RPS Interviews 8 Year Old Developer Ross

By John Walker on August 3rd, 2010 at 6:27 pm.

You may remember a couple of weeks back we featured a game made by eight-year-old Ross, Alien Black Hole. What stood out about it was a really smart idea – needing to use your enemies to create paths to let you exit a level. Because we think Ross is a bit of a hero, making a game that clever at his age, we wanted to interview him to find out his thoughts. So with the help of his mum and dad, we got in touch. You can read it below.

RPS: How long have you been making games?

Ross: I just started… 1 week. Since my 2nd Cousin once removed, Colin, arrived from Canada.
 
RPS: How long did it take to make Alien Black Hole?

Ross: 1 week, I worked on it all day every day

RPS: What games do you enjoy playing?

Ross: Games that are on Andkon Arcade. Club Penguin. 
 
RPS: Do you ever play games made especially for kids?

Ross: Yes, Club Penguin. Andkon Arcade is mostly for kids and I play games on my DS.

RPS: Do you ever play games with your parents? If so, which do you think are good games to play with a family?

Ross: Yes I enjoy playing Wii fit with my Mum and Dad. I also play Bounty Hunter, Sonic, and Star Wars games on PS2 with my Dad.

RPS: What do you think is the secret for making a great game?

Ross: Taking your time and think about it a lot.

RPS: Do you hope to carry on making games? Is it something you’d like to do for a job?

Ross: Yes I would love it as a job!

RPS: Will you give us the world exclusive on any new games you release?!

Ross: Maybe… if you ask me first!

RPS: Thanks for your time!

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46 Comments »

  1. westyfield says:

    Aawwwwww.

  2. Dreamhacker says:

    Well, here’s me hoping he’ll get into game development! I made my first game, a university project Advance Wars rip-off, when I was 21, and I had so much fun that I regret not doing this earlier.

  3. Koozer says:

    Is that Star Wars: Bounty Hunter? Ross is now 400% cooler than before.

    PS. how do I games? I suppose Game Maker is as good a start as any…

    • Meatloaf says:

      Wait! I don’t know how to Games either! Someone help!

    • Freudian Trip says:

      I use iGames.

    • Dyst says:

      Start with Game Maker or Unity. They seem to be the most accessible.

    • pakoito says:

      Unity is accessible? Usure?

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      Petethegoat says:

      Gamemaker is both accessible and powerful, so long as you don’t want to do any complex 3D stuff.
      It’s only real drawback (in my opinion) is that is isn’t cross platform. Still, I think most of RPS uses Windows anyway.

    • Jonathan says:

      I want to games too. Other than Game Maker, are there any worthwhile free or cheap 2D dev tools that are easy to use?

    • Xercies says:

      If you can find it…Klick and Play

    • Burningpet says:

      I find construct to be really accesible and intuitive.

    • westyfield says:

      Star Wars Bounty Hunter was amazing. I remember borrowing it from a friend when I was about 10. Kept hold of that one for quite a while…
      The theme is still one of my favourite pieces of music from any Star Wars film or game:

    • Dyst says:

      Unity is pretty ridiculously easy to learn if you have access to models. You can download all the scripts you’ll need to make standard games like platformers from the Unity website and from various places around the internet and all you really need to focus on are graphics and mapping. That’s up until the point you want to make UNIQUE games. Then you have to learn a bit of coding.

      If you want to make 2D online RPG’s that are a few engines like Elysium, Playerworlds and VBGore which are quite easy to do. The only problem is they all run on Visual Basic 6 which is an obsolete programming language now. The graphics are insanely easy to make in a program like paint and the “coding” is relatively simple as there are hundreds of tutorials on the respective forums that will basically give you the codes and all you have to do is find and replace lines.

      And then there’s game maker. It’s a very simple engine but pretty versatile as we have seen in many recent indie games. It’s drag and drop interface makes it incredibly easy to start with, but that only goes so far and like the rest of these engines you’ll have to learn GML which is it’s own programming language. The problem with this is once you want to leave Game Maker and start using another engine or even making your own you’re going to have to learn a whole load of new syntax which is pretty annoying.

      The UDK is a very powerful and again, it’s very versatile but it’s probably the least accessible of all of these engines. Assets have to be pretty high quality and I think (though I’m not 100%) that you need to use C++ to create new major features rather than the scripting that the others use. The advantages of scripting are that you don’t have to recompile everything once you make a change.

      Source is sort of a stand-alone engine now that they have released the Source SDK for free. Mods like Orion, Fistful of Frags and Firearms: Source are completely free to all Steam users regardless of whether they own a source game or not. This could be a new way forward if you’re looking to get into game development. Just be aware that you aren’t allowed to sell mods meaning that any games you make on the free SDK have to be free games.

      So out of all those, it’s game maker or Unity and to be honest, I’d go with Unity purely because it’s a 3D engine. You can simulate a 2D game pretty easily but you also have access to all of the 3D effects. Game Maker HAS 3D support, but it’s not nearly as good.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Most likely it was the Games Factor or Multimedia Fusion (both made by Clickteam). Basically they are a rapid development tool that lets you make a game without coding. You just have a check list of different events, input your logic and variables and then run it. Since he’s 8, and it took him 1 week to make his first game, this would almost have to be it.

      I can’t imagine an 8 year old getting Game Maker and producing a game in a week. Not without borrowing a lot of code. Game Maker uses actual scripting so that would be a bit more difficult.

