GDA 013: Subscribe now, coming soon!

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GDA 012: Running An Indie Game Studio, Loot Boxes, AR, Markiplier, and Producers, with Tom Eastman and Ben Perez of Trinket Studios

Summary:

Tom Eastman and Ben Perez from Trinket Studios talk about going to school and getting started in the game industry. Learn their insights from launching a successful indie game and the challenges of running an independent studio for 7 years. Hear their advice about college and how best to prepare for a career, along with how to further your current career. Learn about their favorite projects and working in early development for the Xbox Kinect. Hear discussion about streaming consoles, ideas on how to make AR successful, and challenges on Steam. Hear concerns about loot boxes and the gambling aspects of microtransactions targeting young players. How being at a gaming convention in Indianapolis with Markiplier didn’t go as planned. Learn about how they grown to respect the role of production in game development. Hear a funny story about adding content not planned and learning the perspective on a game’s schedule. Learn about the use of the Fibonacci sequence and planning poker in game development.

Quotes:

*”I’m really just a programmer that has to deal with the most Twitter and taxes.”

*”I’d narrowed it down to astronaut, Major League Soccer Player, or game developer.”

*”We’d gotten a lot of advice and I thought we were prepared to start an indie company and do everything ourselves, but we still weren’t prepared for burnout.”

*”Even if the advice seems true at the time it’s really hard to put into practice without having lived through it.”

*”The game’s industry is this crazy beast you have to tame yourself.”

*”You also have to be worried about, “where will I be in 5 years, what will my priorities be?””

*”There’s a couple of really important things we see all the time with indies that we somehow dodged.”

*”Making a great game is like half of the equation.”

*”I would caution people specifically looking to get a degree in “game development.””

*”There was that flashpoint where everyone was doing it.”

*”I really thought, “I’ve got this figured out, I know how to make a game.””

*”I need to be careful if my response is from producer Tom, or designer Tom, or programmer Tom.

About My Guests:

Tom Eastman started pursuing a career in the video game industry from a young age. During high school he created a series of mediocre games and failed to sell any online. Tom studied Computer Science at Dartmouth College while interning at Garage Games and Wideload Games. Shortly after joining Wideload Games full-time, they were acquired by Disney. Tom lasted three years in that environment before leaving with Ben and Eric to form Trinket Studios. He’s particularly proud of his work on Guilty Party, Color Sheep, and Battle Chef Brigade.

Ben Perez’s obsession with video games and computers began at the age of 5 when he was introduced to Super Mario Bros. on the NES. His parents are fond of recalling that he wasn’t able to get over the first pipe, but suffice it to say that Ben didn’t let that hurdle stop him! Ben pursued his passion through college and obtained a B.S. in Computer Game Development from DePaul University. In his senior year, Ben became an intern and eventually a full-time programmer at Wideload Studios, where he worked on Guilty Party and Avengers Initiative.

Resources:

*Trinket Studios website

*Trinket Studios Twitter

*Battle Chef Brigade website

*Battle Chef Brigade Twitter

*Alex Seropian Wikipedia

*Patrick Curry website

*Guilty Party the game

*Breaking The Wheel by Justin Fischer

*Indie City Co-Op website

*Xbox Kinect Wikipedia

*Bill to ban loot boxes Kotaku

*Markiplier YouTube

*Slay the Spire Steam

*Kanban development Wikipedia

*Planning poker Wikipedia

*Jira Software by Atlassian website

*Level Ex Video Games for Doctors website

*Game Dev Advice Twitter

*Game Dev Advice email

*Game Dev Advice website

*Game Dev Advice Hotline at (224) 484-7733

*And thanks to Charles Dike Production podcast editing

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GDA 011: Crunch Culture & What You Can Do To Escape...Hint, It Ain't On Twitter

Summary:

“Crunch” is in the news, yet again. The industry’s dirty little secret is in the spotlight (just Google “intense crunch”) and surprise, everyone’s shocked. Why? It’s been going on since games were on floppy discs. Everyone’s preaching unions. But they’re not going to be your savior, at least any time soon. And most companies will find ways around them. So instead of waiting for the union tooth fairy, hear my advice for researching and applying to companies that take culture and work-life balance seriously. They exist. Get your house in order and apply. Take action and rise above the Twitter ranting.

Resources:

*Charles Dike Production podcast editing website

*Level Ex website, check it out

*Game Dev Advice Twitter

*Game Dev Advice email

*Game Dev Advice website

*Game Dev Advice Hotline at (224) 484-7733

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GDA 010: NBA Jam BOOMSHAKALAKA!!, Shaq, Dota, Rage 2, The Twilight Zone and Pins with Tim Kitzrow

Summary:

Tim Kitzrow - you may not know his name, but if you’ve played game classics like NBA Jam you know his voice!

In this episode, you’ll learn how Tim got started doing voice-over work as just a side gig. Hear stories about working on some of the most iconic video games and pinball games of all time. What it’s like doing projects for ESPN, EA Sports, Midway, Acclaim, numerous NBA teams, and hanging out with basketball stars. Talk about relaunching Mutant League Football and going up against EA.

Hear how the technology improvements allowed him to branch out more into writing and commentary. Learn about going to school and auditioning with Steve Tucci, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and others. Hear how the icon line “BOOMSHAKALAKA!!” was created during a recording session and the inspiration behind it. Working with Jim Shorts on MLB Slugfest and all the classic Larry David-inspired dialogue in the game. How NBA Jam earned a lot more money for coin op owners than Midway because of the business model. Hear his two favorite games of all time to work on and why.

Learn about the new “He’s On Fire!” DLC for Rage 2 pre-order and a future Dota Jam Announcer pack in the works. Hear the story of how NBA Jam’s reported to be haunted by Drazen Petrovic. How Shaq loved the game so much he’d occasionally have an arcade cabinet brought on the road with him for the hotel rooms. Learn about the NBA Jam book that’s being written and the Midway documentary “Insert Coin” by Josh Tsui.

