Before 'LittleBigPlanet 2' There Was 'Shoot 'Em-Up Construction Kit' - Developer Pop Quiz #18

LittleBigPlanet 2

Developer Pop Quiz is a weekly interview series in which we ask developers from around the industry the same 10 questions and post their responses.

Mark Healey, the Creative Director for "LittleBigPlanet 2," started working on games on one of the first (and most popular) home computers, and now he's responsible for one of Sony's biggest games. While it wasn't always a smooth ride, Mr. Healey has an abundance of experience and knowledge, some of which he dispenses in this week's Developer Pop Quiz.

Name: Mark Healey

Title: Creative Director

Company: Media Molecule

Job Description: Responsible for coming up with and pulling together everyone's raw ideas into something that works together as a whole. I also like to get my hands dirty with all aspects of creating as much as possible.

First title worked on: First commercial game was called "KGB Superspy," for the Commodore 64 many years ago!

Most recent title worked on: "LittleBigPlanet 2," exclusively for PlayStation 3

What game has most influenced you, and why?

Probably a mixture of a really old game creating package for the Commodore 64 called "Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit" (because it was the first tool I used that was really nicely presented) and "Mario 64" - something about playing that game captured a very magical feeling that relates to childhood somehow.

What are you playing right now?

Nothing at the moment. I'm on holiday in Brazil!

What was your first break in the games industry?

Dropping out of art college and being totally broke. I managed to meet this girl whose boyfriend was making video games for Codemasters. I showed him some demos I had made and he managed to get me a contract to make a game for the Commodore 64. It took me about six months to make, and I earned about £2000, nearly all of which I gave to my mum for rent. It was a foot in the door at least.

What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

Never listen to anybody's advice.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere except the video games industry.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned about game development?

Don't try to design everything upfront, you need to start with a good simple idea, then riff and jam on it.

What has been the low point of your career?

Making "Dungeon Keeper" many years ago. Not because of the project - I was in constant pain with a slipped disc in my back.

What do you think is the biggest problem current games suffer from?

There isn't a big obvious problem in my opinion; I think they're doing very well to be honest.

What is the most important thing that has happened to gaming in the last 10 years?

All controversy. It means people are taking notice.

Where do you see gaming in 5 years?

I think 'more immersion' is always desirable. Some sort of revisiting of VR, except not via rubbish flickering glasses. I predict some kind of "omni projector" device.