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Interview: GameDev Mojo‏

Hello world and welcome to one of two specials this month! This week we have Rob from Gamedev Mojo! Gamedev Mojo released their first game called Dream Terror which can be played by having the Unity Web Player installed on your PC! Be sure to check out the other games such as But why the name GameDev Mojo? And what else does he do when not making changes to his game? This interview holds the answers!

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3.47: How did the name come about?
Rob: My girlfriend came up with it actually. We were wondering around in New York after a yoga class and it just popped into her head. I was teaching kids how to create mine craft mods at the time and we thought it would be a good name to start doing classes privately with. The classes didn’t happen but the name stuck.

3.47: How long have you been making video games for?
Rob: I started making games when I was 6 years old (ambitious kid, i know) but I decided to get into it properly about 4 years ago.

3.47: How many have you made so far?
Rob: I’ve worked on a number of different projects including indie mobile games, game dev tools and a browser based shooter

3.47: Was this something you always wanted to do?
Rob: Yes, since I was a kid I’ve loved the level of immersion in games. It was more than that however. I’ve long held a fascination with the process that goes into creating games. I was always interested in the stories behind the action. A few years ago I read a really fun book called “Masters of Doom” by David Kushner (http://amzn.to/1sgAKC2) about the birth of 3d first person shooters (Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake, some of my favourite games) and all the crazy interpersonal politics that went on behind the scenes. You know, you read something like that and it makes you really think about how just a few people can make such a difference. Massive AAA games these days are created by giant teams of hundreds of people but for these guys it was a small handful of hacker-minded coders and artists. They were pushing boundaries and doing battle with the digital frontier and 20 years later we have this massive games industry fuelled by gargantuan 3d games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Halo, none of which would be possible without the quantum leap in technology that this small handful of people pioneered. In fact, a programmer friend of mine recently told me that parts of the actual network code first designed to handle network support in Quake (1996) is actually still used to power games like Call of Duty today.. crazy!

3.47: What was your reaction like when you saw the feedback coming in about your video games?
Rob: When I was making Dream Terror, I think possibly the most valuable and rewarding stage of the process was watching people play my game and seeing their reaction, making changes and tweaks in accordance.

3.47: How much does the feedback effect you?
Rob: When you are designing a game you make a lot of assumptions in the early stages, these assumptions need to be tested and verified to make sure that what you thought would be a good idea actually is a good idea.. This is just one way that feedback can be useful. Feedback is actually so important to me that if you scroll to the bottom of the Dream Terror page there is actually a feedback form that anyone can fill out. I then analyse the data from it and make adjustments accordingly.

3.47: How supportive has your family and friends been?
Rob: It’s difficult for a parent to hear that their son or daughter wants to make games. The realities of the job market for the games industry (especially in the UK) is still a bit dire, the market is saturated, the pay is low (compared to other similar industries) and it’s damn hard work. That said, things are slowly getting better and let’s face it.. most people who make games are super passionate enough to be doing it even if they didn’t get paid to do it. For my family it was fine, they were very supportive (even if they didn’t really understand what I was doing) but then again, I’d spent the previous 6 years trying to make it in a Rock ’n Roll band in London so I guess to them the unsteady prospect of working in games was like getting a job as an accountant or a banker in comparison.

3.47: Given the chance who would you love to work with?
Rob: John Carmack. no question. The guy is such a legend. He created some of the most influential games of all time, is helping to push the future of digital interaction through Virtual Reality, and helps out NASA with his aeronautics company in his spare time.. like I said.. a legend.

3.47: What would you say are the advantage/disadvantage of been independent?
Rob: Advantage: The freedom to follow your imagination wherever it may lead you. Create art in other words.
Disadvantage: It’s difficult to make money. Even though there is more infrastructure in place for indies than ever before, it’s still darn hard and there is so much more competition.

3.47: What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Rob: Shuggie Otis – Strawberry Letter 23

3.47: What kind of software do you find easier to work with making your games?
Rob: I work almost exclusively with Unity3d now. It’s really incredible and has allowed me to focus on coding the gameplay without having to worry about either trying to code my own engine or put up with using something overly simplistic.

3.47: Where do you get the inspiration to make some of them?
Rob: I’d love to say that I take myself on these intense internal shamanic journeys that expand my consciousness to the point where I enter a new world and am able to draw something new into our reality.. but unfortunately I can’t :) Like l most of us, I simply observe the world around us and try to think of ludic system to connect everything.

