Meet The Team – Omari Straker

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Role: QA Test Manager & Programmer

About: Software tester by trade but game developer by passion. I’ve gained testing experience in the healthcare software field, but now I look to apply my bug finding mastery to GalaCollider. I’ve mostly done small pet projects in GameMaker and Unity, through SJSU’s game dev club and the global game jam. My ultimate goal is to keep on designing and developing games until I can’t think of another game to bring to life!

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: My favorite thing about GalaCollider is the overall flavor of the game. It really captures the sci-fi element of a space battle, with the utilization of resources to build, sending ships out to colonize planets and battle enemy ships, and achieving victory by overpowering your opponent. To me it combines the deck management present in deck building and trading card games, the resource management of popular RTS games like Starcraft, and the strategic placement of units I’ve seen in games like Advance Wars, which is one of my favorite video game series.

What inspires you?: I’m inspired mostly by characters. Whether real or fictional, characters have a way of breathing life into any story and really making it feel unique. They are the backbone to any universe, as no great story has ever been told without great characters. The best thing about them is how they affect the real people that invest in these characters. A character can become immortalized just by being interesting and popular, even years after their creator is long gone. Characters inspire me both as a designer and a consumer. I want to create characters that people will get excited to talk about, all while being introduced to new characters that I can fall in love with forever.

What is your current gaming obsession?: My current gaming obsession is Dungeon Fighter Online. It’s a Korean MMO that combines the classic arcade beat-em-up style with skill tree builds containing as much depth as your average RPG! I love this game because it took a genre that really lost its popularity after the 90s and modernized it with a style more fitting to this generation of games.

But to be honest I love almost every game I’ve ever played! My motto has always been: If it’s a game, I’ll play it.

You can play some of Omari’s games here.

Meet The Team – Nina Park

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Name: Nina Park

Role: Marketing Manager

About: Nina Park is a project manager who specializes in Kickstarters. She’s successfully Kickstarted 2 games so far: Grow: The Organic Building Game and Fujian Trader. While she graduated with a degree in the development and art side of games, she eventually found herself working with small, indie startups in a marketing and production role.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: I’m really excited that player actions can influence the storyline of the game. In that sense, it reminds me a bit of Eve Online. I never had the spare time to properly get into Eve, but with GalaCollider, there’s less of a time commitment and less of a learning curve which makes it perfect for my lifestyle and gaming tastes.

What inspires you?: Pretty cheesy, but my life experiences. I’m very much a fan of Neil Gaiman’s “Make good art” motto where whatever happens to you, take that and make it into art. I find it interesting and challenging to gather up what I’ve experienced and translate that into a game.

What is your current gaming obsession?: I tend to follow and play a lot of indie games, and right now I’m really into rogue-likes. My Steam account has so many hours logged into Eldritch, Risk of Rain, and Nuclear Throne

Learn more about Nina:
www.ninacpark.com

Meet The Team – Danielle Merrithew

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Name: Danielle (Dani) Merrithew

Role: Quality Assurance Tester

About: I am a Game Designer, 2D artist and a Quality Assurance Tester. I live, breathe and sleep video games! I have loved games ever since I was a child. For me, games filled a void in my life and helped me get through a lot of tough times in my life. I have always been interested in art, and while I was in school, I would always sketch random things I thought would be cool as games!

I currently work for a small company as a 2D artist/ User Interface designer and work on mobile games and apps. I also work as a volunteer Game Designer for a non-profit organization to create educational games for children.
In my spare time I like to draw, design and sew Cosplay, watch anime and play games with friends.

For GalaCollider, I am focusing on Quality Assurance and ensuring the overall gameplay experience is awesome! ☺

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: My favorite thing about GalaCollider would probably be how interactive the world is. It doesn’t just feel like a card game- you actually interact with the environment and move your units like an RTS. I love how well the two genres blended together!

What inspires you?: Meeting people such as the people on this team. People who have a vision and can properly execute it and those who are confident and believe in themselves!

Creative people, whether it be an artist, Cosplayer, designer- their creativity inspires me and drives me to continuously keep working on projects.

Games are also a huge impact and inspiration on my life. They have saved me in many different ways. Japanese Culture is another huge inspiration and most of my games and art have been heavily influenced by different Japanese art styles.

What is your current gaming obsession?: Heroes of the storm, I have been really into MOBAS in the past few years, but ever since I played the Alpha of Heroes I was hooked! I also play a lot of RPG’s – Ori and the blind forest is one of the more recent ones I absolutely loved. Hearthstone, especially now that it’s on android phones.