Hear about attending classic game conferences and his dream of doing an NBA Jam convention for charity in Vegas. How Midway employees bought prototype arcade games from the company after they were done being on test. Learn about an arcade museum by ex-NBAer Todd MacCulloch. Learn about the biggest arcade in the world outside of Chicago, Galloping Ghost (note: my 735 number was off :) Hear about the resurgence of Stern Pinball and how they’ve grown back from tough times to be a huge success.

Quotes:

*”The two hardest things in the world...you’re going to be a rockstar and make your money playing drums or be an out-of-work actor hitting the floorboards and auditioning in LA”

*”It’s all about writing”

*”They’d put you in this booth that was like a meat locker or refrigerator”

*”This guy leans outside the door and tells John, “hey, tell Tim to say BOOMSHAKALAKA”...think of how crazy that is...to pull something out of a cloud and toss it down the hall and it becomes a gold mine”

*”Sorry sound guys, you get 2MBs for all the audio in the game, or less!”

*”You’d think they’d make billions of dollars since it made a billion the first year, but they just sold the turntable...the hardware”

*”I’m walking out of there at night, all the lights are off except for the Twilight Zone games that were on the floor, like a 100 games, and my voice was going and going….talk about walking into the Twilight Zone”

*”Shaq….would occasionally have a cabinet brought on the road with him by his handlers”

*”So we were driving around with a U-Haul to arcades reclaiming Arctic Thunders”

*”I walked into his place and it was like an arcade with like 10 machines everywhere”

About My Guest:

Today’s guest is Tim Kitzrow. For 26 years, he’s enjoyed a legendary run as the signature voice of classic games like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, NHL Hitz, MLB Slugfest, Big Hurt Baseball, Wayne Gretzky Hockey and NCAA College Slam.

Unique in the industry for his ability to write and produce commentary and voice talent, Kitzrow is the only talent in gaming to voice all four major sports leagues. With NBA JAM, which grossed over $2 BILLION to date, Tim introduced BOOMSHAKALAKA to the NBA lexicon and earned pop culture immortality.

He’s appeared on television and radio with ESPN and FoxSports; worked with NBA franchises such as the Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards, Bulls, Hornets, and Bucks; plus launched games with EA Sports, Acclaim, Bally and Midway.

His latest game, Mutant Football League, released in 2018, is garnering acclaim as a fan and industry favorite.

Resources:

*Tim Kitzrow website

*Who Said What Now website

*Tim Kitzrow Twitter

*Mutant League Football website

*Warriors highlight clip YouTube

*Stan Tucci Wikipedia

*The Second City website

*Del Close Wikipedia

*Steve Carrell Wikipedia

*MLB Slugfest commentary YouTube

*Blackbox Games Wikipedia

*T.J. Jagodowki (not C.J….my bad) website

*Jim Shorts WGN radio website

*Rage 2 He’s On Fire! Trailer YouTube

*Rage 2 Deluxe Edition pre-order website

*Dota Jam Announcer Pack YouTube

*NBA Jam Haunted by Drazen Petrovic ESPN

*NBA Jam (the book) website

*NBA Jam (the book) Twitter

*Insert Coin website

*Insert Coin Twitter

*Fish Tales pinball Wikipedia

*NARC arcade game YouTube

*Midwest Gaming Classic website

*Gary Payton Wikipedia

*Steve Smith Wikipedia

*Todd MacCulloch on pinball in ESPN

*Galloping Ghost website

*Stern Pinball website

*George Gomez interview on Facebook

*Level Ex website, check it out

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GDA 009: PUBG, Red Dead 2, Taking Risks, Freelancing, Game Dev, VR and a Lawsuit

Summary:

*Hear how he got his foot in the door working for Creative Assembly.

*What is was like working on Red Dead Redemption 2 for Rockstar’s Leeds office.

*How he reached out to the Madison, WI office for PUBG and got his role working on the game remotely.

*Hear how he’s worked on 22 games since just 2015.

*How he started with computer science before pivoting to art.

*Hear his risky decision to quit his job at a call center to pursue his goal of being in the industry.

*How he took art tests and couldn’t get accepted as an artist then pivoted into QA.

*Hear how he had to leave Creative Assembly so he could become a junior artist at Rockstar.

*Learn about a weekend project doing fan art for Silent Hill that took off virally.

*How he turned down big studio job offers to continue working as a freelancer.

*Hear about being part of PUBG and experiencing the meteoric rise of its popularity.

*Learn the most important thing you have to decide if you want to work in the game industry.

*Hear the importance of joining websites, forums, and connecting with others.

*Learn what to have in your portfolio and how to tailor for studios.

*Hear the advantage of having your own website instead of using ArtStation.

*Learn about what’s important to do for improving as an artist.

*Hear how using UV Layout saves him tons of time, and using ZBrush.

*Listen to what his favorite game to work on.

*Learn about the development pace difference between European and U.S. studios.

*Learn opinions on the current state of the industry.

*Learn the current trends around game art and outsourcing.

*Hear why being a freelancer can be safer than working for a studio, plus let you earn more.

*Learn about developing on VR and the importance of optimizing.

*Hear about the importance of sound design to a game’s experience.

*Learn about Lindsay Lohan’s GTA 5 lawsuit with Rockstar.

*Hear where you can find him online for reaching out.

Quotes:

*“I always found it interesting the early Grand Theft Autos were developed in Scotland but had such an American flair.”

*”The visual fidelity of Tekken blew my mind and kick started my interest making games.”

*”I had no intentions on being an artist in the game industry.”

*”It’s a pet rock, it’s a fade.”

