The next interview in the series is with Chris Mayer, programmer for Starlord Interactive. Starlord’s been around since 1998, developing a number of fun games. They released their first commercial game, available on Google Play, called Ricky Runfast! The game has reviewed quite well, receiving 14 out of 15 perfect ratings. It’s been called an addicting retro game. There are two versions available. The free version comes with ads. The pay version, and it only cost $0.99, has faster updates (levels, etc) than the free version. Also, it’s been called a steal for $0.99, so I think that’s very telling of the quality of the game.
Plus, Chris is a very social person. At the end of the interview, I’ll be giving Starlord Interactive’s facebook and twitter page. Be sure to send him a hello. And for crying out loud, check out the game!
Michael: Starlord Interactive. That’s a nice name! How’d you come up with it?
Chris: Honestly, it kind of popped up randomly. I always loved the Sci-Fi genre and the idea of space travel, I guess it came from those interests? I actually remember a friend and I when I was very young had a little folder where we would draw logos and names for game companies because we always wanted to run our own! I think Starlord Games was one of the few that really stuck with me.
Michael: Starlord Interactive has been around for a long time! What do you attribute to your company’s longevity?
Chris: Haha, we certainly have been around for a long time! That said, most of that time I was running Starlord as a hobby development presence. I haven’t tried to really put my foot down until now that I have a little more time up my sleeves! We only starting launching games commercially in 2013 with our first title on android, Ricky Runfast!
Michael: So, Starlord Interactive has been around for roughly sixteen years. What neat things have you learned after all that time?
Chris: It’s tough! And i’m only now learning that your first few games aren’t going to have everything you want in them, you have to set a time limit for features and sometimes those features you couldn’t reach are best left for the next game! I have so many projects that i’ve started that will never see the light of day because I was overambitious and bit off more than I could chew at the time. Every experience and helped hone my knowledge for the next project however and has always been a great learning experience!
Michael: With all the time you spent programming, it must feel like you’ve almost done it all. How do you come up with your ideas? Where do you look for inspiration?
Chris: I often use my friends as a sounding board for my ideas, with one of my main current projects T.A.C.T.I.C.S, my friends and I started creating a board-game and i’m basing the game off of that concept. I also try and base my games off of game genres that I enjoy. For example T.A.C.T.I.C.S is going to be an asymmetric co-op game, (3 versus 1) …Which may be expanded with different play types later on in development!
First exclusive look at their new game!
Michael: Who is you make games for? They have a very distinctive, old-school look.
Chris: I like to make games for people like myself. There is always a touch of nostalgia and I prefer the timelessness of 2D games. I guess I’m aiming at a nice mix of the three categories you mentioned!
Michael: Very cool answers. Let’s change topic a little bit. When did you first realize you wanted to make games?
Chris: My cousin is a games developer. I watched him when we he was starting to learn and he introduced me to a program called “Klik n’ Play”. I was about.. say, 10 at the time? Klik n’ Play allowed me to get in and try and create some games without a great deal of knowledge and built up my confidence.
Michael: That had to be a blast, giving you a different perspective with gaming. Did you have any favorite games growing up?
Chris: The first console I owned was a Nintendo 64. The first I actually played was a SNES (though, i wasn’t old enough to know that’s what it was called!) First ever game I played was at a birthday party. Donkey Kong Country!
I have to say one of my favourite games growing up was Perfect Dark. It was SO ahead of its time in every aspect. Graphics, Story, Engine, Music. Absolutely loved it.
Shot from Ricky Runfast
Michael: What about now? Do you have a favorite now? And how many games do you own?
Chris: Wow, way too many! (Not that you really ever have too many!) In excess of 200-300 games on PC alone. Often times I’ll buy a game if the premise/concept seems great, even if I know I probably won’t have the time to play it. I try and support indies like myself. One good turn deserves another!
Don’t make me pick a favourite game!!! I’ll try and narrow it down a little. I love Co-Op games, Not generic multi-player, games where the players work together for a shared goal. Alien Swarm was a great example of that. I also love city building games like the ANNO series and the Civilization series. Hmm, also anything Rouge-Like, though I prefer games with a set out story to discover. Fallout 3 is one of my all-time favourite titles. Ha, I guess that didn’t really narrow it down a lot!
Michael: Besides video games, what do you do for fun? I’m going to assume it’s far more than programming!
Chris: I spend time with my girlfriend, I play board games with my friends and LAN gaming nights definitely aren’t out of the question! I also like to go for drives whenever possible. I own a Golf GTI and that thing is fun to drive along mountain sides and the such! Rainforest walks aren’t out of the question as a nice break from technology!
Really in to Sherlock, Elementary (you can see a trend here!), Fringe, Suits, Battlestar Galactica and many more! .. Movies, I enjoy heist movies, or thought provoking movies. I loved Gattaca. Music, I am all over the place with music, haha. I have a Dubstep CD in my car right next to my Legend of Zelda Anniversary Orchestra CD. I love them both.
Michael: Man… you have an awesome life :) Last question! This is one I love to ask. Let’s pretend you had an unlimited budget. What sort of game would you make?
Chris: Ha, well! I would LOVE to make a fully immersive game based around the concept of time paradoxes/time travel. I would want this game to be a heavily story driven 2 player co-op with the possibility of both players playing in the same place, but at different time periods and actions taken in the past reflecting the player currently operating in the future. Would probably be based around a crime-solving duo with one time setting being in the future whilst the other is a rendition of current time. I know that something like this would be a MASSIVE undertaking to do right, but, that’s the dream!
Michael: Thank you so much for taking your time to answer these questions!
You can find Starlord Interactive at following sites
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