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Specialized ProfessionIamA maker of life sized animatronic dinosaurs. AMA!

Aug 8th 2017 by paciferal • 59 Questions • 50 Points

Hey everyone! I'm John a 25 year old over the Road Truck Driver! Been doing this for as long as has been a legal for me to do so (close to five years now!) I live and breath my work, I have no home to speak of except of course the road! Ever had a question for a trucker? Wanna know what we are thinking while you blow our doors off going down the highway? Well give it a whirl here :)

My Proof: https://imgur.com/gallery/kLVIt

I'm back and will be answering questions as they come in :) I've got nothing better to do so fire away I'll answer so long as there is one asked! This has been a blast thanks so much for those who have participated so far!

Q:

What is your favorite dinosuar?

A:

What, in your experience, are the most destructive pests? Which ones are the hardest to get rid of? And what's the weirdest thing you've had to deal with in your line of work?


Q:

I remember your last ama! I was the store manager at the Dollar General in Adams MA, you bought cookies, and we shot the shit outside for at least 20 minutes. It's good to see you're doing well. What is next your next adventure?

A:

Have you considered going back into Early Access? As a fan of FTL the game I'm quiet satisfied with the game's mechanics, but the execution is... well, let's say, there is a lot of room for improvements.

Fonts. UI. Optimisation. General game design - some consitent art style would certainly help. The inventory is everything I ever hated about inventories.

Also:Some additional character/building models would go a long way. And you certainly need more maps for the random missions. And don't let enemies stand around useless until you get near them, line of sight be damned.

In it's current state it was an instant refund after I got the same map three times in a row.


Q:

Have you ever considered an endorsement deal for the Milano cookies made by Pepperidge Farm?

A:

Now, I know you're married to Justin, but back in the day were you team Backstreet Boys or team *NSYNC?


Q:

Who was your favorite person that you got to meet or perform with that made you act all shy around?

A:

Tell me about this "black dog". Is it some urban tale?


Q:

Fascinating AMA. I'm much older than you, but when I was little we'd gesture to truck drivers to honk their horn. And much to our delight, they always did! I don't see that anymore. Is it just too dangerous? I mean it's a pretty loud horn probably for emergencies only? Thanks for this AMA! Edited.

A:

This should answer that question and perhaps something about me as well :] btw there is a lot of swearing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vSY_rB928c


Q:

In my experience , it would ground squirrels. I have an account where the customer lives in the hills of whittier and he had a whole deck collapse . All down the hill was squirell tunnels that had caused the deck to collapse under it's own weight.

The hardest pest to get rid of is the bed bug. They can hide and not feed for over a year! You need to be as thorough as possible for treatment.

The weirdest thing I had to deal with wasn't exactly with the pest , but with the filthy living conditions of 2 doctors who had a nice apartment in Marina del Rey. Roach feces everywhere and it took them years before they called about their problem.

A:

See? This is what I'm talking about!

I'm on my next adventure now! I quit the office job and tell stories. I can't top this.


Q:

In it's current state it was an instant refund after I got the same map three times in a row.

Wow, these are the edge cases I should have programmed for more. We definitely have enough maps that you shouldn't need to experience the same one 3 times in a row.

A:

As long as I get a lifetime supply I would do this.


Q:

I was such a theater nerd at that time that I literally wasn't listening to either of those groups. I was listening to soundtracks, like Rent and old 50's/60's music. I can be a little off on my timing. But if I had been cool, DUH, NSYNC all the way, baby!

A:

BB King


Q:

There's a movie with Patrick Swayze, Meat Loaf, Randy Travis, and Gabriel Casseus where Patrick Swayze is a truck driver. He talks about the black dog you see after you've been on the road for too long and start getting too tired. It'll come out of nowhere in the middle of the night and dart out at you, and you'll think it's real and try to avoid it. I thought it was just some made up movie plot til the first time I saw it when I was really tired on an overnight. Not necessarily a dog, but any hallucination of something darting out in front of the bus. Happened quite a few times, very scary

A:

Kids are so plugged into their screens these days no one pumps anymore... When I see it I honk. :)


Q:

Interesting! :)

How long does it take to make a moving version? How many people work on a single version at a time? How is it powered, battery or power line? I never saw a power line anywhere near one but it's not that hard to hide it.

A:

So...these were doctors living in squalid conditions? That's bizarre to me.

Also, I thought of another thing I'm curious about: have you ever been concerned for your own well-being during a job? Like, what's the most dangerous situation you've had to deal with?

I find this line of work fascinating.


Q:

Have you heard of this other trail, the PCT?😉

A:

Why perforce over git?


Q:

Hello Alyssa

Do you think it's about time for a Commando sequel?

A:

Hey Jessica! If a movie was ever made about your husbands life like Johnny Cash in Walk the Line; who do you think could play you and Justin?


Q:

You came to town many years ago on tour with BB king and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and I saw you play with Double Trouble. You blew me away. Not to take away from the other acts but you were the highlight of the show for me.

A:

Ooooooh that black dog. Yeah I can definitely tell you that's real. To give my tale some context, I'm a push over when it comes to sleep deprivation (Lasted a month in a grave yard software support job) and my girlfriend and I love going on road trips within our island home, Cebu, using only a Honda Wave 110CC motorcycle. Long story short, we had to cut off an overnight trip because of some complications with our accommodations in a certain place down south so we went home at night nearly at about 9PM. I know 9PM is very early for people but for me, it's already time to hit the sack. My eyes got heavy after an hour of driving but we were already near the major city and I decided to book it. Unfortunately for me, my sleepiness got the best of me and I managed to doze off for about a split second but thank goodness I still had the consciousness to remember that I was driving and managed to open my eyes. Upon opening them, I thought I saw an animal so my heart jumped but I never thought of swerving because that'd be the end of us, if we did.

TL;DR Saw the black dog in one of our road trips.


Q:

Fellow trucker here. It's DOT regulation that if a child pump gestures for the air horn, we have to do it

A:

It's definitely a group project getting each one done, and we made everything from chicken sized to full sized T-Rex so it depends how many people you throw at it and how big it is. With a full sized T-Rex on rush, we might have three welders, 10 people working on the rubber skin, my small department of 3-4, and probably a swarm of 6 or more painters staying up late because they are given it last right before the deadline. And the T-rex might get done in a month and a half.

They run off pneumatic power, so you just have to run an air hose to it and have a control box with valves nearby.


Q:

Well for pesticides the fastest way it soaks into your body is through your skin. So their is always a concern with the back pack spilling or concentrated pesticides leak on us. That's why it's always important to wear Proper Protective Equiptment. Gloves , safety glasses , respirator , long sleeves , pants , water resistant and steal toed boots. Also , always reading the chemical labels labels every application to make sure you have the right mixture and that it's labeled for the pest.

To me the most dangerous thing I deal with weakly is gopher treatment. I have to handle aluminum phosphate gas pellets. Such a horrible gas I hate even having to carry it on my truck.

A:

Sounds hard.


Q:

That's exactly the reaction I would have. Makes you jump.

A:

Absolutely!


Q:

Thanks for answering! Where do you get the skin and how do you / the company that makes it make the skin in the way it is? How are the dinosaurs designed? All digital or still physical hand drawn pictures? Did you ever have to improvise when the deadline was not reachable? What happens to them after the scenes they were needed for are done?

A:

What is your least favorite pest to deal with?

Kryptonian Rats? ;)


Q:

My brother hiked just past Pennsylvania on the AT a few years back. He tells me that one day he just thought "What the fuck am I doing here?" then called me to come get him. He doesn't have kids or a wife, but he had community responsibilities and a dog that he left behind.

That being said, what drove you forward every day? Was there a day where you realized how much it had changed you - not just physically but emotionally?

I'm looking forward to reading your book - when my brother left I read quite a few trail books. They do read like diaries lol

A:

How did you find not going full time on the project? It's generally frowned upon in the start up world to keep your day job but you guys managed and succeeded.


Q:

Commando: Ten Years Later.

A:

She really is one of us.


Q:

As a musician, what's it like to play the same songs over and over, night after night? Do you ever get tired of it? Are there any songs you dread playing?

A:

When you get to your destination, do you get to just hang out in that city for a while or do you get right back on the bus and go on your next drive?


Q:

My girls scared the shit outta me the other day. Got a trucker to honk. v proud! No idea where they learned it

A:

I forgot the company but it's a two part one to one mix urethane applied to molds we made from original sculpts.

Over the years we went from just googling pictures of dinosaurs to actually measuring out ratios of limbs and emailing experts pictures of our drawings and mini sculpts. Then we scanned in the small sculpture with a CNC machine which could then cut a full sized version out of foam that we could apply a thin layer of clay to for detail.

If things were looking bad for the deadline it was usually us at the end of the production line that picked up the slack. There were a good number of all-nighters.

99.9% of our stuff was on lease for a period of months, which would include periodical repair visits because we focused mostly on outdoor animatronics at zoos, which take a beating.

edit: When they were done we just shipped them back to our shop in Texas and fixed them up again for the next show. It wasn't ever a travelling show of the same stuff, though, each was a custom order.


Q:

Hahaha yes actually.

Rodents can be be very tricky to get rid of. Especially rats because of their intelligence.

A:

what drove you forward every day?

It was something different every day.

My insane love for living outside is what got me out there in the first place. The people are pretty amazing too. I was a 44 year old computer engineer making friends with humans I never would have encountered under any other circumstances. A retired machinist who foraged for edible plants and played the fiddle. A young lady with a brand new anthropology degree, an Israeli cartoonist, a Japanese swordsman. The year I hiked we had an astronaut on the trail with us.

You develop this huge extended family that's stretched out over a hundred miles or so, and you know where everyone is without asking. It's almost like a pack, and that pulls you along. The trail becomes your life. You don't even think about "the real world" for days.

If you do quit, you have to go back to your job... Gross.


Q:

How did you find not going full time on the project? It's generally frowned upon in the start up world to keep your day job but you guys managed and succeeded.

It's been really rough, I've been doing more work than I really should and sacrificing time away from my family. My wife cried a bit last night because she was still scared that "She wasn't going to get me back"

A:

More like Commando: 30 years later


Q:

It disappeared, I swear!

A:

I have always made sure to record songs that I really like ad believe in so that we don't get tired of playing them. I'm proud of all my albums, but one great thing about having such an extensive catalog is that we have a lot of songs to choose from. I usually put together a few different set lists so we can switch it up on any given night if we feel like something different.


Q:

It all depends, no 2 days are ever the same unless you have enough seniority to bid a regular run. Sometimes it's load up right away to either go back or to somewhere else, some days you have to wait around for a few hours to find out what you're doing next, some days you know what you're doing next and have some free time to kill and can walk around cuz you don't need to be at the yard or terminal for them to tell you what you're doing next, some days they put you to bed and you can kinda enjoy an hour or two out waking around, and sometimes they leave you up there for days and kinda forget you exist. It also depends on the city. Philly, Harrisburg, Montreal, you're right there in the heart of town so it's easy to go walking around. Atlantic City 9 times out to 10 you have to park at the yard in Pleasantville which is 20 mins outside the city and the only thing worth walking to is Wawa. If they put us to bed in AC it was a mile to the nearest bar (and believe me, we'd walk it!). Cleveland is walking distance to downtown and the dorm is at the terminal, so I got to explore there. Boston we would stay in Dorchester and we couldn't really go into town to hang out because if they call you to report in, you only get an hour and if you're in town you're not gonna make it from downtown back to the hotel and then back to the yard in time. Montreal was the place I consistently got the most free time to really enjoy the area.

