Derek DiBenedetto brings 18 years of strategy game development into the arena, starting in 1995 with a small strategy/sim game that he sold on 3 1/2” diskettes out of plastic baggies over the much more fledgling World Wide Web. He ran Stormcloud Creations, an indie sim and strategy game company with a small but loyal fan base, for over 8 years, and has 10 total published games (indie and larger company ones) with his name on it over that time. One thing that hasn’t changed is his attention to detail and replayability, and knowing the importance of customer feedback when designing and testing a game.
In your opinion, what makes a good computer game?
“This is tricky, but mostly a game that is simple to use, but with wide-ranging decisions to make at many steps and levels. A game that isn’t predictable or grows stale after awhile, that is always changing and shifting as the players make their feelings known.”
What one impression do you want customers of Grey Dog Software to take away after playing one of its games?
“The impression that Grey Dog puts out a product with a personal investment in its development, not created and funded by faceless drones number crunching against deadlines to be marketed to mass appeal, but carefully crafted simulations where you control what happens.”
What does Grey Dog Software offer its customers that other gaming companies do not?
“The text sim market is so underserved, and Grey Dog attempts to fill the gap with games that make you think, not just dazzle you with fancy imagery that is forgotten soon after seeing it. They also value customer feedback more than many other larger companies out there.”
What is your typical day like at Grey Dog Software?
“I anticipate it’ll be coding, testing, coding some more, testing, documenting bugs, thinking of new features, coding, etc. It would sound drudgerous – except I love it.”
How many hours per week do you play computer or console games?
“About 5-10 hours a week or so. I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s out there, or else you risk losing touch with players and what they like.”
What game do you or did you play so much that your wife/girlfriend had to send out a search party?
“OOTP was like that for awhile, and it was Oblivion before that. Its rare that a game grabs me like that, but it happens occasionally.”
If you were a food, what would you be?
“I’m a fully loaded pizza, since there many ingredients that make up who I am, and they all combine together for a very unique taste.”
If you won $200 Million dollars in the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with all your winnings?
“Buy a nice big house, a new car (I need one!) then invest the rest sensibly and focus my time strictly on creating great games.”
Boxers or briefs?
Blondes, brunettes or redheads?
“Since my fiance is a brunette, i’m contractually obligated to say brunettes, lest I incur her wrath if she were to ever see this page.”