A visit to the Jim Henson exhibition as a child changed my life.
My passion was then solidified by reading the works of Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Orson Scott Card, Paul Jennings and Roald Dahl. Later in life I started a journey of literary exploration with other authors such as Patrick McGrath, Sudhir Venkatesh, Eric S. Raymond, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Sergei Lukyanenko, F. Paul Wilson, Dale A. Dye, Stephen Laws, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Robert Louis Stevenson, Nabokov, Ginsberg, Bram Stoker, Justina Robson, Greg Egan, Glen Duncan and Shane Koyczan.
I was born in Colchester, England in the early eighties. At age six, I left behind a strict British primary school – where I had to wear a shirt and tie, to live in the North Island of New Zealand – where it was so hot that no-one wore shoes.
My sister and I were the only white kids in a predominately Maori shearing community in a small rural town. I went to a school with only eight kids. Race was not an issue, but I did absorb a lot of the native New Zealand culture – hangi, eeling, camping, Marae culture, and my friends’ rituals such as the hongi, spending insanely hot summers in the school pool – so many wonderful memories. My family moved around a lot, so I have lived in almost all corners of New Zealand.
As a youngling, I had aspirations of becoming an inventor and professional wrestler, having studied Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Kali Stick-fighting, Thai Boxing and Kickboxing. My focus turned to programming, using BBC BASIC to write my first game at age 11, as well as documentation for mods and RPGs. At 15, I achieved 98% in algebra; the highest mark in my high school, even higher than the bursary students and I was a junior. Then moved to the South Island to study creative writing, woodworking, critical analysis and filmmaking on video – that’s also when I started learning video editing.
I left high school at 17 and studied making short movies on video for television at polytechnic. My favourite movies that year were Mortal Kombat (1995) and Spawn. I also studied writing, radio, and crewing and performing for children’s theatre. Then I moved to Wellington to get serious about novel writing and game programming. While struggling with depression, anxiety and social phobia, recovering from psychosis and mild agoraphobia, I studied towards a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in screenwriting – completed in 2011. I won an award from the NZSA for my novel in development in 2012.
– also working with an online team to make a graphic novel, a webcomic and a collaborative indie video game.
I have been reading DC Comics since discovering Hal Jordan, JSA, Captain Atom, Clayface and Plastic Man as a kid. I love visual storytelling. Scriptwriting for both screen and sequential art is one of my core passions.
I like to get my game on: I love the amiga, sega master system, mega cd fmv, acorn archimedes, ps1. Some Nintendo: Mario, Joust and Alfred Chicken. Sonic, Sega-Disney, Rayman 2D, Dig Dug, Eric Chahi and Alex Kidd are my jam. indie on steam is wonderful, so are media molecule, neostream, klei, emiko yamamoto, stikipixels, exosyphen, hemisphere games and sloclap, northway, classic pc, richard garfield, syphon filter, lemmings, c64 and playdead. I’m a big fan of Wall E and Hell’s Kitchen on DS… I do enjoy the odd play session on my ps3 and occasional tabletop and digital tabletop and classic macintosh (Marathon, Shuffle Puck Cafe, Pipe Mania, Hexen, Heretic.)
My top 3 favourite genres for game dev (and as a gamer) are strategy, adventure and action-platformer.
I was lucky to land an Assistant Producer role on a student indie video game project (which was unfortunately not completed) in 2003.
I’m pretty obsessed with computers and am interested in all things technology; mecha, hardware and software. I’m a thinker, and I’ve always had difficulty trying to build complicated things with my hands (though I’m good at woodwork and to a lesser extent metalwork and sewing), but I’ve always been a quick study of how things operate – esp. mechanically – I tried to build a robot once, but never finished.
So I’ve been imagining and designing robots since I was eleven. I’ve always loved the idea of a harmless war. Boys love violence in play, but kids don’t usually like the idea of killing people in real life. So I turned to robots because you can have lots of real violence and no people get hurt – like the Real Steel movie (which was terrible) and Dean Kamen’s FIRST.
Then as I fell in love with science fiction, my keen following of science grew from robots to include things like social science, psychology, software design, hardware design, mecha design and anthropology. Major thought-provoking books for me were (social science) Walden Two, (anthropology) Microserfs, (philosophy) I Lucifer by Glen Duncan, and (art theory) Superfolks. Recently I’ve started to get into Arduino for toy design prototyping. Inventions that I would have liked to have come up with: Endless Computers, Magic: the Gathering, Ipad, smartphone, Microsoft Office, Minecraft, Playdate, Arduboy, Game Bender.
I’m a pretty big fan of nostalgia, and I’m a fairly big snob when it comes to movies and games. Stuff from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – especially bad scifi, funny b-horror, scary, sexy, creepy, crazy, balls-out and magical (where the innovation outshines the cheese) stories and visuals that managed to stand the test of time, or that I think will. This does form part of my creative approach, homage to nostalgic influences that were also pretty great. But I also like new ways of doing things, flipping the expected on its ass, serving the story with everything I do – integrity of art, and coming up with ideas and emotional expression that feel honest, true and unique to me.