Q: When did you start playing games and what games do you like to play?
A: I was 4. My dad and I played through Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I don’t think anything before that unless you count like… Checkers or something, haha. I really loved adventure games like Zelda, Ratchet & Clank and I still do. Then in High School I got into the more mature stuff, shooters, like Halo 2 and Gears of War. Also there was Super Smash Bros’ Melee, which started my sophomore year in High School and I still play it to this day. I used to play competitively and I was super involved in the pro scene. At my peak I was 50th in all of New England, which was pretty great.
Q: What point did you know you’d turn your love for games into a career of making them?
A: It’s difficult to say for sure, for a long time I didn’t know what I’d wanted to do. In High School I had no real calling, didn’t really know what I’d wanted to do. I just knew that video games were a big part of my life. So after High School, I went to Manchester community college for two years and pursued an art degree with a focus in Game Design because I figured “I liked games”. I took a couple of art classes and a couple of programming classes, which really got me into programming. When I transferred to Becker College and had to declare a major I now knew two things: I like games and I like programming, so I put two and two together and went into games programming.
Q: What was hard about getting into programming for you and is there anything you find particularly challenging
A: Personally, the hardest part about getting into programming was getting into the mindset of “I can make a career out of this”. I went from “I don’t know” to “I guess I’ll do art for games” to “ I’m gonna program for games”. Which was just kind of a process of growing up for me, you know?
Another thing is I struggle to learn quickly. Some concepts will just take me very long to understand, but when I eventually get it I’ll have a really good understanding of it. At Becker College I remember trying to program shaders being ridiculously hard. The “Game Programming 1” class really kicked me into shape to get into the mindset. I remember spending a whole weekend on one assignment, something along the lines of 50 hours.
Q: How’d you start working at Petricore?
A: Ryan would approach me with the idea from time to time during the spring semester of 2015, where at the time we were working on Cat Tsunami together. I’d always told him yes and eventually when Petricore got started that summer I had three options: I could work with Petricore, I could do Mass DiGI’s Summer Innovation Program (SIP) – an internship where students are bring a game from concept to launch, or I could work at VRSim – which developed simulators for training purposes, like I had the done the year before. So what ended up happening was I did SIP and I worked with Petricore just a little bit during it. As kind of a “I’m still here sorta thing”. After that, during my last semester, I spent a couple of days a week working at Petricore, part time. All the while I was looking for jobs, I had nothing against Petricore, but if not hiring me meant a better salary for everyone than I’d bow out. When I graduated Ryan told me that they could afford to have me full time so I joined!
Q: What’s an exciting moment that’s happened while working at Petricore?
A: Jeez, there’s a lot of big moments… I think the release of Mind the Arrow was probably the biggest moment. I mean, nothing tops it right? We were working with our publisher, at the time, Thumbspire. We liked the game, people were liking it and then when we released it we were all sorta nervous. It was our first game and this it represented what we can do as a company so lots of pressure. Then boom! A feature that gets us 200,000 downloads.
Q: What’s a great lesson you’ve learned while working at Petricore?
A: I’ve learned about how to work with people better! I’ve been working with the same group of people for almost 2 years now, which is pretty exciting. It has helped me understand what I’m capable of and how I fit into a team. Once I know that stuff I can better understand what I’d like my career path to be and how to stay productive.
Q: What kind of games are looking forward to seeing come out of Petricore?
A: I guess I’d much rather work on a PC game or Console. I don’t really enjoy mobile games, it’s not entirely my thing. Personally, I really love digging into a set of mechanics a game gives me; almost to the extent of abusing them. That’s why I loved Super Smash Melee so much because the game was not designed to be played as the competitive scene plays it. They use certain exploits in the mechanics just to make the game faster, competitive and much more enjoyable.
In short, something mechanically complex but I can’t really see that translating super well onto mobile, even then the market isn’t really there for that and I’m not making games for me unfortunately, you know? So I’ll just need to wait till we can move to console or PC.
Q: Why is Super Smash Bros’ Brawl Better than Super Smash Bros’ Melee ?
A: Wait, what?!? Did Oliver write this question?
Q: Why don’t you think Melee is a party game?
A: Melee as designed by it’s designers is a party game, I agree.
Q: Why exploit it?
A: Because that’s where the game is!
Q: Why don’t you play with Bombs?
A:Because it’s not fair! Spawn location is random. The faster character get’s it more often; Captain Falcon is already there! Jigglypuff has no clue what’s going on! Fox and Falco have reflectors! The meta changes!! Also typically with fighter games it’s player vs player minimum outside components, pure execution, etc.