The game that started my passion for gaming was Devil May Cry 3. I played it with my dad when I was 12 and my father and I bonded over it. To this day it’s my absolute favorite game and I’ve replayed it about 5 times since then.

Check out my website to see other projects I’ve worked on: www.daniellemerrithew.com

Meet The Team – Rafael Morais

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Name: Rafael Morais

Role: 3D Artist/VFX Artist

About: Back in 2006 I joined a few Modders to do some props for a Half-Life 2 MOD, this was my very first contact with the game industry, I was so mesmerized by how a few tweaks in a box could transform that primitive shape into a creature, vehicle, character or anything else you can imagine. I got my first job in the game industry when I was 20 as a Junior Artist, little did I know how hard it is to make a game, and how much effort it is required. I have participated as a game artist in several project as a 3D artist and VFX artist, I’ve done Space MMO, platform games, third person shooters and adventure games. In the last few years I helped on the development of 2 brazilian indie titles that i’m super proud, Aritana and Harpy’s Feather and Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly. I hope to keep doing game art for as long as I can.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?:
GalaCollider will bring a very unique new genre, mixing some of card game and deck build with turn based real time strategy. I can see myself spending some nice amount of hours only planning my decks and strategies. Also, the Sci-Fi theme totally grabs my attention, no matter if it is a game, movie, book or music.

What inspires you?:
Good Art. Music, Books, paintings, games. Good art inspires me.

What is your current gaming obsession?
Have you heard about Exanima? What about Chroma Squad? Technobabylon? Well I’m totally addicted to those new games. Exanima is an unique physics based game with an amazing combat system. Chroma Squad is a turn based strategy game where you are the manager of a Sentai Studio. Technobabylon is the newest adventure game by Wadjet Eye games, I’m a huge fan of their work.

You can find out more about Rafael here: www.rahmorais.com

MEET THE TEAM – CHRISTOPHER “AUSTIN” BRYANT

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Role: Networking and QA

About: Austin is a 20-year-old aspiring game developer that enjoys entertaining. With only a year of college under his belt, he’s co-founded a handful of start-ups while in high school and began modding with games like Skyrim, Minecraft, and Warcraft III. Austin hopes to break into the world of game development with other visual-novel projects he is working on. He loves helping others get to where they want to be- whether it’s developing their YouTube channel or helping finish a model for their DOTA 2 weapon.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: Combining 4X strategy with card game/deck building mechanics is a tricky combination. My favorite part right now is emerging strategies that appear every single game as soon as you draw your first hand. Like any card game- you never know what you will actually do until you see the hand that you are dealt.

What inspires you?: I’m inspired by people that live every day doing what they love. I’m energized by my friends that make a living and get by in creative ways that didn’t exist a few years ago. Making video games is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I’m excited to be living in an era where I can forge my own path to get there.

What is your current gaming obsession?: On any given day where I have free time, I play Guild Wars 2 and PlanetSide 2 every day. Right now I’m playing the Witcher series for the first time in anticipation for playing Wild Hunt- and I’m loving Geralt and the world he’s in.

You can find out more about Austin here: www.naustix.com

Meet The Team – David Logan

David Logan
Role: Art Producer

About: David is a video game producer with over 20 shipped titles. He released the award-winning game “Whispering Willows” with his studio Night Light Interactive. David was also a Producer at Animax Entertainment where he oversaw the production of projects including video games, animation, websites, and apps for iOS, Android, and the social web.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: I am excited to dive deeper into the lore and all the different races. I can’t wait to try out the different species and craft decks with different strategies.

What inspires you?: Games are my biggest inspiration. I enjoy playing as many different games as I can, especially indie titles as I feel they often push the boundaries most. I enjoy video games especially, but play a lot of card and board games as well.

What is your current gaming obsession?: Currently I’m playing Bloodborne, Destiny, and Solforge. I realized recently that I enjoy incredibly difficult games, so the Souls series is my favorite. I also really enjoy competitive shooters, my favorite being Unreal Tournament 2004.

You can find out more about David here: www.davidclogan.com

Meet the Team – Trevor Worrall

Meet The Team Mondays – Play-test coordinator, Meta and Game Balance Controller, Trevor Worrall

Name: Trevor Worrall

Role: Play-test coordinator, Meta and Game Balance Controller.

