Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Timothy Johnson

Name: Timothy Johnson
Twitter: @atlgamedev
Gender: Male
Nationality: USA
Birth date: 22/03/1978
Title: CEO
Company: No, You Shut Up Games
Some games that you have worked on: 

Adventure Time: Legends of Ooo
Adventure Time: Library of Doom
Adventure Time: World War Wizard
Mike The Knight: The Great Gallop
The Secret Castle
Zombie Room AR

1-What did motivate you to become a game developer? 

I always wanted to make games but I lived in Atlanta and there were few opportunities and the barrier to entry was high. As the internet became more ubiquitous and access to knowledge about engines became easier I stepped closer and closer to it.

2-What does inspire you creatively? 

It depends on the day, but mostly it involves deep reflection on things that I care about, usually by poking holes in it and destroying it logically. From there I spin off into untaken directions. It's crazy fun.

3-If you had unlimited resources to make any game you wanted, what kind of game would that be? 

I don't need unlimited resources, in fact that would be the worst thing that could happen to me. Limit my resources, limit my abilities. That's where true ingenuity and creativity lie.

4-What was the biggest challenge of your career? In which game? How did you overcome it? 

Biggest challenge was overcoming poisonous people with higher positions of authority. I won't tell you where or the circumstances, but I overcame it with cold calculated reason. 

5-What do you usually do for raising the possibility of success in your projects? 

Listen to the ideas and opinions of others, but don't let it pivot you from your goal. Also, boil the idea down to one sentence and then write it on the wall in big block letters. Judge all of your decisions by this sentence.

6-What is the most helpful piece of constructive criticism you ever received? 

I can't recall. I've gotten a lot of constructive criticism, but nothing sticks out as being profound. 

7-What are the advantages/downsides to working in games?

It's the entertainment industry, meaning it can be feast and famine. Also, the whole indie movement has both progressed gaming and harmed it. Due to the continually lower barriers to entry the mean quality overall is being depressed. It's a problem that will correct itself, but now is a difficult time.

8-What is your best advice to a beginning game developer?

Don't specialize, ever. Are you a designer? Go pick up a book on LUA or JS and start scripting. Are you a c++ graphics programmer? Learn more about the art of design or the overall infrastructure architecture.

9-Which skills are the most important for a game developer in your field/position?

C++ is a must. So many devs are coming out with very little knowledge. They're all learning node.js or some other functional stack. I know that's out of fashion, but that doesn't make it less true.

10-If I want to become a great dev in your field, what games should I play, what books should I read, and whose work should I follow?

John Carmack, Will Wright, Gareth Bourn. Find a game you love, find out who made it, find out what they read, what they follow. Do that.

11-What changes do you want to see in the game industry?

It would be great if people thought games were worth spending money on again, but that goes back to my earlier point about the mean level of quality currently being depressed. 

Bonus: Tell us a funny story from your adventures in game development.

Working on a prototype for The Sims and accidentally reclassified toilets as refrigerators. It was equally gross and hilarious.

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