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?
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