About: I’ve been interested in card games since I was a kid in middle school thanks to the pokemon trading card game. Back then, I didn’t really know the rules but still managed to have fun playing with my friends. As I got older, I got more competitive minded about the card games I played and grew a fondness for knowing a game’s rules extremely well. I started to play the Yugioh tcg competitively in high school and managed to qualify for the Canadian national championship event which was a blast to play! This gave me a taste for high level play that I wouldn’t be able to shake in the future. Now an adult, I focus on playing all the digital card games because I don’t have as much time to frequent hobby shops. That hasn’t stopped me from continuing to be competitive, however, as I’ve played tons of Magic the Gathering online, Solforge, Hearthstone, and Might and Magic: Duel of Champions on the pc. I even spent a few years on the design team of a digital card game by the name of Shadow Era. When I was approached to help with GalaCollider, I knew this was a golden opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: I love that GalaCollider is doing something different. A lot of card games unfairly get called “clones” of existing card games but that is very hard to do with GalaCollider. This is because it blends multiple existing genres into one giving you a new and fresh experience. I’m always excited for new experiences!

what inspires you? I’m always inspired to try out new things. I tend to sample lots of different activities so that I can find new hobbies to enjoy as well as just learn new things. The initial feeling of joy you get when you find something new to love is great!

What is your current gaming obsession?: I’m very much obsessed with card games in general, but if I had to pick one game I would say my current gaming obsession is poker. Surprisingly, the skills you pick up playing traditional card games like Magic the Gathering actually apply to poker quite well. The two actually aren’t all that different. In particular, Poker helps you train your mind to think in terms of odds and percentages and these lessons can be applied to every TCG you play as well. Did I mention I love learning?

Meet The Team – Amy Ballinger

Meet The Team Mondays - Creative Writer and Producer Amy Ballinger

Name: Amy Ballinger

Role: Creative Writer

About: For GalaCollider, I am creating the setting and lore for the game, including an overarching storyline that will be revealed gradually in future updates and releases. As a sci-fi writer, it’s particularly exciting to get to design the various playable alien factions and flesh out everything conceivable about them – their evolution, history, culture, physiology, technology, philosophy, religion – absolutely everything. I’m writing about a whole new world, but one four billion years in the future, so it’s fascinating to imagine what might transpire during that timespan.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: To me, the most striking part of GalaCollider is the unique gameplay. There are a lot of games out there with space as their backdrop, but GalaCollider manages to synthesize two traditionally separate genres into a unique and really fun game. It balances deep strategy with accessibility, which is exciting to me as a gamer who tends to avoid 4x strategy games because of their tendency to have a steep learning curve.

What inspires you?: There are really too many to count, as inspiration strikes in the most unlikely of places, from an overheard conversation to an article I’ve read. But there are a few inspiring works that have stuck with me through the years. Ghost in the Shell is a big inspiration to me, especially as a near-future concept of Earth. The Art of War is timeless in its communication of both strategy and psychology, and Jane Austen’s novels capture the intricacies of the human psyche in elegant prose.

What is your current gaming obsession?: A bit of everything. Recently, for MMO’s, I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge, for handheld, Super Smash Bros. and Professor Layton games, for console, Destiny and Diablo III, and for computer, Hammerwatch, Hearthstone, Psychonauts, FTL . . . I probably play a bit too much! I haven’t played Bioshock Infinite recently, but I’m still obsessed with it over two years after it was released. And of course, a variety of card/board games, of which Star Realms is a current favorite of mine.

Meet The Team – Justin Hoffman

Meet The Team  Mondays - Web Developer Justin Hoffman.

Name: Justin Hoffman

Role: Web Developer

About:  I’ve been working on websites for more than ten years. On this project, I will be building and managing the website. I also will be developing the link between the game and the website.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider? :  My favorite part of GalaCollider has to be the endless possibilities, because the best games allow you to build a world.

What inspires you? : I am most inspired by literature because it allows me to visit other worlds, specifically : The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, and White Noise by Don DeLillo

What is your current gaming obsession?: SimCity 4 Rush Hour.

You can see more of Justin’s work herehttp://www.justindhoffman.com/

Meet The Team – Chris Kirby

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Name: Chris Kirby

Role: Lead Programmer

About: Games industry veteran of over 22 years. I got my break in the industry by making all the cheats for a device called Game Genie for Genesis & SNES . I then started working for Iguana Entertainment and did the Nba Jam conversations for game gear and Playstation, then worked at Reflections software on the Destruction Derby series. I then setup my own company with some friends , The Pitbull Syndicate where we wrote Test Drive 4,5,6 overdrive Demolition Racer, Big Air, L.A Rush and Wheelman. I left the industry for 5 years ( opened a pet store???) but was dragged back in and has been working freelance since 2008 on pro foosball, billabong surf trip, zombie cat madness plus many many more games.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider? : This is a new genre of game for me which is what attracted my attention. This means I need to learn new things and think of things in a different way. Plus working with Lorcan on the amazing UI is something I’m looking forward to. And I enjoy my chats with Seb even though I have no idea how he can type over IM so fast! (honestly its amazing)

What inspires you? : I do love being part of the Indie games scene, I’ve been part of  supermassive teams and although it’s fun smaller teams are even better! I do love the VR movement and was a very very early Kickstarter backer for Oculus. ( so maybe I’ll make a VR version of gala in my own time!!)

