Cameron Cintron

Developer Spotlight #1 - Mobile/iOS/Android

Dev Spotlight #1 – Cameron Cintron

Cameron Cintron
Birthday: August 3rd 1993
Favorite Game Genre: RPG
Favorite All-Time Platform: Playstation
What i’m playing: Current tie between Bloodborne and Clash Royale

My Top 3 Video Games
  1. Crash Bandicoot – PS1 (pictured below)
  2. Final Fantasy VII – PS1
  3. Jak and Daxter – PS2

EGL: Hey Cameron! Thanks for the opportunity to interview you. We want to start off by asking about your background in gaming. Did you know at an early age you wanted to be a part of the development community? When did you ‘know?’

Cameron: The first console I ever had was a PS1 and at the time I just knew that I liked playing games, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I really liked the thought of cooking although I had never really cooked so for a little while it was all about becoming a chef. I discussed it with my mother around halfway through middle school and she had said that it’s really difficult to make a living as a chef and that sort of put me off. I would have to work long, hard hours as well as be extremely dedicated to be a successful chef. I then thought, “Well what am I good with and what do I like?” I came to the conclusion that I like computers and games so I would make video games. I kept that as my goal ever since!

EGL: There is no such thing as too many chefs! Talk about your academics. Did you excel in middle school and high school? How were you socially? Was university a breeze or was it challenging? In what ways?

Cameron: As a student, I never studied but as long as I paid attention I seemed to retain what was trying to be taught of me. The only practice I ever did was homework. My grades were relatively high, but if I had studied I bet I could have had straight A’s. I just never thought there was a need since I’d be alright. That stayed true all the way through college. There might have been a couple of times where I was nervous and spent some extra time practicing, but for the most part I just winged it. The only time I actually ever successfully earned straight A’s was my first semester in college. Before and after then I always came close, but never quite there. Nevertheless I received all of the honorary awards , deens list, etc. College wasn’t as difficult as I had it built up in my head from the accounts of other people. I remember college students coming in to talk while I was still in high school telling me that Excel would be my best friend… I never even opened up Excel once, well not in the traditional sense whatever that may be. (I did however open it up to create some tables for databases in my Database class which I quite enjoyed). I had 3 assignments that I distinctly remember were hard in college. The first of which was look at a picture and write 1500 words about it. The second of which was a 10 page paper on Rwanda and the genocide that occurred there. The final was this Political Philosophy class I took where the only grade was the midterm and final which were 8 page papers about some dense material such as the writings of Karl Marx, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, etc. When it came to my classes for game related things, I always made an effort to do my best and get assignments done early so I could try and polish them. If they looked nice then that meant quality portfolio pieces for me. Also assignments for game classes take weeks so it helps to keep a good schedule for getting work done.

EGL: You mentioned Crash Bandicoot was one of your favorite games, why is that? Do you ever play games and think about the ways you could improve them?

Cameron: I love Crash Bandicoot because no matter how many levels I play of that game, it never feels repetitive, it always feels difficult, and it always hooks me in every time I decide to play it again. It was also the very first game I beat which anyone who can beat that game deserves an award since it can be really difficult! The design of it is truly amazing as well, which I didn’t start thinking about until I went to school and was mentored by one of the liaisons from Sony to Naughty Dog on the first Crash Bandicoot game (Bill Guschwan a.k.a. Angus in the industry). He told me how they would have these massive spreadsheets to keep note of the flow of the game and determine when an obstacle was being repeated too much among other things. All of the work that went into that game just blows me away. The reason Crash is the color he is is because, that was the best color televisions at that time would be able to display Crash. I definitely always look to see how I might improve games, but it’s very difficult to get into that state if the game is particularly engaging. At that point I go for designer/analyze to kick, relax, and play the game. I’ve been playing a lot of Candy Crush recently, which I never did before, and I find myself constantly analyzing it thinking about how I could improve on it mostly out of frustration because some of those levels are hard.

When it came to my college classes for game related things, I always made an effort to do my best and get assignments done early so I could polish them.

EGL: Really cool. I spent some time playing Crash on the PS1. I always wondered why he was so orange. It was like Temple Run before Temple Run. What games have you developed in the past and what are you working on nowadays?

