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Interview 11. Mack – CPUFreak91

CPUFreak91

Member

Posts: 2337
From:
Registered: 02-01-2005
Although a bit late, this fortnight's interview is with Mack, a veteran CCN member and moderator.

How did you find out about CCN?
I believe Christian Gaming linked to CCN at the time.

Why did you join?
I liked the community; it wasnít completely focused on programming and
discussed other topics. Also fishing around for a project I was working on
at the time.

How did you become a CCN moderator?

Krylar approached me about it sometime ago. He was finding himself too
busy with the dreaded real life responsibilities (work and what not) and
wanted to spend more time with his family. He's a really talented guy and
thus is in demand. He's still the boss for CCN; I just do my best on
modding the posts along with Klumsy, Han and D-Spil.

What kind of job do you have?
Iím the CEO of TGSinc which owns XRUCIFIX LLC and ICE LLC. I help operate
all entities involved. For my day job Iím a Corporate/Business Sales Lead
for a computer store chain here in Alberta, Canada.

Do you enjoy it?
I really enjoy working for TGSinc regardless of the amount of work,
stress, frustration and utter hopelessness we face. Itís my passion.

What was the project?

Revelation. A FPS-RPG like Dues Ex. I'd still like to do it someday, had
some cool ideas.

What kinds of frustration and "utter hopelessness" have you faced?

I don't want to get into the specifics but I could almost say 'you name
it'; both on a personal and business level. The world of game development,
especially game development on a game that incorporates a Christian
message, is brutal.

How old are you? How long have you been working with computers?
Iím currently 24. Iíve been using computers for 15 years, been working
with them for 10.

Are you a coder? What IDE do you use?
I couldnít code Ďhello worldí if my life depended on it.

What languages do you know/program in?
I did do some QuakeC code for
Eternal
War: Shadows of Light
, not that I remember any of that anymore. :-P

Are you learning any new ones?
Iím interested in writing *.fx shaders

When did you become interested in computers?
When I was 6 years old, I saw my first computer.

What was it about the computer that interested you?[b]
The first time I saw a digital game was on the computer and it absolutely
enraptured me. The idea of creating and playing in virtual worlds was
overwhelming. I immediately started drawing and designing little game
worlds.

[b]How often do you design virtual worlds today (if you do at all)?

Every month or so a new idea pops into my head regarding some new game or
product. To get it out I write a couple page design document and tuck it
away.

What is it about the computer that interests you now?
Same thing when I was young; still enraptured with the concept of creating
and playing in virtual worlds

What operating system(s) do you normally use? Why do you use them?
I primarily use XP Pro and sometimes DOS.

What other operating systems do you semi-frequently use? Why do you use
them?

Iíve tried several distros of Linux, havenít tried Ubuntu yet. I just
havenít had the time to get into it. Pat is more the Linux guy.

What other things do you enjoy doing on a computer?
Art creation, Iíd like to buy a tablet someday and get more into digital art.

Do you prefer Email or Instant messaging when communicating with
someone?

Depends on the person and how my time budget is looking, mostly instant
messaging because I can get immediate results (for the most part).

What kind of Email/Chat client do you use? What's it's name?
MSN for IM only. Thunderbird (ftw) for email.

Do you blog? Often?
I have a MySpace (www.myspace.com/xxmack) and Facebook (lookup Mackenzie
Ponech). On my MySpace I give my overwell impressions on various music
releases that I enjoy.

What are the specs of your home and/or work computers?
Pentium 4 650 (3.4Ghz) with Zalman 7700 Copper heatsink
Asus P5WD2-E Premium Motherboard
Mushkin 2GB EM2-5300 Dual Kit (2x1GB)
Gigabyte 3D Aurora Case (Black)
OCZ Modstream 520W PSU
eVGA e-GeForce 8800GTS 640MB PCI-E
Various 160GB and 80GB HDD

Yes no dual core, Iíll probably jump to quad or octa core next year.

[Editor's note: Mack has acquired a quad core since this he started this interview]

Do you have a game console? If so what is it and why did you buy it?
Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, Gameboy Advance SP. Iíve owned NES and SNES
previously so I have a large collection of ROMs for those systems along
with Nintendo 64 ROMs. Best controller for it? The Xbox360 controller for
Windows, very nice controller, works great on the configurations.

If you have a game console, what was your first?
NES was my first.

