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He’s roughly a decade younger than the average Geekadelphia writer and already cranking out multiple video games, effectively making us oldheads look bad.
Are you currently in school? Where do you go and what for?
I attend Drexel University, studying Digital Media. I’m currently in my second year, and it’s been quite a learning experience thus far. It’s been my first time working with 3D modeling and animation, I must say it’s been quite a challenge.
How did you get into game design?
I can’t pin it to a single moment or reason—from a very young age I enjoyed making games, though back then it was with paper, cardboard and markers. Something about it felt very natural to me, defining rules of play and making the pieces. I also loved drawing comics and writing stories to go with them. When I started to get into computers and the internet, all those things got tangled up, until some point I was making computer games.
What kind of games or people inspire you?
I think the best (and most inspiring) games are the ones that give the best “feel.” You might be thinking that’s very vague, but I stand by it. I find a lot of games very interesting and effective for all very unique reasons. The qualities that make a good game are far from universal; they’re hard to define in strict germs. Generally, I think that you can realize a game is great from the point of being able to nearly feel the passion that the artists and designers put into it. That passion transfers into my own work.
I liken myself to director Quentin Tarantino and musician James Murphy in the respect that my inspirations are often shown very clearly through my work and combining them in unique ways.
I see you’re also quite the illustrator. Do you do more of the development side of things or design? Which do you prefer?
In most of my projects to date, I did just about everything. I’ll have to call it a 50/50. I honestly love both sides of making games, though I also would say that I’m not particularly the best at either. As I’ve brought on more talented people to help work on my projects, I’ve been gradually phasing out of the artistic end of things. That’s more-so because being “capable” as a programmer is is good enough whereas merely being “capable” at illustration and art starts to be detrimental when you start competing with truly talented visual artists.
I see a very strong separation from the visual art in games and the more literal “design” art in the layout, gameplay, controls, mechanics, levels, story. Etc. That particular aspect of games seems to be both creative yet logical. Those are the parts of the game-making process to which I’m most attached.
So what are you currently working on?
I’m making a role-playing game for the PC called Phantasmaburbia. It’s set in a suburban neighborhood, that’s most-obviously the Philadelphia region. Its plot revolves around teenagers who team up with ghosts of their ancestors or former residents of their homes. Players will protect their hometown from an invasion of ghosts and a particularly powerful and evil trans-dimensional demon.
You can check out my progress at Phantasmaburbia.com
Thanks for chatting with us, Greg. Keep up the good work! It’s awesome to have passionate game designers like yourself in our city. To keep up with Greg’s game-making progress and other things, you can visit his blog: http://banov.blogspot.com