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?
One Game-a-Month: #1GAM as McTeddyGames
Info about my recent card game: Cards of Cthulhu
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