Show cover of Out of Play Area

Out of Play Area

A bi-weekly video game development podcast by John R. Diaz, a veteran game designer who goes 1:1 in candid conversations with the developers behind today‘s hit games where we discuss their journey and learnings in this wild industry with no punches pulled. John is a kid born to emigrants from the Dominican Republic in New York City, raised with lots of love, off of food stamps & welfare, where English was not his native language, who got lucky enough to find his passion in developing video games. It took him years in college before figuring out that video game development was something he could learn and do. It wasn‘t until 2007 when he got his lucky 1 in a million chance to get his foot in the door, which required him to move away from all of his family into a city that he knew no one in, Austin Texas to work on his first game Blacksite Area 51 with Midway Games. Since then he‘s gone on to work on some of the biggest games of our time including Grand Theft Auto V and both Red Dead Redemptions. However that road was long, exhausting, and expensive, and it didn‘t have to be. That‘s why he‘s making this show. The video game industry needs more people from all walks of life, beliefs, countries, cultures, languages, shapes, sizes, and origins to make the next big game the world wants to play. If John could do it so can you. This show is all about sharing the experiences of his network, the developers behind the games you love and play, including Game Designers, Animators, Artists, Producers, Engineers, Testers, Directors, Writers, and everything in between, sharing their stories and advice, to answer all those questions you have about how video games are made, and how do you even become a game developer. If you are making video games or want to make them this show is for you, the current & future video game developers where we discuss our art and motivations out of the lines, out of the play area. This is to help put you on to get the opportunity to make the video games you want to play, by hearing how they are made and how the people got here. Connect with us on Twitter @OutOfPlayArea & the host John R. Diaz. @ElKingpin


Jason Knobler | Senior Staff Engineer @ Lightning Games | Ep 39
Episode 39 features Jason Knobler, a Senior Staff Engineer at Lightning Games in Philadelphia. Jay’s a fellow Full Sail University alumni, who has worked as an Engineer on Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption, and is also writing his own Harmony Game Engine. Chapters: (00:00) John’s Life Notes (4:15) Who is Jason Knobler?  (14:19) Origins (28:41) First Job Digital Embryo (40:38) Rockstar San Deigo & Red Dead Redemption (01:14:03) Going Back to Philly (01:17:05) Harmony Game Engine part 2 (01:26:24) John’s Outro Links: Harmoney Game Engine GitHub: Jay’s Twitter: Jay’s Twitch: Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate url:
89:33 10/17/22
Claude Jerome | Lead Gameplay Designer @ Firewalk Studios | Ep 38
Episode 38 features Claude Jerome, a Lead Gameplay Designer for Firewalk Studios part of the Probably Monsters family. Claude’s experience has led him from Vicarious Visions, 1st Playable, to Microsoft on Project Spark, and Bungie on Destiny to where he is today. We talk about how he got where he is, where he’s trying to go, and everything in between.  Chapters: (00:00) John’s Life Notes (2:56) Who is Claude Jerome?  (17:23) Island Mates (24:26) Firewalk Studios & Probably Monsters (46:08) Building Culture (50:18) Bungie (01:09:32) Project Spark at Microsoft (01:19:45) East Coast Dev (01:27:33) Origin (01:38:07) Final Round (01:49:19) John’s Outro Links: Claude’s Twitter: Claude’s LinkedIn: Game Devs of Color Expo 2020: Advanced Game Feel: Project Spark E3 Demo: Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate url:
114:24 8/16/22
Chris Cole | Senior Technical Artist @ Amazon Game Studios | Ep 37