TL;dr: getting to hang out and walk around town happens less often than not, except for in Montreal

A:

Probably school


Q:

Is it part of your job to keep up on developments in dinosaur research? Like, if they discovered that Triceratops were actually covered in feathers, would you have to take that in and start altering your craftsmanship?

A:

I loathe glue traps. They're totally cruel.


Q:

Replies like this are why I subscribed to r/IAmA. (Also, thank you for the free e-book!) I remember your post a couple of years ago & just skimmed it again -- great stuff. I'm incredibly happy for you that you get to hike & tell stories for a living now. ;)

Btw I'm just a day-hiker; my hubby's sectioning the AT. He's going for 2 weeks to Massachusetts next month! Best wishes & hope there are lots more books in your future.

A:

What kind, if any, of experience did you guys have in game development when you started?


Q:

Knowing that James Gunn has a crush on you, how do you plan on using this to get a part in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ?

A:

I loved your cameo on Bojack Horseman! How did that project come to your attention?


Q:

what's on your pedalboard these days?

A:

What do you mean by put you to bed?


Q:

You fist pump with two hands?

A:

By the way if you want to see a current day bird that has the closest thing to protofeathers the dinosaurs had I think it's the Cassowary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUQDA48tQhs

They don't eat meat but they will attack you like a raptor with their talons (and distract you in front while others come around behind like in Jurassic Park). If you see them in a zoo (I saw one in Houston) they pace back and forth and look at you like a penned up tiger would.


Q:

Also glue traps are usually for insects . I use snap traps for rodents when I habe to. Or I use a catcher and set them free. It depends on how the people feel.

A:

Never say "just a day hiker". :-)

But I know what you mean. Thank you for the kind words!


Q:

What kind, if any, of experience did you guys have in game development when you started?

Effectively none. I took some c++ classes in college (a good 10 years ago now), and have tinkered here or there, but Fictorum was our first effort at a game.

A:

This would be fun.


Q:

They just came to me and asked if I wanted to play myself in an episode. I think it's a hilarious show and I'm so honored to be part of it. They've asked me a couple more times and it's been a really fun project to be apart of.

A:

CAE Wah, Tycobrahe Octavia, TS-808HW Tube Screamer, King Of Tone, Delay Llama, Vibe-Bro, Bi-Chorus, and a tuner


Q:

Going to bed means going to either the hotel or the dorm (Richmond VA, Cleveland OH, NYC, and some others have forms at the terminal or close by, other cities they use a hotel) to get a minimum of 9 hours off duty before they call you back in. Sometimes they call you exactly 9 hours from when you pulled in, sometimes you'll be sitting there for days. That's when it really sucks because you'll go to sleep, wake up and stay up all day, then finally when you're nice and tired and ready to go back to sleep, they're like hey come in and do this 8 hour overnight run. You can look at the board for that city online and try to guess when they're going to call you, but often times something comes up that messes up what time you think they're gonna call you. Often times I'd keep myself cooped up in the hotel room trying to match my sleep to what I was reading on the board so I'd be ready to work a 15 hour day, but you can only force yourself to sleep so much. That's when the job starts getting depressing and messing with your head.

A:

Depends on my mood... Using the left feels like it's a stranger...... Ohhhhh my bad


Q:

What parts of a dinosaur are unexpectedly difficult to animate? Does one body type pose bigger challenges than another?

A:

You have a lot of advice on dealing with a pest infestation, but what about prevention?


Q:

what did you eat?

A:

So the game is written in C++ (with Unreal by the looks of it)? If so that is pretty cool as a lot of indie games these days are Unity/C#. How did you find working with Unreal? What other libraries, tools, etc. did you use?

You mention some C++ classes in college but how did you get your knowledge of C++ to the level where you could comfortably work with the Unreal Engine? Books, web resources?


Q:

Alyssa, about 15 years ago you came into my bookstore with your boyfriend and bought a book. You asked for it to be gift wrapped but while we were wrapping it you left the store and forgot the book. It stayed on the shelf​ behind the register for years (the store is out of business now), with a note that said "For Alyssa Milano" in case you ever back to pick it up. We never unwrapped it. And I've wondered for years.

What was the book?

A:

Hi Jessica Biel! I'm sure the ship has sailed now, but was there ever talk of an A-Team sequel several years ago? Would you have wanted to return to that series if it had gotten a greenlight?


Q:

Quick tips to step my guitar playing up a notch?

A:

So they only require you to be off duty for 9 hours between shifts? They don't require that you get some sleep in that time? And they expected you to be ready to go within an hour when there's the possibility that you'd been up all day waiting and would be driving when you normally should be sleeping? Doesn't sound very safe.


Q:

Is driving a truck as free as it seems, where you can stop whenever something interesting catches your eye, or are you expected to drive for much longer than 8 hours a day to meet difficult schedules?

A:

When working with pneumatic movements with a set limit on PSI and CFM (air pressure and air flow), big things like T-Rex's don't move fast. Both my boss and clients would always ask me to make it faster and I would constantly say it was already at max. Some of the smaller creatures were made so they could have quick movements that gave them that look of a bird darting its gaze side to side.

The hardest movements I had to deal with were the movements on creatures that had long or heavy necks and a movement that angled their body up. Like in this picture: http://imgur.com/a/cASy0

That neck will move left and right really well when the body is down, but as soon as the neck is up at a 45 degree angle it will struggle to get from the left to the center, and then fall down to the right. So we had to push air in on one side of the pneumatic cylinder while limiting the exhaust coming out the other side to smooth the movement. http://www.industrial-electronics.com/images/ind-automation_3-39.jpg

Also the eyes would get stuck a lot. You want them close to their eye sockets but not pushing against them so much that they can't move back and forth; and they often ended up doing the latter.


Q:

For roaches:

All drains should he kept wet . If you have any floor drains make sure to apply a mesh small enough to keep roaches from getting in. Any piping should be sealed properly as well.

Rodents :

Seal or cover any openings . If your pinky can fit through a whole or gap , a mouse can fit. If you can fit your thumb in , a full size fat can fit through

Earwigs/ Sal bugs : Pick up any leaves that are piled up. Make sure there is little moisture in grassy areas or planters.

For pantry pest (indian meal moths/ grain beetles): Make sure all grains, oats , and cereals are properly sealed. At times though your rice or oats will come home infested already.

A:

I'll come back in a minutes and type up a list, but for now, here's a video answer. This is me on the trail, right after resupply:

https://youtu.be/E8-qKNPZU74

Meals On Trail: I want something light, cheap, and full of calories. Notice that flavor does not come into play.

  • Breakfast - Pop tarts or Honey Buns. The ones that have that thick layer of "icing" that you can peel off in one piece? Yeah, save that for tent repairs later. Seriously though, you want big calories and carbs early in the day. 700 calories in one of those bad boys. I also add Carnation Instant Breakfast to my instant coffee just for the calories and vitamins.

  • Lunch - No such thing. I used to stop in the middle of the day and cook up some ramen, but that's time consuming and in the summer it's too hot to eat soup anyway. Instead, gnaw on the ramen brick while you walk. The crunchy bits brush your teeth while you eat, so it's two for one. But for real, I kept my pockets stuffed with Clif Bars, jerky, dried fruit, snickers, a small jar of peanut butter, nuts, berries... pretty much munching all day.

  • Dinner - Knorr pasta sides. Throw in a packet of tuna for protein. Maybe thicken it with insta potatoes too. Mmmmm. Gruel.

Meals in Town: This is a whole new ball game. You've been operating at caloric deficit for days. Time to binge.

  • If I could time it right, I liked to get into town around lunch time. I'd start with a beer, a salad and either a cheese burger or a large pizza. Just for me. After a second beer and a few scoops of ice cream, I'm ready to (a) do laundry and (b) start thinking about where I'll have dinner.

Q:

Easier answer, I didn't. Blueprints were enough to carry our project to completion. We were really surprised how well blueprints worked and how far we got with them.

A:

OOoohhhhh! I love this story. I have no idea what the book was or who it was for.


Q:

I think there was probably talk of a sequel and yes I had a lot of fun working on that show with all those guys. Would've absolutely loved being part of that cast with those guys, and yes, they were all really funny as well.

A:

Do you play in a band? If not, go play with some real people. Find a Blues jam and sit in. The single best thing for my playing was playing on stage every night with other people and getting out of the house with it.


Q:

Yup. When in the hotel or dorm, it's 9 hours + 1 hr to report. At your home terminal is 9 hours + 2 hours to report, except NYC which gets 3 hours to report. And no, they can only mandate you be off duty, they can't mandate that you sleep during that time off. They urge you to sleep, but we've all got things that need to get done sometimes during our time off. And then yeah, the varying schedule means your bodies internal clock is all fucked up. One day I could get a 3pm report, the next day a 5am report, be in the hotel for the next 36 hours playing blues clues with the board, then get 2 days of 9pm report, and I may not have even gone home at all in that time. There's a reason most of Greyhounds severe accidents are fatigue related. You can of course always call out sick or fatigued and they'll book you off for another 12 hours or so, but you can only do it so much before it starts causing problems with management.

Edit: the craziest part of all this, Greyhound is actually one of the best in terms of time off between jobs. The federal minimum is 8 hours and most charter companies, in my experience, go by the bare minimum. For me it's just a matter of learning when to say no

A:

Was actually not expecting a response so thanks for taking the time to ask :)

It really depends on the load/dispatch schedule, time is super crucial in the type of freight I haul, so I can't always 'just stop'. Also the matter of fitting a 75' vehicle in some spots can be tough!

As for hours of driving, truckers (in the US) are governed by specific Federal Regulations (called the FMCSR). We can drive up to 11 hours within a 14 hour period following a full 10 hour break. We cannot drive more than 70 hours in an 8 day period. There are some other rules governing Hours of Service but they can be a bit confusing.


Q:

Are animatronics making a come-back? What do you think about the trend to combine animatronics with CG, as we've seen in for example Game of Thrones with dragons?

(That shouldn't be a spoiler to anyone.)

A:

Why do you cover Los Angeles, when Oceanside is so much closer to San Diego?

How do you avoid bringing bed bugs, and scabies, home with you?


Q:

The pic on the right looks like one of those photos a terrorist group that hides out in the jungles of the Philippines might release demanding ransom money. Are you back to normal?

A:

It's this sort of honesty that gets me to purchase a developer's game. You seem like a good guy with a dream and you went and realized it.


