Interview with the Chiefs of Game Developers by Jade
ever wondered about who the people are behind the games you love?
What they look like? What they eat? Well, I came up with 5 questions
for my five-minute interview with the leaders of popular game software
companies. We will feature one Chief each week. And I've also got
a photo of each Chief I've interviewed, so that you can see what
they look like. As for what they eat, that's highly classified information.
Those who are fans of Bust’em
and RocketElite, you know the name of this talented and dedicated
guy, Douglas Beck. After two killer games, he strikes again with another
great game Motocross
Stunt Racer. For a guy who’s got so many degrees in EE,
it’s hard to believe he created all those beautiful graphics
in his games. But then again, why are we surprised at any overwhelming
talent this guy has? Just look at his games!
Interview: Jade Dragon: Doug,
you are a Ph.D. Tell us what you are Ph.D in. How did you get into
developing games for PDAs?
I recently completed my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering after attending
the doctoral programs at University of Washington, Arizona State
University, and Stanford University. My expertise is in Mixed-Signal
Circuit design. This means I can design both analog and digital
circuits for today’s most demanding applications such as cellular
phones, or wireless LAN for example.
I realize software development is a bit of a
jump from circuit design. I actually learned to program when I was
in grade school and have been programming religiously ever since.
I purchased a PDA to simply use as a PDA. I was amazed by the power
of the ARM processor and began coding…The rest is history
given us Bust'em, RocketElite and now
Motocross Stunt Racer
in just one year, and every one of them is a winner. Your winning percentage
is better than Barry Bonds'. Where do you draw inspiration? At which point
you say "ah, hah! This is going to be a cool game!"
The funny thing about game programming is that the game ideas and concepts
are the easiest part. It’s the execution of those ideas into a final
product that is quite difficult. I really enjoy both programming and games--
probably the two biggest things I have going for me. So when it comes
to inspiration, it’s almost always a combination of games I played
and ideas of my own. But the most important thing for me personally is
that I won’t even start on a game until I’m 100% convinced
that it’s going to be something that I would really want to play.
Game programming is very rewarding. Although there is a point during a
project when you make the shift from inspiration to raw determination.
The last several weeks of each game I’ve developed has been: eat,
sleep, code. It makes it all worthwhile though when players send positive
feedback about how awesome a game is…
game from Digital Concepts has great graphics. Who did the graphics for
these games? How much does the 2Dream Game Engine help the graphics?
the exception of a few images, I created all the graphics.
The 2Dream engine has been instrumental in making
the games look and play great. With each additional game I develop, I’m
able to refine the game engine even more. 2Dream has virtually all the
advanced graphical effects you would ever want to use in a game including
transparencies, alpha channeling, colored lighting, particle effects,
etc. And by the completion of MSR, 2Dream also had a full range of 3D
effects such as 3D voxel rendering, shadow casting, and hidden surface
removal. These advanced graphical effects are essential to make games
look great. One other important aspect of the engine that’s important
to myself as a developer is the ease of use it allows me to rapidly develop
games. Without 2Dream, I would be lost…
you like the quality of the handheld games you see in general right now?
Do you feel that you have more competition now than a year ago?
There are plenty of great handheld games on the market at this point.
It’s very encouraging. There are definitely more companies developing
titles for Pocket PC now than ever before. This is a good thing for everyone.
For end users there are more titles to choose from and play. For developers
and OEMs more software helps bring more people to the platform which ultimately
means more customers. My personal hope is that the Pocket PC platform
continues to grow so that I can continue to develop games for PPC!
often do you play games? What's your all time favorite game?
a gamer through-and-through. I’m always playing games when I can
fit them into my schedule. My favorite genres have always been RTS &
FPS. As for actual games, I loved the original Command & Conquer,
Doom, Starcraft, Transport Tycoon (Chris Sawyer’s title that preceded
Rollercoaster Tycoon), Half-Life, Stronghold, Halo, and Battlefield 1942.
I think that’s most of the ones on my “short list”!
know you've just released MSR, but any new games on the horizon?
I don’t typically say much about titles until they are nearly complete,
but I will tell you that my next title will be a little more strategic
in nature ;o)
Another great thing about working on games is all
the great people I’ve met and worked with along the way: Javier
(Argentum), Jacco Biker (The Nutcracker), and the Monkeystone crew (Hyperspace
Delivery Boy) to name a few. All the fans and people that have purchased
my products, thanks for your support! Keep it up and you can expect plenty
more great games coming your way!