Episode 37 features Chris Cole a Senior Pipeline Technical Artist working at Amazon Game Studios as of the debut of this episode. We discuss his time at Survios working in VR, breaking in on Blacksite Area 51 at Midway Austin, life at Blizzard working on World of Warcraft, and we discuss ways to better manage and retain your talent. Chapters: (00:00) John’s Intro (2:10) Who is Chris Cole?  (13:15) Amazon Game Studios (25:39) Breaking in at Midway Austin (41:03) Leadership Style (52:47) Neuro-Divergence & Superpowers (01:15:07) Activision Blizzard (01:24:05) Pay Transparency (01:38:47) Final Round (01:44:09) John’s Outro Links: Chris’s LinkedIn: Electric Nodes UE Plugin: Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate url:
110:09 7/25/22
Leon Kuperman | CTO @ Cast.AI | Ep 36
Episode 36 features Leon Kuperman, who gets his gamedev cred from text based Zork style adventures, and is a Co-founder and CTO at CAST AI. Formerly Vice President of Security Products OCI at Oracle, Leon’s professional experience spans across tech companies such as IBM, Truition, and HostedPCI. He founded and served as the CTO of Zenedge, an enterprise security company protecting large enterprises with a cloud WAF. Leon has 20+ years of experience in product management, software design, and development, all the way through to production deployment. He is an authority on cloud computing, web application security and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), e-commerce, and web application architecture. And that's where we talk about his journey through development, his views on building a resilient team and product, and more.  Chapters: (00:00) John’s Intro (3:20) Who is Leon Kuperman?  (14:45) Computer Scientists (22:14) Cloud Computing (34:57) Cloud Instance Pricing (43:01) Cast.AI (50:57) Finding the Right Fit (01:04:35) Company Culture (01:15:45) Final Round (01:23:38) John’s Outro Links: Claim this Exclusive Offer from Cast.AI:  Leon’s LinkedIn: Follow Cast. AI on Twitter: Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate url:
88:36 7/4/22
Shawn Alexander Allen | Founder @ NuChallenger | Ep 35
Episode 35 of Out of Play Area the game developer's podcast, we sit down with the creator of Treachery in Beatdown City and discuss founding his company NuChallenger, alongside his time working in the Game Devs of Color Expo, as well as his journey from NYC and the games industry. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Shawn Alexander Allen? (11:14) Sneakerhead Transformation  (23:49) Hip-Hop (29:57) NuChallenger Full Time (37:29) Running Your Own Studio (43:29) Treachery in Beatdown City (58:52) Inspirations and Origins (01:09:58) Combat Mechanics (01:28:36) Game Devs of Color Expo (01:48:33) Game Dev Origin (02:00:38) John’s Outro   Links: Shawn’s LinkedIn: Shawn’s Twitter: GDC Vault - Independent Games Summit: Indie SoapBox - GDC Vault - Knights, Fist Fights, Lasers & Catacombs: Subversive Diversity to Improve Our Games - (Beyond Basic Represenation) Treachery in Beatdown City: A Postmortem #GDoCExpo 2021 - Game Devs of Color Expo's Shawn Alexander Allen on COVID-19, Allyship & Future Plans - Go Straight: The Ultimate Guide to Side-Scrolling Beat-’Em-Ups - Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate url:
124:50 6/21/22
Henry Golding | Principal Software Engineering Lead @ Xbox Game Studios | Ep 34
Henry Golding is a Principal Software Engineering Lead at Xbox Game Studios currently spreading the significance of Test Driven Development and Automated Testing in Game Development. He's a native of the UK who has programmed for Sea of Thieves, Minecraft, Disney Universe, and Dead Space: Extraction for the Wii.  We talk about his latest endeavors as well as discuss his journey into the games industry. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Henry Golding? (11:21) Software Architecture In Games  (25:13) Development Team Dynamics (37:30) Academics & University (51:02) Deadspace Extraction (01:05:44) Rare & Work Visas (01:19:01) Breaking in at Microsoft (01:27:19) Final Round (01:37:43) John’s Outro Links: Henry’s LinkedIn: Henry’s MobyGames:,451834/ The Games Automated Testing Resource Hub : Henry’s GDC Talk -  Lessons Learned in Adapting the 'Sea of Thieves' Automated Testing Methodology to 'Minecraft'  Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Check out Descript using my affiliate link:
