Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Judy Tyrer

Judy Tyrer

Game developer (Ever, Jane)

Who are you, and what do you do?

According to one forum post, I am an "old hag". I liked it, I've been laughing for weeks. I also like to think of myself as a "creative" but the truth is I'm just an old hacker from way back in the day. I started in serious games in 1977 and to my delight have discovered my first professional project is still available on-line through The PLATO Project. It was called "Selling: The Psychological Approach" and I worked on the sales call simulation portion.

And what I do is make games. But as a programmer, my game design tends to focus on game systems, hence the gossip system portion of Ever, Jane. I am also a little bit of a process geek and enjoy reading books about software development process. I hold very strong opinions about the industry and got tired of trying to change things within and just started my own studio to put my theories to practice and, if possible, prove I'm right. One of the critical beliefs about business can be seen on my blog, which was reprinted in three parts in the IGDA Design Notebook.

What hardware do you use?

I have my first iMac and I'm not thrilled, but we needed a decent build machine for the Mac. My primary Windows machine is hand built with about 8 fans because I have a nasty habit of burning through video cards. It has a solid state hard drive which I use for Visual Studio and Unity only. I have mixed feelings, I love how fast it runs but sometimes I forget my customers don't have gaming computers and so it's good, I play mostly on the Mac (I came of age as a UNIX weenie and am not fond of closed systems and thus have never liked Apple).

And what software?

Adobe Cloud, Unity, uLink for networking, my artist uses Maya, and I use Visual Studio as my preferred IDE (and I am a huge fan). For source control we use SVN and Trac for our defect tracking. We use db4o in the prototype but will be converting to a more scalable database solution. I can't say for certain what that solution will be but I'm working with some people to find something that will perform to our needs.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream set-up is a fully funded studio working on one or more live games, at least one game in production, and up to three games in concept phase with a process in place through which all members of the studio can pitch their projects and potentially spend some of their time developing them. My dream set up continues to embrace distributed development, but as a fully funded studio I can afford to bring people together one week a quarter where we team build and bond. And because it's a dream world, my budget includes bringing families and, for those younger and more single, friends, to join us for the weekend afterwards.

We have SendLove because it is THE coolest tool ever for setting a positive corporate environment. And because taking care of our employees and setting a good environment is one of our highest priorities, our turnover rate is non-existent.

Even though we are fully funded, our budgets remain low and reasonable. This allows us to take much greater risks than we would be able to otherwise. In a dream company I would be able to field games that lose money but are worth building just because we have so much to learn by trying knowing eventually we'll get it right. In a dream company, the games that are selling provide sufficient R&D budgets so we can make some that may not and have that be not only okay, but a crucial part of our development process.

And as long as I'm dreaming, the rest of the video game industry ignores how much money we are making and continues to believe that women don't play games leaving the entire market to us. And we all live comfortably ever after.