I am Zach Barth, the creative director of the game studio called Zachtronics. We just released Infinifactory! Ask me ANYTHING!
Hey there, Reddit!
I'm Zach Barth, the creative director of the game studio called Zachtronics. Over the past seven years I've worked on a bunch of interesting indie games, like:
- Infiniminer, the game that started the "block game" genre without making any money whatsoever.
- SpaceChem, a programming game about fake chemistry that somehow made enough money to fund a game studio.
- Ironclad Tactics, a card-based tactics game that nearly bankrupted us.
- Infinifactory, a snazzy 3D factory-building game that plays like a version of SpaceChem that wasn't made by an asshole.
- TIS-100, an absolutely inexplicable game about assembly language programming that includes a 14-page manual instead of a tutorial.
- MetaboSIM, HabiTactics, and FAKTR, three educational games for tablets, two of which involve pooping as a game mechanic.
EDIT: It's been 10 hours, so we're probably done here. Thanks for all the great questions! I'll leave you with one final story, which I don't think I've ever told before:
Toward the end of my career at Microsoft I worked briefly on a team inside Microsoft Game Studios making games for Windows Phone 7. I was a programmer, but everyone on the team knew I wanted to be a game designer (especially considering I had designed and launched SpaceChem by that point). There was a meeting scheduled inside MGS to talk about plans to bring Minecraft to Xbox 360, and our creative director (who also worked with the XBLA team) thought it'd be a good idea to bring me along, since I had made Infiniminer and that might be relevant. So there I am, sitting in a conference room, completely outranked by MGS executives wondering who the fuck I am and why I was there. Story of my life.
Actually, that's kind of a depressing story, so I'll leave you with a better one. That same creative director found me another game designer in MGS to act as a mentor and help me figure out if and how I could shift to a more design-focused role at Microsoft. We go out to lunch for our first "mentorship session" and his is advice to me is, I shit you not, to quit Microsoft, find a crappy game design job, and then come back to Microsoft after a few years. I guess I sort of took his advice, except I started a game studio instead of joining a crappy one and then never went back to Microsoft.