Like a mighty octopus, the cybernetic tendrils of Snakehead Games encircle and throttle the information superhighway, but like any cephalopod, we’re nothing without the legions of loyal gnomes working the furnaces day and night. Ludicrous metaphors aside, we decided to have a word with a particular hotshot programmer/graphics artist who was busting his hump on one or more secret projects. Jeremy Martin takes a break to shoot the breeze with us below…
NB: As of the time of this post, Mr Martin has completed his internship with us and is not currently working anything further for Snakehead. We reproduce, however, his interview in the interests of giving him fair credit for the work he did for us, and because it’s interesting in its own right.
So let’s start with who you are…
My name is Jeremy Martin in the “meat world”, but in the digital world I go by Kulpritt. I grew up in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada and now reside in Niagara Falls (yes, the Canadian side, still). I am 38 going on 18…hehe….so I kind of got a late start with the whole programming and game development aspect of my life, but I have always played games for as long as I can remember.
So you’ve had an interest in this kind of thing for quite a while, huh?
I had the Atari home version of Pong which was first sold at Sears retail stores during the Christmas season of 1975. So you can see how since I was only 2 at the time, I got a good start on playing games. It’s a love that has never died and actually gets stronger as the years go by. Too many years, heh.
Yeah, I’ve always liked creating things, whether it be a physical entity (like, say, a chair) or it be a digital creation like code for a program, or artwork. Well as for the artwork, I like to create both hand-drawn pieces and digital creations. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and have been working in the Graphic Design career field for around 6 years on and off now.
I just recently took up programming in the last year or so when I attended college for Video Game Development & Design. So far I am totally in love with programming. Not only do you get to create, but you get to create with interactivity. It’s almost like being a little god and you are creating your own little universe or existence.
Tell us a bit more about what you learned in college.
I am self taught in graphic design and almost the same with programming. I did attend college for programming but we learned a different language almost every month so it was hard to master any one language. All I can say is thank you to the internet for providing so many resources that one can now teach themselves anything they want to learn. I got into graphic design for the pure joy of it and then I started ‘making’ business cards and brochures for friends and family. Once I was confident enough in my skills I started working at some sign shops. And the rest as they say is history. I now want to turn my focus over to programming though, try to excel at it and become ‘fluent’ with it.
And you came to Snakehead through your college, is that right?
I came to work here at SHG through the internship program that is part of the Video Game Development & Design program I took, or am taking, at the college I attended. I was the first intern to ‘come aboard’ here at SHG and have had nothing but great times and great learning experiences. I must say, I really “lucked out” with getting a placement here. At the moment I am designing and developing mobile games which are going to be released on the iOS (iPhone) and Android mobile devices. Working for/at Snakehead Games has been great; the “Boss Men” are super nice and down-to-earth people which makes for a pleasant work environment.
Mobile games, huh? Sounds awesome! What can you tell us about that at this stage? Or is it all still hush-hush?
The first game I worked on was “Word Nerds”, which is now in the pre-alpha stage and soon to be in alpha with the release of the lite version of the game. It’s a pretty addicting game where you build words using the letters that are moving across the screen before they disappear. I had a lot of fun developing that one. The next game, which is the one I am currently working on, is “Combat Zone”. It is a card-based battle game with the same theme as Spybattle 2165…
I love it already. But since I don’t want to spoil the surprise, let me change the subject a touch. You’ve called working here a pleasant experience, so why don’t you walk us through a typical day?
For the past 2 years, my days have been “Walk to the bus station in Niagara Falls at 2 in the afternoon, get on the Go Bus and ride it for an hour and a half, get off the Go Bus and get on the Hamilton city bus and ride THAT bus for another half an hour” for a total of 2 hours of bus riding to get to the college I was attending until just recently. I would then spend 4 hours in class learning and working. After class I had to reverse the bus trip order back to the Falls. The only catch was my class ended at 9 p.m, and the next available bus back to the Falls wasn’t until midnight. I wouldn’t get home until 2 in the morning. So Monday to Friday for the past 2 years I have been putting in 12 hours of bus rides and waiting around for bus rides for a 4-hour class. I don’t think I have to tell you that I am glad those days are finally over. Oh wait, I just did.
Anyway. A “typical” day here, for me, here doesn’t really exist. Since I am interning, I get to spend 3 days working from home (which is nice because it’s a 2-hour bus ride to the office from home) and 2 days in the office. So far my days consist of meetings via Skype, programming, creating placeholder graphics, research on any given topic or problem that may come up, and game testing. Now this might seem like a lot of different things for one person to do while creating a game, but in actuality it’s not too bad. I am using the Corona SDK for building the games/apps, so testing is instant. I can write a line of code, create the graphic that goes with that code, and then run the code and see my changes and/or results instantly. Besides, I like being able to do all of it myself.
A definite step up. And in the time you have left over, if any?
When I’m not trying to create The Next Best Game EVER! I practice my programming so I can make The Next Best etc etc that much faster. I also try to squeeze in some video game time – as weird as this may sound, I find the longer I am making games, the less I actually PLAY games…except for the ones I am making, of course. I have always been into skateboarding and intend on skating as long as I can. So if it’s nice out and my old bones aren’t too sore, I will go out on my board and get some much needed exercise. It’s way too much fun to be considered a workout though.
Sounds like you’re planning to do this kind of thing for a long while to come…
My future plans have just recently changed a little bit. They are basically the same as always, but the timeline has been skewed a bit. I intend to continue developing apps and games for mobile devices once I leave Snakehead Games. I want to keep improving my skills as both a programmer and artist in the gaming field. Who knows, I might even end up starting my own little game development studio in the future. No matter what does happen to me and my future plans, I do know that I will always admire and respect the people here at SHG and I hope to work with, or for them sometime down the road.
And it’s been great to have you, Jeremy. So how can we keep an eye on you and your work?
If you wish to check out my school portfolio, you can do it here – http://kulpritt.wordpress.com/
Also I have just recently purchased my own domain to showcase my work and portfolio, although there isn’t much on there yet. I am currently working on it and it will be an ongoing project for me. You can check that out here – http://www.jmartinportfolio.ca/
Thanks for your time, Jeremy.
Rock indeed, Mr Martin. Rock indeed. Join us next time when we bring another Snakehead staffer into the spotlight, whether they like it or not…until then!