the Junkyard: Garage Games Q&A

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Garage Games Q&A

Garage Games Q&A

Posted by: Mhaddy on 05/14/2001
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We had a chance to sit down with the President of Garage Games, Jeff Tunnell to ask a few questions about getting into the industry. Unfortunately, this interview was created before tJY went down, so some of the information may not be industry leading. However, we still feel there is a lot of fresh content and information that the community will benefit from. We hope you learn something from it!

the Junkyard: Please introduce yourself, your job title and description to the community.

Jeff Tunnell: Jeff Tunnell, President, GarageGames.

tJY: What were the previous games and projects that you worked on?

Jeff: I was the co-founder of Dynamix way back in the dark ages. Since that time I have worked on over 70 titles as either designer, director, or producer. Titles Dynamix was known for were Red Baron, Rise of the Dragon, Incredible Machine, Trophy Bass, FPS: Football, 3D Ultra Pinball, Starsiege, and Tribes.

tJY: What does an average day in your life consist of?

Jeff:: Reading email, talking on the phone, answering forum posts on the GG site, working on the GG site, planning, meeting with fellow GG members. Surfing the net looking for potential partners and developers, and keeping up with the market. I also think of strategic directions for our games, technology, and publishing platform.

tJY: How was Garage Games formed?

Jeff: Tim, Rick, Mark, and I wanted to form a new independent game company in order to work together in a more entrepreneurial format. We went through a lot of ideas and finally hit on the GG concept of helping independent developers. Two years later, here we are.

tJY: Taking a look at the Management page on the site, there is the following entry:
Director of In-House Development
Name to be revealed after he finishes the amazing sequel to an award-winning online game.

This wouldn't happen to be someone from the Tribes 2 team, would it? If so, can you shed any light?

Jeff: That is all in the open now. The other member is Mark Frohnmayer, the lead programmer from Tribes 2. We are very happy about this, needless to say :)

tJY: Not too long ago, Dave Georgeson mentioned that they'd be slimming down the T2 team, would you be able to tell us if any of those guys (and gals) are heading your way?

Jeff: We intend to stay very lean. Only founders for a while.

tJY: What services can GG offer to the aspiring programmer / modeler / artist / designer / etc.?

Jeff: Currently, we offer the V12, an incredible game engine, derived from Tribes 2. That is what we are best known for, but we also offer a free marketplace similar to Monster.com to help create teams or find a job. We have over 2,000 development resources such as articles, web sites, books, or code snippets researched, categorized, and rated. These are the very same resources used by Tim, Rick, and Mark in their every day coding battles, so they can really help educate a programmer. We also have an incredibly active forum where developers discuss everything from getting a project started to copy protection and markets.

tJY: Is it all free?

Jeff: No. The V12 costs $100. As we add new services, many will be free, but some will cost.

tJY: What are your current projects?

Jeff: Our big push right now is to get the V12 out the door. We had to remove the Tribes 2 specific code for Won.net, Miles sound driver, etc. We also had to change the bit encoding, so hackers couldn't mess up the Tribes 2 game. After the V12 ships, we will be making enhancements to the engine, working on our e-commerce platform, and starting our internal game.

tJY: Let's say I'm an individual who has intermediate experience in web design, 3D Studio Max and a little programming in C . I also have a few "inside contacts", how can you help?

Jeff: You can come to the site, check out the resources, talk to fellow developers in your same situation, and get lots of advice. A developer in this situation does not need "inside contacts". They just need to get experience. Use the GG Marketplace to form a team a like minded and experienced people and buy the V12. Start making a game with scripting, then move into actually changing the code. Once the game is looking good, put it up on the GG site, so players can download it and give feedback.

tJY: Is Garage Games a non-profit organization? Are you doing all of this for fun; just to help out the community?

Jeff: No, we definitely want to make money. However, it is always easier to make money if the cause is right.

tJY: What kinds of things will you be offering the public pertaining to the individual production of games? For example, MODs for games.

Jeff: Eventually, we will have a lot of example programs, even more code snippets, and tutorials. We are relying on the community to provide most of this type of support. To date, we have MANY volunteers that have offered to do this work. For qualified developers, we are willing to offer discounts and increased royalties for this kind of work. If you are interested, send me a line with your resume and what you would like to work on.

tJY: How easy will it be to use the products you are developing? For example, can an individual with no scripting / programming experience use them?

Jeff: Anybody can start out scripting. It takes a competent C coder to understand the V12. However, don't let that keep you from buying the engine. It is well worth the money as a learning and educational experience. Most MOD'ers run into a wall when the script code does not do what they want. With the V12, they can go into the C code and make the changes they need.

tJY: Will GG be coming out with a general SDK for developers without the necessary funding to purchase high-quality, highly-advanced programming API's?

Jeff: You get all of the source code to the V12 (engine behind Tribes 2). It contains everything you need.

tJY: What kind of resources will there be for someone trying to learn about programming, or even looking for a job?

Jeff: Check answers 10 and 12 :)

Fin: Final Thoughts:
On behalf of the 'Yard, I'd like to thank Jeff for taking the time to answer our questions.

Related Links: Related Links:
  • GarageGames Website


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