*”You can see how the sausage is made.”

*”If you’re in the bubble too long it becomes toxic very quickly.”

*”Without being sleazy or being a pest get out there and let people know about you.”

*”I consider myself to be very lucky working on huge projects while living in a little town in the countryside.”

*”You’ve lost your mind to leave Rockstar and work on some little project called PUBG!”

*”If this fails I remember thinking to myself I’ll become the watercooler talk at Rockstar.”

*”It has those adrenaline moments of having to kill everyone.”

*”It was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle moments.”

*”It’s not a punch-in-punch-out career path, you always have to be striving and learning.”

*”How we got to experience its explosion in real-time is something that’ll probably stay with me for the rest of my life.”

*”It’s pub time, what are you asking from me, you crazy American?”

*”When working as a freelancer you’re like a hydra-head, if an opportunity goes you’ll be fine.”

*”For some reason Lindsay Lohan thought it was her and Rockstar was making money off her, which was just absolutely B.S.”

About My Guest:

Today’s guest is James Brady, a talented freelance artist. He’s worked at places like Rockstar, remotely as a freelancer, and been in the industry for 4 years now.

He’s created art on games like PUBG, Hitman 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Insurgency Sandstorm,

Firewall Zero Hour, Halo, Last Year: The Nightmare, The Forest, and many others.

He’s based out of Ireland, and is currently working remotely for a studio here in the U.S.

Resources:

*James Brady website

*Total War: WARHAMMER

*PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

*Marathon by Bungie

*Halo by Bungie

*3ds Max

*James Brady’s Silent Hill fan art environment on 80 Level

*Game Dev Unchained 163 with John Podlasek

*ArtStation jobs
*Headus UVLayout tool

*Zoop by Hookstone Productions

*Sea of Thieves

*Incubation: Time is Running Out

*Activision Blizzard layoffs

*Insurgency: Sandstorm

*Cardio Ex soundtrack on Spotify

*Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit

*Level Ex website

*Game Dev Advice Twitter

*Game Dev Advice email

*Game Dev Advice website

*Game Dev Advice Hotline (224) 484-7733

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NEW - GDA 008: Dave Mirra BMX, Coding, Nintendo, Tax Breaks, Tokyo, and Sucker Punch with Dave Grace

Summary:

*Learn about Dave’s role as a CTO for Kitazaru.

*How he got started in the video game industry doing audio programming.

*What it was like working at Z-Axis on games like Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX.

*Discover how he formed his own company with 6 other colleagues.

*What is was like working in Japan at Square Enix on Final Fantasy XV.

*Advice for getting in the industry, like building a playable demo.

*What kind of roles are always in demand.

*Thoughts on improving as an engineer if already working in the industry.

*Why it’s not good to leave a job on bad terms.

*The importance of attention-to-detail and treating your work as a craft.

*How Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX was his favor game to work on.

*Hear about how well the Sly Cooper series was engineered by Sucker Punch.

*Hear ideas and thoughts on Machine Learning.

*Thoughts about working on Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

*What it’s like developing for Oculus VR, along with an odd physical challenge.

*Learn how everything changed in the industry at 2007.

*Opinions about what kind of jobs are at risk for the future.

*Hear the average numbers of years people have worked in the industry.

*Learn how no-union companies skirt around the policy for voice over talent.

*Hear which classic game reboot left a debug option in to skip levels.

*Hear discussion about the ups and downs of Nintendo.

*Learn about living and working in Tokyo.

*Hear about a Canadian tax break for game development, along with the U.S. city that tried it.

*Learn about some of the games that have influenced him the most.

Quotes:

*“I’m the CTO at the Kozaru which is a Canadian subsidiary of Sanzaru Games.”

*“I got a job doing pager hardware design back when pagers were a thing.”

*“I was a musician growing up and everything so I knew my way around MIDI.”

*“Dave Mirra, that was my game. I was the lead.”

*“I did the physics on the Thrasher, Skate Destroyer game which was Rockstar’s very first title.”

*““6 other guys and me said “we can have our own studio doing this” so we split off doing this.””

*“I worked for Square Enix  for 6 months on a what became the Final Fantasy XV.”

*“They don’t do anything smarter than anyone else, they just pay people less and throw more people on it.”

*“Best thing you can do is build a playable demo and send it out.”

*“Don’t burn bridges.”

*“Treat people like you want to be treated.”

*“Back in the day it was kinda like, QA is almost like bootcamp.”

*“It’s craftsmanship really in some ways, it’s about your craft.”

*“There’s no excuse to not download Unity or Unreal to get something up and running.”

*“We’re always short on VFX artists.”

*“If you go around burning bridges it’s going to come back to haunt you.”

*“I spent a year working 7 days a week.”

*“Those ones were done by Sucker Punch, those guys are absolute bad asses from a programming standpoint.”

*“90% of the time programmers say “this code is crap, I’m going to re-write it!”

*“Normally porting games are just train wrecks.”

*“Machine learning is out there and I’m trying to find a good excuse to learn it.”

*“Last year we partnered with Toys for Bob on the Spyro Remastered Trilogy.”

*“VR’s cool once you have the touch controllers in.”

*“On the Rift you really have to optimize the drawcalls.”

*“Everything changed around 2007”

*“Before iPhone we could make a good living selling $40 games on consoles.”

*“If I was an animator I’d be worried about what people are doing with Machine Learning.”

*“I don’t really know too many people from this industry that have retired.”

*“Breath of the Wild climbing mechanics are really nice, I’m sort of an animation nerd so I’ve been really getting into how they’re doing IK on the hands and to keep on the walls.”

About My Guest:

Dave Grace is a 20+ year industry veteran and CTO of Kozaru, a Canadian subsidiary of Sanzaru Games, a studio he helped start 12 years ago. He’s programmed on the original Playstation, and has worked on just about every console since as well, including PC and Oculus VR. He's lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo, and now Canada, and worked for Viacom, Activision, Square Enix, and his own studio.

