Game Dev Advice: The Game Developer's Podcast



29+ year game industry veteran John "JP" Podlasek interviews game designers, programmers artists, animators, and CEOs about working in the field. Whether you're an experienced an aspiring game developer you'll find useful, thought provoking, and sometimes funny advice from others in our game dev industry. Plus maybe a rant or two. Subscribe now with your favorite podcast app.


  • Marathon Not A Sprint, ArtStation Is Key, Seizing Opportunities, Virtual Boy, Paying It Forward, Working In Mexico, Personal Projects, and My Origin Story with Glenn De Leon Garza

    20/10/2021 Duration: 46min

    I welcome Glenn De Leon Garza, a talented 3D artist on this episode. We begin by talking about the impact of COVID in Mexico, along with his responsibilities now as an art director. Then hear about his transition from being a 3D artist into an art director and management role, plus his thoughts on giving good direction. We then transition to getting his first job as a 3D artist, the challenges of working in the industry from Mexico, and differences in salaries with the U.S. Hear what his first years were like as a new artist and his secret for getting better. Learn what Glenn wishes he’d known when starting in the industry, advice he gives new artists, and needing to understand your weaknesses. Hear about the importance of finding a mentor and his secret to attracting people to his portfolio. We then discuss the importance of ArtStation, always having your portfolio ready, and advice on progressing through personal projects.  Learn Glenn’s thoughts on managing others, his favorite two projects to work on, and

  • Startup Principles, Working on StarCraft II and Fortnite, Burnout, Empathic Design, UI is Key, Tools Development, VC Ecosystem, Mental Health, and Crossplay with Matt Schembari

    05/09/2021 Duration: 46min

    I welcome Matt Schembari, CEO of Lightforge Games. We begin by discussing his lifelong love of games and how he got his first job in the industry, followed by the other studios he’s worked at. Our discussion pivots into burnout and the effects it has on a person, along with a crisis of identity, and thoughts on mental health. We then discuss the industry turnover rate and constant loss of talent that’s happening, along with the key principles Lightforge Games has been founded on.  Hear Matt’s thoughts on empathic design, targeting tool development as a career choice, the importance of UI, and ideas around focusing your career. We then discuss the need to be a team player, mentoring others, and developing as a leader. Listen to the most important skill he thinks people should have and the importance of learning and developing. We then pivot into his experience working on StarCraft II and FortNite, including the development of crossplay, along with the rise of Twitch players. Hear about threats to the industry

  • Creativity is a Business, LotR’s Inspiration, Toxic Workplace Cultures, Using Agents, Defining Your Terms, Twitter For Connecting, Asking For Advice, and Creating Friendships with Marta Svetek

    31/07/2021 Duration: 01h14min

    I welcome Marta Svetek, a London-based actor working in video games, film and TV. We begin by discussing the state of COVID-19 in London and how her roles of acting and other work are centered around creating digital characters. Learn about her passion of playing games from a young age, Lord of the Rings, and how she landed her first game VO role working for Creative Assembly.  Hear about how her work has dramatically picked up over the last year, including as a lead character in the upcoming Battlefield 2042. We then discuss the actual process of doing VO in a recording studio, protecting your voice, along with what she’d wished she’d known when younger. We talk about a key mentor, the business of agents and talent representation, and working on her own terms. Learn the importance of asking advice, types of typical contracts, and how actors can work from anywhere now. We then get into the need of meeting people, why more work is moving to the UK because of buyouts, and sticking to your rate. Hear about the d

  • Battlefield Mobile, Gratitude, Getting Sh*t Done, Marvel XP, Bad Interview, Pareto Principle, Game Dev Identity, and Surviving a Layoff with Justin Fischer of Industrial Toys/EA

    01/07/2021 Duration: 56min

    I welcome Justin Fischer, Lead Development Director at Industrial Toys of EA. We begin by discussing the state of COVID-19 in LA and how his scrappiness landed him an internship at Chicago’s Wideload Games. Learn about how he cut his teeth at Wideload Games and Disney Interactive working on projects with tight budgets, like Hail to the Chimp, Guilty Party and Marvel XP. Hear about the challenges and life lessons of tieing too much of your identity into being a game developer, going through a layoff, and the hidden value shown over time. We then pivot into advice for aspiring designers, artists, engineers and producers, along with how to advance in production, and what it means to view it as a service role.   Learn about the value of seeking to understand before being understood, validating someone’s viewpoint, and his excitement around working on Battlefield Mobile. Hear about the other favorite game he's worked on, the industry’s challenge of so few mid-tier publishers, along with thoughts on AR. Towards the

