you typically serve on projects?

A: On the gamedev contract side of things, my work can vary widely. I’ve been tasked with bug fixing, gameplay, UI, devtest, build automation, anything and everything remotely dev related. By trade, I’m a programmer. In practice (especially on my own projects) I write code, I write copy, I think up marketing campaigns. The only thing I don’t produce is art (and that’s probably not 100% true).

Q: How and when did you start making videogames?

A: I never wanted to start making video games. When I was in 11th grade I met a boy. He was a gamer, much like I was, so we became close and dated for a long time. Longer than most marriages last! Anyway, his older brother had this idea of starting his own game studio. Throughout high school and college, with these boys, I worked on game projects, dreaming of making something amazing. It was so fun! I loved (love!) programming. Making games never felt like “work.” So, naturally, I never stopped doing it. Working in the game industry, it was never a choice. It was more along the lines of fate; if there is such a thing.

Q: What are the origins or meaning of “Celestipoo” and “Stay At Home Devs”?

A: I’m very literal. When I’m tasked with naming something, I’m not very good at coming up with a non word that morphs into something awesome. Game Data Editor. That’s what it is. The name of my company is Stay At Home Devs because I have such a hard time getting the point across to clients that I DO NOT WANT TO WORK IN AN OFFICE. And my nick is Celestipoo. Actually, I didn’t come up with that one. A good friend had a thing for adding ‘poo’ to the end of everyone’s name and it just stuck.

Q: How has making videogames been different from what you expected going into it?

A: I didn’t really expect anything. I knew some people and they got me a job at a really awesome game company as a tester. Six months later I was promoted to dev test. When I was growing up, I absolutely hated waking up early in the morning. High School was rough. Every day when I got home from school I would tell my mom that I was going to find a job that allowed me to sleep in. No earlier than 9am I told her. She would laugh. But you know, I went to college, got a degree, followed my friends, and landed a job at a game company. Start time? 10am.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: Find a great reason to make games. Let me give you a hint. Money is NOT a great reason to make video games. Making great art, great music, you love programming, you love telling stories, these are excellent reasons. Let that guide you. Don’t be afraid. Put one foot in front of the other and put something out there.

Q: How would you describe your technique?

A: Our technique for idea generation is to listen to or watch something really funny first. It’s how we get in our Open mode. The more we laugh, the better. When we get to “business” we try really hard to stay away from words like can’t, won’t, don’t, dumb, stupid, hard, impossible, etc. We stay positive and run with any idea that comes out. Then we write them all down for consideration at some later date.

Q: Do you still play games? Which or what kinds? Has your experience or preference among games changed since you became a developer?

A: Rarely. With 3 young kids, there’s hardly any time to play games. Well, there’s hardly any time to play the games that *I* want to play. My kids love to play Battle Block Theater, Plants vs Zombies, all games Mario, and Cookie Clicker was a huge favorite recently. But if I had time, I might still be playing WoW.

Q: What’s something that you’d specifically like to say to players about the game development process?

A: Game developers are very emotionally invested in their work. When you have an opinion, be nice. You’re holding someones heart in your hands.

Q: What do you do to get word out about your games?

A: Twitter. Not just advertising though. What has gotten the most looks at GDE, is interacting with people. Also, being responsive. The few users I got in the very beginning, I dazzled them. Superb support; that’s what keeps GDE growing. Helping people and being nice.

Q: Any projects currently in development that you’d like to talk about?

A: Sure, its totally not game related, but lots of gamedevs are parents too so this might be of interest. We are currently developing SaveTheSparkles.com. It’s a service designed to help unschooling parents shift their thinking, build their confidence, and highlight the bright moments in their lives. We still have some features we want to implement before we call it “done” but the main system works. Give it a go, if you like.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge, struggle, issue or complication that you’re dealing with as a developer?

A: Finding work. Anyone interested in a rock star remote contract developer? Hire me.

Q: Any question(s) for me, the interviewer (Chris DeLeon)?

Celestipoo’s question : If the work environment was such that you were the sole male developer in an office full of women, how would you feel? Would you want more men working with you? If you found that you were paid less, had less accommodations, less opportunity for career growth, and had to work more and harder to earn promotions that most of the women seem to get more easily, what would you do to change that?

DeLeon’s reply: I’d feel uneasy from wondering why the place doesn’t seem to hire, promote, or retain any men. I don’t have a strong need to work with other men, nor any issues working with women, but it would lead me to investigate why there don’t seem to be other people who are like me working there. I’d want to figure out ASAP how or whether that might adversely affect my future, too.

