What is the weirdest job you’ve ever held?
I spent one summer delivering major appliances, refrigerators and washing machines, for a retail store during college. This meant in many cases walking a refrigerator up four floors of thin, turnings staircases. It wasn’t a weird job, but it wasn’t an easy one either.
What is your favorite all-time game?
Naming my favorite game of all time would be very difficult. In hours-logged, I probably played the first Half-life the most. But for favorite game, I might point to Katamari Damacy, or SSX, or Portal. I have played so many great ones, I couldn’t choose just one.
What games are you playing right now?
I’ve played a lot of Kingdom Rush lately, and Plague Inc.: Evolved is a fun game. Mostly, I watch my son play and look jealously over his shoulder. He’s a far better gamer than I am at this point.
What motivated you to begin working in the game industry?
I wanted to animate coming out of art school, but I didn’t want to spend a year animating 30 seconds of a movie, so I ruled out film pretty quickly. And advertising, while another path out of art school, held no attraction for me. PS1 was pretty new at the time, so I went out and bought one and played the original Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. From those two games, I knew that I wanted to work in games.
What inspires you?
As a producer, I’m no longer creating art for games, so I have become an ‘inspiration leech’. I see what the members of my team are producing and get very motivated. When someone shows off an interaction that I had not seen before, or someone brings a new feature on board that is working well, or there is a new piece of concept art, I get very excited.
What is your proudest achievement?
Excluding my children and my family, which easily win out, the career thing I’m most proud of is that I have managed to switch over from a game artist to production without giving up my creative interests. I still paint, draw, and write in my free time.
What piques your curiosity?
I have an enormous desire to try anything that I haven’t already done, to see if I can pull it off. In the past, I wanted very much to be a gallery artist, so I created several lines of paintings and presented to galleries. I have since been shown both locally and internationally in galleries. Recently I wanted to see if I could publish a novel, and that project was funded through Kickstarter and will be out in a couple of months through CreateSpace and Amazon.
What is your hidden talent?
If you haven’t heard me sing the country song “Fancy” in a deep, Travis Tritt-like voice, you haven’t been to the best karaoke night of your life.
What is the best thing about working at Schell Games?
The studio has a great desire to improve, and has done an amazing job during our growth to stay humble. From the top down, we all recognize, expose, and seek solutions to any challenges we face. What makes this the best studio I have ever worked at in my career is that we have a mindset and a talent pool that always wants to grow. Whether it is an artist who wants to be better at their craft or a producer who wants to create a better process, the studio supports that desire with time, resources, feedback, and encouragement.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I don’t think anything about me would surprise anyone at this point. I’m pretty open about who I am, and I’m happy to be at a place in my life that I can express exactly who I am freely and no one around me bats an eye.
To learn more about Jeff, visit TheJeffOutlawShow.com and OutlawArtisans.com.