Tag Archives: employee

Steven Lumpkin, Game Master and Designer – Episode 105

Veteran video game designer and roleplaying game master Steven Lumpkin has worked for some of the biggest names in the online gaming industry, including Red Storm Entertanment, the makers of the Rainbow Six franchise, and Funcom, the makers of Age of Conan, Anarchy Online and The Secret World, as a level designer. His job was creating the tense action scenes that have challenged players across the globe as they venture through these games’ vast virtual worlds.

Steven is now working on the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise, but has gone from creating levels to working on the basic infrastructure of the game itself as a game designer.

Steven is also a lover of tabletop roleplaying games. He’s been a game master for the RollPlay team on the Twitch channel ItMeJP, where he ran the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign, The West Marches, which featured a huge rotating roster of streaming and YouTube celebrity players. While Steven was on hiatus at the time of recording, he’s since returned to gaming with a new campaign on his own Twitch and YouTube channels and is looking forward to GMing for the Misscliks and other channels!

Steven and I talk about having a day job in gaming while pursuing a musical hobby in his off hours, the reality of working quality assurance in the video game industry, taking out the trash in online game encounter design, how to manage the “crunch” cycle at the end of pre-release game development and staying chill when gaming with some of the biggest names in live streaming.

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James L. Sutter, Creative Director of Starfinder – Episode 102

Creative Director for Paizo, inc.,  James L. Sutter, is one of the privileged few who helps us geeks combine board gaming, improvisation and flights of imagination via the hobby of the tabletop roleplaying game. He co-developed the rules for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which lets players adventure through dungeons and slay dragons, and was recently appointed as the Creative Director of the upcoming Starfinder Roleplaying Game which will shift the high fantasy world of Pathfinder a few thousand years into the future and add starships, lasers and cyborgs to Pathfinder’s elves, dwarves and magic swords.

Not only does James write for RPGs, but James is also a keen fiction author. He manages the the Pathfinder Tales novel line for Paizo and has written two novels for it; Death’s Heretic and The Redemption Engine, as well as a multitude of short stories for other publications. James enjoys playing with high-concept ideas like the meaning of atheism in a world where deities are objective fact.

James and I have a great chat about a high school teacher who encouraged his students to create their own RPGs, getting his arse handed to him in Wheel of Fortune, evolving timelines in game products, the joys of communal living and the spirit of adventure at the heart of tabletop roleplaying games!

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Bajo: Actor, Author and Host of ABC TV’s Good Game – Episode 96

Television host and actor Steven O’Donnell is better known to gamers across Australia as Bajo, one of the four hosts of the ABC television show Good Game. Bajo’s prestige amongst the Australian geek community has made him a go-to guest and MC for pop culture conventions.

Bajo has acted in close to 40 short films and 6 independent features and is part of a team developing a new children’s TV show for the ABC, which has just been green-lit after four years of development. If that’s not enough, Bajo and fellow Good Game host Hex have written a children’s book series called Pixel Raiders for Scholastic.

Bajo and I have a great chat about night-long Counter-Strike marathons four days a week, making children cry at Warner Bros. Movie World, the sheer amount of work involved in making multiple television shows each week, seeking out challenges that make you feel uncomfortable and how community is at the heart of any passion!

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Bebo (Brittanie Boe): Working from Home Marketing Board Games – Episode 85

Board game marketer Brittanie Boe, known to pretty much everyone as Bebo, is an example of paid to play success for those of us who feel like life has locked us into the nine-to-five. She is a single mother and lover of board games who had a day job working in the marketing department of an insurance company.

Now, Bebo is the marketer for a board game distributor, managing multiple social media channels with a team of fellow enthusiasts, attending industry and fan conventions and generally helping enthusiasts find the right games for their tastes. On top of all that, she works from her home!

And if that’s not enough, Bebo joins forces with my guest for episode 77, Teri Litorco; together, they are the blogging, YouTubing and podcasting duo of tabletop gaming, The Board Dames!

It was great chatting with Bebo about how she transitioned from day-job dullness to work-from-home wonderment, how Bebo’s friends and family help stop her from losing herself in work and what her next steps will be – as well as her not-so-secret desire to form a country music band!

Creating on Skin and in Costume: Ash Chain – Episode 42

Forty-two episodes! Does that mean my guest for this episode is the Answer to the Question of Life, The Universe and Everything?

Even if not, it’s great to chat with someone who’s found some pretty good answers to the Question of Getting Paid to Play – and I mean answers, plural! Ash Chain is not only monetising her hobby of cosplay through print sales at conventions, she’s also been able to get into a day job that is all about artistic expression and her personal interests: Tattooing.

Ash has already made her name in both the Brisbane ink and cosplay scenes, and just recently she made the move from the Big Smoke to Cairns, where she will be running a stall at our first ever pop culture convention, Tropicon!