3.47: What’s your favourite food?
Rob: Pizza.. however I just ate some SERIOUSLY delicious asparagus.. I never thought I’d say that

3.47: What’s your favourite film?
Rob: Oh no, this is such a hard one.. I probably draw more inspiration from film than from games.. it makes sense as it is a more refined medium. I’ll say at the moment it would be ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’… or perhaps this great film I saw on tv the other day called ‘Seeking a friend for the end of the world’. It is set directly after the human race discovers that their final attempt to thwart the doomsday asteroid that is hurtling towards Earth have failed and annihilation is unavoidable. The movie is a dark, romantic comedy and has a killer soundtrack.. Its super heart-warming yet at the end, everybody dies.

3.47: What’s your favourite movie?
Rob: This is the same question but I love any opportunity to talk about films so I’ll take it :) I watched Hackers again a few days ago.. oh man, its so bad. I used to love that film so much when I was a teenager.. Anyways, I don’t care.. even if it is rubbish.. I’m just gonna love it anyways

3.47: What’s your favourite video game?
Rob: Right now? Mount & Blade: Warband. Its incredible! You ride around a medieval landscape on a horse building an army and trying to stay alive. Its so detailed and unforgiving. The best part, Stakes. In Mount and Blade you cannot save. Any decisions that you make are permanent. If you screw up, you screw up.. there’s no going back. I’ve messed up an 80 hr game before.. dire

3.47: Given the chance to run YouTube what would you change about it?
Rob: I’d make it pretty like Vimeo

3.47: Do you have any other hidden talents?
Rob: I used to be in a band where we would dress up as super heroes on stage.

3.47: Weird question time! What’s the last arcade game you played?
Rob: I was at MAGFEST last year and they had all these arcade machines set up. It was great, I played Ninja Turtles 2, it was glorious.

3.47: If you had the power to run our own company, what would you call it?
Rob: Game Dev Mojo perhaps?

3.47: What’s the best advice you been given?
Rob: “Fail Faster” – James Portnow

3.47: What advice can you give to people who want to be like yourself?
Rob: Be more ginger

3.47: Apart from working on video games you also have your own blog called Dear Velvet! How long has it been running for?
Rob: It’s actually mainly my girlfriend’s blog but I help to manage it. We’ve been doing it for about a year now. We covered Bangkok fashion week last year and it just kind of grew from there. You should check it out, I’ve started taking pictures for it too now.

3.47: Do you run it by yourself or are you hoping to expand it at some point?
Rob: At the moment it’s mainly just the two of us although we have had a number of guess bloggers post on it too. Its so time consuming, I think probably we’re going to need to take on an assistant pretty soon.

3.47: From your personal view, do you think gaming is getting better or worst?
Rob: It’s definitely getting better. The tech is growing, the platforms are becoming more accessible and the remit of people who play games has expanded massively over the last few years. It’s still a very young medium but I think once the tech expansion curve levels out a bit we’ll start tackling more challenging emotional issues within games, jealousy, lust, nostalgia etc.

3.47: Do you think we will soon be seeing the end of consoles as we know it?
Rob: Possibly. Virtual Reality is coming and I have a feeling it might change more than just gaming. It has the potential to revolutionise our whole digital experience. Things like business, education, communication, politics and art could all look completely different in the next decade or two if VR really catches on. So if that all happens then yes it might be the end of consoles as we know them along with a lot of other things too

3.47: What game are you most looking forward to playing from the E3 2014 line up?
Rob: No mans sky. I love procedurally generated games.

3.47: A lot of people are concerned that technology has advanced way faster than they expected. Do you feel the same way with gaming as well?
Rob: Er.. No, its all going as fast as it will. I’m looking forward to seeing where it ends up.

3.47: What consoles/handheld do you own?
Rob: Xbox 360, Android phone and tablet, iPad, OUYA and laptop.

3.47: Do you think mobile phones games could be the future of gaming?
Rob: Yes, once again in line with my feelings about VR, they’re designing Oculus Rift to work on mobile devices too so I’d say they will most likely play a massive role.

3.47: What do you do in your spare time?
Rob: (Laughs), spare time!

3.47: What can we expect from you in the future?
Rob: Who knows.. I’ve lived on four continents, pitched designs to Zynga and sold Wills for a living.. anything could be next! (actually I have been accepted to do a masters degree in New York so possibly I’ll do that in the near future)

3.47: Final question! Anything you want to say to your followers out there?
Rob: Stay in school kids!

3.47 would like to say a massive thank you to GameDev Mojo for spending the time doing the interview! Until next time guys!

GameDev Mojo Links
Official website
Facebook
Twitter

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3.47

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