Train2Game News: Train2Game radio talks to Terri Mardel

Terri MardelI got the pleasure of talking to Terri Mardel last week about her work with Road Hog Games. She tells me about how her love of gaming grew from being a young child and the work she does with Road Hog.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1222192-train2game-student-terri-mardel-speaks-to-mark-on-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below

Hello my name’s Terri Mardel, I’m on the Designer course and I’m from St Albans.

Hiya Terri, how you doing?
I’m OK thank you

Good! So what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life to who you are now?
Well I have been a gamer since my Dad introduced me to games, say from about the age of 6. 5, 6, 7 maybe. I have very early memories of a sports game on a Spectrum which involved wiggling a joystick really fast. I think from there I’ve always played games. I had a Master System in my bedroom and I used to love playing Sonic and stuff like that, so I’d say it’s something I’ve grown up with and at the moment I work in Blockbuster so I’m constantly trying all the news games out and I’ve just loved games my whole life! Then a couple of years ago, I saw an advert in the paper about Train2Game and I was like “Yeah, why don’t I make games?”

Excellent! So you are quite a fan of the old classic games then?
Yeah, yeah as I say, I have very good memories of childhood, spent in my bedroom playing on Sonic and Alex Kidd and various other games like that!

So you’re now part of Road Hog Games, how did you get involved with that?
Well me, Gareth and Izzi all met at the Game Jam. I’d actually been talking to Gareth before hand, we met over the forums and stuff but the three of us met face to face at the Game Jam and we decided we work together so well that we were going to carry on afterwards and so its just grown from there really!

So What is it you do for Road Hog Games?
I’m the design director, that’s my official title, and basically myself and with Gareth’s input as well we basically design the games and come up with the story lines and all the attributes and features that we want to have. Then communicate that to Izzi the developer and Amy the artist and then it all comes together to make a game!

With Road Hog Games, you are working on Little Green Dude, what was the idea behind that?
It actually came out of wanting to make a game quick sharp and Gareth came up with the idea of doing like a Pong style game and then from there I suggested elements of other games that we could then bring in to make it more interesting, instead of just a single Pong game and its grown from there!

So it was quite a lot of influence from all those classic games you used to play then?
Yeah, yeah! There’s quite a few games I’ve designed through the course and for other things which are based on mechanics in games which I used to love as a kid.

So I know that Road Hog Games has input from an industry veteran, what’s it like working with him?
It’s really good! Just the wealth  of experience and knowledge that he has and that he is willing to impart that on us, it’s just amazing!  

You’re learning a lot from him then?
Yeah!

What is your greatest ambition in your personal career?
Wow, uh, one of several! I guess I’d like to create the next million dollar franchise, character and story behind it. I’d like Road Hog to take off and make something of ourselves that way. There’s tons of dreams!

Always good to dream big! Well I think that’s all we have time for today Terri, so thank you very much!
Ok then!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio interviews Matthew Greenwood

Little Green DudeTrain2Game Radio interviewed Matthew Greenwood, the developer for Road Hog Games. He tells us his coding experience and how he got together with Road Hog Games.

You can follow Road Hog Games on Facebook here or on twitter @roadhoggames

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1118876-train2game-student-matthew-greenwood-talks-to-mark-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hey I’m Matthew Greenwood, I’m from Surrey and I’m doing the Developer course with Train2Game.

Hello Matthew, how you doing?
I’m not to bad

So tell me what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life?
Right well from a very young age I have kind of been forced, as it were, in to programming. When most people were getting their first CD’s, I got my very first Spectrum +2, 48k BASIC and if ever I wanted to do anything I have always had to write it myself. Pretty much had to grow up and effectively write my own things since I was about 8 years old and of course at that age, games. Everyone else was playing Super Mario Brothers and I was playing my own version of it.

So you have always been making games then and have always been interested in that?
Yeah, I started off at a young age playing games and making my own versions of them. I kind of got more in to developing websites and doing all the background server programming stuff for various different companies. I’ve pretty much been solely into programming really since a very young age.

What is it you do for a living now?
I’m actually a software engineer for a brand management company. We do an online brand management system for the likes of various big companies.

Do you think that helps your game development at all or is it a completely different sort of thing that you have to keep swapping between?
Programming wise, most of it is very similar. The work that I do in the actual Train2Game course has actually helped me greatly with a lot of new stuff that I have had to take on at work. It’s kinda helped both ways

What is the most dramatic and/or exciting thing you have done in your life?
I think the biggest thing so far is attending the Game Jam with Train2Game.

Is that the most recent one, the one with Microsoft?
Yeah that was the World Record attempt.

Yeah, how did you find that?
That was an absolute nightmare! It was brilliant fun, I met lots of great people but I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I was pretty much behind that computer non stop. For the few times I did leave the computer I had a few people staring at me because my eyes were just getting redder and redder over the weekend.

So was it at the Game Jam you met the other people of Road Hog or was that a different way you got together?
Yeah, Terry and Gareth were both part of the same team for the Game Jam, Team 46, and we came up with a game called Monumental but we never actually had an artist at all during the Game Jam, so we spent most of the time getting photos off Google I think it was and various other places. We became really good friends and now we are off to do this and I think either Gareth or Terry found Amy, who is now our resident artist and it’s helped us greatly in lots of ways for the new game.

