by Jason Whong
Ambrosia Times: Hello, and who might you be?
Jesse Liesch: I'm Jesse Liesch.
AT: That's right, you're making that new game with the snakes! That really addictive one...What's it called again?
AT: Ah, cool. I've been playing that game over and over since it arrived on my desk. So, what exactly got you inspired to work with Ambrosia on this title?
JL: Dumb luck? I knew Andrew through #avara, an efnet irc channel devoted to Juri Munkki's fabulous psuedo-tank game, Avara. My main goal in coding Slithereens was to learn the Mac OS, so that in future projects I would be able to code more than a dinky little shareware snake game. I laughed when someone suggested I show it to Andrew and see what he thought about working together. Thankfully I decided that it couldn't hurt, and there's no reason I shouldn't run it past him.
AT: Interesting. And how is the project coming along?
JL: Very well. Now that I'm finished with classes for the summer I've got a lot more time (and a lot less excuses!) to devote to it.
AT: What's your favorite thing about Slithereens?
JL: Well, simply put, it's fun. Even after working on Slithereens for the past year or two, after playing literally thousands of games, after tearing my hair out and being driven past the brink of insanity, I still have fun playing it. It doesn't have a state of the art graphics engine, or hundreds of different terrain and enemy types, or music composed by a rock group or a horde of graphic artists composing million dollar cut scenes, but it does have one thing that a lot of games that are produced today are missing, fun and addictive game play.
AT: What's your favorite thing about programming?
JL: Seeing the look on my roomie's face when he wakes up at 8 in the morning to go to class and discovers me slaving a way in front of my monitor, and the look of disgust when he gets back at noon to find getting ready for bed.
AT: Do you think Apple's radical new iMac is going to build a new audience for Slithereens?
JL: Oh, I certainly hope so. I'm 100% behind anything that will put money in my pockets. But despite my greed, I hope iMac will give a lot of people the chance to use a well designed and powerful computer that they wouldn't otherwise have the chance to afford.
AT: I'm told you're a student. Where do you study, and what is your major?
JL: I'm a CS major at UCSD, the University of California at San Diego. Although I'm entirely fed up with the CS program and I'm thinking of switching to math.
AT: How does your double life help or hinder the development process?
JL: Well, my life as a student wasn't much of a problem. Classes weren't too difficult my freshmen year and going to class wasn't much of a concern. The biggest roadblock was getting enough willpower to force myself to sit down and code. There is always something more fun and less stressful to do than coding for a whole night.
AT: Do you do anything else besides programming and being a student?
JL: I'm very interested in music. Currently I play the bass guitar, but I'm thinking of picking up the acoustic guitar as well, because there aren't always people around to jam with, and the bass is most fun when playing with other people.
AT: Cool. how many lines of code are in Slithereens, in your estimation?
JL: Too many. I'd rather not think about that lest I sink into an unrecoverable depression :)
AT: Was it easy to learn how to program?
JL: Programming came rather naturally to me. Thankfully I was raised in a technology rich environment -- my first experience with computers was when I was 4 or 5 years old on a vacation in Canada when I got to play with my dad's 512ke. I've been hooked ever since.
AT: Thanks for the interview; it was quite enlightening. Do you have anything important to tell all of the Ambrosia fans?
JL: Keep a lookout for Slithereens' debut. Even though my opinions about it might be a little biased, I can truthfully say it's a very fun game. Even if it's not your bag, remember to keep supporting the Macintosh. Every program you buy instead of pirate sends a message to the corporate bean counters who may be wavering in their support for the mac.
AT: Thanks again! And we'll be watchful for Slithereens' release. :)