Citizens, it’s time for another episode of Meet the Devs, this time featuring Pete Mackay who is a Designer from CIG Austin.
James Pugh and Pete Mackay
JP – Alright guys, thanks for joining us. It’s a pleasure to have Pete Mackay here, all the way from Austin, Pete, why don’t you tell the fans why we call you DJ pete.
PM – Most recently, because I DJ’d at the SXSW event at Austin a couple of weeks ago.
JP – About a month ago, right? Time flies.
PM – Before that, the reason I got pinged to do that is I was a nightclub DJ, a rave DJ, many years ago.
JP – So how’d you get started with that?
PM – That actually started cause a buddy of mine got into the production side of doing parties, and he said, hey, you know how to use computers. We need someone to do video projection. So I started doing that as a DJ, and then I learned turntables, and bought my own, and got a huge vinyl addiction, and it just went from there.
JP – How do i get that job? The guy who produces parties? That sounds like the best job ever.
PM – It’s pretty fun.
JP – So how did you get started on the project? Ben talks about you ad nauseum cause he says he loves you. Can you go into your little backstory?
PM – Yeah, we go way back. Probably as far back as anybody does on this project anyway. Right around the time that the funding completed, the original campaign, that, my former studio let us all go. So I was looking for work, and I got a call from Eric Peterson, asking me if I’d be interested in helping out with e-mail, actually. So for the first little while, I just did e-mail. So if anybody emailed the company in the first five months, three to five months of the project, I answered it. I answered every piece of email that came into this company for a while, so, in the early days, at th very beginning I was working from home, cause there was no office space. The leases had been signed, but we hadn’t moved into it. So I was working from home for a while, and then me, Ben, and Eric moved in together, to the basement. It was just us three for probably two weeks, until some of the other guys started coming on board. but for a good portion of the time, the development, you know, on the ground was just me and Ben.
JP – What was that like? yOu obviously didn’t know what it was going to become, but did you have a feel for what it actually was?
PM – Well, I’m a huge Wing Commander fan, so I was just super stoked to be able to be on the project. So, from that aspect, I was completely gung-ho about doing anything I could to help out, anywhere. So, it basically just stemmed from that. I think that’s part of why I ended up on the design team, the fact that I was so gung ho about wanting to make something really cool.
JP – Yeah, that was my next question, you came from a video game background right? Was that in design as well or?
PM – No, I actually started in QA, and I went from QA to Associate producer, and as that role, part of the responsibilities in that role was also community manager. And I think that piece of it was interesting to Eric right at the beginning, was someone who hadn experience working with the community. So, from there, I just worked really hard in that role and, the question came up that Chris needed something, and at that point we didn’t actually have any designers on staff with Chris, and Chris was swamped running the business, so he asked me and Ben, said, hey, I need a design for something. So I took a swing at it and he liked it, and I think based on my passion for the project and the thing I submitted, he liked it, and eventually I got moved over to the design team.
JP – Can you say what that thing was?
PM – At this point, I’ve worked on so much stuff now…
JP – Humblebrag
PM – It was either, yeah, it was, that one was the original proposal for what types of parts would go on ships, like Avionics, and Powerplants, and, it wasn’t just a list of that, but it was a description of how they worked, how they worked together. It was an entire system. But it was still a pretty high-level proposal, so
JP – So fans can thank you for everything they have on their ships.
PM – Well, for a tiny little nugget that started it, maybe like piece of it
JP – So you’ve been around here since the inception, it seems like, how do you look at the project now, in terms of where it is now, what you do now, to what you were doing back then?
PM – It’s so different. It’s not, it’s the…the company has grown so much that, then it was, I knew everyone at the company, even when the company got considerably larger than just me and Ben, but at this point there’s just so many people that I don’t know, cause we’re, a big reason for that is that we’re spread out now over three major studios, and several outsourcers.
JP – And a couple continents
PM – Yeah, so, it’s just not possible anymore. So the feeling has totally changed. At the beginning it was a lot of excitement for being successfully being able to get this project off the ground, and now it’s a lot of work to get it to where we want it to be.
JP – That’s awesome. Before I let you go, got a couple of rapid-fire questions. Ready?
PM – Sure.
JP – Favourite movie?
PM – Favourite movie of all time? Probably Blade Runner.
JP – Blade Runner. We should start a counter. When someone gives a movie, there should be two things and then one of them should be a movie I’ve Seen, one of them should be one I’ve not, cause I haven’t seen that one. Is it good?
PM – yeah, I love it. You should watch that, and Ghost in the Shell. Together. Make it a movie night.
JP – I’ve always wanted to watch Ghost in the Shell. But we’re getting off-topic. Favourite video game?
PM – Phantasy star 2.
JP – We’re good on that. I’ve played it. Why 2?
PM – I like the themes on it. It was really kind of moody, kind of depressing, which was pretty different from most of the RPGs that came out around the same time, and it was the first game to actually have a major character death in it, way before FF7.
JP – Wait, who dies in FF7?
PM – I’m not telling you. Spoilers man.
JP – I know right? We should have hashtagged this entire interview by now. Favourite ship in Star Citizen?
PM – Oh, man, I have several.
JP – You get one.
PM – One?
JP – One.
PM – Phew. I don’t know. I”m going to have go to with the Gladiator. I like the Gladiator.
JP – Gladiator? Why?
PM – I just like the shape of it. I think it looks cool.
JP – Did you do the thrusters on it?
PM – Not yet. I have modeled them in the calculator though!
JP – Alright Pete, thanks again, for coming on both shows, been a pleasure having you.
PM – No problem.
JP – Have a safe trip back to Austin.
PM – Thanks man.
JP – And you *Redacted*
*Disco Lando (probably Hennessy)* – Lets just cut right there then!