Q:

Hey there was a recent rumor that Holly Marie Combs eventually said wasn't true that Charmed was gonna get a reboot or continuation on Netflix or was at least in talks to. Is that something you'd be interested in?

My sisters and I used to watch Charmed every morning while getting ready for school so we'd all really love it.

A:

Hey Jessica! Thanks for doing this AMA. Which actor/actress was the funniest to work with?


Q:

did you ever think you would be playing this long or still touring?

btw... i saw you when you played the bluesfest in thunder bay, canada a couple years ago.

A:

Gosh that must have been so stressful for you. Would they generally be understanding if you said no and explained why?


Q:

Did you switch over to the e logs yet?

A:

This is just all opinion, because I don't have any experience with movies or tv. The stuff I made was several steps down lol

But I think that CG is always going to be moving forward but practical effects often capture that certain something that is hard to simulate. Like a guy in a suit or a robot will do a number of takes, and make some mistakes that actors can react to. You'd never get with a green screen. A lot of the big brands like Star Wars seem to be going back to more practical effects because people showed some distaste for the gawdy CG of the prequels. Maybe some of it is fond memories of the past, but I think it just pulls you more in to the scene.


Q:

I live in the LA area . I cover from whittier to Santa Monica. My company is located in ocean side. My boss has us use the company's address when we sign up for licensing.

The best way is watch your surroundings. Bed bugs can travel on people's belongings. Hotels , buses , trains are a good place for them to transfer from one person to another. I've even had a case where a homeless man kept coming into the dmv and he was filled with bed bugs. He carried this gross bag around, he would drip blood in the men's restroom and he'd leave a trail of them. It spread throughout the office .

If you are ever concerned about it , washing your clothes in hot water would kill any bed bugs in your clothes or sheets. It has to be HOT

A:

Are you back to normal?

Not even close. I'm blurry now.

http://i.imgur.com/DVkBlxL.jpg


Q:

Yea, I don't want people to misunderstand (again) what blueprints are. It's not preformed code we took and modified. Epic just did an amazing job at making a visual scripting language for their C++.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Blueprints/

A:

We have all said we would be interested in exploring a reboot. CBS Studios has the rights and is continuing to develop. I'm unsure of what their take would be or if we would be included.


Q:

Adam Sandler and his crew were pretty amazing to work with. Adam and Kevin James and their whole crew are hilarious to work with. Working with them is almost impossible because they're so clever and on their feet at all times and you're laughing and cracking up during every take. It's so much fun. They make comedy look easy, but it's not. It's way harder than anyone thinks.

A:

I had no idea what was going to happen when i first signed my record deal. You never know how people will react to your music. Thankfully it's been about 25 years now and we are still going strong, thanks to the fans.


Q:

Not really, if I can go I'll go. If I can't, I'll tell them no. There was one night in particular, I reported in at 5pm and at 9:30pm they finally told me to go to Cleveland. I told them hell no, so they tried to send me to Montreal, which is hardly any better when you're already tired. I told them I'll go to Albany and they can find another driver there and the only reason I made it that far was because there was an intense storm that night that kept me focused hardcore

A:

Been on ELogs my whole career


Q:

I am kind of curious. What job did you want as a kid? Because I know 10 year old me would think that your job is amazing.

A:

You look like someone's awesome middle school science teacher


Q:

Congratulations! Followed from the start and still am. The game is unique and I am loving it.

How are you experiencing the whole launch and how players are reacting on it?

Will you add more elements to the game?

Will the lore and story in game expand?

Thanks for doing this AUA and for making the game!

Edit: Had another question.

A:

Hi Alyssa! What was it like to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a kid?


Q:

Do you ever get jealous of the relationship your husband has with Jimmy Fallon?

A:

Hey Mr. Shepherd! Just wanted to say you are one of the few artists that got me into the blues! But on top of that, I'm a huge car enthusiast and I work for a motorsports website. My question is what is your opinion of the new age muscle cars like the Demon or ZL1 1LE?


Q:

Come on man. Just let it loose. What's that one story you always tell?

A:

Have you ever had any close calls with the inconsiderate drivers who want to cut you off?

How nerve-wrecking is it to drive in bad weather and bad traffic?


Q:

In elementary I wanted to be a scientist. In junior high and high school I got into computers and art, and art on computers, so I was into graphic design and animation. I kinda went all over the board from there.

A:

Funny you should say that. I used to want to be a middle school science teacher back in the day. My dad was.

Thanks.


Q:

Congratulations! Followed from the start and still am. The game is unique and I am loving it.

Thanks!

How are you experiencing the whole launch and how players are reacting on it?

At some level it doesn't feel real. The games reviews on Steam are "mixed" (they've been hovering around 60%) since we've launched, and I wish they were a bit better and/or maybe wish we had done a bit better job at the game. We'll work on improving it.

Will you add more elements to the game?

Our first goals are to get mac and linux support into the game and then modding, we'll be fixing bugs as we come across them as well, it's amazing how many more bugs you find once a lot of people start playing your game

Will the lore and story in game expand?

Not soonTM, but I'd love to rework how events are done a bit so we can overall tell the story of the land as you rampage across it a bit better, and also make the new player experience a bit better as well.

A:

It was awesome. He used to help me with my algebra homework.


Q:

Oh no, I'm not jealous that every waking moment they can spend together they do... Oh no and I'm not jealous that every time Justin can go on the show he does... oh no, I'm not jealous that they ride tandem bikes together: https://www.instagram.com/p/BUm8rdbBEP-/?hl=en&taken-by=justintimberlake Oh no, I'm not jealous that they sing and rap together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1omPNEVOIaM Oh I'm not jealous they they go to camp together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_jXi0nzuow OH NO, I'M NOT JEALOUS AT ALL!!!

A:

I think they're great and we are now living in the new golden age of automobiles. I just ordered a Demon, so that should tell you right there how I feel about it!


Q:

Pick your poison. There's my last night of training driving blind through a blizzard (16 inches of snow, zero visibility) all night long on an interstate that was shut down at 25mph for 10 hours. Had an inch of ice frozen onto some parts of the windshield.

There's the time I was doing NYC to Boston and the destination sign was stuck on Tijuana so in my thickest Spanish accent I announced "okay ladies and yentlemen gwelcone aboard the Greyhound lines to Tijuana Mexico making the one stop in boson Massachusetts, uhhh mi nombre Javier, okay we go" and then burnt out the brakes trying to follow another bus that was flying in the rain because it was my first time going into Boston

Or there's post Greyhound where I worked for this one company in Austin TX where I had to outrun a tornado while driving across Louisiana. Or my first ever job with them which I'll post below tomorrow

Or the sketchy Russian company I used to drive for where the AC went out in Orlando in May and my boss told me to go to Walmart and buy as many fans as I could plug into the outlets and drive back to NYC. I asked him if he wanted me to buy the ones that spray mist too.

A:

I have had lots of close calls but I have over 650,000 miles accident free :) and plan to continue on that course, I drive very cautiously and try to always leave myself an 'out'

As for bad weather, respect the road, respect the weather. Drive speeds appropriate for conditions. And you should not have too many problems


Q:

Have you ever built something that was not a dinosaur?

A:

How much money did you need saved for this whole thing?


Q:

Do you think the mixed reviews are because of the hype that was created with your posts on Reddit and Imgur? People might have expected more from it?

Personally, I think its good for such a small dev team and experience.

A:

How do you feel to have a ship named after you in Guardians of the Galaxy?


Q:

To be fair, you've ridden a tandem bike with Jimmy too, possibly even first?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErCWABfVGMY

A:

Hell yeah! Good to hear. Thanks for doing the AMA, I could honestly ask you a million questions. Any chance you would be interested in doing an interview for my website? Thanks again!


Q:

He's keeping an eye on it.

A:

is it at all possible to live a healthy lifestyle on the road and not gain weight and if so how would one do it? do truck stops sell enough vegetables/protein snacks meals etc for it to be viable and could you get enough exercise each day in your routine?


Q:

Yes, we had a request from a zoo in England to make a giant bug show, and they offered to put money in up front. So we did the research (they were modern bugs so there is a lot more known detail to get wrong than with dinosaurs), and really gave ourselves too little time to get it all done. So there were some all-nighters on those too. In the end we made four sets of twelve or so bugs, but since the first year of sending them out demand hasn't been as much. Dinosaurs just have so much more draw. Trying to get the same increase in ticket sales for giant bugs and dinosaurs...it just isn't going to happen.

Edit: Just remembered that a number of the creatures we made are often considered dinosaurs but technically aren't. We had a Dimetrodon, which was a pre-dinosaur lizard (40 million years early) and several pteranodons, including an impressive full sized Quetzalcoatlus (perhaps the largest living thing to fly):

http://imgur.com/a/dshdq

Also we had a few one off creations. One was a refurbish of someone else's animatronic dolphin that had to be re-sculpted and I had to re-tune the movements. And then there was another animatronic company that had bit off more than it could chew and subcontracted us to make some prehistoric creatures: A giant ape, a giant bird, and a giant ground sloth.

A:

EDIT:

Everyone's answer will be different. I already had all my gear for example. But I also had bills to pay back home. To normalize this, we'll make the following assumptions:

  1. You have all your gear. (That cost varies wildly... give me time)
  2. We're not factoring in costs back home.

The whole thing can be done for $5k. If you don't stop in town too often and don't drink too much beer when you do, $5k is about a grand per month, or $250 a week, and your only expenses are food, rides and laundry. Plus the occasional hotel/hostel.

That's pretty lean though. If you want to enjoy a few zero days (you hike zero miles and enjoy town life instead) and sleep in a few more warm beds, $6-7K is easy to spend, too.


Q:

Do you think the mixed reviews are because of the hype that was created with your posts on Reddit and Imgur? People might have expected more from it?

Yea, we had insane reach right before our game released. I tried to be open with what the game was about. I think the negative reviews below the 1 hour mark hurt me the most, I don't want to force people to play a game, and if you're not enjoying the game I'm not saying you should have to keep playing it, but I'm not sure less than 1 hour with Fictorum is enough time to fairly evaluate it.

Personally, I think its good for such a small dev team and experience.

Thanks!

A:

Pretty much the coolest thing EVER!


Q:

I actually rode a tandem bike with Jimmy on his show a few years ago I believe.... around the studio, for absolutely no other reason other than it was fun. So wait, that means Jimmy and I did bro biking first!

A:

Whats your website? Usually interviews are scheduled through management or the publicist. If you contact either one of them we can try to get it set up


Q:

Lawn Care is important

A:

It is possible, but super hard, I haven't always been successful, I have finally started to get my weight undercontrol and down, I've lost 30 pounds so far, but we live such sedentary lives behind the wheel. The truck stops are full of garbage, I wish they would carry produce, but I have a refrigerator and shop at a Walmart once a week. I've got some cooking supplies and try to cook for myself as much as possible.


Q:

Have you ever built something that was not a dinosaur?

A:

You just linked back to this entire thread.


