Out Of Context _ Interview With Lag
Ok.. changing tack here now a little.. Were computers and coding something that you were always interested in, as you are a game developer now, right?
I am a game developer and thank god that I don’t have to code anything. I do all the creative work. Game design, story, balancing, sound. Dream-job. The game we are working on is a relatively small project, but huge in the context of browser gaming. Sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s hella fun though. You can check our game development progress @ www.facebook.com/aeonsevenhub, as well as the story so far www.aeon7.info. We are also working on other projects for clients who have great ideas that we get excited about, and, well, who have the moneyz to pay for our services.
The gaming industry in Serbia is not that big as our standard is low so no big tournaments, no frequent purchases of gaming gear, we aren’t big spenders on original software etc. There is a number of firms developing and publishing some really nice games though, so from that aspect – it is looking good.
You’ve said before that you are a fan of war games and different worlds. Why are there so many shoot-em-up war games, and no games about soldiers coming back to their lives after the fighting is over.. with them dealing with psychological problems, disability, unemployment, addiction, homelessness and post-traumatic stress? Eh, I’d buy it 😀
The game you are proposing to be made (also known as “real life”) is failing to serve it’s escapist purpose. A similar setting, with slightly different gameplay from what you proposed, is a game called Postal. I highly recommend it to anyone who is under a lot of stress on daily basis. 🙂
The gaming scene is at it’s best currently IMHO. You have AAA titles full of carnage but no soul, you have the indie developers who are spitting out brilliant games based on insanely good ideas, and then you have some awesome projects (I use the word “awesome” with great care), mainly funded through Kickstarter, which bring the best of both to the table.
What games are you into?
Strategies mainly. I used to play shooters as well, but since Counter-Strike came out they are just progressively more retard-friendly and luck-based. It has gone so far that, when I tried playing the Half Life 2 campaign a few days ago, I was stricken with the mere fact that the game is not treating me like a retard.
Lately I’ve just been playing co-op stuff with a friend. Orcs Must Die 2, Torchlight 2.. and a masterpiece of a game called Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2. It got me into the WH40k world and I’m really hooked now. Money consuming? No. Time consuming? Oh man.. just too much. I could play games all day.
I’ve been playing Ghosts & Goblins on one of those plug-in TV joysticks with my 4 year old son recently and he loves it. The gameplay is great because each baddy has different tricks and you have to do stuff in sequence or avoid / jump onto stuff, otherwise you fall and die. He doesn’t like Call of Duty or Medal of Honour on the PS2, even though the graphics are better and the play is more realistic. I think I prefer it too as it’s more challenging than blowing shit up, shooting millions of soldiers and getting magic medical kits. I’m fascinated that he asks for a 1980’s arcade game over something a bit more modern. As a game developer, how do you feel things have progressed over the years?
That’s some old school stuff you have going on. 🙂
If your son loves that kind of stuff I suggest trying out Braid, Portal, Stacking, Fez… Lots of great mind-engaging games around these days. Also, if you enjoy playing games with your son I suggest trying Rayman Origins. Insanely positive vibe, really easy to have a good time, and the co-op is great.
I was never into consoles, but the heroic stand against the “ways of evil corporations” which Sony took this year makes me want to have a Play Station. It was really exciting. They revealed some of their hand, XBOX went all-in, and then Sony showed its trump card with no DRM policy. XBOX just stood up and left the table.
As for games changing over years, they were getting more soulless over time up to a point where I just got depressed, especially as it happened to coincide with the death of techno; or, as it is now called, “hard techno”. First world problems, I know, but it did affect me. Then I found out that this team of people who made some of the best games of my youth; Monkey Island, Grim Fandango etc.. left LucasArts (which became shit), to form a new studio, and were making Sam & Max games. I played one episode and hope was back. Since then the situation improved significantly (as I previously mentioned), and to top it all off – a game by the creator of Neverhood (which marked my childhood and defined my psyche more than any game ever should) was just successfully funded via Kickstarter a few weeks ago. Good times.
Is being a game developer a good 9 – 5 job? If it’s something that you have a passion for, it seems like it could be something that you could work on all day; a bit like music production. How do you divide your time between the two? How do you find the balance?
TBH I haven’t done any music in a while. First of all, the job is a part of a start-up so we are still struggling to find some firm ground, and my focus is mainly there. Second, it’s a new thing and a lot of work I do exhausts my creative capacities, so when I get back home I just want to press f5 on Facebook, or something as pointless and relaxing as that. I had an offer from a producer I consider to be an idol of mine to send over some music for his label and I still haven’t gotten around to making some. I know the amount of creative fatigue the job provides is going to go down, and I’m starting to fiddle with stuff again these days so I’m not desperate or anything. Just a little bit impatient to get it going on. I do love my job wholeheartedly despite the fact it’s taking such a toll on my music and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.