Designing Dreams and Making Them Work: An Interview With Graphic Designer and Independent Game Developer, Mr. Jason Forth
Dreams take hard work. That much we know. But what we usually discount are the hours of working alone and the priorities that we need to juggle in order to tread a path that we genuinely want to take.
Graphic Designer and independent Game Developer, Mr. Jason Forth has got this all figured out. And it all started with an interest that he chose to not grow out of and nurtured into maturity.
Mr. Forth had been most generous to extend his time to Xeno Creatives as he answered questions surrounding his career, his immersion in the gaming community and his exciting project, “Medieval Steve”.
Xeno Creatives (XC): How does one become enthused in Game Development? What path did you take that made you say to yourself, “I am going to be a Game Developer”? Was it something that came about as a necessity or a genuine desire?
Jason Forth (JF): I have been playing games since I discovered “PaperBoy” on the Atari 2600. My love for games then carried over to “Alex Kidd in Miracle World” on my Sega Master System and only grew from that point. The desire to make my own games came about when I discovered a game engine called First Person Shooter Creator (FPSC). It was very basic, but, you could (and still can) make some truly inventive games with it; you just need the passion and willingness to put the work in. There was no need for game development, it was more of a curiosity at first; which later developed into a full-time passion.
XC: Have you tried your hands into any other form of media or technical discipline? If you have, what was it?
JF: Through my time with FPSC, I quickly realised that if I wanted my games to look different or feel different to others, I would need to make all my own art assets. This drove me to learn 3D modelling. I have been making 3D models for around 6 years now and I am always learning something new!
XC: If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what do you think you’d be specializing in?
JF: I am a graphic designer by trade, so, I would be making websites, designing logos and company branding.
XC: Do you see yourself as one who contributes largely to the industry? If so, how?
JF: I wouldn’t say that I contribute to the industry. I have helped a few people along the way and have created a basic set of tutorial videos to help people get into making models for games. I would like to contribute more as I see the gaming community (of developers) as one of the kindest communities I have ever been a part of. The other developers you speak to on the forums are full of the same passions as you and are always willing to help each other; even if it’s just words of encouragement. I guess I can’t really speak for all forums, I am mainly talking about the UE4 forums and the GameGuru forums. All fantastic people.
XC: Where do you see yourself in the coming years?
JF: I would like to say developing games full-time, but, as I am just a one man team, I can’t see that happening any time soon. I love my job as Graphic Designer, so, I am more than happy to stay how I am.
XC: What were the key ideas that led to the conception of “Medieval Steve”?
JF: The original game was initially developed in GameGuru, as a First Person platformer! I modeled a whole model pack for the game and managed to make a 5-Level demo, with cut scenes, voice overs and some pretty challenging gameplay. When I made the transition to Unreal Engine 4, I wanted to create a game for mobile, so, I decided upon making a Side Scroller, using the models I already had in my inventory. Medieval Steve has come a long way since the early days. But, I would like to think he has improved as the years have gone by.
XC: Describe your typical day in production for the game.
JF: My typical day is working full-time in my day job from 9-6, then, go home, help put my kids to bed, go to the gym, come home, cram some food in my mouth and start working on the game. I typically manage to get around 2-3 hours of
development time a day.
XC: What are we to expect from “Medieval Steve” that is a departure from other games of the same nature? How would it stand out?
JF: While “Medieval Steve” is a normal platformer, I have managed to get a full upgrade system implemented, meaning as the player progresses through the game, they will receive star awards, which count to upgrade points. These can then be spent to upgrade Steve’s damage power, health percentage and how many times he can jump before touching the floor. One of the cool features of the games is Steve’s ability to turn into a hand, reducing his overall size, meaning he can squeeze into areas he otherwise couldn’t. This is how the player will find secrets and complete the levels with higher awards.
XC: Have you already finalized a release date for the game?
There is no release date set in stone as of yet, although, I do keep telling people that I have around 6 months worth of work left. Honestly, I think that’s a little ambitious. It’s probably more like 12 months.
XC: What’s next for “Medieval Steve”? Are we seeing other installments in the future or do you have other plans?
JF: I have completed all of the core mechanics for the game, so, now all that’s left is level design, music composition, voice over recording, sound effects, cut scenes, marketing material, website and testing testing testing!
XC: What piece of advice or message can you give young aspirants wanting to enter the industry?
When you think your work is good enough to show other people, delete it and do it again. The second will always be better. This isn’t life advice, just for when starting out.
It is the dedication to young aspirations that lead individuals like Mr. Jason Forth to overcome the constraints in time and create a promising game such as “Medieval Steve”. Xeno Creatives is indeed stoked to see the project come into fruition!