Resources:

*Kozaru Games on Facebook

*Sanzaru Games

*Sanzaru Games Twitter

*What a pager used to do

*Viacom New Media

*E93 editor

*Z-Axis, Ltd

*Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX

*Thrasher Presents: Skate and Destroy

*Rockstar Games

*Square Enix

*Final Fantasy XV

*Full Sail University

*University of Utah

*Sly Collection

*Sucker Punch

*Sucker Punch Twitter

*Toys for Bob

*Spyro Remastered Trilogy

*Oculus VR

*Marvel Powers United

*Asgard’s Wrath

*Oculus Quest

*Metal Gear Solid

*Level Ex Careers

*Game Dev Advice Twitter

*Game Dev Advice email

*Game Dev Advice website

*Game Dev Advice Hotline (224) 484-7733

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GDA 007: Getting Hired, Learning New Tools, VR, Layoffs, Unionizing, and Trends with Humberto (Tito) Gamboa

Summary:

  • Hear from 3D artist Humberto (Tito) Gamboa who talks about working on an unusual VR project

  • How he was quickly hired based on his portfolio

  • Thoughts on the day-to-day workload as a 3D artist and generalist

  • How what you learn in school is likely outdated

  • The importance of learning tools like Substance Painter

  • Where to find great online communities for learning

  • Thoughts on attending in-person industry events

  • How you need to do more than just what’s taught in school

  • The importance of ArtStation for checking out other portfolios as benchmarks

  • Tips and strategies for applying to game studios

  • How diversifying your abilities by learning a niche skill can help you

  • What it’s like working at a startup as an artist

  • Hear the kind of big tech challenges he has to solve

  • How using Twitter and 80 Level are useful for keeping him up-to-date

  • How he’s learning tools like Houdini and Substance Alchemist

  • Thoughts on layoffs and unionizing the game industry

  • How outsourcing often doesn’t help reduce crunch

  • Ideas and strategies on how to be prepared for a layoff

  • Where you live can affect your financial ability to save and be prepared

  • Thoughts on how VR was hot, has cooled off, and where it can go

  • Ideas for using VR outside of traditional gaming

  • The unusual cake we had to celebrate the launch of a game

  • How audio designers can make a great impression and get hired

  • Why having a talented audio designer can really improve your game

  • Thoughts on the game industry, both past and current trends


Quotes:

  • “One of them had hair everywhere...a timberman looking guy”

  • "Just because you’re a 3D modeler doesn’t mean you’re going to be modeling all day”

  • “Coming out of college a lot of the stuff I’d learned was out-of-date”

  • “Sometimes your instructor might not be in the industry or never has been”

  • “I could have done much of my college online looking up tools and buying people’s tutorials”

  • “That’s just hard, we all feel shitty about our work”

  • “It’s helpful to pick up a secondary skill...a niche skill”

  • “Not a lot of people enjoy doing everything in a certain category of art”

  • “At smaller companies, you get to wear different hats to pitch in and help”

  • “We get a bunch of interesting tech problems the art team as to tackle in some form”

  • “5 years from now there’ll be tools out we don’t know about so you have to be in that mindset about learning”

  • “3D changes very quickly”

  • “I see people posting on Twitter and I’m like “oh my God that’s awesome”

  • “Procedural stuff combined with AI is going to be popular in the future”

  • “Twitter is scary right now with how many layoffs are happening”

  • “Companies need to be more prepared to take care of employees if it does happen”

  • “We’re kinda spoiled in Chicago”

  • “I’ve joined at a good time and at a good place”

  • “It was trendy for a while and lost its cool factor”

  • “I would have loved to have VR in 1st grade, put on our headsets, and suddenly we’re on Mars”

  • “So how does it work, how does it connect to your brain and show you the images?”

  • “Can I go back to the blue pill now if I was on the red pill?”

  • “People were walking by looking at our butt cake”

  • “Oh yeah Jeff works with Rob Scallion... and then Jeff’s cool points just shot up”

  • “Cardio Ex has a soundtrack that will blow people’s minds”

  • “Every game company and their uncle were making some version of that”

About My Guest:

Humberto (Tito) Gamboa is a 3D Artist currently working at Level Ex, Inc., a Chicago game studio making video games for doctors. He’s been in the game development industry for 2 years and learning Tech Art on the side.

Resources:

*Don't forget to subscribe!

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GDA 006: AR, VR, Game Industry Trends, Unity, and Early Mobile Phone Game Dev with Patrick Curry

Summary:

-Hear from developer and CEO Patrick Curry who talks about his company and doing projects for CyArk and the Smithsonian Institute.

-Learn how he started in the video game industry and what inspired him to try computer programming.

-Hear about his early career doing web development for Ritual Entertainment, Activision, Raven, and others.

-Learn how he transitioned from website development into game development.

-Hear about the first game studio he worked for, Team SmartyPants!

-Learn about the clunky days of mobile phone game development.

-Hear what he wished he’d known when he started in game development.

-Learn what it was like to develop for the original Xbox, PS2, and the (challenging) Gamecube.

-His ideas for how to develop and advance as a game designer.

-How he influenced students teaching a decade ago at DePaul University that now work at game studios, like Level Ex.

-Learn about two of his favorite projects; Guilty Party and John Woo’s Stranglehold.

-Hear a discussion on various AR and VR platforms, along with thoughts on streaming consoles.

-How a tool he created out of frustration for his mobile games studio was later acquired by Unity Technologies.

-Discover the history of FarBridge and the new technologies that they are experimenting with.

-Hear opinions on the current challenges and opportunities to the video game industry, including streaming consoles.

