I guess I hadn't done this yet. Here we go. My apologies it's so long. I apparently
have a lot of history. Trust me, I'm skipping a lot.
I'm Mike Kasprzak (pronounced like Casper the friendly ghost and Zack). I run a little team (2 full time + 1 contractor) working on a game. I half keep the game a secret, but it's pretty blatantly obvious what it is (Hint: It ends with BOMB and starts with Puff... Shhh).
I suppose I've been involved in the indie community for a long time. Pretty much from when my friends and I moved on from BBS's to the Internet, I've been involved somewhere. In the Pixelation/Tsugumo's Forum/Console Style RPG Community days I went by "DrAGON MaX", so yeah, that was me. I suppose I was a moderator on Pixelation, but I certainly went the coder route.
I've also been involved in the Ludum Dare
48 hour competition community since the first one back in April 2002. I'm usually the one that stirs up shat enough that we have one every April. You can usually catch me in IRC during compo's answering questions based on the antiquated rules FAQ I wrote. You can keep up to date via the mailing list at GameCompo.com
(website down temporarily). In case you don't know about Ludum Dare, it's a regular (1-2 times a year) solo compo where given a theme, you make a game based on that theme in 48 hours. A great exercise is rapid prototyping.
Prior to Ludum Dare, I was big in to console programming compo's. I did a few games for Bung Gameboy Programming Compo #2, and walked away with some flash carts as runner up prizes. I was also the only original (i.e. not posted prior to the compo) entry in Bung #4 for a Neo Geo Pocket title. I came in 3rd place (since the game wasn't very playable), and got a little bit of money for that one.
And more recently, for an 18 month period staring late '04, I was also a regular panelist on the GameTunnel monthly round up. That was fun, but I wanted that free time back. I also seemed to really piss off a number of people.
In '99 I dropped out of college to take a game industry job. Starting at 5andbox Studios, who was later bought by Digital I11usions. In '04 I left and join a friend at his startup Big B1ue Bubb1e, and in Mid '05 I left for some burn out recovery and to start a company for my team working under the name Sykhronics Entertainment. Pronounced like Sigh or Psi, Cron as in Cron (?!?), and "ics" like the end of Electronics. That was what I used called my personal website, so at the time when I was looking for a company name, that was an easy choice. It's hard to say though, so ... well, I'm sure you'll see.
A fun fact, during my time in the industry, of the more than a dozen games I've worked on, 5 were girl games. 3 minigame collections, and 2 platformers. Two of them Barbie games.
That's Diva Starz, Secret Agent Barbie, Polly Pocket: Super Splash Island, Barbie Gotta Have Games, and Atomic Betty.
But what was really fun was this quote from IGN about the one title, Secret Agent Barbie GBA (7.5/10 btw)."Believe it or not, Barbie: Secret Agent is the best Metal Gear knock-off that the GBA has..."http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/376/376162p1.html
My team was the King (Queen?) of girl games.
I like to joke that I had the curse of girl games, since after the first one (Diva Starz), a new one would always seem to roll in. I essentially had to leave and start my own company to break the curse.
I've been fascinated by game making from as far back as I can remember. Things really got moving when my family bought a Commodore 64. I've played most games of note for the C64. For the longest time I never owned a console, but seemed to have played just about everything of note on the NES and SNES, and many notables on every other platform available in North America. And I was pretty good too. I came 2nd place in a little school organized game tournament of maybe 100 students, playing Super Mario Bros 3. I could have won outright, but I honestly felt cheap jumping around that 2nd level with the generating goomba pipes, so I went elsewhere.
What's funny is I used to think my parents were cruel for not buying me a NES or SNES. Today I thank them for it, as I ended up thinking about games all the time, figuring out how they worked, designing them on white reeled printer paper and graph paper, and eventually coding on the C64. In time I moved to the PC and QBasic/QB. Then a funky basic compiler called "Asic". This was pre internet, so I don't have any reminence left due to floppy/HD death. Then to Turbo Pascal making this in 1997: Murmur's Dungeon
. A single screen (Zelda NES style) single character Final Fantasy style 2D RPG. It's a fully playable 1-2 hour quest, but I unfortunately broke the running away logic when I updated it.
Later I switched to DJGPP and became a bit of an Allegro Junkie. With it I did this: Islandgates
. My stab at an epic Final Fantasty style 2D RPG. Working walk around demo, statistics, and prototype combat.
My next epic project was lizard character driven 2D Zelda'esc 2D RPG. This was also done with DJGPP and Allegro. Zeb's Adventure
. Alas, I didn't get further than a walk around demo, though I did produce combat sprites.
Then moving to gameboy land, I produced a couple Gameboy/Gameboy Color compatible games for that Bung compo I talked about. Poke Da Mon
, a name that's a play on Pokemon, but a game where you hunt down a character in an arena to poke him with a stick. You do this as many times as possible in 99 seconds.
And Combat Soccer
. A pong game with characters, a dash move, cheesy opponent AI, and a missile you could fire to paralyze the opponent. Both got me runner up prizes.
Then on the Neo Geo Pocket:Syko*War
. A turn based strategic RPG inspired by a Neo Geo Pocket game called Faselli (sp?), featuring my "Zeb" and "Booster" universe characters. Faselli was top down, and my "tweak" was I did it 2D platformer style. Though I know it's completely unrelated, Little Soldiers reminded me a lot of how the game moved.
And by this time I was in the game industry. It wasn't until Ludum Dare rolled around did I get around to producing more things for myself. I'll skip over the lame ones.
In the November 2002 Ludum Dare compo, with a theme of "Construction Destruction", I came up with this.Sheep Strike
. It's a 2 part game. In the 1st phase, you build a defensive wall/base to protect a group of baby wolves using tetris blocks, exactly like tetris blocks (dropped from the sky). You're given a time limit to do this, much like Rampart. You also get to place gun turrets. Then comes the attack phase, where you must defend your base for 60 seconds against a barrage of flying kamikaze sheep. And this repeats until your wolves get killed.
Then in April 2003, with the theme "Preparation - Set it up, let it go", came the epic that defines me, outside my girl game curse.PuffBOMB
. A physics based puzzle game where you use bombs to get hamsters to an end goal. It's done the rounds. Cover discs all over the world, The Underdogs, and then some. Since this compo, I've been brewing a remake in the back of my head. In 2005, I changed the graphics to something my new vision of PuffBOMB would look like, and entered it in the IGF and Slamdance. And the legend continues...
Youtube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gZClWEm9Pc
In January 2004, for our sister compo the "72 Hour GDC" (like Ludum Dare, but teams of 3 instead of solo), another lesser known yet cool prototype game based on the theme "Food":Zooble
. It's a physics based platformer with a hose. You use the hose for thrust, and to push things around. The game was going to include puzzles and things that required you to water plants (double use for the hose), but having wasted the first day, I didn't have the time.
Youtube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_RNCYPaJ_E
After that, my projects went somewhat private. You can find details if you know where to dig, but eventually I made it back to PuffBOMB. This new PuffBOMB is something really special. The classic puzzle game all fancied up, and something rather fun that's the new meat of the game. It's developed in HD, so I'll let you ponder over my intentions.
And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.