  • Horror Games, Career Strategies, What Publishers Want, Capital Is King, Poland and Israel’s Game Dev Scenes, and Finding Your Own Way with Scott Millard of Feardemic

    12/06/2021 Duration: 48min

    I welcome Scott Millard, Managing Director at Feardemic. We begin discussing his Krakow, Poland location, and the country’s forward-thinking and vibrant game development industry. We then shift to COVID-19’s impact, plus his current role as a Managing Director at Feardemic working on horror games. Listen to his origin story starting at Sega’s Oziesoft followed by lots of acquisitions, a controversial perspective on big companies, and his advice to finding your own way when starting out. Hear his idea on the most important skill to learn, what publishers are looking for in developers, and helping distribute classic games like DOOM II, Tomb Raider, and Command & Conquer.  We then talk about game classification ratings, a time-intensive mistake, and what’s happening with Stadia and Xbox in the console wars. Hear about Game Pass, niche markets, the music industry’s approach to streaming, plus the chip shortage. Towards the end we talk about the challenges around AR/VR, an AK-47 meeting room, current games he’s ex

  • Self-Taught Coding, Importance of Tools, Crunch, NLP, Snow Crash, Ageism, GitHub, Toastmasters, and Quake’s Elegance with Norman Morse of Perforce Software

    30/04/2021 Duration: 55min

    I welcome Norman Morse, Triage Engineer at Perforce Software. We begin by discussing COVID-19’s impact, and his current role helping game developers. Hear thoughts on the importance of git and Perforce, how a previous job led to his current one, and the challenge of layoffs. Listen to his origin story around doing kernel development, building a team, and getting absorbed into EA. Learn his theory for success, going door-to-door for a job, teaching himself languages, and the importance of Linux and enthusiasm.  We then talk about the importance of GDC and social skills, Toastmasters, studying NLP, along with learning technical skills. Hear about working in Unity back in 2008, supporting P4, and how GitHub is an engineer’s resume. Learn about favorite games he worked on, thoughts on the future, concerns about how studios fill roles, ageism, sharing a game engine, and crunching.  We then wrap up talking about triple-A dev concerns, missing co-workers during COVID-19, commuting, a bad air conditioner, connecting

  • Halo 2, Steve Ballmer, IGDA, Gamergate, Star Wars, Diversity and Inclusion, Networking, Going Solo, Cloudpunk, and Developer Leverage with Kate Edwards of Geogrify and the Global Game Jam

    28/02/2021 Duration: 01h25min

    I welcome Kate Edwards, game industry pioneer at Geogrify and Executive Director of the Global Game Jam. We start by discussing COVID-19 totally changing everything for her speaking and traveling work along with the Global Game Jam (recorded before the event). We then talk about her culturalization consulting and public speaking projects keeping her even busier now.  Listen to her origin story about arcades, wanting to be an astronaut, Star Wars, going into Industrial Design, and grad school at the HITLab in Seattle. Hear how being a Cartographer started her career at Microsoft and translated into a new role as a Geopolitical Specialist. We then talk about consulting for Google, joining then leading the IGDA, Gamergate threats, 50 over 50 list, and mental health advocacy.  We reflect on lessons learned over time, marketing yourself, imposter syndrome, networking, finding a mentor strategy, and future meetups. Listen to ideas for those working now, parallel career paths, autonomy, bad managers, and her love fo

  • Stack the Job Deck, Canada, Iron Galaxy, PSX Conference, Recruiter Horror Stories, Dot-com Bubble, LT, and Wisdom From Perspective with Adam Boyes of Iron Galaxy Studios

    30/01/2021 Duration: 01h02min

    I welcome Adam Boyes, game industry veteran and Co-CEO of Iron Galaxy Studios. We start by discussing COVID-19 and thoughts on staying mentally healthy along with his current position. Adam then shares his passion for games and journey for getting in through QA. Learn how Canada’s grown their game industry through tax incentives, plus Adam’s perspective and advice on building a career.  We then discuss him leaving the industry for entrepreneurial pursuits, moving overseas, coming back to Vancouver for Next Level Games, then going to Midway Games. Learn about his inspiration from an EVE Online event to create the PlayStation Experience, plus working on Blitz: The League.    Adam shares about working with linebacker Lawrence Taylor, what he’s excited about, and the value of games for kids. Learn how mobile games have grown the industry and his inspiration for the infamous Red Shirt Gang. Learn what he’s playing right now and tips to help your odds for getting in the industry.  We then wrap up with recruiter hor

