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More Industy Interviews

Nokia (System Rush),
Will Shen

Dynamism, Douglas Krone

MDM, Barry Cottle

MiTAC Mio, David Lin

ViewSonic, Marc McConnaughey

Handspring, Joe Sipher

PalmSource, Michael Mace

Faces Behind the Games Interviews

Jason Surguine

Tully Edson

iNDUSTRY Entertainment,
Nemanja Bondzulic

Cascata Games,
Neil Wooding

Sony Online Entertainment,
Rob Hill

Mathieu Rolland

Digital Concepts,
Douglas Beck

DreamQuest, Christopher Williamson

Infinite Ventures/ MEG Expo preview,
Eugene Evans

AIM Productions,
Stefan Calle

Eidos Interactive (Tomb Raider),
Nick Robinson

Tomlinson & Oakley

ZIO Interactive, Hongsuk Lee

Ionside (Argentum), Javier Dávalos


Five-Minute Interview with the Chiefs of Game Developers
—by Jade Dragon

Have you 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.

Digital Concepts logo

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!

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?

Douglas: 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 ;)

Douglas Beck

Jade Dragon: You've 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!"

Douglas: Thanks! 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…

Jade Dragon: Every game from Digital Concepts has great graphics. Who did the graphics for these games? How much does the 2Dream Game Engine help the graphics?

Douglas: With 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…

Jade Dragon: Do 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?

Douglas: 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!

Jade Dragon: How often do you play games? What's your all time favorite game?

Douglas: I’m 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”!

Jade Dragon: I know you've just released MSR, but any new games on the horizon?

Douglas: 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!




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