Q:

I've played a few hours of Fictorum so far, bought it as quickly as I could. I wrote up a post here describing my initial concerns for the game. So far it's pretty fun but it does appear to be lacking a significant amount of polish. I really don't want to be super critical because I know you're a small team but I wanted to ask: How do you personally feel about the state of the game right now in regards to level of "completeness"?

A:

Hey Alyssa,

My dad is a huge fan of your show, Charmed. He watches the reruns on TNT every morning. However, my mom teases him for watching it. She says he is losing his man card.

What price of advice/message do you have for my dad? His name is Mike btw


Q:

Hey Jessica! I went to USC in 2007-2011 and you filmed a movie with Jake Gyllenhaal at the courthouse about a woman who got a nailgun to the head? What ever happened to that movie and did you enjoy Columbia?

A:

With your fan base growing so rapidly over the years will you still play at smaller intimate venues? Being a huge fan it's the greatest experience rather than big arenas (((stone pony))) 😙


Q:

Why do you think Greyhound kind of has a bad reputation? I've heard only negative things about Greyhound buses and stations. I live in Europe and travel with a bus all the time and have never had a bad experience but I'm a little nervous to ride with y'all because of all the negative feedback I've heard about Greyhound.

A:

How do you keep your food from flying around.

Also how much square footage do you have in your living quarters and could you describe what's in it and the layout?


Q:

I've got to say the hype on the velociraptor was one of the things that bugs me. Give credit to the Deinonychus where credit was due for being the badass raptor.

A:

Fixed.


Q:

Wow, that's an amazing amount of feedback, thank you so much for that. We were missing a lot of that in development.

How do you personally feel about the state of the game right now in regards to level of "completeness"?

While I think the game is "complete", obviously there are parts that could use more love. We don't plan on stopping support for the game anytime soon, so we'll continue to improve on it and fix bugs for the forseeable future.

A:

Does he watch it with the sound on? I'm kidding. I kid. Tell Mike it takes a man totally secure in his masculinity to watch the show and your mom is secretly more attracted to him because of it.


Q:

Yes, I did enjoy Columbia as a matter of fact I love it. I rented a tandem bike and drove it all over that city with my friend. So take that Jimmy and Justin! That film ended up getting released under the title Accidental Love. The production kept getting shut down due to financial issues and actually we never finished the film....we got shut down before shooting the last scene... and it wasn't until years later when someone bought the film and recut it without that scene.... in my mind, unfinished because we never shot the last scene.

A:

We do a variety of different venues from large outdoor amphitheaters to more intimate smaller settings as well depending on the market and the tour. I know the fans love the smaller places because they are much closer to the band. I've found that the happy medium for most people is a nice theater. Still feels intimate but not too small.


Q:

The clientele. Even in training they tell us we'll be driving the nations bail jumpers, fleeing felons, ex cons, pimps and prostitutes. In my experience though, most of my passengers were pleasant and just wanted to get from A to B. A lot of the stations are a hub of homelessness, beggars, and especially in NYC, the mentally ill. The ones Greyhound owns though largely employ some sort of security that keeps it restricted to ticketed passengers and those waiting for them (Philly for example), but again, not always the classiest of people. Between riding and driving, I've never had an issue that was truly concerning.

The bad rep also comes from the way they operate. Just because you have a ticket with a specific time and specific date, it doesn't mean you're guaranteed a seat on that bus. They just keep selling tickets regardless of how many seats are available. At the larger terminals like NYC they'll often bring out another bus or two to handle the overflow, but only if they can find a bus and a driver (they are perpetually short drivers). At a lot of the smaller stops, like Wilmington DE, If there aren't enough seats, you gotta wait for the next one which can be several hours. You also hear of drivers getting lost a lot. That's because they give us these paper directions that are often wrong or haven't been updated since god knows when (best one I had was telling me to take a road to the 2nd casino entrance marked hotels, but the road had since been turned into a highway and the exit to access the casino was actually 2 miles back). Even when they are right, we're trying to drive the bus, read the directions, and watch for the street sign signs. They train us on as many stops as possible for the city that we work out of, but it's impossible to cover all of them in the time they spend training us, and for the ones we do go to, it's impossible to remember them all of one visit. To give you an idea, an NYC based driver has a typical range they'll send us to of Bangor ME, Montreal QB, Cleveland OH, and Norfolk/Richmond VA, with dozens of stops in between, but drivers have ended up getting sent as far as Minneapolis, Florida, Atlanta, etc. Oh and sometimes we cover other companies schedules and have to do their stops, like Peter Pan and Adirondack Trailways. It's honestly a miracle getting lost doesn't happen more often

A:

Everything in the truck is packed away in boxes and cabinets that lock shut.

As far as the layout I have in the front of the truck there's two chairs obviously my driver's seat and the passenger seat which I use as a filing drawer and my refrigerator goes in front of it in the footwell. in the back there is a lower bunk which I sleep on it's a twin and then there's an upper bunk which is empty and I use as an additional storage Shelf which prevents things from flying off because it's shaped like a well the hold the mattress.

There's a pull-out drawer which also serves as a desk in the back and all of my appliances run on 12 volt power like old cigarette lighters.

The truck is about 9 ft wide and 9 and 1/2 ft deep 13 and a half feet tall. It's not much but it's home.


Q:

Was there ever talk of mass producing these in a theme-park like setting? ;)

A:

What was the effect of a beer on your body with that intense energy output?

Also, what you say about pop tarts really puts who should and should not be eating them into perspective.


Q:

Not sure from watching the trailer but is there a linear storyline or is this a sandbox destroy everything at will type of game?

Will modding be supported or possibly at a later date?

A:

I never watched it when I was younger, but my girlfriend in law school was a major Charmed fan when she was a kid. We picked up all the seasons on DVD and would watch them almost every night. Great show and fond memories for me.


Q:

Hi Jessica! What does a typical Saturday look like for you and Justin (and the baby!)?

A:

Thanks for doing an AMA Kenny. I had the pleasure of seeing you on the Hendrix Experience tour. Seeing you play Voodoo Child was by far the the musical highlight of my life. Do you ever get tired of playing that song or does it still feel fresh after playing it so often?

edit:words


Q:

That's super interesting about the instructions. Is there anything stopping drivers from just getting their own gps or using google maps? (Since the company doesn't seem to be interested in upgrading.)

A:

Do you get "cabin fever" or claustrophobia being in your rig all day?

Thanks for doing this AMA


Q:

There was talk, but that wasn't our niche. Other companies pumped out cheap Dino's that had no support; they broke down and ripped their own skin shortly. We had repeat customers and we would send support for troubleshooting and repairs as part of our lease.

A:

I could get hammered from 2 beers. Hell, fresh bread gave me a buzz.


Q:

Not sure from watching the trailer but is there a linear storyline or is this a sandbox destroy everything at will type of game?

If you've ever played FTL (if not go buy it), the game plays like that, only instead of a ship your a mage, and instead of a ship battle your blowing up towns and people.

Will modding be supported or possibly at a later date?

We're doing our best to get modding in soonTM, working on Mac and Linux support first.

A:

I love this.


Q:

A typical Saturday... up early, breakfast at home... maybe head to a park and play. Everybody naps at nap time. Maybe a play date in the afternoon. Then mommy and daddy go out on a hot date. :)

A:

I still enjoy playing that song every night. It's one of the greatest guitar anthems ever written and is a joy to play. Theres many different places you can take that song. It's the perfect music bed for improvisation.


Q:

Greyhounds policy in routing. That and they frown upon having any type of distracting devices, such as a GPS

A:

Sometimes but not usually I try and get out and do stuff on weekends when I'm not running or shut down and if he gets to be too crowded I'll stop at a hotel that will let me park the truck and stay the night in the hotel but that's not common it's a treat


Q:

How big is the largest dino you've made, and what challenges did you face when making something on that scale?

A:

When you finished your journey what was the first meal you were able to give yourself? Was it as glorious as I assume it was.


Q:

I purchased the game this morning, can't wait to get home from work so that I can try it out! Looks fun.

However, right now it does just seem to be a destruction simulator. What do you plan on adding to the game and when?

I personally would love to see more story, quests and other RPG elements in it.

(However, as of right now I haven't played it so the quests could be more in depth than I think from what I've read today!)

Thanks for producing a game that looks very fun. Hopefully it is as fun as it looks!

A:

Was Tony, Angela, or Mona the boss?


Q:

Hey Jessica! What are your favorite hobbies?

A:

Awesome, thanks for the answer. You are the main reason I got into blues as a kid.


Q:

Are you not allowed to bring a smartphone?

A:

thanks. my guess would be to try and restrict yourself to as low carb a diet as possible ie nothing but protein and vegetables and maybe try and do pushups and run around your truck for 20min or so a day if you have time? good luck


Q:

Well the biggest was the T-Rex or Giganotosaurus (we just used the same body and switched out the head) but those had been designed before I came on board. The biggest thing we designed while I was there was the life sized Quetzalcoatalus, which was about two times too tall to fit into a truck or shipping container. Instead of building it with a detachable head like our Brachiosaurus, we made it so that it could fold forward. That whole idea came with its own challenges that took some time to solve.

Another problem with making something that big and skinny was that it would wobble and bounce when you tried to get its movements to go faster than a snail's pace. I didn't see it outside in the wind, but I bet that also caused some issues.

A:

Birthday cake! http://i.imgur.com/2wBoUSn.jpg

I turned 45 the day I reached Katahdin. My wife met me and brought that and homemade sausage biscuits with cheese, and tons of hard vegetables. I was craving broccoli and cauliflower for some reason. Probably some nutritional deficiency that my body understood more than my brain.


Q:

However, right now it does just seem to be a destruction simulator. What do you plan on adding to the game and when?

Mac, Linux support and then Mod support are our main priorities along with fixing bugs. And we'll see where we can go from there!

I personally would love to see more story, quests and other RPG elements in it.

I would to. One of my goals with modding is to make it easy for people to take the maps we've made, and arrange/modify them in a way that they'd be able to tell their own stories in Fictorum.

Thanks for producing a game that looks very fun. Hopefully it is as fun as it looks!

I hope you have fun!

A:

We still don't know....


Q:

I think my favorite hobby of all time is traveling and going to places I've never been before... getting out of my comfort zone and doing all kinds of crazy treks... and yeah, basically eating my way all over the world.

A:

thank you


Q:

The problem is that the mapping software on them will often send you ways that buses aren't allowed to go (look up any video of an 18 wheeler on the Northern State Parkway on Long Island and see what happens) and also that Greyhound has their own in house company prescribed routing they want you to take. If you get into an accident off route, it's instant termination. They also follow you on GPS and sometimes by car and will call you if you're off route (even though we aren't supposed to talk on the phone while driving). The terminal manager in Albany was notorious for that shit. There was a shortcut that everyone knew to take and if he caught you on it he'd call you and tell you to turn around and go back the way you're supposed to go

A:

Also super strict portion control, when I park in the evening I get out and walk the parking lot, most places have it measured and I try to do about a mile and a half. Which I know isn't much but I got super unhealthy and have to start somewhere.


Q:

LOL, that's great. I find it kinda interesting that almost no adults are scared of them.