102:35 6/7/22
Kent Hudson | Designer Director @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 33
Kent Hudson is a fellow Midway Austin colleague who now serves as a Design Director for Brass Lion Entertainment.  We talk about his start at Ion Storm on Deus Ex in Austin TX, then his jump to 2K Marin on Bioshock 2, and end with his indie hit The Novelist and everything in between. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Kent Hudson (15:38) Ion Storm  (24:12) Shipping Deus Ex (39:09) Midway Austin Criminal (51:23) Leaving for 2K Marin (01:06:10) Bioshock 2 (01:34:06) Going Indie The Novelist (01:57:36) Contract Advice (02:07:55) Brass Lion Entertainment (02:17:39) Final Round (02:23:29) John’s Outro Links: Follow Kent on Twitter: Kent's MobyGames:,70322/ Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Learn more about Brass Lion Entertainment: Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter Fast Company Article on Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney -
148:19 5/23/22
Zach Mumbach | Producer & Designer @ The Wandering Band | Ep 32
Zach Mumbach is a designer & producer at the Wandering Band who spent 17+ years at EA as a producer on Dante's Inferno, Dead Space, Battlefield: Hardline, Godfather 2, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, the Simpsons and more. We talk about his journey in and out of games and more. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Zach Mumbach (07:21) Visceral Games  & Ragtag (18:28) Critical Skills (27:32) Managing External Teams (35:51) Being a Closer (47:37) Montreal Memories (56:10) Pitching at EA (01:05:56) Rag Tag (01:15:22) Time for New Adventures (01:27:34) Something Calls You Back (01:37:55) Publishing with Epic (01:45:50) Final Round (01:53:16) John’s Outro Links: Follow Zach on Twitter: Zach’s MobyGames:,164514/ Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Check out his latest game Airborne Kingdom: Apple Podcast:  Spotify: Follow @outofplayarea & @elkingpin on Twitter
118:51 5/9/22
Ben Retan | Lead AI & Encounter Designer @ Hangar 13 | Ep 31
Episode 31 features Ben Retan, a Lead AI & Encounter Designer at 2K’s Hangar 13 Studio out of Novato California. Ben is an old Midway Austin homie as well as a fellow Full Sail University alumni whose credits include Star Wars the Force Unleashed 1 & 2 for his days at LucasArts. We talk about Quantum Computing, Game Design, Dream Week, and more.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Ben Retan? (7:49) Discord or Slack? (18:31) LucasArts (33:01) Quantum Computing (39:10) Back to GameDev (49:46) Game AI (57:58) All About Marketing (01:05:40) Dream Week (01:18:55) Final Round (01:27:45) John’s Outro   Links: Ben’s LinkedIn: Ben’s Twitter: Ben’s IG: Discord: Ben "Phrost" Retan#1337 Ben’s MobyGames:,368591/ Connect with the host:  Come On The Show:  Learn more about Full Sail University
94:43 4/25/22
Chris Bourassa | Design Director @ Polyarc | Ep 30
Episode 30 features Chris Bourassa, a Design Director at Polyarc working out of Seattle. Chris is a fellow Full Sail University of Alumni with over 15 years of game design and engineering experience having worked on Midnight Club LA & Red Dead Redemption at Rockstar San Diego and Carnage Racing at Tiny Giant on Mobile, to his last game Moss 1 & 2. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Chris Bourassa? (13:05) Moss 1 Design Responsibilities (22:16) Player Empathy & Game Balancing (32:44) Design Director Moves (40:41) Game Dev Origin & Full Sail University (58:13) Working on Midnight Club LA (01:07:56) Designing Stronghold For Red Dead Redemption (01:20:19) Startup Life (01:28:06) Final Round (01:39:51) John's Final Thoughts & Teaser   Episode Resources: Chris Bourassa’s Twitter: Polyarc’s Careers : Connect with the host:  Show:  Learn more about Full Sail University
104:25 4/11/22
Jason Jurecka | Lead Software Engineer @ Visual Concepts | Ep 29