What is your current gaming obsession?: I’m hopeless at playing games…there’s many of my own games that I cannot complete without using cheats etc. Though this could be my age. Last game I was good at was Yie Ar Kung Fu in the arcades.  Thought of another one, I remember being quite good at Battlefield 1942 (32 man multipler over LAN was fantastic!)

Meet The Team – Brandon Freeman

Meet The Team Mondays - Community Manager Brandon Freeman

Name: Brandon Freeman

Role: Community Manager

About: I’ll be talking with the development team and the community to get a picture of what each group wants out of the game. The great thing is I’m a passionate gamer and developer so I have experience on both sides and can relate to each one.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: I love the mix of the two genres, card game and 4X. I can spend hours planning my strategy and playing both types of games and it’s going to be pretty amazing when you mix them.

What inspires you?: Well, one big inspiration for just about everyone is their imagination, where would we be without that? Just think about all the fantasy and scifi that wouldn’t exist without it! I also watch and read a lot of the super hero genre, seems to be making a comeback with all the new shows and movies being made and they are all pretty amazing, can’t wait for Age of Ultron. I’d say another big source of inspiration is the music I listen to, not that it inspires me directly but it helps while I’m working, I’m always listening to music when I get the chance.

What is your current gaming obsession?: Recently I’ve picked up smite again, I’ve played on and off since the beta and it’s awesome to see the game still growing. In fact I’m looking for people to play, let me know if you’re playing!

 You can find Brandon here:
https://twitter.com/GalaBrandon

Meet The Team : Sebastian Chedal

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Name: Sebastian Chedal

Role: Creative Director, Game Designer

About: I started designing games pretty young, it seemed like I was going to have a career in either art or game design from the very beginning. As life turned out though I first took a journey through a wide array of different careers and

projects before coming back to where I started. This variety in has given me some good foundations from which to start my own agency.

In the last few years I’ve been designing games including the CCG Shadow Era by Wulven http://shadowera.com where I was the lead game designer, along with various online and board-card games.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider? : It’s hard to pick a single thing without just combining it all up into a sum total experience, so I guess I’ll answer your question thus: It’s epic, could break new ground, it’s an opportunity to work hard at something you truly believe in, it’s a wave you initiate but turns into something bigger than you. It’s a chance to make a game you think is everything a great game should be. It’s incredibly challenging. A chance to be passionate and committed from the heart. I can’t wait to see where this all leads me. I want to make a game that in the end is for others to enjoy. A gift.

What inspires you? : Another difficult question even though it sounds so simple. I am inspired by: opportunities to learn, discovering new things, seeing others thriving at what they do. What I am inspired by “at this very moment” is always changing, at the risk of sounding a little vague: currently I would say that I’m inspired by my imagination; what things “could be”, which I guess is like saying I am inspired by a “vision” you form in your head; which you then work towards manifesting.

GalaCollider itself is inspired by many sources, some of which I described here: https://galacollider.com/2015/01/sources-of-inspiration/ but in actuality this list is even longer because there are lots of small and little ideas being constantly pulled and filtered in for possible parallel application in the game as we move along.

The art-style inspiration for the game is to build something refined, pleasant and futuristic, with a mood that we tried to set on our mood board: https://www.pinterest.com/drwhof/galacollider-inspiration. You’ll see here some echoes of robo-tech, Tron, Oblivion, Ender’s game, vehicles and modern architecture.

My current “inspirational hobby” is play testing tons of other games to keep drawing in ideas, which looks like your next question:

What is your current gaming obsession?: I’ve been trying a lot of 4X games and card games lately. One game I started really playing a few days ago is AI War by Arcen: http://arcengames.com/ai-war/ and so far I am hooked. I love games that fuse and break genres; probably because that is what we are trying to do here too with our 4XCG. It plays like an advanced chess game and the RTS aspect of it doesn’t demand insane “clicks-per-second” to be even half decent, which is much more my kind of game. Love it and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a deep strategy game.