-Hear about a trip to Seoul that included an impromptu trip to Shanghai.

-Learn about his great mentor, Tom Kang.

-Hear about the explosive growth of Unity Technologies.

Quotes:

-"The first time I saw Super Mario Bros. on the NES I was like, this is pretty rad!"

-”Eventually we got a computer around the house and I just kinda attached myself to it.”

-”Tried several times and failed to teach myself C programming as a kid.”

-”Making money, making things in software on the internet...I was like oh, this is what something I wanna do.”

-”Eventually a bunch of our clients at the web company ended up being game studios.”

-”Hexen was the sequel to Heretic then Hexen II was the next one after that.”

-”The programming and designing that I’ve been doing for the internet were actually applicable to video games and multiplayer games.”

-”So the first game studio that I worked with in Austin was Team Smartypants!”

-”This is really early in the cell phone game world, WAP was one of the technologies we used.”

-”Making PC and console games actually sounds easier than making mobile games at the time.”

-”Xbox sounds like a dream come true compared to that. (mobile games)”

-”There are always new technologies to learn, there are always new business ideas to learn.”

-”The original Xbox, it was really souped up PC.”

-”The most important thing is to be sharing your work with others.”

-”Being open to feedback, being open to improving it.”

-”I took a couple of years and really focused deep in the game design.”

-”What we were making at Midway involved some number of characters beating each other up and some number of worlds where that takes place.”

-”If you could put good levels in Unreal make them fun and/or beautiful then you will get an internship and eventually get hired.”

-”Do as much work as you can to recreate content that looks and feels as fun and professional as the games you love.”

-”I taught at DePaul for about 3 years.”

-”If having a hard day I like to go read the Amazon reviews...the ones that mean the most to me are like the grandma who says, “I got this game for my grandkids and we just love to play it together!”

-”Another game from the similar period was John Woo’s Stranglehold which I worked on Midway.”

-”Midway was a crazy roller coaster for everybody.”

-”M.A.G...multi-action genre it was called.”

-”We’d always try to get out before GTA because it’d just suck all the oxygen out of the room.”

-”We’ve also been doing some early experiments on the Magic Leap headset.”

-”Oculus Quest, that to me on paper seems like a big game changer.”

-”I’m a big fan of the PlayStation VR headset but you're still tethered.”

-”I would kill to have a really nice high-quality VR experience that I could like, take with me.”

-”No one I know quite understands what it is I do again.”

-”If you couldn’t get it to work on a video card and it was small enough you’d just say screw it...put it in the readme.”

-”We’re all competing with each other for people’s time and attention.”

-”The bad news is now, hey, we have more competition.”

-”This is a hit-driven business.”

-”I think streaming is gonna reinvigorate some corners of our industry.”

-”One of the stories that come to mind is a Tom Kang story.”

-”I’ve never been to China. I’ve never been to Shanghai. I don’t know any Mandarin at all.”

-”We had this rambling 8-hour conversation on the flight home. I felt like a changed man.”

-”After I left Disney, I ended up starting a mobile games company again.”

-”If you ask me at Midway if I’d ever go back to being a programmer or go back to mobile games I would probably just punched you.”

-”We kept working with Disney, we worked with our friend, Brian Eddy.”

-”It was a fairly fast courtship, but we worked out the deal.”

-”The tool that we made became Unity Cloud Build.”

-”It was really born out of frustration.”

About My Guest:

Patrick Curry is a game developer and serial entrepreneur. In his twenty-year career, he’s founded five companies, mentored numerous startups, and helped ship over 20 games. When not doing startups, Patrick has made games and software for The Walt Disney Company, Midway Games, Marvel Entertainment, and Unity Technologies. Patrick is now the CEO at FarBridge, a VR/AR software company he started in Austin, TX in 2017.

Resources:

-FarBridge website

-Patrick Curry Twitter

-Patrick Curry website

-Game Dev Advice Twitter

-Game Dev Advice email

-Game Dev Advice website

-Game Dev Advice Hotline (224) 484-7733

-Level Ex video games for doctors

-CyArk

-Smithsonian Institution

-Ritual Entertainment

-Quake Engine

-Ion Storm

-Team Smartypants! Inc

-WAP phone development

-Unity

-Midway Games

-Unreal Engine

-DePaul University

-Guilty Party

-Brian Eddy

-Cluedo

-John Woo’s Stranglehold

-Masterworks

-Magic Leap

-Oculus Quest

-PlayStation VR

-3dfx Voodoo Rush video card

-Tom Kang

-Unity Cloud Build

-Spooky Cool

*Don't forget to subscribe and go to www.gamedevadvice.com for full show notes with links!

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GDA 005: Unpaid Intern, TNA Wrestling, Hard Knocks, and Freelancing Tips, Pt. 2 with Mike Antonicelli

Summary:

-Part 2: Hear how Mike Antonicelli moved into doing 2D work to expand his marketability as a freelancer.

-How he’s learning Python scripting and copywriting to expand his skills.

-Learn how to get an advantage when applying for jobs that most people don’t do.

-Hear the story behind Mike’s unusual nickname earned at Wideload Games.

-Learn perspectives on the state of freelancers in today’s game industry landscape.

-Hear what he’s done to be successful at freelancing.

-Learn how he works remotely from locations like Brazil and Chile.

-How ideas for work as a freelancer can apply to working remote for an employer.

-What people look for when hiring a freelancer.

-Ways to get in touch with Mike to learn about his services.

Quotes:

-“You’d be surprised how hard of a time they had finding someone to color between the lines.”

-”All the things I’ve been putting off learning I’m going to do it right now, even if it’s just 5 minutes per day.”

-”Do the thing, put a little effort in.”

-”Tie it back to how you want to benefit the company.”

-”Sets a bad tone when you have a cover letter full of typos.”