  • Interviewing Tips, Global Teams, NY Comic Con, Running LiveOps, Crunching, Mentors, Mass Effect, Austin Game Dev, QA Life, and Relationships Matter with Patrick Moran of Kongregate

    02/01/2021 Duration: 01h26min

    I welcome Patrick Moran, game industry veteran and GM at Kongregate’s Tonic division on this episode. We start by discussing COVID-19 and his current role. Learn how his team’s spread over the globe, plus the unique business model he’s leading around LiveOps and buying games. Patrick then shares what it was like trying to break into the industry and the method used for getting his first job. Hear about life crunching in QA on Deus Ex, making mobile and DS games as a Designer, and the importance of patience. Learn what people to reach out to and how to get your first job, along with the importance of mentorship. Hear the culture challenge he faced at Wideload as it was coming to terms with being owned by Disney and later getting laid off. Hear thoughts on how Design is always changing and what to do for advancing your career. Patrick then shares about being resourceful, knowing your audience, working at Amazon, at BioWare, and the importance of boundaries.   Hear thoughts on the advantages of working remotely,

  • SXSW, Keys to Kickstarter, Smash TV, Editing Challenges, Ready Player One, Games Are Harder Than Film, Persistence, Magic Leap, HoloLens, and Film Festivals with Joshua Tsui of Insert Coin

    03/12/2020 Duration: 45min

    On this episode, I welcome Joshua Tsui, game industry veteran and creator of the new documentary, Insert Coin. We start by discussing his current role in experiential design at Edge Experiential, then dive into his journey in developing Insert Coin, detailing his inspiration behind it, the research and interview process, and the many challenges he encountered along the way. Joshua describes working with Kenny Fedesna and others from Midway Games on the documentary, plus shares candid thoughts on whether or not he’s going to make a sequel of Insert Coin or even continue making films. Hear how much harder it is to make a game than a movie, SXSW, and Covid-19’s impact on film festivals. Learn how Midway Games changed in the 2000s and thoughts on the Oculus Quest, Nintendo Switch, Magic Leap, and the HoloLens platforms. Joshua then shares about how to connect with him and the movie through social media, and then I wrap up with a recommendation – go stream this movie. Bio: Joshua Tsui spent over two decades worki

  • Artist Turned Indie Filmmaker, Layoff Transition, New Artist Tools, Actor Types, E3 Stories, Key Skills For Getting Hired, and LA Traffic, with Mehran Torgoley of Cult Cinema

    18/11/2020 Duration: 58min

    On this episode I welcome Mehran Torgoley, Director & Writer at Cult Cinema, LLC. We start by discussing a few projects he’s currently working on and how he began at a small game studio outside of Chicago. While sharing what he wishes he’d known when starting out in the industry, Mehran emphasizes the significance of commitment, pushing through hesitation, and passion. We reminisce on our days at Midway Games before diving into useful advice for people going into game development or film, as well as people looking to advance their careers. He touches on the importance of networking, having a great portfolio, being prepared, and keeping your skills current. Mehran speaks on the weirdness of auditions and why he doesn’t want to work on games he’d love to play, then shares how Unreal Engine’s being used in film and TV. He shares thoughts on the relevant threats to the game and film industries, such as massive game updates, COVID-19’s impact on theaters, thoughts on TV series, and the power shift in film. We conc

  • Creative Directors, Diversity and Inclusion, Level Ex, Your Mutant Ability, Van Halen, Making For Honor, Mythic Quest, Player Motivation, and Hades with Jason VandenBerghe of Level Ex

    21/10/2020 Duration: 01h28min

    On this episode we welcome Jason VandenBerghe, VP Studio Creative Director at Level Ex. We start by discussing COVID-19, his excitement about making games for doctors, and thoughts about the future of game design. He shares his story of breaking into the industry with The X-Files Game and his transition from programmer to producer to creative director at EA. Jason then offers specific advice for people in the industry and those looking to break in while telling about the fastest hire ever made at Ubisoft. He shares intriguing stories on his favorite games so far, including the development of For Honor at Ubisoft and working with Van Halen on Guitar Hero. He speaks about his excitement for this golden age of design experimentation right now, along with threats that include a backlash to diversity and inclusion, engaging with players, and the dangers of self-defeating beliefs amongst developers. Before telling a few more hilarious industry stories Jason shares candid thoughts on AR & VR, and his love for Beat S

