[FIELD NOTES] IGDATC January – Making Games with Bert & Ernie

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Professional and amateur game developers gathered on January 10th for an evening of design advice from industry veterans. The International Game Developers Association Twin Cities (IGDATC) chapter was founded in 2004 and meets regularly at the Nerdery in Bloomington with a focus on bringing together game makers in the Twin Cities at various stages of their careers.

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Ask An Indie: Kirk Hughes, GREEN’S DREAM

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Kirk Hughes, Freelance Indie Game Designer, GREEN’S DREAM.

What inspired you to start making games?

Growing up in a tiny Oklahoma town as a queer artsy kid was tough. I felt alienated from my peers and my family. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt like an alien. So I escaped into the alien lands of video games where I felt the freedom to empower myself to save worlds in peril. The games I kept my mind on as a kid taught my imagination to know no bounds, and I owe so much of my artistic success to the confidence those games built in me. I’m inspired to make games so that I can in turn inspire others in similar ways… And the interactive nature of games succeeds where other art forms fail.

At what age did you create your first game?

When I was 8, my family couldn’t afford to buy a Game Boy for me… So I made the shell of a Game Boy out of a tissue box, cut out the screen area, and fed receipt paper through the contraption. I drew hundreds of “side-scrolling” levels with obstacles, power-ups, and even checkpoints and goals.

I had stacks and stacks of receipt paper rolls that comprised my “Game Boy” game library. I moved on to create these bizarre interactive visual novels in PowerPoint, but my habit of first iterating on paper before implementing changes digitally began with my tissue box Game Boy.

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Ask An Indie: Nick Miller, Graveck Interactive

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Nick Miller, Lead Engineer, Graveck Interactive

What inspired you to start making games?

At age 6, my cousin introduced me to D&D. I barely understood what was going on, but I was hooked for life. Simultaneously, the NES craze had just started up. Add to this the fact that my family was into board games, and I was at the center of this perfect little maelstrom. As I learned reading, writing, and math at school, games were just a natural extension of the process.

I remember, circa third or fourth grade, that students were tasked with bringing in material to read for class. Other kids were bringing in Goosbumps and Highlights magazines. I was bringing in the Axis & Allies rulebook, Nintendo Power, and Mentzer D&D manuals (the red box!)

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Ask An Indie: Tommy Sunders, Space Mace

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie:  Tommy Sunders, Game Designer & Artist at Space Mace.

What inspired you to start making games?

Games and creativity have pretty much always been part of my life. Growing up, making games seemed like the coolest thing in the world. I would sink hours into terrible games if you could make your own levels (look up Penny Racers for the N64). Games as a medium are still so young, there’s so much exciting untouched potential to explore.

At what age did you create your first game?

12 or 13ish? My parents sent me to a summer video game camp at the U of M that taught kids to code by making games. I pretty quickly learned that programming wasn’t really my thing.

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VR Startup ZeroLight Taps Minnesota Gaming Vet Chip Pedersen To Lead Local Outpost

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Virtual reality has exploded in the last few years in video games and now it’s poised to make strides in the automobile industry with a bump from Minnesota.

ZeroLight Limited, based out of the UK dba ZeroLight USA has been developing virtual reality solutions for automotive retailers over the past few years and they recently hired industry veteran Chip Pedersen as Director of Product Development to plant a flag in Minnesota.

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Ask An Indie: Patrick Swinnea, Peacock Games

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Patrick Swinnea, Peacock Games

What inspired you to start making games?

I grew up in the 80s on a steady diet of movies, cartoons, video games and Bible stories. The thing I took from all it was an awareness of the power and importance of storytelling. For me, movies were the ultimate form of story, and I knew at a pretty young age that I wanted to work in some kind of visual storytelling medium. (I was also super into magic, and my 10-year-old self figured that if making movies didn’t work out, I could always fall back on a career as a magician!)

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Ask An Indie: Nate Pacyga, Super2Games

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Welcome to Ask An Indie where we interview local independent game developers to learn how they make, do and create.

The Indie: Nate Pacyga, Co-Owner / Lead Engineer / Lead Designer, Super2Games

What inspired you to start making games?

Like a lot of Indies, I grew up during the NES and SNES era, which was a pretty sweet time to be a kid and gamer. I bought my first Nintendo at the age of 6 by collecting pop cans and saving up, so I earned it! From there it was an obsession with playing as many games as I could. It wasn’t until well after high school that I had the attention span to even start programming and I didn’t start studying game design until I was 26.

At what age did you create your first game? What was it like?

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