-”If you’re working remotely things can be pretty competitive.”

-”I can make more working at McDonalds.”

-”50% of my work has been a client I’ve had previously.”

-“The feast-or-famine thing is real, it’s a real issue.”

-”There’s less suspicion that someone is sitting around watching The Price is Right and eating Captain Crunch.”

-”Reputation is important, people earn their reputation.”

-”Lets go get some drinks, I’ve got some stories.”

-”Don’t get discouraged looking at other people’s work.”

-”It’s fun to answer questions and try not getting on my soapbox too much.”

About My Guest:

Mike Antonicelli began his career in 2005 as a volunteer intern for Red Eye Studio.

He graduated Columbia College the following year with a BA in computer animation. Soon after he entered the legendary Midway Games in Chicago as an art production intern. From there, he transferred to Midway LA to become a full-time animator.

In 2008, Michael completed Animation Mentor -- a 2 year training program by Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animators.


In 2009, he incorporated as Superfantastik CG Inc. Over the past 9 years, Superfantastik’s notable clients have grown to include Disney, Marvel, Steelseries, Next/Now, PulseLearning, Ragtag, and Trinket Studios.

Resources:

-Superfantastik website to book his services

-Superfantastik Twitter

-Game Dev Advice Twitter

-Game Dev Advice email

-Game Dev Advice website

-Battle Chef Brigade game

-Trinket Studios website

-JJ Williams Twitter

-Alex Seropian Wikipedia

-Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse Wikipedia

-SIXMOREVODKA on ArtStation

-SIXMOREVODKA Twitter

-Game Dev Advice Hotline: call 224-484-7733

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GDA 004: Unpaid Intern, TNA Wrestling, Hard Knocks, and Freelancing Tips, Pt. 1 with Mike Antonicelli

Summary:

-Hear how he learned about the game industry as a career.

-How studying computer animation at Columbia College lead to his internship at Red Eye Studio.

-Learn the type of work he did as an unpaid intern at Midway Games.

-Find out about Animation Mentor and his hard decision to follow his passion by moving out to LA.

-How we has mentored in Midway LA by industry legends Sal Divita and Mark Turmell

-His first freelancing animation job working on a TV pilot funded by a granite countertop company

-How sending his updated reel to his old boss turned into a 5-year experience working at Disney Interactive

-What’s important to do for keeping your skills up-to-date

-Listen to what he wished he was skilled at when he was starting out and his inspirations

-Discover helpful advice when you are starting out in the gaming industry.

-Why a good reputation and working hard leads to other doors opening.

-Share hard-learned advice about advancing his skills and career

-Part 2 of Mike turning the tables to grill me with questions, coming soon!

Quotes:

-“I went to a job fair that had the Illinois Institute of Art or something was there make shows some computer graphics, 3d stuff and animation."

-”It was a 3 month unpaid internship I was happy to do to get my foot in the door.”

-"Maybe I thought I was gonna become a Pixar animator, Disney animator."

-"That is actually where I met Jon Krusell because he was the head of Red Eye."

-”We were reverse engineering to make it useable again...it was quite a task.”

-”I signed up for Animation Mentor.”

-”I had that 20-22 year old optimism that nothing can go wrong, it’ll be fine.”

-”Packed everything I owned into a 1997 Toyota Celica hatchback.”

-”What is my son doing...why are we driving to California to be an intern-crap?”

-”We stopped at the Grand Canyon holding the turtle.”

-”We worked on TNA Wrestling.”

-”I stayed for a while and got kinda homesick eventually.”

-”I was paying a lot of money for Animation Mentor.”

-"Starting on a TV show pilot that a local person here wanted to make his own tv show that was an animated version of Sopranos basically called The Baritonios”

-”It was one of the strangest experiences of my life.”

-”It was great until they launched the missiles and nuked us one day...but that happens”

-”When I was trying to evaluate how good I was, I would kind of look at other people’s work”

-”I would probably would have told myself, there’s always gonna be someone who’s better than you.”

-”See how other people are doing and, specially people who are already working and see if your work is on the same level as them.”

-”Be open to doing lots of different things. Doing a podcast for example.”

-”Your reputation is super important, and it’s not based on what you say but what you do.”

-”Have a good attitude whatever the job is”

-”I did 3 internships just to get my first job”

-”Say Yes, then figure it out later”

-”Everything I’m telling you I’ve learned from mistakes in the past so hopefully someone else can take this advice to help them.”

About My Guest:

Mike Antonicelli began his career in 2005 as a volunteer intern for Red Eye Studio.

He graduated Columbia College the following year with a BA in computer animation. Soon after he entered the legendary Midway Games in Chicago as an art production intern. From there, he transferred to Midway LA to become a full-time animator.

In 2008, Michael completed Animation Mentor -- a 2 year training program by Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animators.

In 2009, he incorporated as Superfantastik CG Inc. Over the past 9 years, Superfantastik’s notable clients have grown to include Disney, Marvel, Steelseries, Next/Now, PulseLearning, Ragtag, and Trinket Studios.

Resources:

-Superfantastik website to book his services

-Superfantastik Twitter

-Jon Krusell on LinkedIn

-Sal Divita Twitter

-Mark Turmell on Giant Bomb

-Level Ex website

-Animation Mentor

-Illinois Institute of Art

-Columbia College Chicago

-Red Eye Studio

-Wideload Games

-Midway Games

-Just in case, a link to the Grand Canyon :)

-TNA Wrestling (video game)

-Richard Branson

-Nightwolf

-NBA Jam

-Game Dev Advice Hotline: 224-484-7733

-Game Dev Advice Email

-Game Dev Advice Website

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GDA 003: James Bond, Ultima VII, 80's Game Dev, Writing, Volatility, and GWAR! with Raymond Benson

Summary:

-Learn how Raymond transitioned into the game industry from being author and in theatre.