Do you touch the graphics field of computing very often (such as
modeling, or 2D art, etc)?

Daily I do something 2d art wise on the computer. Most recently I did the
CGDC 2007
logo
and
Christian
Game Servers logo
.

Iím not super great or anything; itís something Iíd like to improve on.

Do you believe in freedom (primarily in software) the way the FSF
believes in it?

People need to make a living and I have no problem for paying for
software. I think that after a certain period of time a product should be
either released for free (if the developer is no longer selling it) or
open sourced. A good example of this is id software; you can use the Wolf
3d, Doom, Quake 1, Quake 2, Quake 3 engines for free under the GPL.

Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?
I donít watch a lot of TV, when I do itís Star Trek (any of them) or
Everybody Loves Raymond. I enjoy various movies and movie series, too many
to list.

What other non-computer hobbies do you have?
While not a hobby I am married and spend a lot of time with my wife. Iíd
like to get into painting and start body building again however.

How would you describe your relationship with Christ?
Different. I very much so grew up in a strict legalistic church
surrounding (not so much family) which I rebelled against in my teens.
After that Iíve been on a personal journey building a relationship with
Jesus. One of the biggest things through all of this is a strong assurance
that Jesus is just as real as anything else we can hear, see, taste,
touch, etc. He and I have a strong relationship where I feel like I can
talk to Him about anything and I feel Him with me. Itís hard to explain,
itís very personal and really good!

How do you imagine a way that you could use your talents and
experiences to serve Christ?

Right now Jesus is using me in the game development field. Both in the
development of the actual projects, reaching out to people that I come in
contact with during the development and being an encouragement to my
development brothers and sisters. I try my best, Iím far from perfect.

What kind of geeky projects do you see yourself doing within the next
couple of years?

Depends how things take off.

Was the CCN Speed-Game Competition your idea?

I don't think so. I don't remember who came up with it.

Why did you start the competition?

After hearing it I thought it was a great idea. Really, like Bible Dave,
it's to encourage people to do actual work on a project rather than talk
about it endlessly.

How did you obtain prizes?

I asked. I went to 20 or so different sites and sent them emails telling
them about the competition. Some sponsors, like GarageGames, expressed
interest previously so I did a follow up.

What in the 2007 competition is different from the 2006 one?

I think everything has over well improved and the exposure is a lot more.
I think after the contest, after we make a big hoopla across the net about
it, a lot more exposure will happen.

What do you think about the variety of coding languages and different
tools that are going to be used in this upcoming competition?

I have no real professional view on them. Whatever it takes to make a
killer game.

Why is the Mac not listed as an OS that a game can run on?

None of the judges have Macs. Iíd like to see Mac support down the road,
maybe next year.

This interview is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License


Interview Series:

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All Your Base Are Belong To Us!!! chown -r us ./base
"After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless.'' -- Tao of Programming Book 2

"Oh, bother," said the Borg. "We've assimilated Pooh."

"Socialism works great... if there are no people involved." -- Pastor David Ginter, Union Church of Guatemala.

My Programming and Hacker/Geek related Blog

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited August 10, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited August 15, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited September 25, 2007).]

HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Excellent interview!

quote:
Iím currently 24.

Wow! I just turned 26, I'm quite surprised that Mack is younger than me. For some reason, I had the idea that he was older than me.

quote:
Was the CCN Speed-Game Competition your idea?
I don't think so. I don't remember who came up with it.


I'm pretty sure that D-Sipl did all the hard work of getting the first comp (2006) off the ground, though I think the idea had been tossed around a few times before anyone acted on it.


Thanks for the great interview!

--clint

[This message has been edited by HanClinto (edited August 10, 2007).]

samw3

Member

Posts: 542
From: Toccoa, GA, USA
Registered: 08-15-2006
quote:
Originally posted by HanClinto:
I'm quite surprised that Mack is younger than me.

I'm surprised as well. I guess it's the mohawk. ...or maybe the fact that he conducts himself in such mature fashion.

quote:
I don’t watch a lot of TV

I know what you mean. There's so much of life to live. Why waste it on tv.

Thanks again, cpu, for the great interview!

I always enjoy these.

God Bless!

------------------
Sam Washburn

Check out my CCN SpeedGame 2 Blog

kenman

Member

Posts: 518
From: Janesville WI
Registered: 08-31-2006
quote:

Iím currently 24.


