Tabletop roleplaying and digital game designer Jared A. Sorensen has been a mainstay of the indie scene since the turn of the millennium. He’s probably best know for his roleplaying game InSpectres, about busting ghosts while balancing the budget, but he’s worked across projects across the gaming spectrum.
Jared is one of my classic guests. I first spoke with him for Episode 8, all the way back in 2012, and I’m glad to have him back on to talk about his latest project, a hardcover compilation of his Parsely series of party games inspired by the text-based computer adventures of the seventies and eighties. As of this posting, the Kickstarter for the Parsely book has finished with over 300% of the requested target!
Join us for a chat about nightclubbing spiders, the great screenwriter in the sky, running a game at a planetarium, adjectives and expletives in Australia and the United States and being a travelling mad scientist!
3D character artist Delaney King has worked on a swathe of triple-A video game titles, including Unreal Tournament 2004. She was instrumental in developing the Australian video game design scene by starting professional courses based on her education during trips to the United States.
Delaney has also started the brands, King’s Minis and Darkling Games, and is preparing Skulldred, a set of tabletop miniatures gaming rules designed specifically to allow those who have impairments with numerical literacy to enjoy the full competitive experience of miniatures wargaming, for release.
If those weren’t enough, Delaney, identifying as queer herself, is a tireless advocate for the LGBTIQ community within the video game industry.
Join us for a great chat about the good old days of miniatures gaming, the struggles of unionising in a digital industry, the three main qualities people look for when hiring game designers, the relative densities of hobbits and lava, how hard it can be to ask for help and how you really, really, really need to back your stuff up!
Narrative designer for computer and video games Evgeni Puzankov works as a freelancer in the video game industry from his home base in St. Petersburg in Russia.
After working as an employee doing scripting and production for video games and becoming a lead narrative designer on Suricate Games’ title Panoptes, Evgeni went full-time as a freelancer in October 2016.
Since, he’s crafted narratives for the Steam Greenlight game The Long Reach and a few more games yet to be announced.
Production manager and writer Ryan Schapals works for the LA online media studio Hyper RPG. His job is to turn tabletop roleplaying games into live performance-based narrative experiences on the video streaming website Twitch.
Prior to joining the HyperRPG team, Ryan worked with computer game company Harebrained Schemes as a writer for the app-enhanced tabletop miniatures game Golem Arcana. Right now he’s juggling his minion duties at Hyper RPG building the world of Amaurea’s Dawn for a new tabletop roleplaying game rule set, Open Legend.
Join us for a chat about the second-guessing voices in the back of your head, getting into roleplaying games through Neverwinter Nights, turning down the opportunity to be on-screen talent and the zen experience of doing the dishes!
Game director, producer, writer and designer Neil Rennison is the original founder of Tin Man Games, a company that brings the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks of Eighties childhoods back to life as apps. Neil has worked in the computer and video games industry for over fifteen years. He’s been involved in over fifty published games including such high profile titles as the Need For Speed series, Nascar series, The Sims series and the Tiger Woods Golf series for a variety of platforms including iPhone, DS, PSP, and Wii.
Neil has had a number of articles published in 3D World magazine & PC Format, has dabbled in university lecturing, is an adjudicator for government funding in games, and has given talks at various gaming conventions and gatherings of the International Game Developers Association.
Listen in for a great chat about the snowball effect, going freelance in the video game industry, being asked by the superstar in your business to adapt one of his works and that odd sensation of, “I could be perfectly happy staying where I am now – but…”
Heroes of the Storm fan and coach of Texas A&M Team Maroon Zac is better known within the eSports community as The IMP. A former competitive player himself, Zac is working to get his team of five college students to the winner’s podium of the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm league; not only that, Zac applies his skill in Heroes of the Storm through freelance coaching of anyone looking to better their game!
As this episode goes to air, Team Maroon will be in the final matches of the the Group Stages and Playoffs of Heroes of the Dorm, but Zac has confirmed that they’ve now won enough matches to make it into the Championship Brackets starting on March 18th; if the team wins all four Bracket matches, they’ll be through to the Top Four final rounds on April 8th. The champion team will come away with each player’s college tuition covered for up to three years!
Listen in as Zac and I have a great chat about taking a group of alpha males and making them work together, the time commitments required of a competitive gamer, the sheer complexity of playing a Heroes of the Storm hero, the difference between a melee and ranged flex player and his ambition to return to the college competitive leagues as a player in 2018! Continue reading →
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.
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!
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!
Game designer and writer Monte Cook has worked on hundreds of roleplaying and board game products. He co-designed the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, served as design consultant on the Pathfinder roleplaying game and, in 2012, co-founded Monte Cook Games, LLC. As Creative Director and Lead Designer, Monte co-created the Cypher System roleplaying game rules that are the heart of The Strange and the award-winning Numenera.
Monte also bends his writerly talents to novels and fiction, comic books and nonfiction works. In his spare time, he makes the odd YouTube series with fellow geeks, like the a tongue-in-cheek take on ghost hunting reality shows, Geek Seekers, co-starring Jen Page.
Please listen for a great chat about sleeping on couches while interning with an RPG company, some of the dearly departed brands of the RPG industry, why you shouldn’t listen to gossip about the “big guys” and the differences between working for and running an RPG company.