Q&A with Bryce Summer

re: Folds, GIMPS, and More Billiards

MM: Hi Bryce! Thanks for chatting with us. First off, how about some basic background info? How old are you? Where do you live? Where do you work or go to school? What are some things you enjoy doing besides making video games?

BS: I’m 21 years young living in southern California. I work from home developing games. I enjoy playing games for inspiration and spending time with my 6 pet birds (two cockatiels and four lovebirds). For me, game development goes beyond just the technical aspects of programming and is an art form in its own right.

MM: How did you get into making video games? What do you enjoy about making them?

BS: When I was about 12 years old I used to play a game called Second Life, which is a sort of sandbox game where everything is created by the players. Second life has it’s own proprietary scripting language, LSL, that you can use to add interactivity to your creations. By age 13 I had learned the basics of programming with LSL and was creating my own items in the game. When I was 15, I was branching out into various other programming languages with the goal of creating my own game to share with the world. I taught myself how to use Adobe Flash & Actionscript 3 and released my first game, Assembler, when I was 16… And I’ve been making games since. My favorite part about independent game development is that feeling I get when I’ve released a game on various sites, and its up in front of other people for the first time — It’s really awesome when reviews start coming in and you get to see what other people think of your work.

MM: What are some of your favorite games—video games or not—and why?

BS: Before I played computer games I used to enjoy board games like chess, monopoly, and really anything with an intricate rule-set. I enjoyed the challenge of games with a lot of different possible outcomes. Nowadays, my favorite video games tend to be creation/sandbox games like Garry’s Mod, Minecraft, and Second Life… As well as open world games like the Elder Scrolls series. I think my favorite thing about these games is how no two play sessions will be the same or even similar, and you’re free to do what you want within them.

MM: What experiences have you had with non-digital origami?

BS: When I was younger I would fold origami frequently, I had several different books with folding diagrams. My favorite origami book was Origami to Astonish and Amuse by Jeremy Shafer.

[MM: Here’s are links to that book, as well as to Jeremy Shafer’s YouTube channel!]

MM: What gave you the idea to make an origami video game?

BS: When I’m coming up with ideas for games I start out with one simple goal: I want something that’s easy to learn how to play but at the same time has enough depth to keep you playing. Origami seemed like a natural choice — folding paper is easy, but folding it into an object is a lot harder.

MM: How did you go about designing the puzzles for Folds? What are some of your favorite ones?

I design all the levels by starting out very much the same way the player does, basically with a version of the game that is just a blank level with no goal. Then I just fold it into an interesting shape… It’s really that simple. My favorite levels are ones that require a little out-of-the-box thinking, and once you solve them you end up saying “oh so THAT’S how it goes!”… Levels like “Letter T”, “Cornered”, and “Liftoff”.

MM: What new projects do you have in the works?

BS: I’m working on another game, but I typically don’t share details on my new projects until they are near completion — so this will have to remain a secret for now!

MM: Have you had any mathematical experiences that especially made an impression on you?

BS: When I first learned about the Fibonacci sequence, I found it really fascinating how you can find it in many different naturally occurring patterns — from the arms of a spiral galaxy to the structures of a plant.

MM: Many of our readers are young people. Are there any parting thoughts you’d like to share with them?

BS: If you have a goal you’re passionate and determined about, no matter how far away it may seem, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving it as long as you stay focused.

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