On episode 29 we sit down with Jason Jurecka, a Lead Software Engineer at Visual Concepts, who just released WWE 2k22 laying the smack down on the competition. He’s a fellow Full Sail Alumni who I had the pleasure to work with at R* San Diego on Red Dead Redemption 1 and GTA V, and who has worked with damn near all the heavy hitters in the game from Blizzard, to EA on Battlefield, to where it all started at Big Huge Games on Catan & Rise of Legends. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Jason Jurecka? (13:12) UGC Tools for Wrestling Games (23:07) A Day as an Engineer (35:36) Coming Up in a Small Texas Town (46:23) Finding the Right School for Comp Sci (56:58) Unpacking Burnout (01:04:42) Tools & Pipeline Engineering at Rockstar (01:12:44) Final Project at Full Sail (01:21:02) Schools of Engineering (01:31:15) Final Round (01:45:57) John's Final Thoughts & Teaser   Episode Resources: Support Humanitarian Relief for Ukraine ( Jason Jurecka’s' LinkedIn: Visual Concepts’ Careers: Connect with the host:  Show:  Learn more about Full Sail University
110:48 3/28/22
Alan Blaine | Principal Tech Designer @ Bungie | Ep 28
Episode 28 is dedicated to the people of Ukraine. We sit down with Alan Blaine, a Principal Technical Designer for Bungie on Destiny, and a former Rockstar Designer for Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto V. We talk about the latest release of the Witch Queen, his upcoming GDC 2022 talk, and the craft of being a Technical Designer and a good manager while still staying hands on as a Technical Designer. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Alan Blaine? (12:37) Principal Tech Designer Responsibilities (25:59) Play Your Game (32:20) Starting as a Technical Artist (47:30) Thrasher & Skate Boarding (53:58) Shared World Shooters (01:04:20) Grand Theft Auto (01:12:40) The Chopping Block (01:21:57) GDC Presentation (01:28:59) Final Round (01:38:58) Words for Aspiring Devs (01:48:27) John's Final Thoughts & Teaser   Episode Resources: GDC 2021 Panel Avoid an Identity Crisis as a Technical Designer: GDC 2022 Talk: 1000 Hours of Difficulty: How Destiny Build Systemic Challenge: Alan Blaine’s' LinkedIn: Alane’s Twitter: Bungie Careers : Connect with the host:  Show: 
113:07 3/14/22
James Kane | QA Manager & Designer @ Raccoon Logic | Ep 27
Episode 27 of Out of Play Area the game developer's podcast features James Kane, a Game Designer & QA Manager at Raccoon Studios in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He's an old WB Games Montreal buddy in arms during our time on Metallica & Gotham Knights, who has gone on to do major things in the industry coming up through QA and studying Game Design at Dawson College.    Chapters: (00:00) Who is James Kane? (9:02) Day in the Life of a Junior Designer & QA Manager (18:59) Different QA Branches (24:37) Levels of QA Part 2 (30:44) Alternative to Bug Quotas (38:06) Origin Story (50:00) Going to Typhoon Studios (56:51) Raccoon Logic (01:02:35) Final Round (01:13:04) John's Final Thoughts & Teaser   Episode Resources: James' LinkedIn: Racoon Logic : Connect with the host:  Show: 
78:17 2/28/22
Marie Mejerwall | Consultant Game Director | Ep 26
Marie has a long career in game development, where she has worked on several AAA titles such as Batman Arkham Origins, Dead Rising, RollerCoaster Tycoon and Deus Ex. She worked for a number of well-renowned studios such as Ubisoft, Capcom, Warner Bros and Eidos, eventually making her way up to Game Director. Nowadays, she is a consultant who offers her services for studios, publishers, investors and schools. Marie was also one of the early pioneers of eSports, which she started her side career in by co-driving Femina Gaming, the world’s then-biggest community org for female esports. Her focus was on events and she arranged Counter-Strike competitions at Dreamhack 2004-2010. She then continued in competitive MOBA SMITE, fielding roles such as commentator, analyst and coach for a top #12 team. She also organized and produced tournament broadcasts for ESL and Meltdown eSports bar.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Marie Mejerwall? (12:00) A Game Director's Job (22:46) Do What You Love (31:53) Earn Your Credits (39:32) Breaking into AAA at WB Games Montreal (51:26) Change is Key for Growth (59:32) More Than Your Role (01:07:12) Negotiating & Selecting Your Team (01:20:25) Final Round (01:39:52) John's Final Thoughts & Teaser   Episode Resources: Marie's Website: Marie's MobyGames:,592335/ Marie's LinkedIn: Game Dev Map: Show Website:  Connect with the host: 
