Houston Game Dev

Classic Game Fest

August 22, 2014
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This weekend The Classic Game Fest was held in Austin Texas at the wonderful Palmer Events Center.  This 2 day festival of Classic gaming brought old and new fans of gaming together to celebrate and enjoy in everything in this wonderful, and fairly new media, we like to call electronic games, video games, consoles, handhelds, arcades insert your *favorite game type here*. Not only were there a plethora of rare gems from the past, but also plenty of celebrating Cosplay and game centric music as well.

Originally created as a game competition, the Classic Game Fest has blossomed into a full fledge friendly family event. Allowing Kids under 12 in free was the brilliance of this festival. This allowed young people to experience what they might not get to ever see in video game history and parents to relive their past with their children.

Sponsoring

This event was sponsored by the fantastic GameOver Video Games stores, who have helped foster retro gaming permanently and kept alive all of our classics we love so much. Portions of the event went to the Dells Children’s Hospital.

The bands were fantastic and non stop. Plenty of seeing around the stages provided the perfect rest for people that were… well… they were just not leaving because it was so much fun! An entire arcade of top notch retro games was on free play and every machine had people on it during the entire event.

 

 


Paul Pridham aka Madgarden

September 30, 2013
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Inspiring Indie Devs Outside of Houston!

Keeping with the tradition of exploring Devs outside of Houston… HGD was lucky enough to score an interview with every developer’s favorite Canadian, Paul Pridham, also known as  Madgarden. Paul’s recent release Chillaxian has entertained us for hours. His work has been on our radar ever since the nail biting Fargol 2 Kickstarter and we figured there could not be a better outside of Houston Indie developer to investigate. So without further ado we present the Madgarden interview…

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HGD:Paul, it is great to virtually hangout with you in Canada on this email page! Huge fan of your work. From Glitch Machine  to the mega punching sensation PunchQuest.  I especially enjoyed your *Vote My Next Project* game called Chillaxian.  The game definitely has a solid retro feel to it with nice motion blur to really give you the feel you are looking at an old CRT monitor. So I have to ask, when is the first time you played a video, computer or electronic game?

MADGARDEN:Thanks!

Hmm, the first time I played a video game, was *probably* at my cousins’ house, they had some sort of PONG machine hooked up to the TV. I was young, so it’s hard to be sure of the timelines. And then again, I very likely played Space Invaders at “some place” in the town I lived in at the time, a little town called Corunna which is just outside of Sarnia, Ontario. And then beyond that I played intermittently whenever I had the chance! Arcade cabinets and cocktail tables in diners and bowling alleys… Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaxian… those are my earliest memories.

 

HGD:When did you start making games?

MADGARDEN:I was probably around… 10 or so when I started making games on my C64 which we’d gotten for Christmas. I learned BASIC out of the user’s manual that came with it, and started with the simple stuff like Guess A Number etc. Once I learned how to get sprites on the screen and make sounds, it was heaven. Used to hack on my game-idea-of-the-week every weekend and spare moment I had. Text adventures, dungeon games, arcade games (tried cloning Rygar once) and kung fu games were my favorite to try to make.

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HGD:You just came out with Chillaxian. You have a nice amount of Game Center activity on that game. If I remember right, you made that one in a really good amount of time and had people vote on it. Do you plan to set up other fan request votes?

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MADGARDEN:Oh yeah absolutely I want to do more game polls to decide the little game I will make. That was really fun. I’m enjoying the little 1-2 week game projects, it reminds me of my C64 days in a way, heh. 🙂 My next poll will be beatemup-heavy.

 

HGD:Knight Rider or Airwolf? Sorry need this on record.

MADGARDEN:AIRWOLF

 

HGD: This latest teaser for Death Road to Canada, looks fantastic. I believe that is a Rocketcat Games production? Can you tell us anything more about it?

MADGARDEN:Hmm, well the teaser makes it look sort of “action heavy” but it’s not just all about gibbing zombies… in fact that attitude will surely get you killed in the game. These are the classic Dawn of the Dead style zombie hordes, if they get on top of you, you’re pretty much spaghetti. So it is a lot of cautious exploration inside abandoned cities and buildings, searching for supplies, and the ROAD TRIP aspects which has a lot to do with the other team members interacting and making Choose Your Own Adventure style choices that are coloured by individual personalities.

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HGD: Perhaps you could show us some more from Death Road to Canada? A special Phone pic of the screen/sprite reveal for DRtC?!?

