Houston Game Dev

GameBuilder Studio

January 16, 2014
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Screenshot 2014-01-16 13.02.29

GameBuilder Allows users with little to no experience put together a game through a visual interface.
A large amount of people versed in Flash animation will appreciate something such as GameBulder Studio which makes it fairly easy to get up and get started. I was fortunate to be able to ask Houston Software Developer, Lavon Woods,  of GameBuilder Studio some questions.

Can you explain more about GameBuilder Studio and how it can be of interest to developers in Houston that want to get started with game logic and visual design?

GameBuilder Studio is a visual game creation tool built to make it easier for creative professionals and aspiring game builders to create and deploy their cross-platform 2D games everywhere. It is a multilayer-ed tool comprised of a visual interface top layer and generated code layer. So if you are a designer and you want to bring your game ideas to life you can create your assets in Photoshop or flash and bring everything to life in GameBuilder Studio just using a drag and drop workflow. If you are a developer you can leverage GameBuilder Studio the same way and/or add any custom code for a custom UI layer or networking code to the underlying generated AS3 project that is created when you build your game. If you are coming from the AS3/flash community you will most likely feel at home right away as GBs is built on the popular cross-platform Adobe AIR SDK for cross-platform deployment to iOS, Android, Browser via flash, and now the Ouya console.

What games on the mobile markets are currently using this system?

There is an iPad game called Hungry Hero that is currently on the iPad store. We have re-created it in GameBuilder Studio as a proof of concept. The project source is available for free and we created a 14+ video tutorial series on how to create it as well.

We are working with a production studio on a multimillion dollar animated film to bring an online multiplayer kids game (Star Guardians) to market built with GBs.

early shot of Star Guardians built with Gamebuilder Studio

early shot of Star Guardians built with GameBuilder Studio

We are also working on an in-house mobile title that I can’t talk much about at the moment. But GBs is now at the point where the beta has been opened up to everyone and needs game developers/designers to give the tool a try and create something cool.

What is the current level of support provided by?

We try to support everyone via email as much as possible, but priority email and Skype support is given to our paying customers. There is also a community driven support forum available at http://support.gamebuilderstudio.com where users can post bugs and issues they may run into and get help from each other. There is a tutorial section, engine documentation, and a video tutorials page as additional learning resources for those that would like to increase their knowledge on the platform.

The product looks very interesting so far! Anything else you would like to ad?

GameBuilder is now nearing a feature complete v1.0 launch. Now is the phase of our growth where we will be producing titles with the GameBuilder platform and partnering with other developers to push the limits of the tool. It is no easy task to undertake something of this magnitude going up against the big boys without any significant outside financing. It has been bootstrapped for the last 4 years and starting to raise some eyebrows. The excited users that send in messages like this:

When I saw this application I about spat my spaghettios all over the monitor. I’m like “wow…seriously? Why doesn’t everrryyyyybody know about this thing?” ” – Anonymous GBs user

let me know its really tapped into something.

Thank you very much for taking the time to tell us about GameBuilder Studio! 

No problem. I am building GBs because of my love for games and wanting to share the possibilities of what can be built into games today with more than just developers. I hope people can appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the tool thus far, can see the vision for what it has the potential to become, and give it a try. You will be surprised at how easy yet powerful it is.

TRY IT NOW for the great price of Free!!

Paul Pridham aka Madgarden

September 30, 2013
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TweetInspiring Indie Devs Outside of Houston!

Keeping with the tradition of exploring Devs outside of Houston… HGD was lucky enough to score an interview with every developer’s favorite Canadian, Paul Pridham, also known as  Madgarden. Paul’s recent release Chillaxian has entertained us for hours. His work has been on our radar ever since the nail biting Fargol 2 Kickstarter and we figured there could not be a better outside of Houston Indie developer to investigate. So without further ado we present the Madgarden interview…


HGD:Paul, it is great to virtually hangout with you in Canada on this email page! Huge fan of your work. From Glitch Machine  to the mega punching sensation PunchQuest.  I especially enjoyed your *Vote My Next Project* game called Chillaxian.  The game definitely has a solid retro feel to it with nice motion blur to really give you the feel you are looking at an old CRT monitor. So I have to ask, when is the first time you played a video, computer or electronic game?


Hmm, the first time I played a video game, was *probably* at my cousins’ house, they had some sort of PONG machine hooked up to the TV. I was young, so it’s hard to be sure of the timelines. And then again, I very likely played Space Invaders at “some place” in the town I lived in at the time, a little town called Corunna which is just outside of Sarnia, Ontario. And then beyond that I played intermittently whenever I had the chance! Arcade cabinets and cocktail tables in diners and bowling alleys… Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaxian… those are my earliest memories.


HGD:When did you start making games?

MADGARDEN:I was probably around… 10 or so when I started making games on my C64 which we’d gotten for Christmas. I learned BASIC out of the user’s manual that came with it, and started with the simple stuff like Guess A Number etc. Once I learned how to get sprites on the screen and make sounds, it was heaven. Used to hack on my game-idea-of-the-week every weekend and spare moment I had. Text adventures, dungeon games, arcade games (tried cloning Rygar once) and kung fu games were my favorite to try to make.



HGD:You just came out with Chillaxian. You have a nice amount of Game Center activity on that game. If I remember right, you made that one in a really good amount of time and had people vote on it. Do you plan to set up other fan request votes?


