DEVELOPER SPOTLIGHT: ALEXEY RYBAK

Greetings delvers! While we prepare for your next Tunnels & Trolls adventure in Gull, we’re excited to introduce another member of the team here with this week’s Developer Spotlight. Alexey Rybak leads our content team, and has been deep in the adventures and lore your characters have enjoyed.

But first a quick update for our Crown of Klade Challenge winners: your prizes have been mailed your way and should be arriving soon! The loot is on its way!

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We’re excited by the response we had in the contest and will be looking to find more ways to reward your tenacious dungeon crawling in the future.

For now, please enjoy learning more about another stalwart member of our small dedicated team, and don’t forget to check out the trivia contest at the end of the blog!

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WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF!

My name is Alexey. I hail from Moscow, Russia, and have been with MetaArcade for a little over a year. I currently head the content team, which is responsible for creating all Tunnels & Trolls adventures you have played so far.

WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND IN GAMING? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AND HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS OVER THE YEARS?

The first video game I played was Prince of Persia in 1992, on my dad’s work PC (of course!), and it all went downhill from there. 😊 When I was in college back in Moscow, I got involved with a popular MUD – a text-based MMO of sorts – and eventually ended up heading content development for that project. So MetaArcade is a chance for me to go back to the roots!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE GAME GENRE OR FRANCHISE? WHY DOES THIS TOP YOUR LIST?

I am rather an eclectic gamer – I love well-written adventures (harkening back to the Sierra quests of old), squad-based tactical games, roguelikes, city builders and an occasional military shooter, too. But I guess my heart belongs to the grand strategy genre: I am a huge fan of Civilization and Paradox games, and have sunk countless hours into Crusader Kings, Victoria and Stellaris.

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH A SINGLE GAME, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE? WHY?

Sunless Sea by Failbetter Games. It is such a labour of love! When I was traveling a lot for work, I would play it on the plane and totally lose myself in the narrative and atmosphere of the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t help with the jetlag…

WHAT GOT YOU INTO TUNNELS & TROLLS? DID YOU PLAY ANY OTHER RPG’S OR TABLETOP GAMES?

I was a huge D&D nerd back in my teens. The rulebooks and official modules were not easy to come by in Moscow, so we treasured every opportunity to get a hold of them. I still remember the awe and wonder I experienced upon visiting my first real game store in London – the venerable Orcs Nest – over 20 years ago. Fortunately, the place is still there!

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HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY, AND WHAT LED YOU TO JOIN METAARCADE?

I have started my professional life in an entirely different area (financial markets…), but at some point, the opportunity to change tack presented itself – I got a chance to work on a game I really liked. I did not hesitate for a moment! After that, I have worn many hats in the video games industry: community management, localization, marketing and business development.

EXPLAIN A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PROCESS. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN BUILDING AN ADVENTURE OR CREATING A STORY?

I have numerous plot hooks in my head, so when I start working on an adventure, I select a few of them and see if I can string them together into a coherent story. I am a voracious reader, so that really helps with getting new ideas.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF CREATING A “GOOD” ADVENTURE? WHAT DO YOU FOCUS ON THE MOST?

I think the most important part of an adventure is the story. An adventure also needs to be ‘fun’: it is really easy to accidentally create a frustrating experience for the player.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TUNNELS & TROLLS ADVENTURE THUS FAR? WHAT MAKES IT YOUR FAVORITE?

I personally like the Blue Frog Tavern / Sword for Hire combo developed by our team recently. I think Sam and Paul, our writers, managed to create a very convincing and interesting slice of the adventurer’s life, and supplement it with strong, exciting narrative.

IF YOU HAD ONE LESSON TO BESTOW UNTO PLAYERS LOOKING FORWARD TO CREATING THEIR OWN ADVENTURES, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

Don’t be afraid to start writing!

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF GAMING? WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME?

After moving to Seattle, I have taken up sailing. It’s something I always wanted to do, but I’ve never lived so close to the water – and turns out Puget Sound is one of the best areas in the world for that. The world looks so very different from the water, and getting away from the frenetic pace of the city life really helps to clear the head.

I also volunteer at Seattle Humane Society to cater to my cat obsession 😊

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: WHAT SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU HAVE AND WHY?

Being able to visit all the different parallel universes! One of the reasons I love speculative fiction and sci-fi so much is because it explores the “What if?” concept to the fullest – and wouldn’t it be great to do it in person?

 

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THIS WEEK’S TRIVIA CONTEST

Once again, our T&T Trivia question is from the expanded Golden Dust, Red Death.

We’ll make it an easy question this week. If you’ve already played this adventure (even in its earlier version), you probably know the answer!

Here’s the question: In Golden Dust Red Death, what is the name of the dangerous drug that you are tasked to deliver?

Post your answer in the comments section below, on the MetaArcade or Tunnels & Trolls Facebook Pages. The deadline for posting your answer will be Monday, March 12 at 12 pm Pacific Time.

We will choose an answer at random from the correct answers, contact the winner, and mail them a free signed copy of Grimtina’s Guard, plus a free signed comic. Anyone can guess, even if you’ve already won in a previous week. (In which case, we’ll send you a different solo.) Note: you must live within the continental US so we can ship it to you.  It’s easy to play the Trivia contest, so why don’t YOU try it this week?

Last week’s question - what is Al-Dajjal's hideout disguised as?

The Answer “An Apothecary” was given by Karl Seigfried.

We’ll be sending Karl a signed copy of the Grimtina’s Guard solo, congratulations Karl!

Come back next week to see which of you will win.  Just post your Trivia answer to play!