MADGARDEN:Well I have been posting some little vine snippets of my work on Death Road To Canada… mostly zombie behaviours and animation at this point… here’s my latest one: http://t.co/8TH103HiiK Fairly “Dawn of the Dead” right? Once the zombies finish feeding we’ll probably leave a piranha-style clean-picked skeleton behind, heh.

 

HGD: Thanks for taking the time out to introduce yourself to Houston Game Developers!

MADGARDEN:Thanks guys!

 

In conclusion: 

Paul represents the best of the best when it comes to friendly approachable devs and we are so glad he could take some time to visit with Houston Game Dev about his work. We highly recommend you follow him on twitter @madgarden and support this indie dev, amazing coder, father of 3 and all around bad ass dude by purchasing his work in the app store. You won’t regret a cent of it!

furthermore:

go upvote Death Road to Canada on STEAM!

 

 


Richard Garriott de Cayeux

March 5, 2013
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An interview by Eric Kinkead:

As a game developer, my game development has been greatly influenced by the work of Richard Garriott. When I was young, seeing Ultima III at a local Babbages (computer retail store) was a life changing event for me. I collected newspapper clippings, computer articles, everything I could about Ultima and its creator who went under the alias Lord British. It changed how I fundamentally think about games as an experience. My recent game QuestLord was even born out of my fondness for the dungeons, the expansive outdoor terrains and the interactive NPCs that filled the world of Ultima III.

Recently I was lucky enough to meet Richard Garriott de Cayeux and ask him a few questions about Game development, Houston, Space and a few other ins and outs any fan of his work would should find interesting:

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HGD: Your first released game, Akalabeth, was created as a teenager and it was self-published in Ziploc baggies before being released by California Pacific Computer Company.  At that young age, did you know that this was a medium you wanted to pioneer?  

Richard Garriott: All I knew at that time was that I was compelled to make something with this magical machine. I had no idea how far it would go!

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HGD: You had also mentioned that some of the code from Ultima 1 & 2 was originally created in Houston, care to explain more of that?

Richard Garriott: I wrote 28 “D&D” games on my schools “teletype” in Houston. Then my first published game “Akalabeth” and most of Ultima I, were also written in Houston. I did some of that work in Austin as well, when I started to attend UT.

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HGD: In many of your games, from Ultima I to Tabula-Rasa, space makes an appearance as part of the theme.  Having astronaut Owen Garriot as a father and being surrounded in Houston with the NASA community, did you always feel that space would one day be your destiny?

Richard Garriott: At the age of 13 a NASA doctor told me that my poor eyesight would prevent me from being a NASA astronaut. Having grown up with a father and neighbors who were astronauts, I assumed we would ALL go to space. Thus, I decided to “Start my own space program!” At the age of 13, you don’t realize how hard that will be… it was… but I did!

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HGD: Your mission on the ISS was to study and analyze how private citizens could contribute to the success of humans in space.  Have you reached more thoughts on this as an experienced private space explorer? 

Richard Garriott: I am now a devout believer in the new golden age of space travel that is starting now! The cost of access is about to drop from $250M per shuttle astronaut to something on the order of $25M on the new ships, and potentially $1M in the long term. With this happening, the few millions I made with my time on orbit, could be profitable. When this happens there will be an explosion of activities in space. This will still be justified mostly by science and research, but ultra high end travel as well.

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HGD: Much attention seems to be given to the landing of American space crafts.  Can you explain what the landing process was like aboard the Russian space craft?

Richard Garriott: A winged craft can land softly, like an airplane. Capsules land with a thud under a parachute, regardless if on land or water. In my case, the Soyuz lands under a parachute on land. Its basically like a car crash at about 30 MPH. You are strapped in tightly and the seat has shock absorbers, so while it’s a big jolt, it’s very safe! And safety is obviously a big priority!

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HGD: Going forward you have created a new company, Portalarium.  Can you share your goals and aspirations for this new company?

Richard Garriott: I have built a new company for each “grand era” of games. Origin, formed in Houston in 1982, for solo player games, eventually sold to Electronic Arts, Destination Games for Massively Multiplayer, sold to NCsoft, and now Portalarium for social games and the new delivery methods of PC. We believe that we can re-invent games, and for me especially role playing games, in this new era.

HGD: Thank you SO MUCH for your valuable and limited time.

Richard Garriott: My pleasure! Thanks,

 You can see my childhood Ultima 3 notebook that Richard Garriott was so nice to sign, in PDF form, here…

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