I have worked as a professional game designer for 24 years? first in the commercial industry and then, since 2004, as a full time educator. When I went to academia, I decided to work on experimental games, games that took risks and that could not be made in a commercial setting. That's why I started the Game Innovation Lab and created a community of people working on games that we've never seen before.
2: How much time did you spend working on the game?
I have been working on Walden, a game for seven years with a small core team and many students who have joined for shot periods while they were studying with me. No one is able to work on the game full time, but we keep working through all our other responsibilities.
3: How did you come up with the concept?
I was visiting Walden Pond in 2002 on a rainy day when the Pond was deserted of other visitors. Usually it is a busy place, but I had it to myself, and I was re-reading Thoreau's book at the time. I thought how amazing it would be to create a game in which people could play his experiment for themselves.
4: What development tools did you use?
The game is made in Unity.
5: What were the significant changes between the presented games and games you developed before?
Walden, a game is an extension of ideas I've had for some time around games that motivate and reward the player in new ways. Before this, I made The Night Journey with Bill Viola and explored some early ideas around the idea of reflective play, but Walden is my chance to make a full game in which the system and the experiential elements are all built around this idea.
6: What is your goal as a game developer?
I want to make games that enrich us as humans, and that speak to the breadth of our experience here on Earth. I'd like to make games that resonate with us so deeply that they might become a touchstone for our lives.
7: Please write a message to future SOWN attendees regarding your expectation and feeling about being selected to be a finalist.
I'm so honored to be selected and excited to be presenting at Sense of Wonder Night. It was a dream that I had, and the team had, since we began making the game. I hope that everyone out there making their own dream games will stay true to their vision and make it here too!