If I find that there’s an understandable reason for the imbalance which no longer applies or won’t affect me, I’d stay. Maybe they actually hire the same percentage of men who apply as women who apply, but for some reason way more women apply to work here. Maybe the company recently became acutely aware of and sensitive to their severe imbalance, which snuck up on them without anyone noticing because it happened one person at a time, and I’m step one in them working to correct it. If I bailed on it merely for being the only guy, when the next guy came in then he would be the only guy, asking himself the very same questions, instead of having me there to relay on day one that we’re fine here.

If, on the other hand, my digging reveals simply that my gender (or my race, age group, whatever) is simply hopelessly mistreated here, I’d take that as a sign of managerial incompetence. They’re shooting themselves in the foot, not making the most of their talent, not only mine but other people’s as well. That will catch up with them.

To avoid being on that boat while it sinks, I’d first attempt to look for someone smarter to work for who has the sense to recruit and reward the best people, without an arbitrary filter of one kind or another leaving a significant fraction of the population out of the picture. Even if the same issue turns out to apply at many other companies within the same industry, surely some are better about this than others, and I’d make an effort to take my hard work there. Otherwise, short of trying to either start my own venture or changing jobs/industries, I suppose I’d do my best to work within it, pushing a little bit at a time for what seems to make more sense to me.

Anyhow, I encourage readers to think about the question for themselves.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts!

—–

Follow Celeste as @Celestipoo on Twitter or find out more about her projects at GameDataEditor.com and StayAtHomeDevs.com

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-celestipoo/feed/ 0
Partial Remake for Study: N64 GoldenEye in Unity http://www.hobbygamedev.com/spx/partial-remake-for-study-n64-goldeneye-in-unity/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/spx/partial-remake-for-study-n64-goldeneye-in-unity/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:59:41 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12087 As indicated in the video: I am not releasing (and not selling) any part of this. I made the project only for practice, and as way to better understand the mechanics and functional details for one of my favorite games.

 


 

Coming up next: more Game Developers Like You text interviews!

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/spx/partial-remake-for-study-n64-goldeneye-in-unity/feed/ 0
Developer Interview: Asix Jin http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-asix-jin/ http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-asix-jin/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:19:17 +0000 http://www.hobbygamedev.com/?p=12048 Q: Hi Asix! For starters, mind telling us about yourself and your game development story so far?

A: I am 23 years young. I work as an Android developer to pay the bills. In my spare time I am teaching myself game development, focusing on my personal projects. Although it’s hard, self-teaching allows me the flexibility that I crave when learning. So far I’ve only worked on small solo projects for game jams, however I recently started on a bigger title for a mobile release.

Q: What’s your favorite game that you’ve worked on?

A: My favorite is Force Defender. I made it for the Indie Quilt jam. It began as a demake of my favorite game: Mega Man Battle Network. I love this project so much that I’ve started making it into a larger and more complete game.

Q: How has making videogames been different from what you expected going into it?

A: Programming is an art. It’s a different, but special, kind of art. It requires loads of patience, disciple, and growing up quick.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge that you’re dealing with as a developer?

A: Consistency. Even though I just started, it’s really important to me that greatness shouldn’t happen by chance. I don’t want to be a one hit wonder.

Q: Why’d you get into game development?

A: Game development is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but indie games are what inspired me to start. As soon as I realized how accessible game development has become I knew it was time for me to do it.

Q: What keeps you working through the difficulties?

A: I honestly just want to make games that people can enjoy and become involved in.


(contains not-safe-for-work language)

Q: Any game development role models or heroes?

A: I love Pixel, the creator or Cave Story. He crafted that piece of gold entirely by himself. I admire that. I also like Derek Yu. Spelunky is one of my favorite Rouge-likes. Yu’s article on finishing a game gave me that extra push I needed to finish Force Defender.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about getting into videogame development?

A: Just do it. If I hadn’t started yet, I’d be upset right now over having wasted more days before beginning! It’s not easy, and sometimes it will not be fun. But just finishing a project can bring you to tears.

Follow Asix as @AsixJin on Twitter or his Instagram

If you’d be interested in participating in a text interview to share your projects and perspectives, too, I’m still accepting and sharing new submissions for Game Developers Like You throughout April (2015), too!

]]>
http://www.hobbygamedev.com/gdly/developer-interview-asix-jin/feed/ 0