Tell us about yourself – Who are you? What do you do?
Hi! I’m Ivan Mendez, a 31 year old game designer, born and raised in Mexico City. I have lived, studied and worked in Mexico, the US and South Korea.
If I’ve never played your games before, what’s the first one I should try?
None, as this is the first card/board game I have developed. (Launching soon on Kickstarter!)
One fact that we probably don’t know about you:
I can speak Spanish, English and Korean (intermediate Korean).
What games are you playing most right now?
I actually really enjoy competitive PC games at the moment. I’m playing Tekken 7, Warcraft 3: Reforged and League of Legends.
What are your all-time favorite games?
1. Yume Nikki
3. Warcraft III
What draws you to make games?
Coming up with mechanics is an addictive and enjoyable process for me, but I mostly make games to tell stories. If I have something to say, I do it via a creative medium.
How did you get started making games? Describe your process (or lack thereof) when making games. How do you reach your final product?
As I mentioned before, I start making games when I have something to say, and I usually do it through a narrative. I always start with a story, a world and characters. For the Chronicles of Marlis, I started by creating a 20000 word narrative, describing all three countries and introducing a conflict. From there, coming up with ideas for card names and mechanics becomes a very natural and fun process. It almost feels like I’m continuing to write the narrative through the cards I design.
How do you market your games?
In all ways possible. Telling friends and family. Doing online marketing, spreading the word through forums and social media, etc.
What game-related or game business-related media do you consume on a regular basis?
What are some tool/programs/supplies that you wouldn’t work without?
Plain paper, Photoshop
What’s your playtesting philosophy? How often/early do you playtest? How do you find playtesters?
As early as you have a prototype, and as much as possible. Start with family and friends, friends of friends, and then move to local game stores.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work, and how have you overcome them?
Tackling things you’re not familiar with can be difficult and frustrating. As a one-man team, having to learn marketing, video editing and website building can be overwhelming. But if you believe in what you’re doing, you’ll be fine.
How do you handle life/family/work balance?
Just by setting a strict work schedule/hours and respecting them.
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring game designers?
Believe in your idea. Don’t feel intimidated by other projects or fear of failure. Just stay the course and don’t look back. After months and months of hard work, you will be proud of your final product.
What’s the best advice about life that you’ve ever received?
If you start something, finish it.
If you’re interested in how video games are made as well, check out our designer interviews at Doubtful Games!