Skype with a Video Game Designer

Last month my Digital Design class had a Skype call with Andy Hull (@StoryFort), professional video game designer. The fun connection to the designer is that he is the twin brother of our very own Julie Thompson. He designed an incredible game that I am dying to play called Spelunky. There is a PC version you can download and play from the website.

Spelunky has you cast in the role of an explorer who has to traverse the deep and dangerous expanses of an underground network of tunnels and caves. It takes place in typical plat-forming fashion where you jump from one safe location to another. There are a slew of devices at your disposal if you can find the merchant hiding in each level. These include bombs, ropes and parachutes, along with a few others that would help make your arduous journey to the depths a little more tolerable. Given how the game was developed, each level is randomly generated. Every time you die, you’re treated to a somewhat different layout, which more or less makes the great mugging skills and strong memory our educational system has forcefully bestowed upon us completely useless. Read more

I was so excited about the call that I completely forgot to take video of our session together. Next time! He was a wonderful match for our design class and gave lots of important advice. My class came up with a list of questions and he answered every single one. Here are some of the questions my students asked:

  1. What is your favorite thing that you have ever designed?
  2. Do you come up with the ideas yourself, or do you design someone else’s idea?
  3. Did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
  4. How long have you been a game designer?
  5. In order to become a game designer, what do you have to be good at ?
  6. What software do you use to create these games?
  7. How do you program actions in the playable character?

If you have an xbox you should definitely get yourself a copy of Spelunky! I will end with these adorable plastic collectable toys inspired by the characters in the game!

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