103:45 2/14/22
Mauro Fiore | Studio Design Director @ EA Firemonkeys | Ep 25
On Season 2’s premiere episode we surf the waves of change with Mauro Fiore,  Studio Design Director at EA Firemonkeys in Melbourne, Australia.   Mauro has spent 20+ years navigating the ever evolving gaming landscape - from console to casual to mobile and beyond.    Join us as we discuss his journey from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center to Angel Studios, Rockstar Games, Zynga, Forgame, Linekong, and EA, working on titles such as Midnight Club 2 & 3, Red Dead Redemption, CityVille, FarmVille 2, BattleCore, Independence Day Extinction, Real Racing 3, Need for Speed No Limits, the Sims Free Play, and the Sims Mobile.  Chapters: (00:00) Who is Mauro Fiore? (14:37) Leaving Artifacts (25:56) Higher Education (37:50) Angel Studios (52:49) Part of the Angel Family (01:11:03) Designing the Wild West (01:25:12) Strive to Stay Relevant (01:39:17) Head North to Zynga (01:55:03) Developing for Mobile Startups (02:07:09) Life Down Under in Australia (02:25:10) The Metaverse & NFTs (02:41:59) Better Hiring Practices (02:56:01) John's Final Thoughts   Show Resources: Midnight Club Take 2 Buys Zynga LinkedIn: Portfolio:
179:45 2/1/22
2021 Retrospective | John R. Diaz | Tech Designer @ Electronic Arts | Ep 24
This bonus episode features your host John R. Diaz, a Senior Technical Designer for Electronic Arts Frostbite Engine. In this 1:1 we look back on the podcast and the inaugural year, where we've been, and where we hope to go in 2022. Season 202(2) will kick off at the end of January / early February. See you all then! Feel free to connect with John And connect with the show at    Links to other recommended podcasts: Game Dev with a Shot of Jameson: The AIAS Game Maker's Notebook: The Game Dev Show: The Habibis: GDC Podcast: Zero To Play Podcast:     
35:57 12/27/21
Johnny Wu | QA Director @ Riot Games | Ep 23
Johnny Wu is a QA Director at Riot Games in Santa Monica who has worked for Respawn on Apex Legends, King, Zynga, and King.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Johnny Wu? (07:34) A Toast with Johnny (15:43) What is a QA Director? (25:20) Getting into Games (32:37) Learning the QA Craft (39:52) Working at King (51:10) Canada to London (59:13) L.A. L.A. Land (01:07:36) Manager Life (01:13:46) Riot Games (01:23:08) Final Round   Links: Johnny Wu on LinkedIn:  Connect with the host:  Follow the show:   
101:27 12/14/21
Elaine Gomez | Game Designer @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 22
Episode 22 of the game dev's podcast features Elaine Gomez a Game Designer at Brass Lion Entertainment based out of New York City.  Elaine Gómez is an award-winning game designer currently working at Brass Lion Entertainment with 5 years of experience in gameplay and systems design. She is one of the six co-founders of Latinx in Gaming and supports the non-profit organization with game development-related initiatives and resources. Elaine is passionate about mentorship and often lends her design knowledge and resources to serve young game developers across the globe.   Chapters: (00:00) Episode Origin Notes (02:57) Homeland Talk (09:17) Elaine’s Roots & Hustling to Get On (17:28) Design Portfolio (26:03) Designing In The Pandemic (32:57) Being Your Authentic Self (45:16) Soft Skills Are Essential (51:46) Emotional Intelligence & Self-Advocating (01:08:14) Founding a Family in Latinx in Gaming (01:14:42) Representation & Women in Design (01:28:27) Academics & Graduate Programs (01:39:09) Final Round Games (01:52:26) UX in Beyond Blue   Links:
121:30 11/29/21
Angelica Baca | UX Designer @ Intercept Games | Ep 21
Angelica "Jel" Baca is a UX Designer at Intercept Games who found her way through QA for Glu Mobile, Bungie, PopCap, Card Kingdom, and King. Listen to her journey through this industry and how she thrives today.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Angelica Baca? (07:23) Customer Support @ Big Fish Games (14:55) First Game (22:28) QA Ground Floor (30:45) Networking & Professional Relationships (37:21) Stepping out of Games for Ads Colony (45:29) Discovering UX at King (56:15) Card Kingdom (01:13:57) Final Round (01:26:14) John's Closing Thoughts  Links: Jel Baca on Twitter: Jel Baca on LinkedIn: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Nes Playthrough Connect with the host:  Follow the show: 
90:20 11/8/21
Ryan Paradis | Game Design Director @ Bungie | Ep 20
Ryan Paradis, Design Director at Bungie working on Destiny talks about his journey through Full Sail University, working at Rockstar Games in San Diego, to Bungie on Destiny, to 343 on Halo Infinite and more.    Chapters: (00:00) Who is Ryan Paradis? (10:39) Full Sail University Alliances (16:49) Live Design Director Life (26:30) Personal Sustainability (33:40) Power of Cutting Content (49:02) Wearing the Producer Hat (1:01:31) Game Release Windows (01:22:33) Team Play (01:30:07) Minimum Viable Product (01:40:43) John's Final Thoughts & Next Episode Teaser Additional Links: Ryan's Moby Games:,92531/ Connect with the host -  Connect with us:   
105:23 10/25/21
Testing Games Is Awesome with Brian Dumlao QA Analyst @ Jam City | Ep 19
Episode 19 of the game dev podcast Out of Play Area features Brian Dumlao a QA Analyst at Jam City in Carlsbad, CA with Philipinne roots hailing from Los Angeles, California. We talk about how he used his sociology degree and experience at EB Games, to break in at Midway Games in San Diego and work on Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, his journey through the industry at Disney, High Moon Studios on Destiny, to where he is today and what about your mindset makes the difference in thriving in this field and where he looks to grow even after 20+ years of experience. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Brian Dumlao? (7:14) What is Quality Assurance in Games? (17:44) 1st Midway Games Interview (28:26) Gravity Games Bike Street Dirt Vert (35:07) Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance on GameCube (41:59) Unreal Tourney & MYST (49:14) Final Midway Years (01:01:16) Disney, TC Digital, & High Moon on Destiny (01:12:09) Current Day at Jam City (01:25:24) The Final Round (01:32:09) John's Final Thoughts & Next Episode Teaser Additional Links: Brian's Moby Games:,92531/ Connect with the host -  Connect with us:   
96:33 10/11/21
Entrepreneur, Technologist, & Storyteller Matt Udvari | Co-Founder & CTO @ Aquifer Motion | Ep 18
Episode 18 features storyteller/technologist Matt Udvari the CTO and Co-Founder of Aquifer Motion in Austin, TX. We talk about his journey through game development onto his path to build new technology to make it easier for content creators, media businesses, and brands to build interactive stories. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Matt Udvari (13:23) Austin Texas Development (21:29) UFC Fighting Games & IK (31:58) Aquifer Motion's Origin (41:49) Animation Cinematography Automation (48:51) Matt's Background (01:01:38) Game Development & Aquifer (01:10:44) Fall Back into Games (01:20:36) Work from Office vs Work From Home (01:34:11) John's Final Thoughts Additional Links: Careers @ Aquifer -  Rising Startups To Watch With Diverse Founders 2020 Matt Udvari's Twitter Matt's Moby Games:,167075/  Connect with the host -  Connect with us: 
99:02 9/27/21
Being Authentic with Yesenia Cisneros | Lead Producer @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 17
