FoD: First question: I hear that you no longer work for Adobe, and now have your own business. Can you explain what your business was created to do?
Onag: Well, I was laid off in the big economic hit partly resultant of the World Trade Center tragedy. I decided I’d take the opportunity to start my own business, which is something I’d always wanted to do. Anyway, “ZeroPersonality” is my little business applications development business. We specialize in database front-ends: something I used to do for Adobe Systems.
FoD: Second question: Do you believe that ZeroPersonality may eventually grow to involve more people than yourself?
Onag: I would hope so. What I’d really like to see happen is for the business to grow to a national business with employees across the country. I hope to eventually sell the business to support me through the move to my ultimate dream: game development.
FoD: Third question: related to game development, have you personally had any experience in game design/programming?
Onag: Oh yeah. I was programming games when I was 12-13 years old. Granted they were no more than Q-Basic scripts that eventually evolved to simple Visual Basic applications, but nothing as large-scale as I’d really like to do. Game design is another story. I’ve actually spent a great deal of time working on game design documentation for a little project of mine. If things go well, I’ll begin putting code behind those concepts very soon.
FoD: Fourth question: did your experience of a few years ago aid you any in your desire to do games (like, did friends talk to you about it/did it appeal to you more because of)? The experience I speak of is.. Jazz2. ;)
Onag: Absolutely! My involvement in the Jazz2 community and actually being able to watch as a game was pieced together was a great inspiration. I was able to learn a great deal about how the game development process works and what exactly is involved. On a personal note, I met several of my closest friends through Jazz2. It truly was a life-changing experience in many respects.
FoD: What exactly caused you to eventually pretty much quit the Jazz2 community?
Onag: It was an issue of time, mostly. I had made so many promisses in the Jazz2 community, and had so many projects going, it would have been impossible for me to keep up with school, work, and eventually the social life I adopted. I mean, Jazz 2 City, JazzNET, jcs.ref, the Mercenaries, The Arena, TryMe Competition, Gem Hunt…the list goes on. I just couldn’t handle it, and sadly, my involvement kind of pushed me a way a bit. It put a distance between myself and the community that to this day remains.
FoD: So you’d say that overall, Jazz really was a help to you, or that it mostly hindered you?
Onag: It was a severe help to me. Without Jazz, I never would have pursued game development, I likely wouldn’t know anything about web design, I wouldn’t have gotten a job with Adobe…I wouldn’t have even met the girl who will later become my wife if it weren’t for Jazz2 (okay, so that’s a stretch, and a long story). It definitely spun my world around…in so many ways.
Onag: I never regret one moment spent playing the game or building the community.
FoD: OK.. topic switch. ;)
FoD: In game developement, what kinds of games do you intend to create?
Onag: I suppose “fun ones” isn’t a good enough answer? =)
FoD: Well, I’ll accept it, but I more meant types, for example, strategy, action, rpg..?
Onag: I’d like to push the gaming industry a bit further. Games are so far from where they could be in terms of both design and content. I don’t favor any specific genre over another, really. My current project is actually kind of a hybrid third person adventure, side-scrolling platformer, street-fighting game, but I intend to create games of all types, including strategy, role playing, all with elements of action mixed in.
FoD: So will all your games be 2D/3D, or mainly just 3D?
Onag: I’m really big on storylines. I think it makes the game more enjoyable and believable if there’s a story to back it up. It also gives more grounds to base a community off of.
Onag: I really like what can be done with 3d worlds, so I’ll likely focus mostly on 3d games. However, I’m a big fan of old-style classic animation, so I’m probably going to end up with hand-drawn 2d cinematics. I LOVE cinematics, and unlike most game developers, consider them just as high a priority as the game’s music.
FoD: And as far as people working on at least your current game, who will those people be?
Onag: I’m not sure as of yet. Only time will tell. I will say that I know several very talented artists and musicians who I met through Jazz2 who I have become somewhat close to. While myself and my girlfriend are currently the only people actively working on anything now, I hope to bring in several more friends when the time is right.
FoD: What kind of timing would you put on this? With only two people, this would take a long time. Have you thought of any possible release times?
Onag: Definitely no time soon. My girlfriend and I are still in the design stages and are doing little more than concept sketches and character design. When money is less an issue, we’ll bring in another programmer or two, some additional artists, and really get going on things. It will be very unlikely that this game would be completed before at least five years. Even when the game is in development, I doubt I’ll put a release date on it. I don’t like the idea of building games around a release date. Anyway, the date wouldn’t hold. How many games are really released in the originally projected timeframe?
FoD: I’m sure anyone who has heard about this game is by now thinking, “Demo!” What can you tell about a possible demo?
Onag: There will definitely be a fully-functional demo. However, it will likely not be released until the game itself is complete. Most games begin with concepts and gameplay aspects. As such, the game engine and code is completed long before the storyline, characters, and final levels are ready. This is why demos can often be released before the final version of the game. Because we’re spending so much time up front with storyline and leaving the gameplay elements to be decided, we won’t have a functional game engine before the game is complete. As such, there will be nothing to show until the game is complete.
FoD: Thanks for your time, Onag. Thus concludes the interview.. unless you have further comments.
Onag: Can’t think of anything else worth saying, so I guess I won’t. =) Thanks for your interest in my deepest and most inner thoughts…yeah, right.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.