  • Successful Original IP, Design Challenges, Global Teams, Portfolio Matters, Industry Parties, Retro Consoles, GDC Indie Games, and Online Privacy Laws with Clark Stacey of WildWorks

    18/09/2020 Duration: 01h04min

    On this episode we welcome guest Clark Stacey, CEO of WildWorks. We start by discussing the impacts of Coronavirus on his studio, how WildWorks came to be, and then rewind to discuss his journey into the game development industry. He gives powerful advice for people trying to get started along with those trying to advance their career, emphasizing the value of identifying and solving problems. Clark talks about some of his favorite games he’s worked on and what he’s curious about right now, including VR and his candid thoughts on Facebook’s gaming world. He shares his thoughts on MR and seeing the future in Asia. Clark speaks on potential threats in the gaming industry, like regulations and rapacious business models, as well as what he’s most excited about, especially the opportunity to create high-quality games for kids under 13 and the potential for use as educational tools. We reminisce on some of the outrageous industry parties, like Alex St. John’s surreal DirectX launch event. Then, Clark mentions some

  • Travis Scott, Activision Pitches, Good Vs. Bad Producers, EQ, Social Networks, MicroProse, Steve Jobs, Taking the High Road with Chris Hewish

    12/08/2020 Duration: 58min

    On this episode, we welcome guest Chris Hewish, President of Xsolla. We start by discussing Chris’s take on the effects of coronavirus, his new role at Xsolla, and how he got started in the game industry, offering insight into what he wishes he had known at the beginning. He then shares valuable advice for people entering the industry and for people trying to advance their careers in Design or Production – hint: bootstrapping your way in and learning emotional intelligence can help. Chris divulges a few of his favorite games he’s worked on and what he’s excited about, including the evolution of cross-platform play and games becoming their own social platforms. We discuss some potential threats to the game industry and share candid thoughts on AR/VR/MR technology. Some funny stories are shared, a few including odd pets, and Chris talks about his current game of choice keeping him up. The episode wraps up with an overview of Xsolla’s platform, along with some more powerful advice for people currently working in

  • Making Warcraft II, Breaking Crunch, Disney Infinity, Pitching Investors, Diablo, Animal Talking, Industry Stories, and Parting Advice with Bill Roper

    21/07/2020 Duration: 01h29min

    On this episode we welcome guest Bill Roper, Chief Creative Officer at AuthorDigital and Adept Games. We start by discussing the impacts of COVID-19 on work and personal life and rising to the challenge of digitalizing our lives in completely unusual circumstances. Bill emphasizes the importance of taking time for yourself, focusing on mental health and being “family first”.   “Games are an amazing way for people to connect via distance, it’s what videogames were designed to do.”  - Bill Roper   Bill then talks about bringing his vision of empowering storytellers and giving them the ability to bring their craft into new digital spaces into a reality. He shares about his new role as co-founder of AuthorDigital and his work with Blizzard. He reflects on what he wishes he had known when he started his journey in the game developing industry, as well as advice for people who are in it right now. Bill happily divulges some of his favorite games to work on, aspects of the industry that he’s currently curious about,

  • Working at Epic Games, Avoiding Crunch, Tony Hawk, Better Health, Metallica, The Rookies, Montreal, and Midway Games Floods with Justin Mohlman

    25/06/2020 Duration: 51min

    Justin Mohlman has many skills and projects. With over 17 years in the industry, he’s a seasoned game developer currently working as a Game Development Producer at Epic Games. Hear about his many positions ranging from art instructor, co-owner of a tattoo shop, to managing the social media of Metallica’s bassist. Learn how he got his start in the industry, his projects at Epic Games, Heavy Metal magazine, some advice for current 3D artists, and his favorite projects, like Tony Hawk and Mortal Kombat. Hosted by John ‘JP’ Podlasek (See for in-depth show notes and links.) In This Episode We Discuss: [01:03] Introductions [01:13] Justin’s current projects at Epic Games [03:30] Artist career paths and Epic’s goal [05:46] Justin’s teaching roles [06:49] Code of conduct at the tattoo shop [07:14] Creative Director at The Rookies [11:46] Contributing Editor at Heavy Metal [12:59] Managing Robert Trujillo of Metallica’s social media [14:44] Finding a way to visually problem solve [15:28] Justin’s pho

  • PR For Games, Influencers, Working With Nintendo, Metrics Vs. Impact, Value of Live Events, and Relationships Matter with Johner Riehl