On Episode 17 of the Game Developer's Podcast Out of Play Area hosted by John R. Diaz we sit down with Lead Producer at Brass Lion Entertainment Yesenia Cisneros a Queens New York City Native with Chinese - Ecuadorian roots and we talk about what's it like breaking into games, working in eSports, transitioning into QA, and finally as a Producer at a place that she's so relieved she gets to bring her authentic self to work every day. Chapters: (00:00) Who is Yesenia Cisneros (08:29) Welcome First Producer (16:44) Code-Switching & Sneaker Shopping (19:54) Day in the Life of a Producer (33:12) How Did You Get Into Games? (36:40) Halo 2 & PAX Throwback (42:41) Xbox Live Enforcement Team Op (48:07) Working in QA (52:50) Pokemon Producer (01:01:25) Production Tips & Networking (01:07:21) Books, Games, Office & WFH Life (01:19:58) John's Final Thoughts More Info: John's Twitter-  Yesenia's Twitter - Yesenia's LinkedIn - Brass Lion Entertainment Careers in NYC & Montreal - Book: Think Like a Game Designer by Justin Gary - How to grow your gaming community - #71 - Game Dev London Podcast Unidos 2020: Building Features: How to Get it Done and Make it Fun! Interview with Yesenia Cisneros! Connect with us:   
83:50 9/13/21
Creative Director @ Rovio Montréal Stephan Carmignani | Ep 16
Episode 16 features Stephan Carmignani Creative Director at Rovio in Montreal. We discuss diversity, hiring in the pandemic, VR arcade design at Minority Media, UGC in the metaverse, and more.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Stephan Carmignani (01:47) A Toast (15:03) Hiring Practices in the Pandemic (26:02) VR Arcade Design (38:29) Level Design Roots (43:10) User-Generated Content in the Metaverse (45:30) The End Game (58:35) The Lightning Round (01:14:37) John's Closing Thoughts Additional Links: Stephan's LinkedIn: Stephan's Moby Games:,43883/  Out Of Play Area Home:  Connect with the host John R. Diaz:  
79:49 8/30/21
Solve Cutting Edge Game Design Problems with Sylvain Dubrofsky - Product Designer @ Oculus | Ep 15
In episode 15 of the game dev's podcast Out of Play Area we sit with Sylvain Dubrosky a product & game designer for Facebook's Oculus Virtual Reality, where we go through his journey breaking into game development as a programmer and then transitioning in game design in San Francisco at Shaba, 3DO, and Factor 5, then moving to Harmonix for Rock Band 2, then PopCap where he went into casual games before venturing into VR. Sylvain was nominated by Jeff Junio back in episode 7. Chapters: (00:00) Announcements (00:01:37) Who is Sylvain Dubrofsky? (00:10:40) Oculus Quest Differences (00:21:28) Forget NASA I Want to Make Games (00:33:42) Designer at 3DO (00:44:01) Working on Lair at Factor 5 (00:48:39) Making Good Games at Harmonix Music Systems (00:58:33) Casual Game Dev at EA PopCap (01:11:26) Incubating Games at PopLabs with Unity (01:23:24) Lightning Round Questions (01:33:29) John's Outro & Teaser Links: Register for John's AI Talk at AI4:  GDC Talk 2015 - Overcoming Analysis Paralysis Experimenting with Bears vs Art -  Sylvain's LinkedIn -  Sylvain's Moby Games Credits:,67208/  Connect with the host John R. Diaz:  Show website:   
98:02 8/16/21
Combat Design Deep Dive with Nicolas Monteilhet-Laboissiere - Advanced Game Designer @ WB Games Montréal | Ep14
John dives into Melee Combat Game Design with Nicolas Monteilhet-Laboissiere an Advanced Games Designer at WB Games Montreal.  We talk about how he approached extending Free-Flow Combat in Arkham Origins, after going through the chronology of Melee Systems dating back to Zelda Ocarina of Time, God of War 1, onto the Batman Arkham series.  He also talks about making the jump from QA to Game Design at Ubisoft Montreal.  Chapters: (00:00) Who is Nicolas Monteilhet-Laboissiere? (00:04:20) A Day in Combat Design (00:13:39) 3D Melee Combat History (00:24:51) Combat Design Lexicon (00:29:50) Free-Flow Combat and Souls Likes (00:42:00) WB Games Montreal's Batman (00:56:23) Arkham Origins Boss Fights (01:07:07) Montreal's Gotham (01:09:09) Evolve from QA to Designer (01:24:32) John's Outro and Teaser Connect With Us: John Diaz's Twitter:  Out of Play Area's Home Page:  
89:17 8/2/21
