I’ve been wondering just makes a dev tick. Is it Red Vines and Dr. Pepper? Four Horsemen and Three Wisemen? Getting Rickrolled on /b/? All of the above? I figured the best place to find out is to actually go to the dev themselves. I slapped together a dozen questions and sent them off to Pitch Black Games and said “Fill in the Blanks.” I may have said “Please”, but I’m not sure. At any rate, I’m hoping to put up a new developer’s responses every week. I’ll be tagging them into the same category, so they’ll be in one place. Hope this helps you get a good view of what makes these developers tick. And now, Lee Phemister!
Going Rancid: Who are you and what do you do at Pitch Black Games?
Lee Phemister: Lee Phemister, Art Lead. I manage the art team, the schedules, the content, and assist with the art direction with Zyad.
GR: What class will you be rolling at release, and what is your favorite archetype?
LP: I will play the class I think will beat you the easiest.
Okay, okay. I’m usually a heavy weapons/distance guy. I’m not a close range melee guy.
GR: What other MMOs are you playing right now, or what was the last one you played (and what made you leave, if you can say)?
LP: Guild Wars was the last one I played regularly. I’m too busy making an MMO to play any others right this moment.
GR: Do you do any console gaming? If so, what genre soaks up most of your time? FPS? Music? Racing games? RPG?
LP: I don’t play a lot of console games, but if I do play, it’s Tiger Woods [Golf].
GR: Fondly recall your first MMO experience. What game was it and what happened?
LP: It was DAOC. My first memory was killing these enormous cows and getting this one tiny steak to loot.
GR: Tell us about your most memorable or epic gaming experience, MMO or not, and why it was so memorable.
LP: BF1942, Bocage map. Fast landing an F15 Eagle at the enemy base, grabbing the flag and taking off.
GR: Tell us about your most memorable experience of being an utter noobie. What did you learn?
LP: It was in Baldur’s Gate. The first time I tried to play, I just got so frustrated. I hadn’t played anything like that before. I just quit and didn’t come back for a few months. I eventually logged in and slogged through the learning curve. I learned that keeping your players immersed is important – overly convoluted gameplay is bad.
GR: How did you get into the game industry, and when did you know you wanted to actually stay and do this for a living?
LP: I was 25 and wanted to do something different with my life. First I thought I wanted to be a pilot, but I realized it would be prohibitively expensive. So I took a 3D art class and I really loved 3DStudio Max.
I got a job at Gas Powered Games, and it was amazing. The camaraderie, the late nights, everyone working together to make this great game was just such a rewarding experience.
GR: What is your favorite part of working in the game industry?
LP: Fragging my coworkers in the latest shooters.
GR: When you’re not making games, what do you spend your time on?
LP: Golf! I love golf. I’m not that good, though, I have a 17.2 point handicap.
[Rancid: Special thanks to Lee for getting this done andSanya for poking him with a bic pen!]