Just think how good you'll be when you hit 40!

------------------
Howdy all! Check out http://art.twobrotherssoftware.com/shs.html, my latest CD.

If you ain't in the forums, you in the againstums :)

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
Thanks CPU for the interview, if anyone else has questions feel free to post them.

quote:
[Editor's note: Mack has bought a quad core since this he started this interview]

Actually the Quad was given to me by surprise by one of my client.

quote:
Just think how good you'll be when you hit 40!

I don't think I can get any balder as it is!

quote:
I know what you mean. There's so much of life to live. Why waste it on tv.

That and I'm not really interested in alot of the shows on.

quote:
I'm quite surprised that Mack is younger than me. For some reason, I had the idea that he was older than me.

I just look it, heh.

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ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
nice interview.

24 is younger than I thought.
which means, when I came on... you were 18...
oh wow. just a lad.

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

kenman

Member

Posts: 518
From: Janesville WI
Registered: 08-31-2006
Yep, I did my first live performace 24 years ago.

No wonder I have grey hairs coming in!

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Howdy all! Check out http://art.twobrotherssoftware.com/shs.html, my latest CD.

If you ain't in the forums, you in the againstums :)

ArchAngel

Member

Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
so... it's a possibility that it was at your concert Mack was conceieved?

oh wait, Christian forum. doh!

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"The generation of random numbers is too important to leave to chance."
Soterion Studios

Jari

Member

Posts: 1471
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: 03-11-2005
It was interesting to read about you Mack. But I didnt quite get one part, are you coder or not?

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Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

[VoHW] (Help needed) [Blog] (Contact) - Truedisciple (mp3)

zookey

Member

Posts: 1902
From: Great Falls, Montana, USA
Registered: 04-28-2002
Nice interview! Props to Mack and CPU!

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Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
quote:
Originally posted by jari:
It was interesting to read about you Mack. But I didnt quite get one part, are you coder or not?

No, I am not.

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jestermax

Member

Posts: 1064
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 06-21-2006
Mack: What is your favourite brand of toothpaste?

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Visit my portfolio (and check out my projects):
www.JestermaxStudios.com

crazyishone

Member

Posts: 1685
From:
Registered: 08-25-2004
How is nightmares coming along anyway?

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HanClinto

Administrator

Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Wow, so how old were you when EW was published? That's amazing that you were able to have a published game when so (relatively) young.
Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
quote:
Mack: What is your favorite brand of toothpaste?

I'm currently enjoying Crest Cinnamon. I find anything mint leaves a nasty after taste.

quote:
How is nightmares coming along anyway?

Slow but progressing. We need proper backing in order to get into full production. I posted some media on GameACE sometime back, here it is:

quote:
Another update for you guys, you remember the concept of the angelic shield, here's the mesh progress so far.

Here's the concept again:
Shield concept

And the high poly, remember to make the best normal maps you should base it off of a high poly (millions of polygons) mesh:
High poly shield mesh

Here's the low poly, or what it'll look ingame. This base mesh is only 3000 poly, very reasonable:
Low poly shield mesh

Shield Low Poly Textured

Shaders: diffuse, normal, specular, ambient occlusion

Down the road we'll probably add a refraction shader to the crystal shards to give them a ice look.

Due to the lighting in this shot you can't really make out the hair with the normal, as the player moves the different light sources will reflect all aspects of the normal map so no worries.


We've gotten interest but everyone wants to see a polished demo, which is going to take a ton of cash (think tens of thousands). No one is really willing to throw money at Christian games anymore since recent fiascos that really screwed over the industry. So it's sorta on hold but sorta not.

Really what the industry needs is a steady release of inexpensive, fun, good quality titles with heavy direct marketing. We're doing some stuff on the side that may help, but more on that later.


quote:
Wow, so how old were you when EW was published? That's amazing that you were able to have a published game when so (relatively) young.

It was 5 years ago this year so I would have been 19. Most of the development was done when I was 18.


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[This message has been edited by Mack (edited August 10, 2007).]

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
TV: What, no mention of Gilmore Girls? :P
Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
quote:
Really what the industry needs is a steady release of inexpensive, fun, good quality titles with heavy direct marketing. We're doing some stuff on the side that may help, but more on that later.