Cameron: Towards mid-December in 2015 I had just gotten settled with finding work and realized I needed to start a project of my own. I had a couple of options. Firstly, I could have made a complex and massive game that would have taken me many many months and never would have come to fruition. Secondly, I could have made a bunch of little prototypes just to try out cool ideas that may or may not have lead to anywhere. Lastly, I could have made something small and complete with a few cool features and mechanics that would have demonstrated that I was capable of completing a game from start to finish and my familiarity with the development process. I went with the third option and after I decided on the mechanics of the game I pretty worked to set up core mechanic of sculpting the ice. Then I worked to get a screen flow, setting up a menu, shop, etc. that would have connect the game together. Once I had the framework of the game built, I found an artist who I requested assets from to help the game come to life. Usually I worked from 9am to 5pm and then did errands, ate dinner, watched a movie until it got to be 10pm at which I would work on the game until 2am every day. Unfortunately I started developing these nasty migraines throughout the development cycle but that’s pretty common. My goal was to have the game finish by the start of March just to push myself to work hard. Because of this, I had to make decisions that could have helped or hurt the game. The resulting product is extremely casual, something really intended for smaller children, and has over 20,000 downloads worldwide. I learned a great deal from the project and have been actively incorporating all of those lessons in my latest project.

EGL: Really cool stuff! What was or has been the most difficult aspect during development of this project? Let’s talk about what you love about game development and what you don’t love so much.

Cameron: The most difficult part of this game, and really any game I find, is setting up the project architecture in such a way that the way code is put together doesn’t hinder development of the game. Imagine trying to organize an office. You could throw the paper, pencils, notebooks, folders, etc. all in the same desk drawer and that’ll be perfectly fine. You can use the office and do what you’ll have to get done, but it might take a little longer to find those markers that you need because they are buried below all of the other junk you have in that drawer. What you could do is put the pencils, markers, and pens in their own separate drawer that is labeled writing utensils so that you and whoever else needs markers can easily find them. Creating that structure properly is so time consuming, but once it’s done correctly it feels super rewarding. What I love most about creating games is seeing my changes in the code translate to the game on the screen. Writing “transform.translate += 5.5f * Time.deltaTime;” and then seeing the character move feels really good. What I hate most is fixing a bug (something broken in the code like the character movement code not working with the world physics code) only to create more bugs in the process.

EGL: Explain your dream game if you had the budget to create anything you wanted!

Cameron: Well, I’ve had this idea on my mind for a while. Imagine the movie Osmosis Jones, but instead of a white blood cell you’d play as a humanoid nanobot injected into the organism’s body. As the player, you’ll be able to navigate the human body trying to eradicate viruses, pathogens, agents, bacteria, etc. with your various weapons. I’m also very passionate about the prison system not in the sense that I live and breath prisons, but that one of my biggest fears is to go to prison. Now I won’t ever do anything incriminating, but I’ve seen many documentaries about prisons and many of the people who were convicted of a crime were convicted because of a series of events that might not have been in their control. I’d like to create a prison simulator that would be fun, but also expose the serious problems with the prison system and just how horrendous it is to be in the, at least our, prison system.

EGL: What do you think about EliteGamingLIVE? Your perspective is important because you’re a full fledge developer. You are what we are trying to expose our community to as much as possible.

Cameron: I’m really disappointed I never had an opportunity like EliteGamingLIVE when I was younger! I think it’s a great door opener for people who find the game industry and all related aspects like E-Sports really appealing, but don’t know how to get started. If I had this kind of opportunity as a kid, then I might have been able to jump into the developmental side of the industry a bit quicker and that would have given me more time to learn new skills to better prepare me for right now. I really hope the direction that E-Sports is moving is towards becoming as popular as any other sport say baseball or football. I find this program extremely valuable because, I truly do believe it is moving in that direction and it’s providing kids an opportunity to jump in and be in the forefront of this phenomenon that is social gaming. What I love about it even more is that those kids that get a taste and decide they want more can start moving towards the developmental side and learn how the magic behind the tricks on the screen get created.

EGL: We appreciate your time and perspective Mr. Cintron. Keep the EGL community updated on what you’re creating next, and give us a shout anytime!

Cameron: My pleasure, thanks.