Excellent. So finally, what is your greatest ambition for your career. Where do you want to go with it?
That’s a big one. I think I would actually like to be able to work for myself and to be able to pick and choose what sorts of projects I want to work on rather than having to work on everything because you need the money in the door.

Excellent! Well thank you very much for your time Matthew!
Thank you very much.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Amy Methven

Amy MethvenTrain2Game radio spoke to Amy Methven today about what inspires her art and how she got involved with Road Hog Game studios.

You can listen to part 1 here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1087762-train2game-student-amy-methven-on-train2game-student-radio-part-1

And part 2 here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1087758-train2game-student-amy-methven-on-train2game-student-radio-part-2

or read the transcript below

My name is Amy Methven, I live in Elgin, Scotland and I’m doing the Art & Animation course.

Hi Amy, What’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life and made you who you are now?

Well all the way through High School, the only thing I really enjoyed doing was drawing and I would get in to all sorts of trouble for doodling and I only ever enjoyed doing art at school, it was the only thing I was ever really good at. It was all I thought about, the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing I thought about before I went to bed. Just enjoying playing Video Games and various movies just inspired me to sit and draw my favourite characters. As I grew older I developed more of a passion for it and started to research the people who actually created these characters that inspired me and being very passionate about wanting to create things. Whether it’s through traditional painting or building sculptures is what I am all about really.

So what are some of the artist that inspire you to get into the Video Game industry?

There are a lot of concept artist that I love but the actual artists that got me in to the Video Games industry wasn’t actually anything to do with Video Games to be honest with you. I love surrealism, like Salvador Dali and all that kind of stuff. Looking at that kind of stuff and obviously because Salvador Dali did a little bit of animation as well, looking at the stuff and seeing it brought to life, that inspires me. Just being able to characterize and any form of animation and being able to interact with it through Video Games really inspires me.

So I know you are also working as part of a studio, with other Train2Game students, how did that studio form?

Well basically it started when I joined Train2Game, I started to put my artwork on to the forums and added a link to my online portfolio, just to let other students see what I was up to and then, through that I got various people messaging me to just chat about art in general and then I got a message from Gareth Brook asking if I would be interested in joining his team and I said yes, for definite. So that was quite out of the blue only been doing the course for 2 months and I am already involved in an up and coming studio, it’s just brilliant.

Did you get more offers from people other than Gareth or was it just Gareth that offered you?

It was just Gareth, the other people that got in touch were just other students who were just getting to know each other through the forums. But yeah he was the only one who got in touch with me about working together.

Tell me about the project you are working on at the minute with the studio?

The studio is called Road Hog and at the moment we have currently just started work on our first project and we are getting through it quite quickly actually. It’s called Little Green Dude or LGD and its basically based on the Video Game, Pong, from the 1970’s but with a modern twist on it and that is what this studio is aiming to do. Take retro gaming and modernise them. It’s going really well, I’m really enjoying it.

Why do you think you’ve taken the retro thing and taken it to the modern thing? Is that something you have all been passionate about?

We are really passionate gamers anyway but retro gaming is definitely my background, I played a lot of retro games. We had an Atari system so the very first game I played was one of the very first games ever released which was Pong but I did also play games like Pacman and Space Invaders and all that. That’s where it all started so it is really good to take those games and modernise them for both casual gamers and hardcore gamers.

What are you aiming to release Little Green Dude on? What Platform are you aiming for?

It’s aimed for Android and PC as well.

Yeah, is it going for a Windows 8 release?

Yeah.

Are you going to enter in to the competition that Windows are doing, do you know?

Yeah we are doing that, yeah, for definite.

What is the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done in your life?

Probably joining the Train2Game course! Before that I went to art school for 5 years studying contemporary, fine art. I am passionate about both traditional and digital stuff it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do with my life, just exhibiting art work in galleries and things like that, I really wanted to work in the gaming industry or film industry doing concept art and things like that. So I have to say up to this point, joining the Train2Game course is probably the biggest thing to happen, for the art side anyway.

What is your greatest ambition, where do you want to go with your career?

I want to go as far as I can. I want to just keep creating things for the industry and just have an outlet for my art work because for such a long time I didn’t really have a proper outlet. With various jobs that I’ve had it was quite boring jobs that had nothing to do with art, house keeping and cleaning and things like that. My life in general is to make sure I have some sort of outlet for my art work, I don’t really want to settle. So I just really want to go as far as I can with this. Just to see where it takes me really.

Is there any studio in particular that you would love to work for?

Well I have just started working with Road Hog so I would like to keep working with them for as long as I can!

Finally, where can people keep up to date with Road Hog Game news? Have you got a Facebook site?

Yeah we have a Facebook page set up, it’s: www.Facebook.com/RoadHogGames we will be uploading all sorts of updates on to that shortly.

Thank you very much for your time Amy, its been great!

No problem, thanks very much.