-Hear about the book, "The James Bond Bedside Companion."

-Learn how playing Dungeons and Dragons was a stepping stone into game design.

-Hear about classic text game adventures like Zork from Infocom.

-Discover that James Bond and Stephen King's The Mist” were turned into games.

-Hear about a role-playing adventure game, "You Only Live Twice II: Back Of Beyond."

-Learn about the game company roots of the Austin game development community.

-Discover his idea for using court-reporting as a source for writing future mystery novels.

-On working with Richard Garriott and the evolution of the Ultima franchise game.

-What it was like creating "Ultima VII: The Black Gate" and how big the early 90s team.

-Hear about the offer to work at famed game developer and publisher MicroProse.

-Learn how the sequel "Return of the Phantom" game was made.

-Listen to advice on working in game development.

-Hear about publisher CyberDreams and designing their “Dark Seed II” game.

-Learn what it was like working on Nickelodeon’s game "Are You Afraid of the Dark."

-Hear about a haunted house “Doom for Windows 95” DirectX launch party at Microsoft with GWAR!

-Learn when the graphics explosion started in games.

-Hear how Ian Fleming Publications offered him to write new James Bond novels.

-Get to know about FBI agent John Douglas, Kojima and John Milius.

-Learn what it was like leaving the game dev industry and becoming a full time novelist

-Discover game novelization books based on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Homefront, and Hitman.

-Hear what he wished he know when he started in the industry.

-Hear what crunch mode was like back in the 80s and 90s.

-Find out what he is currently doing and his latest projects to look out for.

-*Correction: We were pitching a Star Trek game for Virgin Interactive, not Star Wars :)

Quotes:

"My transition into the game industry was over 30 years ago, so it was a lot different then. It was like the Dark Ages."

"I was also working on a book about the history of James Bond that ended up being James Bond “Bedside Companion” which was published in 1984."

"They asked me would I be interested in writing an adventure module for the role-playing game."

"I love the Infocom games."

"I wasn't the programmer or anything, I was just the writer."

"The game was all text, so there was no artists.”

"For the Stephen King's "The Mist" you know, you based it on the novella."

"I had 3 computer games and one role playing game under my belt."

"In 1984-85 not a lot of people had PCs. I bought my Apple IIc when I got the job."

"In Austin, Texas is where Origin Systems where made."

"I went and interviewed with a guy named Warren Spector who is still in the business.”

"Richard Garriott is the one genius that I knew."

"The concept of the fellowship which is in Britannia, is a kinda like Scientology really."

"It was kinda like the James Bond formula."

"Ultima VII, that was quite an undertaking."

"Sid Meier was pretty great."

“So I moved my family cross-country again, that’s three cross-country moves in four years.”

The game I did there was called Return of the Phantom, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera."

"That's one thing I wanna say about this business is that it is very volatile."

"Viacom New Media bought a small company called ICOM."

"I would point to Dark Seed II as my favorite."

“If you’re going to be doing layoffs put me in the first wave.”

“It was very adults-only.”

“I got tapped in 2004 to do a novel based on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell”

“A little later I did Metal Gear Solid books, I did two of those.”

“In that game it’s about how North Korea takes over United States.”

“My career, I called it the long and winding road.”

“I can remember Origin just smelling like a boys’ locker room down the halls.”

About My Guest:

Raymond Benson is a veteran of the industry, having worked as a writer and designer for games like the Ultima series, James Bond’s A View to a Kill, Stephen King’s The Mist, Dark Seed II, and many others.

He’s a prolific New York Times Bestselling author with 40 published titles, best known for being the official author of the James Bond novels in the late 90s and early 2000s, (note: he’s the first American to have done this). Games like Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, and Hitman are some of the novelizations he’s written, along with original works, like The Black Stiletto fictional series. He’s also a long time musician, and instructor at the College of DuPage outside of Chicago.

Resources:

-Official Raymond Benson site

-His James Bond books

-The Black Stiletto series

-Raymond’s other non-Bond books

-His Twitter account

-Zork I

-Stephen King's The Mist

-James Bond’s You Only Live Twice II: Back Of Beyond

-Origin Systems

-Mindscape

-Richard Garriott’s background

-Ultima VII: The Black Gate

-MicroProse

-Sid Meier’s background

-Return of the Phantom

-CyberDreams

-Dark Seed II

-HR Giger’s background

-Article about Viacom New Media

-ICOM Simulations

-Radical Entertainment

-Special Agent John Douglas

-Viacom New Media’s Club Dead

-Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell

-One of the Metal Gear Solid books

-Hideo Kojima’s background

-Homefront

-The Hitman games

-The movie Apocalypse Now

-Telltale layoffs

-Cool things Level Ex creates

-The movie Indian and the Cupboard

-The insane Doom for Windows 95 and DirectX launch party with GWAR! in a giant Microsoft haunted house-themed parking garage (it was totally surreal)

-GWAR!

-King of the Hill

-Beavis and Butt-Head

-Best of The Great Cornholio!

-Mike Judge interview sharing backstories about Beavis and other characters

-Best dive bar in NYC (also in the game credits for my Beavis and Butt-Head game)

-The Game Dev Advice Hotline: 224-484-7733

-The Game Dev Advice Email

-The Game Dev Advice Website

*Don't forget to subscribe so I can keep bringing you new episodes!

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GDA 002: SEGA, Midway, Interviewing Tips, Ringling, VR, and Immersion Therapy with Martin Murphy

Summary

-Hear about early game dev art programs like Dazzle Draw, Deluxe Paint, and later Softimage

-Regret about how he approached learning to program.

-What the working environment was like in SEGA and Midway Games.

-Hear advice on how to land your first job.

-The three things he looks for when hiring.