A Game Character Artist's Portfolio - Corinne Scrivens - Art Director @ Polyarc | Ep 13
In episode 13 of Out of Play Area, we sit down with Corinne Scrivens who is an Art Director at PolyArc in Seattle Washington. She's worked as an artist at Arena Net, at Bungie on Destiny 1 & 2, and lets you know as an artist, your portfolio is everything.  Chapters: (00:00) Who Is Corinne Scrivens? (08:04) Learning New Tools (14:46) It's all about the Portfolio (26:36) Neversoft Motion Capture Internship (40:14) Finding Work In Washington (52:33) Armor Sets for Guild Wars at Arena Net (01:06:43) Networking into Bungie (01:29:12) Destiny DLC Characters (01:53:35) Moss is My Dream Game (02:05:42) John's Final Thoughts Show Links & Info: Corrine's Artstation - Corinne's LinkedIn - Website - Follow Corinne Scrivens on Twitter - Gamasutra Article: Follow your host John Diaz on Twitter: Connect with us
129:47 7/19/21
Inspired by Pixar to Animate Video Games | Chris Torres - Animation Director @ Bluepoint | Ep 12
In episode 12, Chris Torres, video game animation director for Bluepoint in Austin, TX discusses what led him to get into video game animation, his love of technical animation, and what led him to become a director and more.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Chris Torres? (06:35) Animation Inspiration Pixar's Toy Story (13:33) Midway Games Broke Me In (27:54) Hired at Nintendo because Ping Pong (36:09) Why Technical Animation? (41:24) Making the Jump to Bluepoint (51:01) Managing Different Personality Types (01:01:16) Navy Brats Evolve into Personable People (01:11:17) Hiring & Demo Reels (01:33:43) John's Final Thoughts   Episode External Resources: Connect with Chris Torres on LinkedIn - What Demon’s Souls can teach stunt performers about human movement -  Chris Torres' Moby Games Credits -,72589/ Follow John Diaz on Twitter: To be a guest book a meeting here: Connect with us
97:49 7/5/21
Freelance Game Developer The Dream Job | Grant Shonkwiler - Commander & Shonk @ Shonkventures | Ep 11
In episode 11 of Out of Play Area the Game Dev podcast, Grant Shonkwiler, a freelance game developer aboard his own company Shonkventures, talks about being an audio programmer, to a game designer, and finally a producer at ID on Rage, and for Epic Games on Fortnite.  We also discuss dealing with burnout, how to negotiate your salary and the power of radical vulnerability and more! Chapters: (00:00) Who is Grant Shonkwiler? (06:18) Radical Candor & Vulnerability (17:13) First Game Pokemon Killer (23:50) Programming at Megatouch Games (37:19) ID & Carrie Calls from AAA (46:52) An Epic Favor over a Fortnite (59:28) The Reality of Burning Out (01:06:29) Make Money being a Game Dev Consultant (01:16:19) Design your Life & Career (01:32:40) John's Final Thoughts Episode Links: GDC 2016 Talk Production: Working at the Heart of the Team:  NO CLIP Doom Documentary:  Shonkventures and all of Grant's Contact Info: Connect with the show: 
94:30 6/21/21
Open Your Own Studio with Empathy, Risk, & Trust | Danny Bulla - Design Director & Co-Founder @ Polyarc Games | Ep 10
In milestone episode 10, Danny Bulla, a co-founder and Design Director at Polyarc Games in Seattle, WA shares what it takes to leave the comfort of Bungie to open your own VR game dev studio with trusted friends. We talk about the power of empathy to be the best designer, giving objective feedback, and the hub for game development and music that Seattle has become.   Chapters: (00:00) Who is Danny Bulla? (10:29) Convey Your Vision (22:04) Leaving Bungie to Open Polyarc (34:04) Breaking Down Design Direction (46:53) Trust Your Teammates (55:59) Seattle The Hollywood of Game Dev (01:06:47) Merging Music & Game Dev (01:18:16) Old Lessons from Midway Austin & Mookie (01:27:19) Remember Mega Ran (01:32:40) John's Final Thoughts   Episode External Resources: Connect with Danny Bulla on LinkedIn - Follow Danny Bulla on Twitter - Danny's Moby Games Credits -,295310/ Follow John Diaz on Twitter: To be a guest book a meeting here: Connect with us
98:01 6/7/21

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