    25/05/2020 Duration: 46min

    Johner Riehl, Vice President and PR Lebowski at Wonacott Communications joins me on this episode. Johner has been in the industry for over 23 years and shares about the Public Relations side of videogames. Hear about his PR experience doing launches for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Pokemon, Pikmin, working with Nintendo, Microsoft, and Midway, plus writing books and running a website. Learn how he got started in the industry, working at Wonacott, advice on getting PR for a game, working with influencers and streamers, and thoughts on future opportunities. Hosted by John ‘JP’ Podlasek (See for in-depth show notes and links.) In This Episode We Discuss: [01:02] Introductions [01:10] Johner’s current role as Vice President and PR Lebowski [02:44] Working on PR for Polyarc [03:41] How to reach out for PR and spread the word on new games [05:31] Adjustments and challenges of work during COVID-19 [06:30] The impact of GDC, E3, and the PAXs cancelations on indie developers

  • Going Indie, Changing Crunch, Mocap SWAT, Bungie, Wild West Days, Management Lessons, and VR with Richard Lico

    07/05/2020 Duration: 44min

    Game industry veteran Richard Lico joins me on this episode to discuss his career. Hear how he got started in the industry going from SCAD’s 3D Computer Art program to now being the Studio Animation Director at Polyarc 20 years later. Richard talks about working on Triple-A games like Halo, Destiny, and more recently, the indie VR hit, Moss. Learn about working at Bungie, advice to fellow animators and artists, his excitement around VR, a few wild stories, and his online animation school. Hosted by John ‘JP’ Podlasek (See for in-depth show notes and links.) In This Episode We Discuss: [01:07] Introductions [02:19] Richard’s current role as the Studio Animation Director [03:41] How Polyarc started and evolved [04:12] His story getting into the industry [07:47] What he wishes he’d known before getting started [10:47] Advice for someone looking to get a first job [14:42] Career advice for fellow animators on how to bring characters to life [18:11] Richard’s favorite project so far [19:16] What

  • Triple-A to Indie, Lessons From Blizzard, Growing Remote Teams, Future Game Trends, Animal Crossing, and Magehunter with Richard Khoo

    21/04/2020 Duration: 53min

    Richard Khoo, Co-Founder and Game Director of indie studio Khookey joins me on this episode. He shares how he went from a Modder to Designer to Co-Founder working at places like Blizzard, Riot Games, Wargaming, and Pocket Gems. We talk about being recruited by Blizzard in 2004, advice for getting into the industry, furthering your career after you’re in, favorite projects, a few funny stories, growing remote teams, COVID-19 and mental health, along with his upcoming game, Magehunter. Hosted by John ‘JP’ Podlasek (See for in-depth show notes and links.) In This Episode We Discuss: [01:11] Introductions [02:11] Richard’s current role as Co-Founder and Game Director [03:47] Advantages of developing in Unity [04:30] Getting started in the industry [08:35] What he wishes he’d known before getting in the industry [10:44] Advice for someone looking to get a first job [13:34] The three tracks for advancing your current career [19:28] Richard’s favorite project so far [21:56] Thoughts on nostalgia a

  • COVID-19, VR Meditation, Rubber Duck Debugging, Judas Priest, and Breaking into the Game Industry with Andreja Djokovic

    05/04/2020 Duration: 47min

    GDA24 Timestamps: [01:11] Introductions [01:20] COVID-19 [02:50] What Are Your Current Roles in the Game Industry? [04:30] Pursuing VR [06:25] Immersive Meditation Experience Through VR [07:40] Babaroga [09:18] How Did You Get Started? [11:30] Video Game QA in the 90s [14:34] What Would You Have Liked to Have Known When You Started? [16:20] Imposter Syndrome as a Newbie Engineer [18:20] What Advice Would You Give to Someone Looking to Get Their First Job? [19:00] Rubber Duck Debugging [19:40] Any Advice for Someone Furthering Their Career? [21:36] Gaming Industry Always on The Edge of Innovation [22:48] What Has Been Your Favorite Project to Work On? [24:00] Working with Judas Priest [26:42] What Are You Curious About Right Now? [27:30] Concerns About the Industry [30:03] Any Funny Stories? [31:38] What Games Are You Playing Right Now? [32:05] Anything That I Should Have Asked You About That I Didn’t? [36:18] Where Can People Find You? [37:15] Meditation As a Tool For Stress [45:08] Closing Thoughts   Descrip

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