A:

How often were you in contact with your wife & how often did you see her on your journey?


Q:

Where should someone who wants to get into game development start?

A:

Hi! Thanks so much for doing this AMA! My roommates and I love binge watching Charmed while female bonding. Your character is so inspiring! Kicking ass, fighting evil, being a loving sister, and all that. My question is: do you have a particular person in your life or a fictional character that you really look up to?


Q:

Jessica, what's your theory on how Game of Thrones will end?

A:

Hey Kenny. Loving what I heard of the new album so far. A couple of questions 1) Is there any reason we haven't seen you collaborate or jam with Eric Clapton yet, and 2) Any plans to come to Australia again in the near future?


Q:

What's the nastiest thing that's happened in your bus?

A:

Is the 'truck stop hooker' a reality or just a legend? If real, are they as scary as they are on TV and movies?


Q:

I have actually seen adults scared once. Some venues had special flashlight tours of the dinosaur paths, and people got some jump scares when they heard a growl next to them when they hadn't noticed a creature there.

A:

We live down south, so for the first month of my hike she came to visit me on the trail every weekend. She's a hiker too, and climbed a few mountains with me near the start.

Once it got to be a four hour drive for her, we stopped seeing each other and only spoke on the phone. She joined me at the very end.


Q:

Where should someone who wants to get into game development start?

Fictorum started by Chip and myself downloading UE4 and just playing around in it.

A:

My daughter is fearless and funny. She inspires me daily. And my mother is a strong, smart, woman that gives me strength when I don't feel so strong.


Q:

ARYA STARK, ARYA STARK, ARYA STARK!!!!

A:

I played with Clapton at the Apollo in NYC when we did a concert honoring Hubert Sumlin. I was invited to do the first two Crossroads guitar festivals but had prior commitments that I couldn't get out of so I was unable to do them. I hope to come to Australia soon as I love that country and the people there.


Q:

Towards the end of my training, probably the 5th week or so, I was doing a schedule from NYC to Harrisburg PA. Before we even got to Easton PA some guy threw up the entire big gulp of kool-aid he was drinking when he boarded all over the 2nd row.

Post Greyhound as a charter driver I was driving a travel camp and the girl sitting on the right side in the first row behind me projectile vomited out of nowhere. The camp counselor got most of it but a bit did get me

A:

We call them Lot Lizards, they are real, not as common as they used to be but are fairly predominant in the southwest. And for the most part yes they are terrifying. They can also be super young, I volunteer with an organization called Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) which works to report underage sex trafficking and bring those involved to safety and those responsible to justice.


Q:

What's your most memorable story from the traveling you did?

A:

How was it for her with you being gone so often? I understand she visited you a lot but 5 months is a while to not see a spouse on a regular basis. Also you said you left your job and now live in a more wilderness setting. Did she follow you?

Apologies if this was too personal.


Q:

So, no one of you had any coding experience? Like none?

You mentioned before in an other question that you basically used blueprints here, but you didn't answer if one of you does have coding experience, just not using a pertaining language i.e. c++, c#.

A:

I saw u on 'Tanked"...are your fish still alive?


Q:

Hi Jessica! What would you have been if your acting career did not take off?

A:

Saw you in Aberdeen, Scotland a couple of years ago.

How do you cope with swapping from a big show to a little show, is there much change to the set list?

Also, what's your favourite car?


Q:

What made you want to become a greyhound driver, convenience or you wanted to travel?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Okay so I went to Japan a few times, and it was always very interesting, especially because we had hosts taking us around to unique locations and nice restaurants. Apparently our dinosaurs brought their company very good profits and they were very thankful. One time I wondered off with some free time from our hotel and found a hidden temple area with statuettes of little creatures nested into crevasses along a mossy cliff side with a steep set of steps leading down to a sacred looking area in the middle of a pond. Beautiful really.

But what I will never forget is when we were attaching a crane to our T-Rex to lift it from its prone shipping position to an upright position. I had a large pin I was trying to push through the knee to lock it in place... when I heard a large crack sound. From previous experience I thought it was the chain resettling because one of the links had been horizontal. But as I looked up and saw a blur approaching my face I realized a piece of metal had broken off the top of the crane, spun off the back of the T-Rex, and was about to collide with my face. My first broken bone turned out to be that day; my nose:

http://imgur.com/a/X4oSY

The Japanese hospital was really good though. Short waits, excellent care, and not that expensive. Getting an x-ray and a CT scan in the states would probably cost over $8000, but they charged less than a tenth of that.

A:

No worries.

It was hard for both of us. We're both prior military which helps a little, but only because we already knew what it was like to be apart.

We're still together. I'm super lucky.


Q:

u/Elchipacabra works with databases for his day job

I took some c++ classes in college.

But yea, that's about i t.

A:

YES!


Q:

Three things I've always been interested in besides acting and music: archeology, writing and photography. I was quite the amateur poet when I was a kid and Used to love writing short stories. I had a total fascination with Indiana Jones and thought I should be an archeologist like him but I realized they sit at a desk and brush sand away from relics all day long. I used to fancy myself a very unique interesting photographer until I realized I was shit at it. But I enjoyed it and had fun. I still dabble at these things but just prefer this whole acting thing. I'm going to ask my mom to dig into the old files to find something that may have survived. For all your sakes I hope there's nothing. Stay tuned....

A:

Size of venue doesn't affect the set list. My mood affects it the most.


Q:

I had always been fascinated with the road and big trucks. All throughout college I knew I was gonna at least try out some sort of job where I could just have the road and my music, a sort of place of peace for me. After I graduated a financial situation came up that was ultimately what pushed me into filling out the application. I got the job and fell in love with the daily adventure and how soothing the combination of the highway and my music really was for me.

A:

My brain did a dyslexic thing... I fixed it :)


Q:

It's my dream to get into animatronics. How did you get started? What machining skills did you have?

I feel like I could learn the programming/wiring, but the physical building of the 'rigs' confounds me.

A:

Hello there! How many pairs of shoes did you use? What was the average weight of your backpack during the journey?


Q:

And did you start with Fictorum directly after downloading UE4 or did you do other smaller games to get used to UE4?

A:

Hi Alyssa! Do your kids know that their mother is a Disney princess? If so, how did they react when they found out? Have a nice day!


Q:

Hey Jessica!! I fell in love with you way back when I would watch 7th Heaven reruns! That show was so entertaining but also insightful. What's your favorite memory or lesson that's followed you from the show?

A:

Are you aiming to tour the UK again anytime soon? I'll certainly be booking a ticket.


Q:

I've broken down in places with no reception

What do you do then?

A:

You ever play the 18 wheeler arcade game?


Q:

Sometimes, like in my case, it's all about who you know. I got hired by a friend when I was newly unemployed as a kind of temp worker for a rush period. And then they kept me on for 9 years, half of which I was running a department.

Machining skills might be useful for other companies that make mostly custom animatronics for clients with deeper pockets. We mostly catered to zoos from our ever growing catalogue of products.

I 'programmed' the movements and sound, but we used proprietary software (that came with the controller hardware) that had a graphic interface that was pretty much a timeline with all the movements, so I didn't need any code.

Building the rigs is mostly just welding, so you might apply for any number of related jobs if you had that skill.

You can find the email at billingsproductions.com if you want to apply, but keep in mind that a lot of people apply so they get away with pretty low pay for their employees.

A:

Howdy!

I destroyed four pairs of sturdy hiking shoes. I put the 5th pair on my feet for the final mountain on the last day. So, four or five depending on how you count that last set.


Q:

Started on what would eventually become Fictorum, originally it was going to be a game where the Mage stood on a tower and blew up incoming enemies.

We prototyped that up real quick and then decided to expand it greatly into this behemoth of a game that would have made AAA studios cry, and then we shrunk our scope into what Fictorum is today.

A:

They don't know yet! I'm not sure they would care. Thats the beauty of kids. I'm their mom and nothing else matters. (As it should be)


Q:

My favorite lesson? To be around and supported by a tight knit family was such a gift and that feeling carried from onscreen to offscreen. I'm very grateful for people in my life who have been with me through the bad and good and it's easy to forget about this when you're young and your friends are ignoring you. But it was such a wonderful experience and I'm still very close with them to this day.

A:

We are coming back in October. Dates have already been posted and are up for sale. Check my website for info


Q:

This particular instance was in the Adirondacks on I-87 heading south from Montreal to New York at about 2am. There are emergency phones every 2 miles on the highway. I was getting ready to start walking when I saw the headlights of the northbound bus approaching. He pulled over and we were shouting across the highway some ways to troubleshoot. It's absolutely desolate up there and many nights all you'll see for an hour or so is is the bus headed in the opposite direction, so it was quiet enough for us to hear each other. Fortunately it was easily solved, I just had to use the switch in the engine compartment to restart the bus.

Additional background on that story: That bus had started giving me problems the moment I got into the Villa Marie tunnel in Montreal, making a loud screeching noise through the windshield and the sign constantly beeping as it reset itself every few mins. Then about 3 km to the border I lost all throttle power and coasted into the border. While immigration processed my passengers I sat on hold with maintenance trying to get another bus brought down to me. After being on hold for 45 mins I said fuck it and kept going. Coming up a hill it happened again and the bus just coasted to a stop. Engine was still running but it was in neutral and wouldn't rev up at all, just idle. Ended up that supposedly the tracking system for the bus, Cadec, that each driver had to sign into before they can put the bus in gear was cutting me out. Shutting it down and rear starting it would fix it for some reason.

A:

What do you think was my inspiration?


Q:

How did you get supplies? As I'm assuming you did. And what about water? Did you carry enough to drink, or did you dig out mud and drank through a filter?

It's really inspiring what you've done, thank you for doing this.

A:

Greg: If for your kickstarter you had to kiss Chip on the lips for all the funding provided for your game would you do it?

Chip: If Greg decided to do it would you keep your eyes open or closed?


Q:

What is your favorite Milano cookie?

A:

Hi Jessica. What is your stance on aliens ??? Do you know stuff that the public don't. Being a celebrity and all . Also have you ever seen evidence of a satanic cult running Hollywood ???? Thanks.


Q:

Does your mood also determine how long the concert will go for? Is it possible that a concert could go on for 3 hours or do you just play your 21 songs but only the selection depends on your mood?

A:

What is the worst thing to happen to you with a passenger?


Q:

I'm not sure where all you drive but based on where you've been in the US, what are the top places one shouldn't miss in their lifetime (go vacation / drive there)?

A:

Every 3-5 days the AT gets pretty close to town. In a few places, it actually goes right through. Hot Springs, NC and Damascus, VA are good examples. They paint the white blazes right on the telephone poles on Main St!

But usually, you'll have to hitchhike, walk or find a shuttle into town. Once you're in town, it's a whole new ball game.

If I could time it right, I liked to get into town around lunch time. I'd start with a beer, a salad and either a cheese burger or a large pizza. Just for me. After a second beer and a few scoops of ice cream, I'm ready to (a) do laundry and (b) start thinking about where I'll have dinner.

