Unleash your inner hillbilly in this eccentric multiplayer mower racing game!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Developer Profile: Peter Hansell

How to get to Mow N' Go

When I was born there was no public internet, cell phones, apps, interactive TV or any personal tech. Just kids riding bikes and rolling around in the country. Life really found direction in 1977 when Star Wars was released. I saw it over and over again and was completely taken away. The future was amazing technology, and heroes, and robots, and saving the world. As it turns out the reality of what has happened has exceeded even the dreams of a small boy in Iowa.

Back in the 1980's I was a DnD nut and I started making games. I submitted my first board game for publication at Gen Con (15/16??) and met with Steve Jackson. It was a big moment because he was a big game designer with a name I knew. Steve was very kind and took my prototype back to Texas. After a long time I got the materials back and a nice letter. He suggested rewriting the rules and submitting again. Looking back I am sure it was a mess but it was a great moment because I learned that failure is an option and yet still epic. This did not dim my ardor for making games, but alas games would have to wait.


By now I have had 2 dozen jobs but my lucky break was my first job out of college: Aspen Graphics in San Francisco. We had macs with something brand new - desktop publishing. There was Photoshop 2.0 and Quark Express and it was like magic. This was the beginning of a major revolution in communication. Before you used black and white cameras for copies and rub down type for headlines. Now we could set type electronically and do layouts all at your mouse. We worked right in the ad ghetto in San Francisco and I was lucky enough to work with major agencies and national promotions. It was and exciting time but this was only the beginning.

In the mid 1990's the Internet arrived and we jumped on board. We were making websites furiously and it was another brave new world. Back then it was very hard to make a web site. We had unix servers and we started coding by hand in jot. Soon we had Macromedia Dreamweaver knocking on our door with a graphical web development tool kit. Things were starting to change. We also began moving away from marketing and entertainment sites and into web sites that did real work. Before this time you could not check your bank account or pay bills online but all that was starting to happen.

I did 2 tours of duty with Trust Benefits Online making big data websites for union trust funds. This was not sexy work but the systems were massive in scope, and it was extremely sensitive for our clients. Being able to look up eligibility for health coverage and pension benefits was a remarkable service at that time and just starting to become the new normal.


Finally games! 
TableStar Games was founded in 2004 and I was hired on as the art director. Finally I got to work full time making games. We published 19 products and worked on dozens more. Our biggest achievement was making Wealth of Nations in 2008. We were nominated for and Origins award and things were rocking. That year the origins awards included Wealth of Nations, Pandemic and Agricola. Wow that is an amazing lineup and Pandemic took home the gold. That is a great game and we were happy to be put on the same list. After 5 years TableStar Games closed - we had a great run at it.

In 2012 after doing freelance app development I was hired by 5th Planet Games as a producer for Video Games. I was excited to move into a well established and successful company. I was put in charge of an online CCG: Clash of the Dragons. It was a brutal schedule with a new release every Tuesday afternoon. In addition to this I worked on large promotions for our flagship game - Dawn of the Dragons. This included managing the anniversary events which were a smashing success. Eventually I was moved to features development and game design. I created an online gem puzzler called Heroes and Dragons from prototype to production which was the final big project I did with 5PG.


Now I am doing projects that I want to do and the center of this is Mow N' go Racing. In our Sacramento Indie team everyone wears a lot of hats. I am working on a number of publishing and front end projects as well as producing and game development. Inside the game you can only focus on a few things at the same time. I will work on Kart and racer design, UI and UX projects, level design, as well as general development production. Lately we have spent a lot of time on content development. This is designing the karts, racers and tracks. This is an amazing and fun part of the project. We have so many awesome ideas for characters and their abilities that it is just a scream to work through them. We had big fights about how the robot character would have a flying drone. I pushed hard for this and it looks like we finally worked out a way to do it that fits. So far we have over 30 character profiles that we are trying to narrow down to 12.

This has been a great ride and the karts are now coming around the mountain.

Keep rolling those dice.

April 23, 2018
Peter Hansell

No comments:

Post a Comment