Skip to main content

How I Game: Dean Dodrill

Audio player loading…

(opens in new tab)

Dean Dodrill is a one-man army—the lone designer and programmer on Dust: An Elysian Tail (opens in new tab) . He's come a long way from his days of working as an artist on Jazz Jack Rabbit 2.

Name: Dean Dodrill

Occupation: President of Humble Hearts LLC (opens in new tab)

Location: Colorado

Twitter: NoogyTweet (opens in new tab)

Who are you?

My name is Dean Dodrill and I'm a self-taught illustrator and animator who four years ago decided to try his hand at programming. I've now got one title under my belt, Dust: An Elysian Tail, which recently hit Steam. I'm still grappling with the idea that I'm now a game developer (and owner of a company, Humble Hearts), as I prefer to think of myself as a gamer who has just expanded his hobby.

What's in your PC?

"I love: fantasy, heroes, beautiful music, and a huge world to explore."

My main workstation (which also doubles as my gaming PC) is a custom built i7 2600k @ 3.4GHz, sporting 8GB RAM, 5TB of Storage, and an MSI Geforce GTX660Ti (2GB). I have a pair of 24” flatscreens, and a nice wireless keyboard, mouse, and gamepad setup, as I tend to PC game on my 60” TV. I'm a fan of Sennheiser Wireless headphones. It's been nearly two years since I built this system, so I imagine I'll be due for an upgrade sometime next year.

As for software, I'm running Windows 7 64-bit, and use a combination of Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Painter, and a 3D suite for art. I use Visual Studio running C#/XNA for code.

What's the most interesting part of your setup?

I think the fact that half of my office is set aside for creating art makes my setup unique. To my left I have an animation light-table, which I built from an old drafting table. Around my desk are scanners, Wacom drawing tablets, and boxes of drawing paper. I animate on normal 8x11” printing paper, since it's cheap and efficient.

I'm also quite pleased with my HDMI switcher setup. As I said, I tend to play on my 60”, and it's easy to clone my desktop for games and video. I spent many months trying various wireless options until I just settled for a 50ft HDMI cable—it works great.

(opens in new tab)

What's on your desk?

Besides my tools, my desk tends to be littered with food, drinks, and video game boxes. And of course, as a parent who works at home, children's toys tend to find their way on, and around my desk. No matter what I do I just can't keep my space clean.

Otherwise, I have the usual, two monitors on my main system, a smaller 22” monitor for my test computer, console dev kits, my notebook, and my phone.

What are you playing right now?

I'm actually playing through the first Witcher. I started it when it launched but sadly lost all my progress, and never had a chance to get back to it until now. My backlog is pretty thick since I literally spent the last four years crunching on my game. Other games I've recently caught up with include Fallout 3, Dead Rising 2, a ton of indie games, and of course my NG++++ playthrough of Dark Souls.

I hope to finish up Witcher 1 and 2, then finally give Skyrim the time it deserves. Sadly my time to play games these days is pretty limited, although I buy pretty much everything, console or PC.

What's your favorite game and why?

My favorite game of all time is the PC-Engine/TG-16 version of Ys Book 1 & 2. It's an overhead action-RPG, and it left a massive impression on me as a young gamer. It was the first CD-based game I ever played, but more importantly it touched on many things I love: fantasy, heroes, beautiful music, and a huge world to explore. I'm actually excited to try out the recent Steam re-releases of these games to see how they hold up although I'll always have a soft-spot for those old pixelated visuals.

My number 2 and 3 games are Mega Man 2 and DOOM. DOOM in particular might be my most game played of all time. I'm a big fan of FPS games, but I still find DOOM to be the one I keep returning to. It's probably the game I've rebought the most times as well.

Why do you game?

I rarely watch TV or film anymore since I'd rather lose myself in an interactive world. I love to marvel at the artistry and technical aspects of video games. It's all just one huge trick that developers are pulling over us, and I just want to enjoy the show, while taking an occasional peek behind the curtain. Learning how to make games was just my desire to appreciate the medium more, and I believe it has.

How I Game is a weekly spotlight of developers, pro gamers, and community members. Know someone who you'd like to see featured? Drop a comment below (when they're enabled again, that is—still down for maintenance!)