After having her game chosen by the public to be created with feminist charity The Fine Young Capitalists, Danielle Maiorino has been thrown into the gaming spotlight. TechRaptor contacted Danielle to talk about Afterlife Empire, whether she intends to keep at game development and what advice she can give to aspiring game devs.
TechRaptor: How did you find out about The Fine Young Capitalists?
Danielle: My friend worked in QA for a few games and knows I want to get into the industry, so he mentioned the contest to me when he found out about it from an acquaintance at a con or event he went to. I dug into it, read up on the rules and conditions, tweeted TFYC to ask a few questions, and then decided to just go for it and enter. I almost didn’t because of lack of confidence, but I’m really glad I did for reasons that should be obvious!
TR: What was your inspiration for AfterLife Empire?
Danielle: Specific game examples would probably be simulation games like Theme Hospital or the Sim series. As to the reason I went with a haunted house, I’ve always been a big fan of horror games. The idea stemmed from my wanting to play as the monster in those games, and how the gameplay would change. Everything grew from there.
TR: What has the community response to your project been?
Danielle: Well the people who are interested in the game have been incredibly supportive! I’ve made some great contacts already with other indie devs, and people have been contacting me just to say how much they like the game idea and how they can’t wait to see it. It’s such a great feeling to know you’re working on something people want to play.
TR: Do you think you will continue making games after Afterlife Empire is complete?
Danielle: Definitely! Gaming is my passion and it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m hoping if the game does well enough I’ll be able to hire a small team to work on other projects. I have a lot of ideas I’d love to bring to life!
TR: What has your experience as a woman in the industry been?
Danielle: Hard to say, as I haven’t been exactly ‘in’ the industry for long. I can say that just getting an education for it was a bit daunting. There was only one other woman with me in my game design classes, and growing up I was used to being the only girl playing games. But that’s changing quickly and it really encourages me to see more young women show an interest in game development and design. Even if I do get some negativity going forward, I wouldn’t let it stop me from making games.
TR: Can you give us a hint as to what games we could be seeing from you in the future?
Danielle: Oh gosh I have a whole list of game ideas I’d love to work on. Really it all comes down to resources, time, and money. But if those things weren’t a problem? Well I have an RTS/third person shooter hybrid where toys go to war against each other in a house, an underwater action-rpg where the player has to shed their humanity to gain more abilities, an rpg that doesn’t rely on fighting so much as words, and a bunch of other games that I could go on about but will just stop here for now. So in short, a wide variety.
TR: What advice would you give to aspiring indie devs on the scene at the moment?
Danielle: I’d still put myself in that category, but I’ll give what advice I can! If you’re new, start with something small. I know we all have that massive game idea we’d love to make, but stick with what you can personally do, even if it’s not something meant to sell. If you’ve got experience, showcase it however you can! Putting yourself out there and pumping out as much content as you can helps get recognition and helps your experience. Try partnering with other devs and collaborating on something that may be a bit beyond your own abilities. Also, check out the tag #solution6months on twitter! It’s full of great ideas and tips to help people grow as a developer, as well as resources for even a beginner to get started making their own game.
TR: Who are your big influences in terms of game development past and present?
Danielle: Hard to say with specific devs, since it’s usually a team that’s made some of my favorite games. I’ve always loved Bioware’s writing team, especially with the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series. I feel like their writing is constantly improving, especially with the companions in each game. They’re always engaging and interesting. Another favorite would be Bethesda’s lore team. In each Elder Scrolls game there’s always tons of little bits of writing and books that flesh out the worlds within the games and make them feel more alive. Most players may never notice this, but anyone who stops and takes the time to read everything will find that there’s so much more going on in the game than they realized.
TR: What new types of games can you see being made in the future?
Danielle: I’m pretty excited for what the future of gaming could bring. I think once we get VR technology down we could be seeing all new levels of immersion. Maybe tactile feedback will come into play, maybe one day we’ll actually be able to feel like we’re actually in the game world as never before. Imagine being able to touch something in a game and actually feel its textures. I can only dream about how developers would bring in new gameplay elements with that alone. Our AI is getting smarter, so maybe one day we’ll have NPCs so intelligent they could be mistaken for another player, that grow and change along with you. Gaming grows as technology does and I feel that it’s only at the beginning of what it could be in the future.
TechRaptor would like to thank Danielle for taking the time to talk to us. You can find her on twitter.
Are you looking forward to the release of Afterlife Empire?