Read Part One here
Read Part Two here
Airship Ambassador: How is Texas for this kind of work? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
Jim Trent: I’m originally from a small college community in Oklahoma and moved to Dallas, Texas two years ago but the difference has been noticeable. You really need to be within access of one or more large urban areas for maximum productivity when getting a product like this out. Overall Texas is a surprisingly great place to be an artist. There are a lot of friendly creative people down here and it’s fairly easy to conduct business. While someplace on the coast may have more folks in this business, the cooperative nature of southerners makes them good collaborators on projects.
AA: Most of the people I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that their steampunk work is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered working on the game?
JT: This really is my day job (outside of being a dad). I do some freelance writing, designing, and editing for other publications but mostly I focus on my little game company (Mad Raven Productions) and getting it to where I’d like it to be. The freedom to do this after years of retail work has really allowed my creativity to express itself and the time to develop games folks will enjoy without worrying about a 9 to 5 grind has been really helpful. My last business was a start up as well so I’m no stranger to entrepreneurship.
AA: Do people outside the regular gaming, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Twisted Skies? What kind of reactions have you received?
JT: As the game is still very new I don’t always get recognized for it but when I do I’m always very humbled. Usually people are more familiar with the game than me as the designer. If thousands of gamers had their game in their homes and never knew my name I would still be flattered. People actually recognized my character (Capt. James Fisk) more then they do me; the game designer. I’ve had people run up and ask to take a picture with me or to sign a card with my character’s picture on it and that’s always nice.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk and gaming, what other interests fill your time?
JT: My biggest past time is Historical Reenactment and it requires me to travel and leave the office behind which means I get regular chances to clear my mind. I love not only participating in large battle reenactments but I also just talking to tourist about the history of wherever I am volunteering, especially school kids, they have the best questions! I also really love to draw maps and do a small amount of fantasy cartography when I can for friend’s games and popular settings.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
JT: History gives me constant ideas for cool alternate time lines. Traveling a lot exposes me to other cultures and ideas on art. I enjoy meeting gamers in other parts of the country and hearing about their world settings. Drawing maps for other games always introduces me to new perspectives on settings. I really believe that an active mind that is constant seeing and hearing new things stimulates greater creativity for my own projects.
AA: Who or what do you count as your influences, motivators, or role models?
JCV: In game design I’ve always been influenced by the work of Steve Jackson (Munchkin,Illuminati), his ability to design games that play simply but have great depth of storyline is impressive. I’m also a big fan of John Wick (7th Sea, Legend of the 5 Rings) who has great story and worlds in everything he does. As a businessman I admire the work of independent minded innovators like Walt Disney and Henry Ford for their self confidence in the face of tough odds. In Steampunk I’m impressed by the work of people who encourage an open and accepting Steampunk community such as Eric Larson of Teslacon and my good friend Cedric Whittaker of the Airship Isabella.
AA: Three quick fire, random questions – what is your favorite vehicle, dinner food, and historical event?
JT: Vehicle- I love tall ships from the age of sail, Dinner food- Cajun seafood, so spicy so good, Historical event- The battle of Honey Springs 1863, on a frontier plain the American Civil War experienced it’s most diverse battle with combatants who were black, white, and from multiple native tribes battling over one of the most important questions in our nation’s history.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
JT: A big thank you to all who have supported Twisted Skies so far. It’s been a labor of love for a community I cherish. To support small press games is to take a leap away form the big publishing house sources and that’s a leap of faith. I really appreciate it.
I’d also like to invite all Steampunks to consider joining the Twisted Skies experience by talking with me about a card expansion based on your local Steampunk community. There’s nothing I’d like better than to produce a card for every Steampunk out there over the next ten years. There’s no limit to how many expansions we can produce with time and great people willing to work with the product.
Keep enjoying Steampunk, whatever it is you do it’s awesome!
Thanks, Jim, for joining us and sharing your experiences with game creation and steampunk.
Thanks to all of you, readers, too. Get your copy of , Twisted Skies today!