Going Beyond the Norm
Ten Ton Hammer Interviews
Brian “Psychochild” Green
Questions by Cody Micajah
There are a bevy of blogs by individuals in the video game
Everyone with a tech oriented mind seems to have jumped on the blog
bandwagon and is getting their voice heard by the public consumer. Many
of these written submissions take after their name sake and are simply
web logs, but some rise above the rest and actually educate while
One of the best game industry blogs belongs to Brian
“Psychochild” Green, founder of Near Death Studios,
and general industry veteran. While Brian’s professional
development experience has been limited to only one game, Meridian 59,
he’s done so much with that one title that he has knowledge
designers and developers wouldn’t even begin to perceive.
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Brian "Psychochild" Green, Founder of Near Death
Originally, Brian was hired on at Meridian 59 (M59) as a
1998. By the time the game closed in 2000, Brian was one of the head
developers on the project. After a brief stint of working on The Palace
for Communities.com in 2000, Brian founded Near Death Studios and
purchased M59 from 3DO. He now runs the game with a skeleton
crew of people and has a small, yet dedicated player-base. Now Brian
also consults on various projects and is a legal expert on patent
defense cases. This experience led him to co-edit the book Business
& Legal Primer for Game Development. More information on the book can be found at http://www.psychochild.org/?p=223
We were lucky enough to get an opportunity to sit down and
Brian, and he gave us so much information that we’ve split
interview into two parts. In the first section, we discuss how Brian
got started in the MMO industry and how Meridian 59 has opened his eyes
to the business elements of game development.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Brian.
style="font-weight: bold;">Brian: I am more
than happy to talk about my favorite subject!
First off, before you
started making games, you had a very rich and diverse background. Could
you summarize what you did before you were hired on at M59? And
how did you land the coveted first job as “game
As I tell a lot of people, I was a game designer from an early age but
didn’t know it. I used to create little board games
pieces of scrap cardboard. I got into programming because I
played computer games back in the day and wanted to learn how to make
college I got hooked
on text MUDs
and was able to become a programmer (a.k.a. a
one. I still think the main reason I passed my C++ class
was because I had learned LPC the same semester; I certainly
wasn’t attending all my 8 AM classes! I was also
a lot of discussions about online games back then, notably the
rec.mud.* newsgroups on Usenet and then on the MUD-Dev mailing list.
about five years
gaming, I got my break and was able to work on M59 at 3DO. I
hired to the small team primarily because I had programming experience
on text MUDs. Some of the backend on M59 is reasonably
the work I did in college. From there, I got more involved in
aspects of the game, including communicating with the customer service
representatives (CSRs) and assisting with design decisions.
was nice to work on a small team and pick up a variety of skills.
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