Not even kidding. Hiking the AT you burn 5000-6000 calories every day. You cannot carry enough calories to sustain that, so you have to binge eat in town. And you'll still lose weight.

Towns along the AT usually have hostels that are cheaper than hotels. That way you can sleep in a bed and get a hot shower occasionally too. I recommend "taking a zero" about every ten days. (That's a day where you walk zero miles, basically sit in town and rub your toes while eating and drinking...)


Q:

Easy money.

A:

Mint. Duh.


Q:

They're listening and watching right now. I can't answer this question.

A:

1969 Charger


Q:

As in? Like what's the worst thing that's happened to me on a bus with passengers, or what's my worst interaction with a passenger?

A:

Moab Utah, The Vale Colorado, and the South Texas Gulf Coast. All stunning.


Q:

Can I see a photo of you now?

A:

What are Scraping Bottom Games' plans for the future? You're game looks great! I certainly will give it a try


Q:

My middle daughter is named after you!

When my wife and I were discussing names I threw out Alyssa...(because I was thinking about beautiful strong women)...and yours is the one she agreed upon.

In bed about a year after she was born, while discussing out current "top 5's" I mentioned you and she looked over at me and said, "wait a minute...did we name our daughter after Alyssa Milano?"

I just smiled.

A:

Hi Jessica, I'm a newlywed and I was wondering how you were sure you were ready to have a baby?


Q:

Wow. Huge fan! What was your dream guitar as a kid? What's your favorite guitar now?

A:

Whichever you deem worse.


Q:

South Texas Gulf Coast

As a Houstonian, wut?


Q:

What are Scraping Bottom Games' plans for the future? You're game looks great! I certainly will give it a try

Continued support of Fictorum for now! And thanks for the ncie words.

We need to get our game working on Mac and Linux, and then we'd love to add Mod support for the game. Which might require some substantial work.

A:

Tell your wife and Alyssa I send my love.


Q:

Honestly, I didn't grow up dreaming about having kids and having a family. I was so focused on my career and so focused on my selfish existence, haha, but I think meeting my husband inspired me. One day I just woke up and knew it's what I wanted to do and it's been the hardest, greatest thing ever and I wouldn't give it up for the world.

A:

As a kid, all I really wanted was a Stratocaster. I didn't have a particular year or color in mind. I just wanted a Strat. My favorite guitar is still my 1961 Stratocaster.


Q:

Never really had a truly terrible interaction with any customers. Worst thing I've ever gone through with passengers on board was probably the time I accidentally roasted the entire bus. The switches on the dash of one model of bus are interchangeable, so you have to memorize where each one is because the 4-ways switch might actually open the door. I was doing Atlantic City-Mt Laurel-NYC. I hit the switch for driver AC which was placed where it should be, but the wires must've been crossed in the panel because after about 2 hours of trying to figure out why the hell the cabin felt like the center of the sun and fucking with all the switches, I flipped driver AC off and the passenger AC came on. Turning it on had turned on the passenger heat.

Others were just frustrations, like breaking down and getting lost. Outside of Greyhound, while driving charters my worst experience involved a fatality and a fellow driver who will never walk or speak again.

Edit: it wasn't my bus, but a bus in our convoy

A:

The southern gulf coast in Texas... Corpus Christi, some amazing charter fishing.


Q:

Before the AT, had you done any "shakedown" hikes of a week or more? Just to see if you could handle it, if your gear was on point, test out logistical issues, etc.

A:

What are some of the bigger hurdles you ran into when making the game?


Q:

My wife and I re-watched Charmed recently, what was your favorite behind the scenes of a special effect or makeup? Did you learn something really cool about how they did something that you can share?

A:

Hey Jessica, what's your favourite book at the minute? :)


Q:

whatever happened to corey sterling?

A:

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen on your travels?


Q:

Corpus Christi is amazing.

A:

I sure did.

I'd been backpacking for years already, so I kinda knew what I was doing. Turns out you learn the whole way, no matter how long you've been at it.

I shot a little video on my shakedown. I show my tent and some other gear in it. I had no idea that moments later I'd run into a bear. That actually became the opening scene of my book.

I kept a blog the whole way, and I started making entries ten days prior to starting, so some of my shakedown stuff is in here:

http://www.wheresthenextshelter.com/stories/2014/4/30/t-minus-ten-days


Q:

Everything? I mean we started from scratch. Most of our systems were built ~1.5 years ago before we launched Kickstarter and it's hard for me to remember what the biggest hurdle was. Also, sometimes once you to figure out the answer, it seems really obvious in hindsight.

Recently, I'd pick getting debris to deal damage to enemies/yourself in a (mostly) reasonable way. There's still occasionally the "feature" that the debris will do a bunch of damage to you if you run into it while it's laying on the ground.

A:

The mermaid episode! Even though the scales we a bitch to take off.


Q:

Hi briarbrave.... Well, I just just started reading The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman and I'm really enjoying it. It's about female boxers and it's based on true events that were really happening. Women were actually boxing in the 1800's which is something I never knew. You should check it out.

A:

I don't know where he's at now or what he's doing currently. There are a lot of unfounded rumors out there by people who claim to know what happened in the band as pertains to Corey, but everything I have read has been fabricated. He's a very talented singer and we had a lot of fun together, but I prefer to keep people's personal details and band details private so i have chosen not to publicly disclose the things that led to our parting of ways. At any rate I wish him the best in whatever his life brings him, and I believe things worked out of the better because Noah and I have been making great music together now for over 20 years.


Q:

Aside from the multiple times I thought I saw something dart I out in front of the bus...I watched what looked like an 18 wheeler approaching in my mirror very fast. It was a blizzard, dead of the night, up in the Adirondacks. I kept watching him cuz I thought he was gonna rear end me. The headlights got closer and closer and all of a sudden they were gone. There had been no exit ramp or anything. Idk if he went into the ditch or what. I never found out.

A:

Truly a great trip


Q:

Green Giant! It's Wolf Kisses from the shrimp gang saying hey and congrats on all the success. Who's log entries did you appreciate the most?

A:

Were you inspired by a different game you enjoyed to create your own? If so, which?


Q:

Hello Alyssa! What is your favorite adult beverage?

A:

Hello there! As a fellow mom, and the fact your are in the restaurant business...How the heck do I get my 1 year old to eat vegetables?! Any advice?!


Q:

Can I make you a guitar strap? Where would I send it! Leather worker here.peace

A:

Stupid question - why is the steering wheel so big? Does it really make a difference when driving?


Q:

Coloradoan here. Its just "Vail", Colorado, aka "where all the rich people ski." Its is a beautiful place, summer or winter!

A:

Shrimp Gang!

You had the coolest log book logo for sure. I'll see if I can find one. But for pure WTF, you gotta love Lemmy:

http://imgur.com/a/MsePa


Q:

Were you inspired by a different game you enjoyed to create your own? If so, which?

The biggest inspiration came from the fact that I just wanted to make a game where you played as a badass mage and blew shit up. I couldn't find one that was super satisfying released recently, so I started to work on my own.

It was originally envisioned as a tower defense type game, that idea quickly got scrapped.

A:

Margaritas!!!


Q:

YES, hide 'em! I hide vegetables in eggs, quiche, stews soups, smoothies.... I hide vegetables everywhere I possibly can.

A:

Sure! I would send it to my office. The address can be found on my website.


Q:

On the older buses it's really big, the newer ones not so much. I think it's to be able to manipulate the buses movements more gently. The smaller the wheel the greater the reaction it will have on the vehicles trajectory. You don't want a 20 ton vehicle easily being sent shooting off in some other direction at 68mph. That's just my guess though, I don't know the actual scientific answer

A:

I will keep that in mind thanks for the correction


Q:

Thanks dude, the right answer was Lemmy or The Engineer but I'll take it! I live one state below you so we'll have to get up for a hike some day soon. I'll hit you up on Facebook.

A:

How'd you come up with your company name?


Q:

If she doesn't say Victoria Bitter then I'll cry.

A:

What is general workout/eating routine? (I know it can vary day to day) You are in incredible shape!


Q:

Your favorite part of being a parent? And do any of your children show interest in music, instruments?

A:

Can you smell when a passenger takes a shit?


Q:

No problem, I saw your answer twice and actually looked up "the vale" to see if I'd missed a great place in my own state!

A:

Please do!

Engineer was awesome! We also would have accepted Color Bandit!


Q:

How'd you come up with your company name?

We were trying to come up with a clever name, but we couldn't think of one that wasn't taken, and our ideas kept getting worse and worse.

One of us finally said "We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel here"

And that's where we found our name.

I have a bit of self-deprecating humor, and I know I wouldn't be able to use it much when talking about our game, so I'm glad we got to use it for our company name.

A:

Uhhh... Victoria Bitter?? Don't cry.


Q:

Thank you! Daily routine... I go back and forth between yoga and circuit training. There's a website called www.yogaglo.com - it's basically like a monthly membership thing where you have access. You can do it all, anytime, anywhere. I'm not affiliated with them AT ALL, just think they're a really good resource. I don't really do anything super special with my diet. I try to eat really clean... fruits and vegetables, fish, etc. Don't get me wrong, I like my cheat days and I go BIG.

A:

I love everything about being a parent, especially watching my kids develop onto their unique personalities. Yes they are all musically inclined.


Q:

Considering all the buses smell like someone took a shit, no not really

A:

Being that you've seen it though I think you'll agree, scenery wise, it's one of America's jewels.


Q:

I've been wanting to hike the AT for some years now. Being a young single female, safety is my largest concern. What advice do you have for me?

A:

What's your favourite animal, your favourite game (not ones you made), your favourite movie, and your favourite book?

What advice would you give to yourself five years ago?


Q:

Alyssa, Going back through your entire career, who is the funniest person you have worked with (on screen) when the camera goes off? Any great stories there?

A:

How did you get involved with the Sinner? Were you a fan of the book?


Q:

Are you still a soccer coach? And agreed most rewarding part of my life is being a parent

A:

What is your opinion on regular drivers flashing to say it is clear to get over? How did you come up with your thank you light show?


Q:

My friend Allyson did it. Here's her excellent post on solo hiking and safety:

https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/2016/02/26/hiking-alone-together/

A:

What's your favourite animal,

Sea Otter

your favourite game (not ones you made),

Probably Myth 2

your favourite movie, and your favourite book?

I really like the Fifth Element and Name of the Wind is a fantastic book

What advice would you give to yourself five years ago?

5 years ago was before I had kids, I can barely imagine life before then. Maybe stick with streaming a bit more? I used to cast Stacraft 2 and enjoyed it, and kind of fell out of it.

oh and Buy bitcoin 5 years ago, that'd be pretty great.


Q:

Michael Ian Black! Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is on Netflix right now!!!

