TensAndTwentiesRob Carter

Rob is a software engineer and amateur game developer. He lives in Bellevue, Washington.

All articles by TensAndTwenties

 

Soren Johnson – Mohawk Games

Few people understand strategy game design and development like Soren Johnson. After starting in the industry as a programmer on Civilization 3 at Firaxis, Soren went on to lead the design of Civilization 4. Later he left for EA Maxis to work on Spore, and Zynga East to develop a free-to-play strategy game of his own design. Most recently Soren founded Mohawk Games – A small studio composed of industry veterans. Mohawk just recently released their
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Brian Fargo – inXile Entertainment

Brian Fargo has done it all. He’s created his own games, designed classic titles, and run a publishing company – Interplay Productions. Now Brian is in a unique place. As the CEO of inXile Entertainment Brian has launched two very successful crowd-funding campaigns and is looking to divorce the company from publishing deals which he feels are often restrictive. Brian and I talk extensively about game publishing, his time as the CEO of Interplay, and the
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Brendon Chung – Blendo Games

Though you wouldn’t know it by looking at Blendo’s games, the studio has only one full-time developer – it’s founder, Brendon Chung. While most developers stick with one particular specialty, Brendon prefers to do everything. He writes code, makes models, animates, creates levels, and more. He’s happy to learn what he doesn’t know. In fact, he feels motivated by stepping outside of his experience on every project. Brendon is never content to stay in the
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Greg Kasavin – Supergiant Games

After ten years at Gamespot Greg Kasavin left his editor-in-chief position to begin working in game development. He spent a few years in the AAA space before joining a small San Jose indie studio founded by his former colleagues at EA. Their first title, Bastion, was a tremendous success, and allowed Supergiant Games to continue creating unique downloadable titles. Their second game, Transistor, enjoyed similar success when it was released last year. In this interview
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Jordan Weisman – Harebrained Schemes

Jordan Weisman has one of the most eclectic and successful careers of the many developers I’ve interviewed. His work ranges from novels to tabletop games to video games. He’s created some extremely enduring intellectual properties like Shadowrun, Battletech, and Crimson Skies. His current venture, Harebrained Schemes, has found success on kickstarter with three separate projects. Its hard to characterize all of Jordan’s work, as it runs such a large range of mediums and styles. He
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The Cost

Making games, or any entertainment for profit, carries inherent risk. You can do a million different things to minimize it – choose a smart programming methodology for your team and project, work with talented producers to set up milestones, thoroughly document your design, create a meticulous business plan – but in the end it’s still there. The fact remains that you can make a fantastic game that fails to find an audience. It may be
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Sean Vanaman – Campo Santo

After completing the first season of Telltale’s critically acclaimed series The Walking Dead, lead writer Sean Vanaman and designer Jake Rodkin left to form their own studio – Campo Santo. For the last 10 months the team at Campo Santo has been hard at work on their first title, a mystery story set in the Wyoming wilderness called Firewatch. In this interview Sean and I discuss the challenges of starting a new studio, the fun
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Warren Spector – Denius-Sams Gaming Academy

In his D.I.C.E. 2013 keynote speech, Warren Spector observed “I have spent thirty years championing a very specific kind of game.” That kind of game is very systemic, encourages player creativity, and respects the power of a human story. Spector has applied this design philosophy to games in many different genres. At Origin Systems he worked on the narrative-heavy space combat series Wing Commander, the Ultima Underworld games, and System Shock. At Looking Glass he
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Dan McAuliffe – Independent

While the game industry has seen rapid growth in the past decade, the mobile sector in particular has exploded. What was once a niche area of game development has spawned entirely new genres, play styles, and markets. Dan McAuliffe has witnessed those changes firsthand. After working on dedicated mobile gaming devices like the GBA, PSP, and DS, Dan joined Glu Mobile and switched to smartphone development. His most recent position was Head of Studio at
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Chris Avellone – Obsidian Entertainment

Few people understand the confluence of game systems and narrative like Chris Avellone. Since his start at Interplay in 1995 Chris has been instrumental in the development of many influential RPGs. In this interview Chris and I discuss his recent kickstarter projects, the design process at Obsidian, and the challenges of developing modern RPGs.

 

Brad Muir – Double Fine

In the first audio interview for MemoryLeak I speak with the always affable Brad Muir about his 13 year career in the game industry. Brad and I discuss Massive Chalice, Brazen, the challenges of running a crowd-funded project, and Double Fine’s relationship with publishers.

 

Jon Mavor – Uber Entertainment

In 1997 Cavedog released the wildly original real-time strategy game Total Annihilation. It was a critical and commercial success that defined a new sub-genre of RTS games which operated on a massive scale. Jon Mavor was a programmer on that project, and a relative newcomer to the industry. Since his time on Total Annihilation Mr. Mavor has worked as a gameplay programmer, engine architect, and designer. After amassing more than 15 years of experience in
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Jean-François Dugas – Eidos Montreal

It’s no easy feat to reboot a classic core franchise like Deus Ex. What makes the original two games so distinctive is difficult to replicate – multi-path level design, a huge variety of options for every challenge, and a vision of the near future that reflects our hopes and fears about what scientific progress may bring. In 2011 Eidos Montreal released Deus Ex: Human Revolution to wide acclaim. It was a game with modern conventions
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Eric Schaefer – Runic

In 1996 Blizzard North released Diablo to critical acclaim and massive success. Diablo’s effect on action role-playing games was tremendous. It became responsible for an entire sub-genre, causing future titles with similar mechanics to be dubbed “Diablo clones.” Its lead designer, Erich Schaefer, went on to create an even more successful sequel as well as several other games which stuck close to the genre he helped pioneer. Most recently Mr. Schaefer co-founded Runic Games and
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Dan Pinchbeck – The Chinese Room

After spending a number of years studying games in an academic setting, Dr. Dan Pinchbeck designed Dear Esther, an unconventional story-driven game, and released it to critical and financial success. Since then, his small development team has expanded drastically and is now working on two larger titles: Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture, and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. While Dr. Pinchbeck is known for his experimental titles, he has a deep appreciation for mainstream games
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Brian Mitsoda – DoubleBear

Brian Mitsoda has an extremely strong role-playing game pedigree. He began his career at Interplay in 1999 doing quality assurance work. Five years later he was the head writer on Troika’s classic Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a title that still receives tremendous praise for its unique role-playing mechanics and mature tone. Following Troika’s collapse, Mr. Mitsoda spent three years at Obsidian Entertainment before leaving to found DoubleBear Productions. Currently Mr. Mitsoda is the creative
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Richard Garriott – Portalarium

In this audio interview Richard Garriott discusses the creation of the first Ultima games, the legacy of Ultima Online, and his recent venture into social games. This interview was originally published on 5/25/2012.

 

Mike Ambinder – Valve

For the last four years Dr. Mike Ambinder has been using his expertise in experimental psychology to better understand how people interact with the games they play. Dr. Ambinder’s current work focuses on data analysis, hardware research, and developing methods to foster different behaviors in games. He’s also done research on biofeedback and helped expand Valve’s playtesting methodologies. As a result of his pioneering work, players might one day find that games respond to their
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Chris Avellone – Obsidian Entertainment

The Wasteland 2 kickstarter project recently reached an astounding 2.1 million dollars, ensuring that Chris Avellone, the Creative Director of Obsidian Entertainment, will be working on the next installment in the Wasteland franchise. Consequentially, Chris Avellone has been in the press a lot. A lot of well-established sites have been interviewing him. When I first contacted Mr. Avellone about doing an interview with us, I had no website to show him – It wasn’t online
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