-Learn about what kind of art jobs are in high demand.

-The importance of following instructions.

-Who some of the largest employers of his students are.

-How art and design can do more than entertain.

-Uses for VR outside of gaming, like immersion therapy.

-Some funny game industry stories.

-His favorite part at being part of Midway Games.

-Regrets about valuing results more than valuing relationships.

-Hear about E3 game competitions.

-Learn about a new game from Richard Rouse III called "Church in the Darkness" in Alpha, on Steam.

Quotes

“I started by replicating Judas Priest album covers.”

”Family friend introduced me to an art director friend at Mindscape.”

”I worked on this little movie called Jurassic Park.”

”Took as these high-end graphics and pushed them down to Deluxe Paint.”

"The chip that's in the Genesis is the same chip that's in, maybe your sons' too, their graphic calculator."

“Getting frustrated at SEGA as they were transitioning to Saturn at the time.”

”When I realized real-time graphics is going to be the way to go.”

”At times I really regret the decision going from college to Hollywood, maybe I would have been best served just going back to Chicago.”

”I just had the great confidence with all the people there, all the designers, just living legends.”

”One of the benefits of being here is we have close to 100 recruiters come to the college campus so you hear a thing or two.”

”As a hiring manager I’ve hired 70 artists in games.”

”Resumes aren’t reliable, referrals aren’t reliable.”

"Demonstrate your skill, demonstrate your value."

”But you used to be so mean!”

"The art test if done well...I remember a few times where it helped a person get better compensation."

”He showed Andy Warhol how to use Deluxe Paint.”


About My Guest:

Martin Murphy has twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. He’s contributed his talents to feature films, numerous broadcast design packages and commercials, and to the creation of more than twenty games ranging from the arcade and SEGA Genesis era to the current console systems and mobile devices.

He was Midway's company wide Director of Art, shepherding the transition of almost three hundred artists to new console technologies and fostering collaboration across five development studios.

He was also an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago where he taught computer animation and portfolio development prior to taking a full-time faculty position at Ringling College of Art and Design's inaugural Game Art and Design program.

Heads up - you’ll hear a little noise in the background, but it doesn’t last long.

Resources:

-Apple IIc

-”D’Paint” a.k.a. Deluxe Paint

-Virtua Fighter

-Martin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tokkentakker

-Ringling College of Art and Design

-Magic Leap

-Arcade game: Carnevil

-Andy Warhol

-The Church of Darkness

-Art Director Ryan Blake

-Hotline: 224-484-7733

-Email: info@gamedevadvice.com

-Website: Game Dev Advice

*Don't forget to subscribe and go to the website for full show notes with links!

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GDA 001: Interviewing, teaching, triple-A vs indie, and fixing game dev crunch with Heinz Schuller

Summary

-Guest Heinz Schuller talks about how he made the transition from working in IT into the video game industry

-Thoughts on the game industry being like a secret club in the 90’s

-Two things he wished he’d known when starting in the game industry

-Advice for working in a corporate environment and understanding how not to sabotage your career

-How to work with people who aren’t creatives

-How to radically improve your odds in this highly competitive job market

-The importance of finding your “thing” and what you’re going to express

-Experience of working on small and medium size indie game projects

-How he’s releasing games on Xbox Arcade and Steam

-Thoughts and advantages of teaching and creating games simultaneously

-The importance of YouTube for your career

-Ideas for staying sharp if you’ve worked in the game industry for a long time already

-Couple funny stories about working in the industry

-Changes in Microsoft’s culture between the 1990’s to the 2000’s

-Differences between the FASA acquisition and the later Bungie

-The coolest thing about being part of Microsoft Games

-Behind-the-scenes work that Art Directors do

-Building infrastructure are career paths outside of Engineering

-Ideas around work output, getting smarter, and fixing the crunch culture of game development

-Main reason for leaving triple-A games

-Challenge of working in middle management

-Thoughts on the horrific Telltale Games layout  

-Hard questions to ask when interviewing at a game studio

-What it feels like going through crunch

-Where to find Heinz online

Quotes

-“He was telling us to stop complaining because we’re literally just a fly on a rhino’s ass”

-“Early on in my career I was pretty famous for writing beautifully sarcastic and highly volatile emails”

-“I was called the angry young man”

-“The only constant is change”

-“Those were holy wars back in the time”

-“It would slowly saturate my monitor to pure magenta”

-“We were alien to the Seattle culture”

-“Occasionally there’d be holes in walls”

-“We don’t have enough hits, we’re not making enough money, time to shut it down.”

-“They had no idea about making games, or why they were talking with me”

-“They gave the keys of the city to Valve”

-“Epic crunches just destroys lives”

-“I used to be in the belly of the beast, I used to be part of it”

-“I worked on one of the worst crunches in my life on a game called...”

-“You have to tell your people to come in and work on the weekend, again”

-“If you walk around and see futons and air mattresses all over the place it’s probably a bad sign”

About My Guest

Heinz Schuller started working in the games industry in 1993, and has served at companies including Viacom New Media, FASA Interactive, Microsoft Game Studios, and Day 1 Studios. He is credited with Art Direction on popular PC & Console games including MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, F.E.A.R. 3, and Avatar Laser Wars II. Heinz also served as Publishing Art Director at Microsoft on games like MechAssault, MechAssault 2, and Crimson Skies. He recently completed Death Toll on Steam and is the Instructor // Visual Effects, Graphics / Animation at DePaul University in Chicago.

Resources

-Twitter

-Art Station

-Death Toll on Steam

-DePaul School of Cinematic Arts

-EA Spouse controversy

-Breaking the Wheel from Justin Fischer

-Telltale Games layoff

-Hotline: 224-484-7733

-Email: info@gamedevadvice.com

-Website: Game Dev Advice

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