Friday Feature – Interview with Denvish

The aim of these interviews is to allow people that don’t frequent other chat rooms to get to know mods in other areas of Kongregate and perhaps switch up their hangouts a bit. If you have any questions that you would like us to include go ahead and contact us or leave a comment.

It looks like you’ve had quite a few careers over your life. Any amusing anecdotes you’d care to share with us?
Yeah, I’ve had quite a few jobs…. cheffing, agricultural, trucking, factory and various other. After leaving university, I drifted for 10 years, moving around the UK, staying in bedsits and just about scraping through financially. The current job is the only one I’d describe as a ‘career’, the rest were just dead-end and a way to pay the bills & rent.
Anecdotes…. I managed to hit myself in the head with a pitchfork on one of the farming jobs, throwing manure around, pitchfork slipped out of my hands, hit a rafter and bounced back – fortunately I only got whacked by the curve of the tine, not the point. There are probably funnier stories, but I can’t think of them right now.

I know it’s not right to laugh at that, but I did… You’re a full time flash developer these days, right? I gather that it pays the bills, but how is it as a career?
About as good as it gets. Pays more than twice as much as any previous job, and I’m lucky in that I’ve been allowed to work from home – so I’m in my own environment, can watch the kids grow up, and so long as I do the hours per day, I can set my own working shifts. It also means we’ve been able to get out of the city (Birmingham) and move to a rural location, although the downside of that is that we’ve been on 28.8k dialup for the 7 months since we moved to Wales (and are STILL waiting on ADSL). I have to thank Tom & Newgrounds for inspiring me to put together the portfolio that got me the current job.
The one thing that I dislike about working as a Flash game dev is that I don’t have the time to make my own games for public consumption – I haven’t personally released a game in over a year.

I can imagine that’s pretty disheartening, yes. So what limitations of Flash/actionscript frustrate you?
The fact that Flash doesn’t really use graphics card power is an annoyance – things like scrolling alpha layers are huge CPU hogs, which is a shame. Also, it’s a bit trivial, but I hate the way you have to close the ‘Find’ window in the Actions panel before you can edit the code. Apart from that, the only other frustrations are with my occasional inability to translate what I want to do into code.
I should add that I haven’t moved to Actionscript 3 yet – being a procedural, rather than class-based scripter, I find the switch uncomfortable. Also, the company I work for have designed their platform in AS2, so for integration purposes there’s no need (yet) for me to master AS3.

And how long have you been developing flash for?
I started building websites with Flash back in 2002, first game (7 Kisses, a dress-up) was released in spring 2003. So…. 6 years.

Pretty solid amount of time there. Where do you get inspiration for game ideas?
I tend to not do the whole ‘project planning’ thing, my games sort of grow as I’m coding them. I think about interactivity and consider the games that I enjoy playing. If I’m aware that the game I’m working on is similar to one in existence (let’s face it, it’s hard to come up with truly original ideas since the whole Flash gaming explosion), then I’ll try to add a unique angle or two so it doesn’t end up being a straight clone

Hooray for creativity! I noticed you are a singer/songwriter. What percentage of the music in your games is your own? Is there a place where people can check out other samples of your work?
I don’t use my own music much since it’s folk/ragtime based on the whole, which generally suits animation more than games. I’ve been playing guitar & writing since I was 16, but I’ve not written a song in the last six years, partly because the kids came along, partly because I diverted my creative talents to Flash, and partly because I ran out of things to write about. I still pick the guitar up occasionally, but it’s not very often. My music site is at http://planet-bob.net.

Ah cool, thanks for the link. I know it’s tough to choose just one, but what would you say is the most rewarding thing about fatherhood and why is that?
Rewarding… I dunno, raising a family is the main reason for existence, isn’t it? It’s great to take the kids out into the countryside now we’re out of the city, and help them to appreciate nature. It’s just a shame that the whole ‘parent’ thing is so tiring, because I think that limits how much you can appreciate what you’ve got.

No doubt. I have the whole fatherhood thing to look forward to soon myself. I imagine you probably get this one a lot, but what advice do you have for aspiring flash developers?
Persist, and if in doubt, Google. Don’t take on too much too early.

Heh, I’m (in)famous for taking on too much too early. All right, so how’s the mod job treating you? Have you found yourself with a bunch more fans since you got that role?
It’s different to modding the NG BBS (currently retired from that due to the dialup & work). I had a lot of good friends on NG, in the Wi/Ht & Flash forums, and now I’m getting some good friends on Kong too (shout out to valkyrie and, of course, the Cafe Kong bunch). We have to be a little more lenient in the chatrooms than I’m used to, but it’s all good. And yeah, I do seem to have picked up a few fans, some of whom I’ve never even seen before.

Joys of moderating… You’ve been a Kongregate member for a while now. What do you like about the site? What do you feel could be improved?
I love the whole RPG/badges/cards/points thing, and the gameside chat is cool. The Kong staff clearly respect developers, and it shows throughout the site.
Improvements? Not much to suggest really, a right-click>Whisper option in chat would be good (some of those usernames take too long to type), and an option to resize the chat window on vertically short games (although this is probably impractical). Ed here. William Wilson created a Greasemonkey script for Firefox to allow for full-screen chat and games. Thanks COCAK and William.

Any parting words of wisdom?
Act with integrity online & off, and treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. Don’t think too much. Live for today.

Excellent. Thank you very much for your time

Denvish is on +/- 0 GMT time and can be found in Cafe Kong throughout the day.

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3 Comments on “Friday Feature – Interview with Denvish”

  1. Valkyrie Says:

    I missed that interview. I would have traveled to UK to participate in that. Your Games Rock Mr. Denvish.

    I had sent you a question for planetbob.com but seeing that you had not answered it, I shall ask that here. What got you into flash and AS? I guess the pitchfork to the head explains it a lot better.

    You are one of the silent ones who rarely seem to speak out in chat, and yet that seems to be one of the things that you enjoy most in Kongregate.

    Look forward to more of your games Mr. Denvish.

  2. venzael Says:

    Awesome stuff, Den. And I still think you’re Newgrounds profile is at least mildly insane ^^

  3. UNDELPDUM Says:

    http://thecellfreak.com/sites/default/themes/markii/logo.gif

    Attention All Forum Shoppers! http://82up.com/smile.gif

    Keep your wallets in your pockets cause I’ve finally got something to PiMP that’s Free! A friend recently sent me this link to TheCellFreak.com RingTone Site that allows you to search, listen & download all the most popular ringtones for free.

    The cool thing is the website allows you to send the ringtones to any mobile phone via SMS worldwide for free.

    Anyway, you can’t fight with free – so it’s worth pimping!


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