A:

Yes I was a fan of the book. Universal Cable Productions brought us the book and I loved the material and became a huge fan of it. I felt the story was surprising and compelling and every twist and turn I thought was coming never came to fruition and something else happened that took me by surprise, which was very interesting because I feel like I've seen it all, read it all and this book consistently shocked me. Subsequently, my company joined forces with UCP to develop and produce the show....we hired a creator, Derek Simonds, and he wrote a pilot episode and as a team we pitched the show to all the major cable providers and networks, and we were lucky enough to have been picked up by USA Networks, and he we are today, our second episode premiering tonight. It's amazing!


Q:

No. I was subbing for the real coach back when I posted that. It was fun.

A:

Please please please do it and do it often and more. Yes thank you it is SOOOO HELPFUL. My thank you light show is Morse Code for TY - -.--


Q:

What's your go-to technique for blister prevention and care?

A:

Myth 2, as in the sequel to Myth the fallen lords?


Q:

Hi Alyssa!

In what way has the show charmed shaped your life and what are their impacts? (Phoebe was my fave character btw)

Also whats you're favourite piece of advice to give to people?

Another question : if you weren't acting what other job would you be doing right now?

A:

Who is a relatively unknown guitar player you think people should listen to?


Q:

What's your pay? I'm curious if you have money in savings due to no housing cost or buy things associated with houses.

A:

Growing up too poor to drive, having a paper route, carrying a bass drum in marching band and then spending ten years in leather combat boots.

If this option is not available to you, make sure your shoes fit. Your feet will grow half a size or even a full size from all that walking. Some people like liner socks, like toe gloves. They keep your toes from eroding each other, which can be a bloody mess.

Also, if you're new to hiking, start with short days and take frequent breaks. Take your shoes and socks off after 3 miles and air out those piggies!

If you DO get blisters (you will) learn to care for them. An infected blister is the worst. Keep them clean and covered. Duct tape works wonders. For real.

EDIT: Okay Tarantino... can't get enough feet? Fine. Here's more: http://www.wheresthenextshelter.com/stories/2014/7/15/day-67-luray-va-937-miles


Q:

Correct! Loved that game a bunch.

A:
  1. Charmed created lifelong friendships.
  2. I'm the one that usually asks for advice.
  3. I probably would have hoped to be a pediatrician but may not have had the tenacity to make it through all the schooling.

Q:

Marcus King

A:

I make about 55,000 a year currently I'm due for a raise that will bump me to about 59,0000 with the way my miles have been running. I have a nice little nest egg, diverse investments, and Plenty of money set aside for my travels. I don't use credit cards, and have poor credit to start with I'm planning on trying to build that a bit in the future. But as I'm single and have no home I can be fairly liberal with my money... But I'm not.


Q:

Why did you do it?

A:

Congratulations on your launch! It's been awesome getting to play and follow this game!

You advised me that there was a secret candy cane spell in the game during a livestream. I really enjoyed getting to find a little easter egg like that.

What other secrets or hidden things can we look for in Fictorum? Can you give us any hints?


Q:

Hi Alyssa,

I know you're a huge ASPCA advocate, what is something anyone you feel can do (besides donating money) to help the ASPCA and animals in general?

A:

Will you be adding dates to this tour as you go? This album touched my heart from the first notes.. how do you keep it current yet stay true to the blues, do you listen to other music.. pop, dance, electronic etc?


Q:

Nothing wrong with a credit card if you use it right. A lot of them offer good rewards that might come in handy if you travel a lot. If you are paying everything now in cash you can certainly pay off a CC every month. Check out /r/personalfinance, I have learned a lot over there!

A:

It was always one of those bucket list things, you know? I love backpacking and camping, and every time I go out, the one thing I wish I had was one more day in the woods. So as soon as I found out there was a trail that takes months to hike, I was all about it.

Unfortunately, I was fresh out of boot camp at the time, and the Marines don't give you time off for bucket list stuff. So I kept it in my "someday" file for a long time.

Too long. I was in my 40s when I finally started taking my dream seriously. I moved it to my "plan" file, started saving up and researching and by the time I was 44, I hit the trail.

It was nothing at all like I expected either, and when I was done, I was completely spent. (See the before and after pics...) But it felt amazing to give myself totally to a thing I'd wanted for my whole life. To some, it's a vacation or a trip into the woods. Playtime. But it's serious hard work and a mental challenge too. Finishing it put me in a place mentally where things that seemed impossible before now just seemed hard. That's what I was after. I'm glad it worked.


Q:

There's a Christmas Tree spell at the top of one of the mountains.

There's 2 maps that have a "hidden" area "behind" the large peak. One has a few treasure chests and the other has a snowman spell that drops like meteor.

Also thanks for all the great content you've made for the game so far.

A:

You can volunteer! You can be an animal foster parent! You can advocate and raise money in your community.


Q:

The tour for this album will continue all the way through the end of next year, so yes dates will continue to be added. I try to just write the music that I feel inspired to write. I hear all kinds of music all the time, but when making an album we just do what we do without trying to push its too far in one way or the other. I will always be true to the Blues as it's my first love.

A:

I am subbed I'm looking at options currently


Q:

Hey man, thanks for doing this. So it looks like your early story kind of resembles mine. I got out of the Marines in '06, but instead of going straight to school I went to work for an orthopaedic surgeon for ten years, and now finally I'm one semester away from graduating in mechanical engineering. My question is since you mentioned being in computer engineering, how did you handle the hike professionally? I'd love to do either the AT or the PCT but life just always kind of figures out how to assert itself over those kind of dreams. Were you at an age where your coworkers or company could recognize the need for an extended leave or what? I'm just kind of curious about how you made that aspect of it work.

A:

If I wanted to get into game developing myself, what are some resources you would recommend?


Q:

Very little is spoken of your charity work and it should be noted you've made some significant contributions. Who should we volunteer or financially support and why?

A:

Hey Kenny! Love your playing, have definitely ripped a few licks off of you;) have you found settings on your TS808 that you are happy with and just stick with them? If so what are they? Or do you still tweak. Do you use that pedal as a solo boost or for another purpose? I've seen you at HOB in Houston twice, great shows. Must be awesome to get to play with Chris, such an iconic drummer. Can you speak to how his drumming has influenced your playing? Thanks! -trevor


Q:

Why are there always cops parked at weigh stations? Is it just a convenient place to park or are you truck drivers up to something?

A:

how did you handle the hike professionally?

About as poorly as humanly possible. I had been saving and planning for a few years, but REASONS happened and I simply quit, pinning all hopes on the likelihood that I'd find similar work when I returned. I'd had a few offers and backup plans. What the hell, right?

Little did I know all this would happen...


Q:

If I wanted to get into game developing myself, what are some resources you would recommend?

I started with downloading UE4 and following some of the tutorials they had. I think that's a great place to start :-)

A:

There are so many wonderful organizations to donate your time and money to. UNICEF saves more lives than any other organization on the planet. And as an ambassador I've seen firsthand the lifesaving work they do. And you should volunteer at your local food bank or homeless shelter.


Q:

Level is usually at 1 o'clock tone is between 1-2, drive is between 1-4 depending on the amp and venue

A:

MANY reasons, it's a good place to stop, if that weighstation is opened they could be chase card for any trucks that might try and pass the scale. Also the scale house is operated by the cops, so how else did they get out there?


Q:

Thanks for the answer, crazy that you were in the military, I'm in the military as well and sometimes I think if I'm not front line I didn't give enough. You know what I mean?

A:

Do you think you'll continue making games in the future?

How do you feel about the procedurally generated worlds as a programming time saver vs. creating a larger world with a more sustained story line?


Q:

Hi Alyssa, I am not sure if you remember but, we met in Kuwait in 2003. You were with John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn and it was definitely one of the highlights of my Marine Corps. experience while in country (Kuwait/Iraq). Thanks so much for your support for us and making the deployment a bit more bearable! My only regret is that I didn't get to take a picture with you.

And since I have to ask you a question - what motivated you to come out to Kuwait to visit us Marines?

A:

What is your favorite guitar pedal?


Q:

What's your ideal or dream rig, are you actually trying to save for it? Do you realistically see yourself ever owning the dream rig?

A:

I do. It's weird, like I almost make things harder than they need to be sometimes, too. Just to see...


Q:

Do you think you'll continue making games in the future?

I hope we get a chance to make another game, the success of Fictorum will determine that. Right now it looks like we'll just be able to support Fictorum for a while, and we plan to do that.

How do you feel about the procedurally generated worlds as a programming time saver vs. creating a larger world with a more sustained story line?

You have to make trade offs as an indie developer. Trying to make the procedural world feel like a larger world, or feel like it's not just thrown together is a huge challenge.

Games like Diablo and Diablo 2 nailed that feeling, and FTL as a recent indie example does a great job with it.

A:

I will always support the military. I will always appreciate the military. And especially after that trip. Thank you for all of your many sacrifices. I hope we get a picture together someday.


Q:

Currently it would be the Analog Man King Of Tone pedal

A:

I think every trucker dreams of a stretched out long nose Pete. But for me I'd be happy if the US went back to o the 70's or to European style and brought the cab over to predominance here. I love the manuverability. They ugly as fuck. But they're sweet to park. I have no desire to own my own rig, too much overhead.


Q:

Hi! Thanks for doing this AMA, and for the generous offer of a free book!

What has been your most memorable encounter with wildlife?

A:

How do you go about hiring composers for music?


Q:

Have you figured out how to reply yet?

A:

Do you ever think you'll share words of wisdom or experience as Stevie did during his shows? Some precious parts of being a big fan is hearing an artist soeak


Q:

How is your health? Do you worry about things like blood clots?

A:

The time I saw a bear get captured in a trap outside a shelter.

Got video of it too. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEeonNFM2aU


Q:

When we first started working on the game, a composer that works for Rainfall contacted us and we kind of hit it off. Originally Chip's brother Reese was going to be our composer, but he didn't have the time to dedicate to the project.

A:

I couldn't login to my account! And then I logged in and there were no questions and I thought no one cared. Which may be true but I'm glad there are questions.


Q:

I talk now more than I ever have in-between songs, though I prefer to stick to the music which is what i believe people are there for.

A:

I'm overweight but other than that fairly healthy. They are of course a concern I've started exercising more and have lost 30 pounds! Only about 100 to go :)


Q:

What was, hands down, your absolute worst day on the trail?

A:

What are your most favorite interactions in Fictorum?(Any particular unintended interactions you feel were the best?)


Q:

Hi, Alyssa. How cool is Tony Danza? He's awesome, right?

A:

Love The Rides. Will there be another album/tour?
Looking forward to seeing you in NOLA


Q:

Congrats! That's really great. I am trying to start exercising myself. I don't need to lose weight, but I am weak and have no stamina. :)

A:

It was a surprise emotional breakdown about 1800 miles in.

I had already wrecked my feet and overcome that, contracted Lyme disease and dealt with that, separated from my friends, been rained on and delayed by bears and snakes. I was feeling pretty tough, nigh on invincible. At least physically.

I was in Connecticut and suddenly started missing my wife. I'd talked to her on the phone that day, and had even seen her on the trail a few times back when I was closer to home. But for some reason on that day I just started missing home and I sat down on a log and cried.

