An Interview with Summer Camp Studios’ own, Rich Gallup
Scott sits down with Rich Gallup to talk games, life, and farting cats.
For those not familiar with you and your work, fill them in:
Hello everyone! My name is Rich Gallup, and in reverse chronological order I am currently the co-founder of Summer Camp Studios, and formerly Lead Producer at 38 Studios on Project Copernicus, Features Producer for GameSpot (where I created and hosted many fun programs including On the Spot, the HotSpot, Button Mashing, and Time Trotters), QA tester at THQ, finalist in the Eternal Darkness Film Competition, and a clerk at Video Headquarters in Keene, NH.
How did you make the transition from Producer at GameSpot to Producer in videogame development?
With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work! I was originally hired to help 38 Studios with their online presence, but I kept volunteering for more and more additional work pertaining to the game. 38’s Executive Producer at the time, Mike Kosenski, asked if I wanted to transition into video game production full-time and I jumped on it! Thanks to my GameSpot experience, I was fully equipped with universal Producer skills like preparation, organization, teamwork, attention to detail, decision making, a friendly attitude, and of course a general love of video games.
What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve learned through your years?
This is super corny and straight out of Road House: Be Nice. It’s amazing how much easier and rewarding it is to work with other people, solve problems together, and have fun with your job if keep that in mind. If I could choose a second biggest takeaway it would be to prioritize your focus. You can’t worry about everything, so worry about what’s most important and get it done.
Who all makes up the studio now? Will you be hiring soon?
Summer Camp Studios was founded by myself and Gavian Whishaw, the former General Manager of 38 Studios. The more talented portion of our studio (engineers, artists, etc.) consists of a big mix of our friends and former co-workers. We follow a project-based model that allows people to contribute as much time as they feel comfortable in this exciting venture, while still tending to their families and personal needs.
With Summer Camp Studios, were there any goals or ideas you had set for yourselves?
Our initial goal was to just ship something fun, and ship it quickly for therapeutic reasons as much as anything else. Bonus points for learning how we wanted to structure the company and how to develop and publish for a new (to us) platform. Just one day into Fart Cat’s launch and we’ve already nailed that primary goal and learned a ton!
“Fart Cat” is your first iOS game. It
is was currently in app-review with Apple, right?
It’s out now! Buy it! Get your friends to buy it! Feed that finicky kitty and make him Fart!
Were you always set on “Fart Cat”, or was there a lengthy decision-making process going on between “Fart Cat” and “Cat Fart”?
It was a lengthier discussion than one might think! The resolution was basically Fart Cat is the name of a character, Cat Fart is what you call the thing Fart Cat does.
What’s after Fart Cat…oh wait, an already announced second game in development?! That’s pretty awesome, what is it? Does it have a name?
We are working on our second title, but it’s way too early to say what it is beyond another iOS game that will hopefully feature sea otters because many of us at Summer Camp find them adorable. We’re not trying to be secretive, it’s that we’ll find out what the gameplay is through our iterative development process. It’s simply too early to know for sure! We are also currently weighing the benefits of expanding the functionality of Fart Cat!
What is the price point you’re running with, for your games?
One of the many things we want to learn in the mobile space is how to best make money through games without being annoying to our players. For example, we were originally going to launch two versions of Fart Cat, one for 99 cents and one for free with ads. But we thought the ads got in the way of the fun so we scrapped it for launch. There’s also a lot of exploration going on with free games that are supported by microtransactions, or IAP (in-app purchases), some of which seems to be working quite well and some of which folks don’t like. We want to try it all so we can learn from it firsthand and pay those lessons forward into future Summer Camp games.
For the mobile games, will there be “In-App Purchases”, or are you staying away from that?
We will definitely try it some day!
Is mobile just the beginning for what this studio wants to do? I imagine you’d want to do console games again, or am I completely wrong?
Nothing is out of the question. At Summer Camp Studios we want to make fun things for people who like fun things.
Is Kickstarter a possibility for future games that will require more money to properly fund?
We are keeping a keen eye on the evolution of Kickstarter. For a company as small as us, it seems both daunting and exhausting. We have so few resources, we would rather pour what energy we have into making games.
Would you ever write a book about your experiences?
Fun question! I would love to write a book and actually contemplated doing so this summer. It would definitely be fiction, way more fun than my personal experiences.
Back in May you joined Twitter, what took you so long?
It’s a lot of work! Keeping up with Twitter is the same as trying to regularly maintain a blog. Now that I am running my own company, it was an easy decision to jump in. It’s way more fun than I expected! Folks can find me at @rich_gallup and the Summer Camp Studios feed (which is mostly me) at @SummerCampers.
What games are you playing right now? And what are you looking forward to most this year?
This summer has been a great opportunity to catch up on my backlog, once I finished doing every quest possible in Reckoning! I just went back and finished the original Darksiders, and am hoping to tackle Mass Effect 3 before Borderlands 2 comes out. I’m really digging Sound Shapes and Rock Band Blitz, and for iOS games I recently finished 10000000 (so good) and can’t stop playing my eternal favorites Fairway Solitaire and Drop7. I’m most looking forward to Assassin’s Creed 3, where maybe I’ll get to fight along my ancestor Col. Benadam Gallup!
Well I’m all out of questions. Thank you so much for doing this Rich!
Thanks for your interview, hope your readers like Fart Cat!
You can purchase Fart Cat for $0.99 here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fart-cat!/id555347022?mt=8