Archive

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

My Conversation with Ken Lobb

June 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The other day, I had the opportunity to talk with Ken Lobb, creative director at Microsoft Game Studios. In case you’re not familiar, Lobb was involved with such classic games as Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, and more recently, a number of popular XBox 360 games. This is the guy for which the “Klobb” of Goldeneye 007 was named.

When I asked him about his design process for new concepts, he said that new designs generally revolve around a single innovative game mechanic. Today, I would think of games like Portal and Braid in these terms, but it doesn’t have to be that mindbending; it just has to be fun. One example he gave went back to the days of developing Super Mario 64. The unique mechanic of the time was simply running around in a 3D world of hills, climbing trees, jumping and doing flips, and it felt “fantastic.”

If you have a big idea and you’re looking to pitch it to a big studio, Lobb had something to say about that too. If all you have is a design, get back to work. These days, if you don’t have a working prototype of your idea, you really don’t have a shot. It might sound harsh, but there are good reasons for this. If you only have a design document, even if it’s very specific, people will begin to imagine it in terms of games they have already played. Instead, they want to experience, play, and enjoy the game the way the creator meant it to be. The best way to achieve that is to actually create it the way they mean it to be, and present that exact experience rather than an approximate description.

Thanks to Ken Lobb for taking the time to speak with me.

Any thoughts or questions about our talk? Leave a comment!

Interview with Alexander Zubov

April 30, 2011 1 comment

Alexander “motorsep” Zubov is the founder of Kot-in-Action Creative Artel, whose new independently produced game, Steel Storm: Burning Retribution, is set to be released this May. He took the time to answer a few questions about his project for me.

Entar: Tell us a little about your team and your project.
Alexander: Kot-in-Action Creative Artel(tm) is an international team, with it’s members scattered around the globe. The headquarters of the company are located in Texas. None of the members live in the vicinity from each other, therefore the communication happens by the means of the IRC, the e-mail and the forum. Currently, the core of the team consist of 3 people. The rest of the team are freelancers.
Steel Storm(tm) project was born shortly after we finished prototyping our first game, titled The Prophecy(tm), for QuakeExpo 2008. The amount of art assets for The Prophecy was staggering, we have been short handed in the art department and at that time we didn’t have required experience to take on a project of that magnitude. Therefore we decided to freeze Prophecy and start a smaller scale project. A new game was born. Initially, it was suppose to be a very simple arcade shooter with top down view, but in time, the complexity of the project unfolded and the game became known as Steel Storm series.
Read more…

Categories: Games, Interviews, Links Tags: ,

Interview with Retro Affect

March 22, 2010 4 comments

Kyle Pulver, Peter Jones and David Carrigg of Retro Affect recently took some time out to talk with me. Retro Affect is currently working on Snapshot, which was nominated for Excellence in Design at the Independent Games Festival in 2009.

Entar: Please introduce yourselves, in whatever fashion you deem necessary, and describe the projects you’ve been working on.
Peter Jones: My name is Peter Jones, I graduated from Clarkson University with a BS in Digital Arts & Sciences. I went onto Academy of Art for a Masters in Animation, during which I helped make MEMIX, a puzzle game for the iPhone. Snapshot, then a prototype Kyle and I made during our senior year at Clarkson, was recognized in the IGF. Since then, I’ve been working full time on Snapshot.
David Carrigg: I’m David. Over the past year or so I’ve been developing the engine for Retro Affect, which is what allows us to make the full version of Snapshot. Before transitioning to work full time at Retro Affect, I spent my professional career as a gameplay programmer on large scale MMOs. Previous to that I graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in Computer Science.
Kyle Pulver: I would do this through a musical number but since we’re limited to text, I’ll just say that I’m Kyle Pulver and I am known to make games, mostly platformers.  I made a game called Bonesaw, which is a huge and frustrating beat ’em up platformer.  I entered some TIGSource competitions with Everyone Loves Active 2, and Verge.  In between those games somewhere I was able to make the Snapshot prototype with Pete that brought us to where we are now.  I also did a Global Game Jam game called Depict1, and an ARTxGAME with a cool illustrator named J. Otto, appropriately named Jottobots.  All my games can be currently found on http://kpulv.com. Aside from that I do a big chunk of web design and development work, doing contract work for folks like Flashbang Studios (Offroad Velociraptor Safari) as well as Team Meat (Super Meat Boy).  Everything aside from games can be found on kylepulver.com right now,but I haven’t updated that site in a pretty long while now.  Whoops.
Kyle Pulver: YEAH I got the longest one.

Read more…

Interview with Mike Kasprzak

November 1, 2009 1 comment

Mike Kasprzak, also known as PoV, is the man behind Sykhronics Entertainment. He offered an enlightening talk with me about his games, Ludum Dare and more.

Entar: Please introduce yourself, in whatever fashion you deem necessary, and describe some of the projects you’ve been working on.
PoV: Hi there, I’m Mike Kasprzak. I’ve been making games most of my life, and professionally for the past 10 years. I’ve worked on numerous console and mobile games, the majority for Nintendo platforms, but am diversifying. More recently I’m better known for my iPhone game Smiles, which launched almost exactly a year ago today (yesterday actually).

Entar: How did Smiles get started? What sources of inspiration did you have for the game?
PoV: Smiles started as one of several game prototypes I was making. When iPhone OS 2.0 was announced along with the SDK in early 2008, I started experimenting with some game ideas. I iterated through several concepts, and came to the conclusion that “Pattern Trade” (later renamed Smiles) would be the quickest of the more interesting prototypes to finish.

Read more…

Categories: Interviews, Links Tags: , ,

Interview with Joseph Larson

August 6, 2009 2 comments

Joe Larson, also known as “Cymon” of Cymon’s Games, took some time out today to answer a few questions for me. Joe is probably best known for his work-in-progress project called ASCIIpOrtal.

Entar: Please introduce yourself, in whatever fashion you deem necessary, and describe some of the projects you’ve been working on.
Joe: Hi, I’m Joe. A little over a year ago I started a project called Cymon’s Games that, aside from giving me an excuse to practice programming on a regular basis, is aimed at building a library of source code to help others learn programming. My latest project that started out for that site but quickly grew beyond that scope is ASCIIpOrtal, a game which seems to have struck a cord with folks.

ASCIIpOrtal

Read more…

Categories: Games, Interviews, Links Tags: ,

Interview with Phil Hassey

July 23, 2009 2 comments

I recently got the chance to ask Phil Hassey a few questions. Phil is most well known as the creator of Galcon, a popular strategy game for iPhone, PC, Linux and Mac, but he has also created a number of other games as well, and runs and participates regularly in Ludum Dare competitions.

Q: Please introduce yourself, in whatever fashion you deem necessary.
I’m Phil Hassey, creator of Galcon!

Q: How did Galcon get started?
I’ve been re-making an old DOS game called “Galactic Conquest” for years. But about 3.5 years ago, I re-made it again for the Ludum Dare 48 hour gamedev contest, and that re-make seemed to really stick.

Read more…

Categories: Games, Interviews, Links Tags: , ,

Interview with Petri Purho

February 11, 2008 3 comments

I recently got a chance to ask Petri Purho of Kloonigames some questions about rapid prototyping, Crayon Physics, etc.

Q: Introduce yourself, however you like.
A: I’m Petri Purho and I’m probably best known for my extremely bad english, without a spell checker. Also I made Crayon Physics.

Read more…