Ludorum Staff #2 – Ben Dixon

It’s time to post up the second Ludorum Staff feature and today, we focus on Ben Dixon. Have a read to see what interests Ben and find out what his favourite game is.

Q1: What is your name?

Ben Dixon

Q2: What got you into the games industry?

I’ve always wanted to work for myself and the games industry seemed like a natural fit for me as I’ve always had a passion for games and coming up with ideas that I think would be good to test out.

After applying to university, I found myself in Stafford and 2 years later, after many sleepless nights, I’ve teamed up with some wicked people to do what I’ve grown to love over the past couple of years and see if we can develop a game to call our own and build a studio that will be able to support us and our ideas for the foreseeable future.

Q3: What area of development do you prefer?

My preferred area of the development is definitely 3D modelling. It’s the part of my degree that I have enjoyed the most and although my skills aren’t the best at the moment, I’d like to think I’m constantly improving.

I can also be found firing off emails and doing a majority of the ‘back office’ type roles for the company. It’s another side of the development process that isn’t necessarily covered in gaming press but I love getting my hands involved with it all and seeing what opportunities I can put together for the business as it evolves.

Q4: What is your favourite game/series? Why?

I try to play as many genres as I can get my hands and as a player, I definitely feel a sense of ownership once I start to play and get hooked on the world as a whole and as such find it difficult to define just one game or series to being my favourite.

If I had to give an answer of just one, it would probably have to be the Portal games developed by Valve. For me, it’s got everything. It’s got a first person view port which I prefer to 3rd person. It’s got great, dark humour a fantastic deep narrative which on the surface is accessible to just about any player but if you’ve played any other games from the Half Life universe you’ll appreciate it so much more. Portal is one of the only Games I’ve wanted to go back and play and I’m just waiting until I have some free time before I go back and replay Portal 2.

Q5: What are your favourite studios? Why?

I don’t know why we settled on the questions we have because they are far too difficult to answer. As it is though, I guess I should narrow down my list of favourite studios.

Valve

Valve seem to have a way about them in which all their games that I’ve played have felt believable to me on one or more levels. The richness of their environments to the way in which I feel I am Gordon Freeman from Half Life to Chell in Portal has not happened to me in many other games. The way in which they truly listen to their fans and how they support their games post release is something I admire as both a fan and a developer myself. There’s no doubt about the impact they have had on my views of the industry from digital distribution to the craft that is making a game for sale.

Naughty Dog

From Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 to the Uncharted series on the PS3, Naughty Dog have for me been a staple piece of my Sony console upbringing. I missed their PS2 Jak titles but have played every other game developed by the studio and the way in which the Uncharted story has evolved over the course of 3 titles has been a fantastic journey I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing.

Polyphony Digital

There are several other companies that could have piped Polyphony Digital to my top 3 but no other developer has made me spend so much time playing their games as Polyphony Digital. From my first time on Gran Turismo 1on the PS1 through to the, in my opinion, great Tourist Trophy on the PS2 to the fantastic Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 it’s been a fantastic full throttle ride each time. I do somewhat agree with some of the criticisms of GT5 but that has not stopped me continually putting the disc back into my PS3 for just a few more laps of the Nürburgring or Suzuka circuit.

Q6: What are your interests outside of the games industry?

I have quite a few interests outside of the games industry. The usual ones are films and music of which I watch and listen to pretty much anything. I’ve got a rather eclectic taste when it comes to music and unless I really don’t like the sound of something, chances are it’s in my iTunes library or has been played via Spotify at one point or another.

Like most people I know, cars are another large interest of mine. Forever pondering my dream garage or loosing hours of my life to YouTube videos from around the world, it’s something that has stemmed from my childhood playing with toy cars and playing Gran Turismo. I’ll work hard until I can afford a Nissan GT-R then set my sights on something a little faster and won’t stop working towards that until I’ve achieved that. Or won the lottery, whichever comes first.

Outside of the ‘normal’ interests most people share, I have a passion for product design and to a similar degree, graphic design. Product design stemmed from me studying it for A-Level and has continued to be something I read about online. Graphic design is, to me, an extension of product design and goes hand in hand in certain areas to great product design. I’ve recently got into looking at typography through watching the documentary Helvetica, directed by Gary Hustwit. It’s a fascinating part of design and we’ve spoken about typography here at Ludorum Studios whilst talking about the design for our company logo and it’s something I’m continuing to look into as an interest of mine.

A new idea which I’m currently thinking about is vlogging. We have the company blog here for my professional fix of an internet voice but I wouldn’t mind sharing my opinions on matters I’m interested in via YouTube so that’s something else that I will most probably be starting to do in my free time after the new year.

Q7: What’s your favourite TV show? Why?

I’m known for liking the occasional medical TV drama. It’s a tough decision to have to name just one show but I think Scrubs just pips House to the spot. It’s got everything from the crazily stupid to the painfully serious episodes and I love the way the characters develop through the 8 seasons. (Yes, I watched season 9. I enjoyed it) The music that is chosen seems to sit so perfectly with the mood of the scene. I’ve actually got some albums from artists who feature on the show such as The Blanks (An awesome acapella band) and Joshua Radin. If you haven’t seen Scrubs before I highly recommend sitting down and watching it. It’s hilarious.


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