What is the weirdest job you’ve ever held?
I was once part of an on-call banquet setup crew. We either loaded or unloaded the equipment needed for a banquet hall event, set it up or broke it down. We were the commandos that set up chairs, built stages, tents at receptions, company parties and the like before the party. It was my personal weirdest, but on a scale of 1 to weird, it’s probably pretty low.
What is your favorite all-time game?
This changes from a list of about 10 depending on my mood, but today I’m going to say Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSX.
What games are you playing right now?
I’m currently playing: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Rogue Legacy, Dynasty Warriors 8, Persona 4 Golden, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Yes, I always play 4 or 5 games at a time. :)
What motivated you to begin working in the game industry?
I fell in love with video games as a kid when my father brought home a Commodore 64 with hundreds of games on floppy disks. (Thanks Dad!!) Since then, making video games was something I had always dreamed of doing but had absolutely no clue how to get there. I programmed as a kid, studied and played games for countless hours, and began to find a love for artistry as I grew up. I was always motivated not only by the endless sea of exciting and beautiful games that I had experienced, but also by the thought of one day being able to spring my own game ideas into life and to have them played through by other players. Video games were an extremely powerful medium of entertainment in my household and now I want to be able to give back and contribute to the industry that I love and appreciate so much.
What inspires you?
I do my best to stay open to be inspired by as many shiny things as I can because a new idea can be sparked from something least expected. Music, comic books, and other video games inspire me quite frequently. A larger inspiration for me is emotion. It can be conveyed in so many ways and it shapes the way we see and sense what is around us. As an environment artist, creating a scene that evokes emotion in a viewer is something that is always a very exciting challenge to me and can have a very powerful end result. Manifesting a sense of history, mood, possibility, anticipation, and expectation within an environment without necessarily creating the people or creatures is an absolutely fascinating task every time. It only gets even better when characters, sound, and gameplay all come together. It’s a beautiful convergence to me.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest professional achievement thus far has certainly been working on one of our location-based projects. To be able to work alongside such storied franchises and companies was an amazing experience. I was undoubtedly proudest when I was able to see and play alongside all of the people who waited excitedly for hours in line. Witnessing them having so much fun, then leaving with crazy stories and smiles on their faces? That was great. Not to mention it technically was my first completed project in this game industry. Non-professional? Being a father to an exceptional little girl.
What piques your curiosity?
So many things do, but I’ll always perk up if the paranormal or occult is mentioned. On a simpler note, some new metal, hip-hop track, a thrashy industrial show, or a new drum and bass groove will always hold my attention.
What is your hidden talent?
I have a very musical family and background and have been playing guitar since I was a kid. While I am jealous of people that have the ability to read music, I learn just about everything I play by ear.
What is the best thing about working at Schell Games?
We take on very unique projects that are not only extremely challenging to execute, but very rewarding once complete. Because our projects are not always just based on providing entertainment, we have opportunities to contribute to aspects of society that not all game development companies have the chance to.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Did I mention I love and frequently listen to metal? That one has almost always surprised anyone I mention it to. I got into it as a teen, played in a couple of bands and it’s never left my heart.