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Keeping it About the People: Deji Adiatu, Actor and Employment Agent – Episode 32

Deji Adiatu is another one of those people who makes the rest of us look bad. He migrated from Nigeria to Australia a few years ago and has been working almost non-stop since, not just as an actor who got his break as an extra on no less than The Great Gatsby (yes, that The Great Gatsby) but also with charity organisations like the UN High Commission for Refugees and employment agencies seeking to place people looking for work.

And in the midst of all that he’s been looking after his young son.

Deji is very much a humanist who believes in helping everyone be the best they can. I’m very lucky to have had him as a guest on the podcast!

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Directing the Art of Games – Andrew Navaro, Episode 30

Andrew Navaro, Art Director for Fantasy Flight Games.

Andrew Navaro, Art Director for Fantasy Flight Games.

It’s one thing to create the beautiful pieces of art that grace the pages and playing pieces of Fantasy Flight Games’ products. It’s another thing entirely to ensure that each image not only fits with the tone, themes and atmosphere of not just a given product but also a whole line of products.

Artist and tabletop gamer Andrew Navaro is the leader of a team of art directors at Fantasy Flight. It’s his job as art director to oversee the art direction of Fantasy Flight’s lines and manage the relationships between Fantasy Flight and its roster of freelance artists.

In this chat, Andrew and I discuss his love of gaming, how he came to work at Fantasy Flight Games, just what his job involves and the current state of art in the tabletop gaming industry!

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Marketing Classic Games: Trevor Longino, Episode 28 / Brazen Episode 1

You’ve probably noticed the headline that announces this episode as the first Brazen one. That’s because the Paid to Play Podcast has joined forces with Brazen Careerist!

Logo for the Paid to Play Podcast on the Brazen Careerist site

They even made me up this neat logo, too! Now I just have to figure out how get it into iTunes…

The folks at Brazen and I have a lot in common. We both want to help folks get the most satisfaction out of their working lives as possible. Brazen’s team of bloggers – including my guest for episode 15, Kelly Gurnett – give out tips on how to thrive in the modern workplace without compromising what’s important to you.

Which, I reckon, is a pretty good definition of my guests on Paid to Play.

Once a month, I’ll contribute an interview to Brazen; I hope that my interviews can add to Brazen’s already massive library of work-life wisdom.

The first of these is already up; my chat with Trevor Longino, head of marketing and public relations at game distributor GOG.com. Formerly known as Good Old Games, GOG.com has expanded its mission from bringing classic computer games from the nineties back to life on modern operating systems into offering newer titles from indies like FTL to mainstream games like The Witcher DRM free.

Trevor and I discuss the classic video games of the nineties, just what marketing and PR involves in this social media age and how Trevor has handled relocating from the US to Poland in order to work for GOG!

Turning a Passion for Classic Video Games Into a Career (Podcast) – The Brazen Careerist

Can you leave any comments and feedback on the episode’s blog entry on Brazen, please? 

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Resurrecting Great Games: Lukas Litzsinger, Episode 27

We talk a lot about career plans and focusing on goals when we think about where we want to be. But sometimes, you discover an opportunity that takes one of your side interests and shoves it off the pedestrian pavement and straight into your career path.

For Lukas Litzsinger, that opportunity was a job vacancy on the website of tabletop game publishers, Fantasy Flight Games. The vacancy was on the team behind his favourite game (A Game of Thrones – The Card Game), and though he’d studied journalism and copy writing in college, he pursued it – which led him to a career in game design and the chance to resurrect one of the best collectable card games of all time, Netrunner, in a new form.

Lukas took the time to sit down with me over Skype for a chat about how he came to work for Fantasy Flight Games, what designing games as a day job involves and just the recent explosion in interest in tabletop games means in this era of smartphone game apps and massive online multiplayer experiences – not to mention some mutual gushing about how awesome Android: Netrunner is!

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Making Video Games as an Employee and Solo: Henry Smith, Episode 23

Okay, you gamers out there. What’s your favourite game design studio? You know you’ve got one, just like you’ve got a favourite game platform. Wouldn’t you just love to work there, making video games like the awesome games you love to play?

Have you ever thought that even if you score that dream job, you might discover that there are things that you want to do with your passion for gaming, programming, design that you don’t have the spare time or energy to do?

Henry Smith had a pretty awesome job at BioWare, the makers of awesome games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and, more recently, Dragon Age and the incredible science fiction trilogy, Mass Effect. Yet six months ago he decided to take a year off so that he could work on the personal projects that brought him joy.

I caught up with him a month or so after he released his first game, a science fiction themed iDevice app called Spaceteam, where you and one to three friends try and save your starship from utter destruction by pulling levers, twisting dials and yelling technobabble at each other. Though the game itself is free, Henry is earning enough money from the pay-to-download add-on packs to look at extending his time working solo.

I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Henry about getting paid to play – by quitting getting paid to play!

UPDATE: After listening to this episode, please have a listen to my second chat with Henry during his (successful) Kickstarter campaign to fund a year’s worth of game development!

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