The Hippo


May 26, 2020








What are you really into right now?

I’m excited for the spring. I love going hiking, and New Hampshire presents a really great opportunity to do that. 

Video game launch
Game developer set to release Bacon Man


 Can you tell us about yourself and how you got interested in video games?

I’m the managing director at Skymap Games, which is a Manchester, New Hampshire-based video game development company. This company provides contract development services to other video game companies who are primarily in the Boston area, but also, we create our own games. … I got into video games at a really young age watching my mother play Sega Genesis growing up, while coming down in the middle of the night to grab a glass of water or something, and she was actually the one who was up late playing games. I think that had a big impact on me, because since then, I’ve been sort of addicted. I started making games as mods, which are modifications of already existing games to change their functionality, when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. For context, I’m 27 now. … I’m far less involved now in development as I am involved in game production and project management. … Development is being in the nitty gritty; working on 3-D models, game assets, game programming. Now, a lot of my job is coordinating and planning. 
What is Bacon Man?
The story of Bacon Man is that he is the rightful heir to the meat throne, until his grandfather, Old King Roast Beef, is murdered under mysterious circumstances. So, now he has to fight through different worlds made out of food and defeat the kings of each world to take back his rightful place as the king of the meats. That’s basically the story of the game, but the type of game that it is, the genre is what’s called platforming—jumping from platform to platform, as well as action. Bacon Man shoots with a toaster gun as well as does cool air-fighting and kicking and things like that that you would find in a pretty traditional action-style game.
How did you get the idea for the game?
The game actually spawned from being in college dorm rooms and visiting the cafeteria at SNHU and generating really weird, stupid ideas of different characters that we could create. I think at one point it was decided that bacon seemed like a pretty good idea for a kind of Herculean character, a meathead of sorts. Angelos and Ryan, who are two members of our team, really sort of spearheaded a lot of the initial design. The other two members of the team, Jon and I, came on a little bit later.  
How did you fund the project and what was the process of making it like?
We started working on the game in 2012, but it was more of a hobbyist project. I don’t think we were as serious as we were until 2014, when we ran a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter raised a little over $20,000 and that was enough for us to get pretty serious about the project. It gave us a small marketing budget, as well as new equipment and enough money to get started on renting a space, which we ended up doing around 2015 ... in Manchester. When we first started, we were working a lot from home. I also have some money saved up from a software job where I worked, so it helped to just get things rolling. Once we realized we needed an office, we ended up helping to form the Game Assembly, alongside other New Hampshire developers, which is a video game co-working space. So, we now operate out of there. We’ve been here for two and a half years now, working on Bacon Man and other projects. So we fund ourselves through contracts on other people’s games.
Will you be planning any expansions or updates after this launch?
Yea, the game first launches on Steam, so that will be PC, Mac and hopefully Linux. So, ideally, within a couple months of the PC release, we’ll have the game on consoles as well. And our hope is that with the console launch, we might have some small additional content that ships with that. Maybe some more levels or something.
After Bacon Man, what’s next for you and Skymap?
We’ve already started working on prototypes for a couple of different ideas. We’re toying with a few different things. I can’t go into any serious detail, but one of which is a game about stealing things. … I’m also interested in some very small-scale games. 
— Ryan Lessard 

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