Interviewee: Andre LaMothe




Interview by: Kurt Knudsen


Before we start can you please introduce yourself and what you do?

My name is Andre' LaMothe, I am a computer scientist and author, specializing in graphics, AI, and game related algorithms and software.

For anyone that is in game programming knows your name. How has this fame affected your lifestyle?

I work constantly since I have so many projects and demands on my time, other than that I get a lot of mail and questions from complete strangers :)

What got you into programming, specifically game programming?

Simply because it was a way to create worlds in the computer.

What was the first game you ever made, even if it wasn’t public?

Probably "guess my number" was the first game I made, the first decent game that I published was "Quarks" I think about 25 years ago. A vertical shooter all in 6502 Assembly language for the Atari 800.

What made you want to write books on game programming?

Because there were no books on it, and I got sick of explaining how to do it to everyone. I am very entrepreneurial, so if I see an opportunity I will take it.

Do you know how many copies of your books you have sold?

All combined my personally authored books maybe 400,000-500,000 units.

I see you are the CEO of Xtreme Games, can you elaborate more on what you and they do?

I started it to help value and small game developers get published. At a time XGames was a very powerful developer with hundreds of games and deals with all the major publishers. Then Hasbro sued the planet.

You also have a new project you are working on, XGameStation, can you elaborate on that as well?

No one seems to know anything about hardware game development. At the Game Developer's Conference there is not a SINGLE talk on console design, GPU architecture, etc. So I thought wouldn't it be cool to teach the world how to build not only game software, but game hardware – that was the seed of the idea.

Which do you prefer, DirectX or OpenGL?

DirectX, no question. OpenGL can't compare.

Speaking of DirectX, how do you feel about upcoming versions? Are they getting better and better and/or making things more complicated or easier?

They are amazing now, the API has really matured and rocks. However, they are complex, overly complex I think. Nonetheless, a little wrapper class can fix that up.

What’s the best advice you can give to newbies to game developing?

Don't talk about writing games, don't write design docs, don't spend your time on web boards. Sit in your house write 20 games when you complete them you will either want to do it the rest of your life or not.

How do you feel about the future of game programming? Do you think it will be strictly math nuts or will everything balance out in the end?

It is going to continue to get technically complex, but the tools will grow to serve designers and content creators. The programming of games will be minimal in 5-7 years, there will be nothing to program, it will all be created as "content" with complex tools. There will always be programmers, but at some point there will be one programmer and hundreds of content, level, and script creators –

Do you think future games will be ultra-realistic as far as graphics and AI goes?

Absolutely, I feel that in 3-5 years games will be photorealistic or at least the cards can render photorealistic, the content developers must take advantage of the cards though.

Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 seem to have good things going for them, what is your opinion on that kind of heavy duty gaming?

Its rocks, both products are amazing; I can't wait to play them. These are going to be the kind of games you can't put down --

PC or consoles?

I like FPS on PC, but everything else on consoles.

What is your all-time favorite game; personally I’m still attached to Dune 2.

Don't laugh, but "Dig Dug" from the Arcades :) But, more recently I would have to say, "Out of this World", "Doom", "Halo".

Before we go is there anything you would like to add?

Nothing other than check out www.xgamestation.com , if you ever wanted to know how to build a game console from the ground up this project will show you how –

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you again.


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