So what kind of games could you give as examples of what the CG industry needs, and what is and how would one go about acquiring heavy direct marketing?

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The time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.
George Macdonald

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
quote:
TV: What, no mention of Gilmore Girls? :P

It's over and I don't watch the reruns.

quote:
So what kind of games could you give as examples of what the CG industry needs, and what is and how would one go about acquiring heavy direct marketing?

Quality pickup and go titles $10 and under. Going to largely populated areas and giving away free games. Focus online advertising on your target market.

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Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
So what would be a good example of a pickup an go game?

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The time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.
George Macdonald

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
quote:
Originally posted by Ereon:
So what would be a good example of a pickup an go game?


Right now everyone is talking the casual games market as the undiscovered country. That market alone has increased to $600 million in 2004 and it's estimated to be $2b industry by 2008 (source: IGDA Casual Gaming White Paper 2006). Those games are typically coffee break titles; play through your browser for 10-15 mins and leave it. The companies make money based off of ad revenue from the site and also 'deluxe' versions of the games that boast more content and better graphics/sound (the deluxe versions are typically stand alone downloaded titles).

So what my belief is that us Christians who are into devin' games should get together on a whole series of pickup and go titles, make them fantastic and then really flog them and then split the rewards afterwards. XX has teamed up with some devs and we're plunking away on some titles but we need more. I would love to get together with some more small teams and start working on some small titles.

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Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Interesting. I'd be interested in tinkering with something like that. I've tried bigger games, but they're too complex for only one person, and I don't really have much experience in devving with a team. This may end up being a viable and interesting opportunity to make some money and help further our industry at the same time. Thanks for telling me about it Mack.

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The time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.
George Macdonald

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
No prob. I'm mostly looking for web people (java, shockwave, flash) that could do a few different titles and also help make short online demos. I'm interested in 50/50 royality splits, co-devepopment, sole IP rights (if you come up with the idea for the game you keep it), etc.

If anyones interested, drop me an email.

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Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Well, I have no web dev skills to offer, but I was considering turning my Competition project into something similar to what you're talking about, then distributing it around my town of residence and the town I'm going to be attending college at. There's a possibility if I can secure some distribution areas and resources that I might be able to offer you an outlet for a few of your titles in the near future. I'll shoot you a PM if it becomes a reality. There's a yearly game design conference at my college also, so I'm going to start trying to circulate there and build connections, hopefully open some more opportunities as well.

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The time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.
George Macdonald

[This message has been edited by Ereon (edited August 11, 2007).]

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
Cool, sounds like a good effort.
CPUFreak91

Member

Posts: 2337
From:
Registered: 02-01-2005
I clicked "quote" when I wanted to click "edit".

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited August 15, 2007).]

SSquared

Member

Posts: 654
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 03-22-2005
Wow! Excellent interview! Had no idea you were so young, either. With a game out and all... I guess you were 21 when we met.

What you are saying about casual games is so cool. I've been on a casual gaming kick since May (when PopCap games was giving away Bejeweled for free) and I've thought this is totally an area Christian game developers should be exploring.

1) Seems like the keen market for the general Christian population.
2) Seems like a good route to get a game developed quickly.

Well, again. That was a really terrific interview. I did not realize the impact "recent fiascos" had on the industry. That's sad and sorry to hear it.

Keep up the great work Mack! You are an encouragement to us all.

Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
I'd like to inquire as to what exactly recent fiascos that seemed to be referred too. Was it just the Left Behind deal or was there more than one? It can be a bit tricky keeping up with Christian Gaming news. Also Mack what's your take on GameACE. I saw it the other day and was thinking of purchasing a membership but I wasn't sure how well organized it was and whether it had any real benefits to membership yet form your viewpoint as a developer/leader.

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The time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.
George Macdonald

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
quote:
Wow! Excellent interview! Had no idea you were so young, either. With a game out and all... I guess you were 21 when we met.

Just a young punk.

Ereon, I'll PM you.

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SSquared

Member

Posts: 654
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 03-22-2005
By the way, I gotta say Mack...your enthusiasm for the contest is really inspiring. Your reasons behind it are refreshing. I feel like you are just as excited as we are and that really spurs me on. Thanks.

Stay Frosty.

Mack

Administrator

Posts: 2779
From:
Registered: 01-20-2001
Thanks man, I am really excited for the contest. All the entries look great and I'm pumped to play all of them.

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