      Unless this kid is a child prodigy, in which case I take back everything I said :P

    • Calabi says:

      @ScubaMonster

      You can do quite alot without using gml in gamemaker. I imagine its perfectly possible to make that game without using any code. But even the code in GML is pretty simple.

    • Spacewalk says:

      People interested in making games might be want to pop over to glorioustrainwrecks dot com. We mostly use Klik & Play and are quite helpful with advice on how to use it, twice a month we have online get-togethers where we spend a loose two hours making games which is probably the best time to get help and occasionally we do really fun things like making 529 games in one weekend, the result we just recently made public.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Klik & Play is hideous now, far too old. The Games Factory, also, though at least it has facilities for larger-than-one-screen levels! The same devs went onto make Multimedia Fusion, though it’s not cheap.

      There is a free project called Scirra Construct which aims to reproduce a free alternative to “game makers” in the same vein as The Games Factory. Worth trying.

    • Nick says:

      Klik & Play was ALWAYS hideous, I think (hope!) it was a joke =)

    • Biggles says:

      If you want to games in flash and don’t mind doing a bit of coding, try FlashPunk!

      http://www.flashpunk,net

      It’s got a pink cog logo and everything!

      Seriously though, pretty darn easy to get up and running with, and super powerful/flexible once you’re under way.

  4. fuggles says:

    He sounds sweet, hopefully he keeps plugging away. Were you supposed to go through random walls in that game by the way?

  5. geldonyetich says:

    When I was 8-years-old, my game development was plating around moving characters around by hand with the cursor keys on my Commodore 64. I wish I had the kind of tools we do now (like GameMaker and BYOND and the Internet’s wealth of open-source productivity software) when I was a kid.

  6. Dyst says:

    When I was 8 I made a game where I had to punch my sister as hard as I could.

    Interview me man.

    • Dexemplu says:

      I remember playing that game with my sister too.

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      JB says:

      Same, except in my version the game was “can I give her 2 dead arms and 2 dead legs fast enough that she has all 4 limbs numb at once”.

  7. Peter Vutov says:

    I feel like an idiot for learning Java for weeks in order to make my first game (not yet done learning it though). Does anyone do that anymore?

    • Bob Bobson says:

      The discipline and knowledge of learning an actual programming language will put you in a great postion for game coding. It will give you an understanding of the right way to go about coding (hopefully) and, when you want to do something original that game development kits haven’t anticipated you won’t run into a brick wall with it if you can code.

      So I say learning Java is an excellent first step, so long as you have the sort of mentality that follows things through, even when they get dull and/or frustrating. As an added bonus it makes you more employable in the world of non-gaming coding.

  8. Tei says:

    I just played the game, and ….wooot!.. is a simple but very good game. It really challenge the player, is maybe better than some 8 million dollars games (like.. is probably a better game, if small, than CNC4)

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    Riaktion says:

    Thats not ex PCG editor Ross is it?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Pcg’s Ross does make games because he is so busy being very rich.

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      Riaktion says:

      he makes games because he is too busy being rich?

    • Nick says:

      He is easily self funded, he has to keep busy in his castle after leaving PCGUK after all.

  10. Spinoza says:

    When I was 8 , circa 81 , I was running in the forest with airgun , exploring WW II bunkers and pretending that Im hunting down and killing Nazis, proto Call of Duty style.Sort of.

  11. Taillefer says:

    I made text adventure games on the Spectrum when I was 6. My game-making skills have not improved since.

  12. SAeN says:

    I bet Valve gives him a job by the end of the week.

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      Arvind says:

      Hope Gabe doesn’t ruin his eating habits ;)

      Seriously though, this kid is awesome. He’ll go far if he manages to prevent drugs and hedonism from ruining his life.

    • MadMatty says:

      Actually Hedonsim works pretty good

  13. d4niel says:

    “Ross: Taking your time and think about it a lot.”

    ..this is something that many developers should take to heart.

  14. Daniel Rivas says:

    World Exclusives!

    RPS, building bridges.

  15. Ninja Dodo says:

    Kudos. Very interested to see what this kid is making in ten years.

    • Paul B says:

      When I was eight I was stamping on ants, and setting fire to insects, so yes, kudos to this kid – he’ll go far :)

  16. Steve Swink says:

    Note that his cousin Colin is Colin Northway, creator of Fantastic Contraption (and one of my favorite people in the world.) So, there’s a pedigree there and he clearly had some good training :D. That said, this kid is TERRIFYING. Imagine the game’s he’ll be making in high school, let alone when he gets to my age. Take it easy on us mental slowpokes, Ross :D.

  17. MadMatty says:

    i did some work on c64 Basic when i was 11, some text adventure prototypes, and i even had a few sprites bobbing around the screen- todays work kits are a hell of a lot sweeter, they even check you for typos as youre writing- waaahey!

    • MadMatty says:

      Im almost certainly getting back into the meat at some point- got c++ for dummies lying around (allready know the basics from Commodore 64 Basic)
      C++ and all, are still the same language (only using different words?).
      The great thing about the Basic language, was that lines of code made sense in actual english- C++ is the next step up, its streamlined for fast typing, but makes preciously little sense at a glance from the uninitiated!

  18. Irish Al says:

    Lump in my throat here. Knock ‘em dead, kid.

  19. Jimbo says:

    Awwww reminds me of Quintin age 7 1/4!!!