Tag Archives: video games

Evgeni Puzankov, Video Game Narrative Designer – Episode 119

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.

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Neil Rennison, Tin Man Games – Episode 111

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…”

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Zac, a.k.a. The IMP, Pro eSports Team Coach – Episode 109

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

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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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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Cosplay’s Best Mate: Beethy Photography – Episode 39

Beethy is a photographer based in Australia who has chosen to focus his craft on portraits of cosplayers; people who not just make costumes based on fictional characters, but also go out in public and bring life to those characters. That focus has garnered him not just a living wage but also a fantastic reputation amongst the international cosplay community.

Cosplayers around the world know that the name Beethy means eminently sale-worthy portrait prints of their craft and art, but they also know it means a fun being who brings joy to the process of making great photos. I got to sample his warm personality in this chat, during which he tells his stories of the community and how he became so well known within it.

Beethy also gives a good chunk of practical photography of business advice, including a crash course in taking good cosplay photos and the rules that Beethy built his business around. You may find his experiment into who produces the best photo prints to be a real eye ear-opener!

Oh, and there’s some random geeking out about video games and consoles at the beginning too! I love asking folks what they’re digging right now!

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Henry “Hengineer” Smith and the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club – Episode 34

UPDATE (8 July 2014): The Spaceteam Admiral’s Club Relaunch met its funding goal! Congratulations, Henry!

It’s been almost two years since Henry Smith quit his job at triple-A game studio BioWare to make his own games. In that time, his Android and iOS game Spaceteam has become a viral, independent hit.

Now Henry is reaching out to his community to fund another year of self-employed game development via a Kickstarter campaign. I had to pounce on the opportunity to not just spread the word, but chat with him (again) about life as a self-employed game developer living by his own rules, passions and schedule!

(Wouldn’t Hengineer Smith and the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club make a great title for a pulp novel?)

WARNING: Though I’m happy with the sound quality, the rush to get this up meant I didn’t edit out some audio problems at my end, mostly revolving around our dogs acting up. I owe a HUGE debt (and several bouquets of flowers) to my wife Vickie who got up on several occasions between 6AM and 7AM to deal with them while I chatted with Henry.

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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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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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