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Ep 26 – Howard Dortch, Shawnee State University

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Howard-Dortch-Shawnee-State

Howard on the far right

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Howard is an industry veteran who now works in academia at Shawnee State University’s game development program in Ohio. Before working in education, Howard had roles at AMD, as well as Sony, specifically at Verant in San Diego, where he worked on Everquest.

As someone who has spent a large amount of time playing this game during my middle and high-school years, I’m a huge fan. We discuss his time building lasers for the Department of Defense, writing assembly code to optimize Everquest, as well as finding work on BBS boards in the mid-90s.

This is our longest episode yet, and perhaps the most technical one (or at least on par with the FNA episode!)

EDIT: I’m aware that I didn’t edit out the small segment ~ the 31 minute mark. Working on that this week! 

Topics discussed:

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 25 – Ethan Lee, FNA

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Ethan_Lee

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Ethan Lee is a software engineer based out of Georgia, who has a history of working on what previously XNA, but is now his own open source fork of the project. Along the way, he has ported a countless number of titles for independent developers across a broad spectrum of platforms including PC, Mac, and Linux.

This is the longest and by far the most technical episode that we’ve had yet. Don’t let that intimdate you though, as there is a lot to learn here. It’s inspiring to see a young person learn so quickly (he only started coding 4 years ago!), and have such deep technical knowledge.

On this episode we discuss speedporting, or the process of moving games to new platforms in the shortest period of time, as well as many of the 36 ports he has done since he got started.  If software engineering or graphics programming is your thing, then this episode is perfect for you.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 24 – Kevin Giguère, Dragon Slumber

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Kevin-Giguere

Kevin-Giguere

Kevin Giguère is a  programmer in his thirties from Quebec, Canada, and the man behind Dragon Slumber, a studio behind the SNES inspired  RPG Arelite Core, created with XNA.  Originally started as a dream project to create his own game from scratch, Kevin has done everything himself.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 23 – Sean Colombo, Blueline Games

Sean-Colombo-Blueline

Sean Colombo has been making games for 15 years. After quitting college to run web-startup “LyricWiki”, he sold the site to Wikia in 2009. A couple years later he founded BlueLine Games to focus on making digital versions of award-winning board games. BlueLine’s flagship games “Hive” and “Khet 2.0” are currently the top two rated board games* among the 80 that are on Steam.

Currently, BlueLine is working on the Steam version of a famous Euro-game and updating all four of it’s Steam titles which includes the free-to-play Simply Chess.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 22 – David Catuhe, BabylonJS

David Catuhe

David Catuhe is a Principal Program Manager on Microsoft’s TED team in Redmond. He is also one of the master -minds behind the open source WebGL framework, BabylonJS.

WebGL has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, and Babylon continues to iterate with it. As mobile browsers continue to add support for WebGL, we will see more developers go from writing native applications to hybrid web-apps.

Join us as we talk about the current state of WebGL, in addition to his thoughts on asm.js and of course VR.

NOTE: Sorry about the questionable audio quality. I’ve got to sort this out. I use a USB Icicle to a professional XLR mic but my recording always have issues. I’ve tried two different recording programs, on both OS X and WIidows.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 21 – Michael Gnade, Indie Game Stand

Mike Gnade

This week I’m joined Mike Gnade, from Indie  Game Stand, a site to discover a new indie game every few days. Developers can upload their wares while consumers can purchase the latest and greatest indie games at an affordable price.Unlike many competitions, this platforms offer a monthly subscription service which gets consumers 20% off the price of the title, and includes 7 games each month.

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 20 – Daniel Parente, Hydra Interactive Entertainment

 

Daniel Parente

Tonight I am joined by Daniel Parente, CEO and Game Director of Hydra Interactive Entertainment, a young indie development studio based out of Madrid, Spain.

He’s previously worked on a number of titles, including Alien Spidy, History Legends of War: Patton, and Aliens in the Attic. The current title that his team is working on is Upside-Down Dimensions, an action adventure game of love and war, in a colorful paper crafted world, inspired by Japanese folklore and Origami.

We talk about how to properly scope a title that you’re developing,  in addition to understanding the role that publishers play in today’s game development landscape.


Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 19 – Michael Hicks

 

michael Hicks

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In this follow up to episode 15, Michael gives a brief postmortem about releasing his first Playstation 4 title.

We discuss the process for getting approved through the ESRB as well as Europe’s PEGI system, in addition to  how to prevent burnout and fatigue from working on one project for too long.

Sony’s fatastic services for independent developers are highlighted as well,  and I inquire about Michael’s decision to stick with MonoGame for his current and future titles.

Download the .mp3

Benjamin Briggs

All music is courtesy of Benjamin Briggs.

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Episode 18 – Livid Interactive

Livid-Interactive

Melissa Pennock, Jacob Pennock, and Mike Schaiman

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Joining me today are Game Designer / Leader Developer Jacob Pennock, Executive Producer Mike Schaiman, & Art Director Melissa Pennock of Livid Interactive.

We talk diversifying a studio, making money in the middleware marketplace, how to stay afloat as an indie, and how they use Intel’s RealSense technology and Unity to create their gesture based first person combat game, Head of the Order.

In 2010, the husband/wife team of Jacob and Melissa Pennock founded a small studio in North Carolina called Unicorn Forest Games. Unicorn Forest was mainly focused on providing outsourcing services, for games on facebook and mobile devices.

Soon after arriving in California, Jacob was introduced to Mike Schaiman, and joined the team at Helios Interactive. Helios uses a variety of technologies to build interactive experiences for consumers in retail and at large events.

In 2013, Head of the Order, a tech demo,  was entered into Intel’s Perceptual Computing Challenge, and took the first place prize in the games category.

Early in 2014, Helios took notice of the potential of the game, and the saw an opportunity for the company to open a new games division. So Livid Interactive was created, under the wing of its parent company, Helios. Their latest title, Head of the Order, is a magical fantasy game played entirely with gestural spell casts. It’s format is similar to a tournament style fighting game but with magic instead of martial arts.