An Interview with Lloyd Summers, Game Developer And Horror Lover!

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Meet Lloyd Summers, the technical co-founder of Red Iron Labs. He is a regular streamer on LiveEdu and has already streamed over 104 hrs of content! Currently, he is working on his C# VR Horror game known as Abduction.

You can also catch Lloyd Summers working on “How to create Flappy Bird in Unity3D using C#” in the Premium project section. The course covers everything that you need to develop a flappy bird game from scratch. Catch him working on the project live every Saturday, 11 AM MST/1 PM EST.

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Real Name:          Lloyd Summers

Alter ego:              RedIronLabs

Location:               Calgary Alberta

Power/Abilities:     Dark Horror Games

Username:            RedIronLabs

Profession:           Co-Founder and Lead Developer at RedIronLabs.

Channel:           RedIronLabs Channel

Q: Hey, RedIronLabs! Tell us something about yourself.

I talk & type a lot. Ya’all have been warned.

Hi!  My name is Lloyd Summers, and I am the technical co-founder of Red Iron labs – my partner in crime is Rosalinda Hernandez, co-founder, and researcher.  You may remember me from such streams as, Lloyd has the flu, and Whoops, I forgot to turn on my mic.

Q: How long have you been on LiveEdu.tv? How’s your experience so far?

We started with LiveCodingTV before it became LiveEdu, only 4 or so months ago?  It was (insert a romantic reference).  Seriously it makes sense, I talk a lot normally, think out loud, I’m an older bro (brother, not frat-beer-keg-guy) and I love to mentor.  One thing I personally value is the live input from fans watching the stream – I look forward to seeing them every time.  As a small indie studio, we spend long periods in isolation working on a title and this gives us an outlet to connect to a great community.

Q: Tell us about your work? Any special mentions?

Hey hey, bragging time! Well, I have a long history of coding 🙂  I started at 14, making mini RPGs for the Apple][e (that is a single color green screen computers for you youngun’s). Hacked up a lot of electronics, some I shouldn’t have. I’ve worked for big business followed by amazing startups including a medical company creating 3D patient software and created over 200 mobile apps & games (some amazing, some oh-so-terrible).  Other amazing things include stuff that’s boring to everyone else (I see you rolling your eyes!).  My crown achievement though would be focusing last year to create this dedicated video game company with the person that matters most in my life, my partner of 12 years – and this achievement includes meeting all of you (hi mom!).

Q: What do you love about programming? Which programming languages have you tried? Is Game Development all about programming?

Great question. I believe in adaption, and I’ve always focused on niche markets where community matters so much, I believe developers should dabble in all languages. I’m very comfortable in C/QT (one love to my BlackBerry brothers and sisters), C#, JS, ActionScript 2/3, Java, and especially Basic – but I have made titles on some really obscure languages.  At the end of the day, companies change all the time and you need to be diverse enough to change with them.

Regarding games, I see programming as a logical way to approach a means to an end and it needs to be comfortable for you. The more time you can spend designing a game instead of coding, the more successful you’ll be, I think.  And for me, hands down, game development is design heavy.  For every few hours of coding, I do a weeks worth of creative design.

Q: So, which project are you working on? Which platform you are focusing your development time and why?

We very purposefully created a game company dedicated to narrative stories and dark horror.  When mixed with immersive technology, like serious VR (our focus), it creates this amazingly powerful experience.  Right now we are working on a bunch of titles including the Abduction (alien horror) series that we just love to stream, we just launched VectorWars (all one word) on Steam (please buy it, please, it makes me so happy to see interest http://store.steampowered.com/app/600350/VectorWars/) and a new super cool project that is so top secret, you’ll only discover it in the Twilight.  In addition we are just finishing Creating Flappy Bird, we created a Space Sim, we did a series on migrating a mobile game to VR and we are starting a new spaceshooter very soon.

Q: What is the role of Virtual Reality in gaming right now? Will it improve in the future?

Nice question choice, I like you. Right now there are so many powerful tech companies and influential people in VR, that I think it has to  succeed. When you look at it holistically, versus something like IoT which we were also a part of (sending love to Connectedly & Mobile Nations here), VR introduces a few important differences.  Instead of being a cost savings initiative (such as an Arduino), VR generates new hardware / VR and game sales, creating a reason for big business to keep it innovating.

It’s important to recognize too, I think, that playing a good VR game on a great headset like the HTC Vive, Oculus of course, or really cool open source and affordable initiatives such as OSVR, makes for a transformational experience that people remember.  It is very addictive.

Q: Why you love making horror games?

Yeah!  Horror!  Well, my partner and I are huge fans of horror, and events like horror con. Really, there are a lot of things to love, but most of all it’s again that sense of community and engaging with them.  A horror fan will tell you quickly if they like your game or not, and when they love it, their own passion leaks in and they will be your greatest ally. I also love the complexity of horror and the macabre. The best challenge is how to balance spooky with scary, voice overs with music, ambience with emotion, need and dread.

You want to scare them, but not so much they stop playing. It is very difficult to do right.

Q: How do you think Livestreaming adds value to the Society and coding learners?

I absolutely think so, it serves many purposes. For one, we got a pro account so our videos stay on file – this means people can finish videos later at their own leisure. Or, they can join a live video and follow along to learn and ask questions they really want to know.  And I really encourage other developers to live stream too, it connects you to an amazing subculture of people that can become fans of your work – and when you create something together on a stream (and really, it is a shared experience for all the viewers and the streamer), it feels unique and special.

At the end of the day, we always have better ideas as a team than as an individual.

Q: If you were to remove a programming language from the face of the earth, which one will you choose and why?

C# – You know what you did, and you know why!

…Seriously though, we have some powerful older languages… but they can be very redundant, error prone, and slow to master. Most ideas and prototypes (except like, embedded hardware), don’t need that kind of precision and it slows down work.

Equally, languages like JavaScript can be difficult to master properly. On web frameworks, for example, we have so many ugly / quirky and difficult to master architecture points that it can be time consuming into learn.  Your code should never be what slows you down when building a game.

Q: Why would you recommend LiveEdu.tv to others?

I talk, and write, a lot, and you can see more of me :D.

For viewers, it’s a very easy way to get excited and share your input for a game while it is growing.  Adding ideas later almost never happens, and it is also a cool modern way to learn.  Live questions also means live answers,

On the streamer side, it’s an audience specifically looking for you – they are generally business professionals, and they want you to succeed. Yeah, free marketing for you too, but most important is that immediate dialog. I’m always asking: Is this room realistic enough? Does this look like a blood smear or rust?  Etx.

Q: Is there anything you want to end with?

Yes, if anyone has seen the birds, or knows where the birds are… (har har, it’s a #redironlabs stream joke).

OK serious time. Pro users, I cannot express this enough. Premium content comes from your ideas / your thoughts! You can hire me for one-on-one sessions, but I am so expensive…  So take advantage of your pro thing – request content you want from liveedu support. Ask if your favorite streamer can do it – we love to stream, it is why we are here 🙂

… okay, the interview is done.  Did I do okay?  Is this microphone still on?…

  • Thanks folks, that was fun!

    Also the following line should read:

    Q: If you were to remove a programming language from the face of the earth, which one will you choose and why?

    C# – You know what you did, and you know why!

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