He’s not my doppleganger, and as far as I know we aren’t related other than by Google, but when I had the chance to interview well-known game developer Dave Taylor, I couldn’t resist. Here’s our interview, and I hope you enjoy our witty banter…
Q: Okay, you clearly stole my name or we’re twins of different mothers or something. How’d you get into the game industry when I ended up in the more boring world of business technologies and market communications, Dave?
Our paths prolly diverged in vitro. I knew I wanted to be a game developer the day I saw Lemonade Stand running in Applesoft Basic on an Apple ][+, somewhere around 6th grade.
What’s market communications?
Q: You have quite an illustrious background in the world of gaming too. In a few sentences, can you highlight your career to date in this space?
Coder on Doom and Quake, financed, produced and did some game design on Abuse, producer and game designer on Golgotha (cancelled), checked out of game industry briefly to work at a processor design company called Transmeta as an engineer, produced and designed a game for Spy Kids, did design for an ER TV show game, little coding contracty gig for a Lord of the Rings game, produced and did some game design for a UE3 demo for Intel.
Q: And yet, you quit and are now consulting. What made you change and go independent?
The last couple of years have been very different for me. I’ve essentially become a cross between an independent producer and VP biz dev guy for hire. Been trying to strike that balance of being as simultaneously happy, useful, and profitable as I can, and that seems to do the trick.
Every once in a while, I get this old school urge to code again, usually to debug or optimize something intractable, get in, get out, feel like a hero, and then return to to my mild mannered life as a suit.
Q: Now, let me ask you a serious question. From Leisure Suit Larry to Virtual Valerie, games have always had some sexual situations, or at least some subset of games have had this element present (it’s hard to imagine how Tetris could be misconstrued as PG-13!). More recently there’s been a lot of news and prurient interest generated by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but even games like The Sims are clearly moving into more adult themes with the addition of ‘frat houses’ and similar college hijinks to the otherwise relatively innocuous simulation game.
In a nutshell, Dave, is this much ado over nothing?
Not at all! We should all be mortified and apalled, because we’re going to need a lot of practice at that for the coming decade.
Q: One of the issues in the GTA:SA “Hot Coffee” mod was that parents didn’t know that there was a “sexual situation” that players could unlock in the game. Do you think that’s a problem? If you were on the development team, how would you have handled the inclusion of that section and/or reacted to its becoming public controversy?
I haven’t yet reproduced, so I don’t know that feeling of hysteria a parent feels when they realize their kids can be exposed to hardcore sex. I imagine once you’ve bonded with your brood, even momentary lapses in your supply of oxytocin can feel like the world is spinning out of control and where the (!*@$ is that censorship board to protect my !@$*&@#% child when I need it?
I’m betting that debacle cost Rockstar many millions, as I believe the game got re-rated as AO (Adults Only) by the ESRB and yanked from a lot of shelves. I’ll also bet that every major publisher and developer modified their employment agreements afterwards to say, “You hereby certify in blood that we may sue you from here to buhjesus if you insert penivaginal content into our games.” No developer interested in keeping his career will risk it now, unless he owns the company.
Q: The official game industry ratings group is the ESRB, but there are many people who find the group far too biased in favor of the game manufacturers. DO you support the ESRB and do you think its ratings are sufficient?
I’m not qualified to answer. As I said, I lack the required children to give a flying fennel seed about this issue. If I did have kids, I fear that the answer “yeah sure whatever” might indicate I was a poor father.
Moreover, I adore patently absurd and growing breasts, and barring any fantabulous advances leading to the ability to repartition my girlfriend’s genetic design, the only recourse I have is my (now spectacular) imagination.
In the meantime, I see 3D modelled porn, as will soon be possible in real-time game engines, as my salvation, a ray of hope that as our government disposes of the last shreds of this nation’s resources and goodwill, I can waste away oblivious, my head buried between stereoscopic, world-enveloping breasts. And they will be simulated to delicious perfection by multiple, bonded clusters of literally hundreds of tiny little processors whose existence is dedicated to the gazillions of floating point multiply-adds that will yield cloth simulation, so that I can see said breasts viscerally violate the confines of a soft cotton top as they swell ever larger.
But I have no interest in seeing low-poly peek-a-boo on the computational behemoth that is a 300MHz 32Mb Playstation/2. 6-sided polyhedral breasts are not my idea of arousing.
In short, the Hot Coffee mod was lame.
Q: You’re speaking at the upcoming Sex in Games Conference on The Future of Technology in Sex. Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be talking about and what kind of reaction you expect to receive from the gaming industry?
A: I’ll be discussing what we can now simulate in real-time, thanks to game industry hardware and software technology, but ironically, I think it will be of much less interest to the game industry than it will be to the adult entertainment industry.
Well, not much I can say after that last answer, DT, but both of us will pay attention to this thread, so if you have any questions you’d like to ask Dave Taylor (game designer) or have your own thoughts regarding adult situations and sexual content in video and computer games not otherwise labeled to have such, please share it.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about DT(gd), then please visit his site at Dave Taylor.name (hey, why didn’t I get that domain anyway?)