MADGARDEN:Oh yeah absolutely I want to do more game polls to decide the little game I will make. That was really fun. I’m enjoying the little 1-2 week game projects, it reminds me of my C64 days in a way, heh. 🙂 My next poll will be beatemup-heavy.


HGD:Knight Rider or Airwolf? Sorry need this on record.



HGD: This latest teaser for Death Road to Canada, looks fantastic. I believe that is a Rocketcat Games production? Can you tell us anything more about it?

MADGARDEN:Hmm, well the teaser makes it look sort of “action heavy” but it’s not just all about gibbing zombies… in fact that attitude will surely get you killed in the game. These are the classic Dawn of the Dead style zombie hordes, if they get on top of you, you’re pretty much spaghetti. So it is a lot of cautious exploration inside abandoned cities and buildings, searching for supplies, and the ROAD TRIP aspects which has a lot to do with the other team members interacting and making Choose Your Own Adventure style choices that are coloured by individual personalities.


HGD: Perhaps you could show us some more from Death Road to Canada? A special Phone pic of the screen/sprite reveal for DRtC?!?

MADGARDEN:Well I have been posting some little vine snippets of my work on Death Road To Canada… mostly zombie behaviours and animation at this point… here’s my latest one: http://t.co/8TH103HiiK Fairly “Dawn of the Dead” right? Once the zombies finish feeding we’ll probably leave a piranha-style clean-picked skeleton behind, heh.


HGD: Thanks for taking the time out to introduce yourself to Houston Game Developers!

MADGARDEN:Thanks guys!


In conclusion: 

Paul represents the best of the best when it comes to friendly approachable devs and we are so glad he could take some time to visit with Houston Game Dev about his work. We highly recommend you follow him on twitter @madgarden and support this indie dev, amazing coder, father of 3 and all around bad ass dude by purchasing his work in the app store. You won’t regret a cent of it!


go upvote Death Road to Canada on STEAM!



Richard Garriott de Cayeux

March 5, 2013
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An interview by Eric Kinkead:

As a game developer, my game development has been greatly influenced by the work of Richard Garriott. When I was young, seeing Ultima III at a local Babbages (computer retail store) was a life changing event for me. I collected newspapper clippings, computer articles, everything I could about Ultima and its creator who went under the alias Lord British. It changed how I fundamentally think about games as an experience. My recent game QuestLord was even born out of my fondness for the dungeons, the expansive outdoor terrains and the interactive NPCs that filled the world of Ultima III.

Recently I was lucky enough to meet Richard Garriott de Cayeux and ask him a few questions about Game development, Houston, Space and a few other ins and outs any fan of his work would should find interesting:


HGD: Your first released game, Akalabeth, was created as a teenager and it was self-published in Ziploc baggies before being released by California Pacific Computer Company.  At that young age, did you know that this was a medium you wanted to pioneer?  

Richard Garriott: All I knew at that time was that I was compelled to make something with this magical machine. I had no idea how far it would go!


HGD: You had also mentioned that some of the code from Ultima 1 & 2 was originally created in Houston, care to explain more of that?

Richard Garriott: I wrote 28 “D&D” games on my schools “teletype” in Houston. Then my first published game “Akalabeth” and most of Ultima I, were also written in Houston. I did some of that work in Austin as well, when I started to attend UT.


HGD: In many of your games, from Ultima I to Tabula-Rasa, space makes an appearance as part of the theme.  Having astronaut Owen Garriot as a father and being surrounded in Houston with the NASA community, did you always feel that space would one day be your destiny?

Richard Garriott: At the age of 13 a NASA doctor told me that my poor eyesight would prevent me from being a NASA astronaut. Having grown up with a father and neighbors who were astronauts, I assumed we would ALL go to space. Thus, I decided to “Start my own space program!” At the age of 13, you don’t realize how hard that will be… it was… but I did!


HGD: Your mission on the ISS was to study and analyze how private citizens could contribute to the success of humans in space.  Have you reached more thoughts on this as an experienced private space explorer? 

Richard Garriott: I am now a devout believer in the new golden age of space travel that is starting now! The cost of access is about to drop from $250M per shuttle astronaut to something on the order of $25M on the new ships, and potentially $1M in the long term. With this happening, the few millions I made with my time on orbit, could be profitable. When this happens there will be an explosion of activities in space. This will still be justified mostly by science and research, but ultra high end travel as well.


HGD: Much attention seems to be given to the landing of American space crafts.  Can you explain what the landing process was like aboard the Russian space craft?

Richard Garriott: A winged craft can land softly, like an airplane. Capsules land with a thud under a parachute, regardless if on land or water. In my case, the Soyuz lands under a parachute on land. Its basically like a car crash at about 30 MPH. You are strapped in tightly and the seat has shock absorbers, so while it’s a big jolt, it’s very safe! And safety is obviously a big priority!


HGD: Going forward you have created a new company, Portalarium.  Can you share your goals and aspirations for this new company?

Richard Garriott: I have built a new company for each “grand era” of games. Origin, formed in Houston in 1982, for solo player games, eventually sold to Electronic Arts, Destination Games for Massively Multiplayer, sold to NCsoft, and now Portalarium for social games and the new delivery methods of PC. We believe that we can re-invent games, and for me especially role playing games, in this new era.

HGD: Thank you SO MUCH for your valuable and limited time.

Richard Garriott: My pleasure! Thanks,

 You can see my childhood Ultima 3 notebook that Richard Garriott was so nice to sign, in PDF form, here…






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