I wanted to go home so badly that I felt like all that harsh stuff I did to my body had been for nothing, and it made me feel stupid for even having tried this.

I called her and she told me that it was okay to quit, and somehow, that was what made me feel better. Good enough to continue. And it was gone as quickly and unexpectedly as it came on.


Q:

What are your most favorite interactions in Fictorum?(Any particular unintended interactions you feel were the best?)

We have a seek rune that tracks down targets. And Plasma ball is a slow moving, very powerful fire attack.

I really like watching Plasma ball chase down enemies.

Also if you kill enough enemies next to each other, eventually an enemy will get scared, drop his shit, and run like crazy, and I always enjoy watching that happen.

A:

The coolest


Q:

We have been talking about recording a third album so I would say you should expect one.

A:

Just stay off the second floor I hear the Dragon Pox are very catchy


Q:

Hi! Thanks for doing this. I've thought about hiking a trail at an admittedly much more leisurely pace than an average trail warrior, since I'm admittedly in terrible shape. Two questions:

1) What's something you're just sure I'm going to forget to bring?

2) What's the best advice for a lifelong non-athlete / perhaps partially disabled person who wants to enjoy the outdoors on a trail (past of course getting in better shape)?

A:

Linux support?


Q:

Hello! How did you like working with JulianMcMahon? Do you still talk?

A:

Thanks for doing this. At this point in your career, do you find your audiences are mostly blues heads, or do you still have rockers there just to hear Blue on Black?


Q:

Shout out to you. You are probably one of the first to reference my username.

A:

My pleasure!

  1. You forgot to bring enough toilet paper. That or a handful of condiment packets from the fast food joint in town. A little extra fat (and flavor) goes a long way on the trail. Mayonnaise in foil pouches trade on the trail like cigarettes in prison.

  2. As long as you have the ability to leave your house, you can enjoy a trail. Google what's in your area, you'd be surprised. Grayson Highlands on the AT for example actually has ADA compliant wheelchair accessible trail through some incredibly pretty terrain. Bike paths are great for enjoying nature on wheels (or however...) Check out your local hiking clubs. I found local groups via meetup dot com.

Heck, If it's all you can do, go around the block. A little bit of wind and sunshine are always a good thing!


Q:

Working on it!

A:

He was so fun to work with. I haven't seen him is a long time but I'm sure if we ran into each other we would pick up right where we left off.


Q:

We have a wide ranging audience with ages ranging from 7-70 and they are music lovers of all kinds.

A:

Hard core Potterhead


Q:

What is your opinion of the author Ed Abbey? Followup, now that some time has passed since his death, would you change his prescription for the outdoors? If so, how?

A:

1) What programming experience did you have before making this game?

2) What sort of day job(s) do you currently have?

3) I saw an answer mentioning a wife. Do any of you have any kids? How did you manage your work/life balance during this time?

Thanks!


Q:

What is your favorite memory from the 90's?

A:

What is the very best cheese?


Q:

We were just driving at 3:30am two nights ago and saw about a dozen trucks lined up on the shoulders of the highway. Lights were off. This is the first time I've ever seen this. Was this a makeshift truck stop and common practice?

A:

I read Monkey Wrench Gang about a decade ago and remember being super inspired by it. Like, I wanted to buy a chainsaw and go cut down billboards and shit. I no longer condone this exact approach, but I think that a lot of that spirit is still in me.

I get pretty upset when I see beer cans in a fire ring, or graffiti on a shelter. I go to great lengths to "Leave No Trace" when I hike. I talk about it in my classes a lot, and I'm not afraid to call someone out for hurting our wilderness.

The state of Maine has some good ideas for preserving their wilderness, I like to use them as an example for doing it right.


Q:

1) What programming experience did you have before making this game?

Effectively none

2) What sort of day job(s) do you currently have?

I work from home for the Federal Gov't

3) I saw an answer mentioning a wife. Do any of you have any kids? How did you manage your work/life balance during this time?

I have 2 kids, an almost 4 year old and almost 2 year old. My balance has been terrible, I've barely interacted with my wife over the last 1.5 years especially. I'm looking forward to stepping back a little bit and restoring some balance. On average I try my best to spend 40 hours a week on development, and I have to spend 40 hours a week on my day job. I've not gotten nearly enough sleep.

A:

I was just asked this question today and I'm not sure I have one.


Q:

Depends on what you're eating it with.

A:

Parking is one of the largest problems in the United States. There is just not enough of it. When your hours run out, then you gotta stop, regardless of where. It's fairly common, but not recommended.


Q:

Monkey Wrench Gang, though very popular, is not a good synopsis of Abbey. Other writings are much deeper and less deliberately absurd. This was the quote is was referring to:

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

A:

Please make things right with your wife so you can get back to making games soon. :)

In fact, since I'm buying your game tonight, I request that you take your portion of my payment and buy her an ice cream. Because Reddit cares, or something.


Q:

So Teen Steam, did you ever let it out?

A:

Hi Kenny......see you at the Ridgefield Playhouse in a few weeks!!!!! Can't wait!!!! Why did you change members in the band?


Q:

I'm probably heading to bed

Sorry for complete ignorance but how do you sleep?

A:

Clearly I am not up to snuff on my Abbey. I really like this, and should queue up some more!

Thanks!


Q:

I'll be sure to do that. It's swim class night for my kids, so we'll stop by somewhere and get ice cream for her. Not the kids though.

A:

Still trying.


Q:

There always comes a time when change is appropriate. I have learned not to be scared of change but to embrace it. On a creative level it's refreshing to change it up from time to time.

A:

I have a bed in the back of the truck :)


Q:

Gary, do you have any plans on doing another long trail?

A:

Wow, that's insane! I also have a wife and two young kids. I'm pretty sure my wife would eviscerate me if I spent that much time away from family doing something like this lol. Was it worth it?


Q:

Any plans to tour Australia soon?! I've been hoping to see you live since I was younger! Lovin' the new album... The cover is very remindful of SRV's Texas Flood

A:

Autopilot?


Q:

Desires, yes. Plans, no. At least not concrete plans.

I'm section hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail (700ish miles when complete) but only because I can practically see it from my living room.

Parts of the PCT appeal to me, especially the northern sections. I've done parts of the Sierras before and dream of going back . I hate the desert though, and that alone will keep my name off the Triple Crown list.

The CDT is my top choice for next trail. A lot of it is "make up your own route" which I love.

But my heart will always belong to the AT. I love the green tunnel. I find it and the people who surround it infinitely fascinating. I might do the AT again, slower this time.

A:

Wow, that's insane! I also have a wife and two young kids. I'm pretty sure my wife would eviscerate me if I spent that much time away from family doing something like this lol. Was it worth it?

Overall, the experience is, it's my chance to share something with the world.


Q:

Wow. I never thought about that in regards to the cover, but thats cool. I hope we come back to Australia very soon. I love it over there.

A:

Only in my brain


Q:

Hey man, I'm going to be doing something similar in November, trekking the Te Araroa the length of New Zealand.

What was the best thing that you took with you? How did your body adapt to the demand you where putting on it?

A:

I can't get the game until the 24th and I'm avoiding all spoilers. Thank you for making this game.

My question is what was the most frustrating part of making it?


Q:

Really?! I thought maybe you'd based it off that cover art! You should perform at Bluesfest Byron Bay! I'm sure Peter Noble would love to have you on the line up :)

Also, Trouble Is... is SUCH A RECORD! I'm only 20 so it's been a recent discovery for me... Such delicious playing!

A:

AAA+++ OP

Some quick fire questions, no need for detailed responses, one word responses will suffice but feel free to expand with anything interesting:

Last time your truck hit an animal?

Last time you saw a dead body?

Describe the unhealthiest truckie you've ever seen?

Ever gotten a free blowjob from a Hitchhiker?

What common illicit drug is widespread amongst truckies?

Will you die an old man still a truckie?

Who would win a bunch or truckies or bikies?

Ever feel like swerving into oncoming traffic?

Is Trump doing good for truckies or bad?

Coolest vacation in another country you've had?

AAA+++ AMA Thanks


Q:

Gotta say, my phone.

I kept it powered off most of the time, but when I needed it, it was a game changer. Get rides to town... Call home... Take pictures... Hey, if I could get a signal, I'd hop on amazon or rei and order new shoes or a new shirt, and it'd be at the post office when I arrived. Indispensable.

My favorite hiking gear specific item though is the Xped Shnozzel bag. It's waterproof stuff sack or pack liner and it has a nozzle that mates with my air mattress. The bag is a bellows that you can use to inflate at bed time without wasting important lung effort.

EDIT: Here it is in action: https://youtu.be/bkh5GY4AKAM

A:

In hindsight, the hardest part was getting good constructive feedback. I should have been more willing to search it out, and should have been more willing to give more people early access to the game.


Q:

Thank you. We have played Byron Bay a few times over the years. It's time that we come back again

A:

Last time your truck hit an animal?last live animal was a deer two October's past damn near totalled my truck, jumped out, nothing I could do to stop it, I think I ran over a dead possum earlier today.

Last time you saw a dead body? Three weeks ago fatal accident shut the freeway down two casualties.

Describe the unhealthiest truckie you've ever seen? Man must of weighed 400 if he was a pound, had a disgusting club left foot. Like his right leg was normal his left was just terrifying to look at .

Ever gotten a free blowjob from a Hitchhiker?Yes What common illicit drug is widespread amongst truckies?honestly? Probably pills of some kind, I'm not sure I don't do drugs I'm a recovering addict 6years clean

Will you die an old man still a truckie?I will die a trucker doubt I'll be old though

Who would win a bunch or truckies or bikies?hmmm tough as I'm technically both, but the bikers would probably take it.

Ever feel like swerving into oncoming traffic?Jesus yes

Is Trump doing good for truckies or bad?bad like awful, the fucking worst. Worst thing that's happened to this country too. People are too gulible.

Coolest vacation in another country you've had? Last year I went to Thailand and visited Angkor Wat


Q:

If you could go back in time to before you started, would you do it again? Why or why not?

A:

How was the Kickstarter funding experience? Any tips for a fellow indie dev trying to raise money through crowdfunding? Thanks!


Q:

Does Mel G have any guitars?

A:

What's the strangest load you've ever hauled? If you're allowed to talk about it, that is.


Q:

I'd rather go forward in time and do it again, so I can have twice the amazing memories!

Things I would do differently: Go slower.

A:

You need an audience before going on Kickstarter. You will not find an audience on Kickstarter, you need to bring your audience to Kickstarter.

You also will not get press coverage. You need to rely on social media.


Q:

Not that I'm aware of, but he could borrow mine if he needed one.

A:

I ran one flatbed run of Humvees for the Marines about two years ago, that was wicked cool. But other than that? MOPAR racing equipment.


Q:

What was your fondest memory during your trip?

A:

I've followed this game for a while and it's been on my wishlist for many months because it looks very unique and fun. Gonna buy it next Friday, just wanted to say congrats on your success and I hope it does very well!

Being an all powerful wizard definitely sounds like a fun time on paper in the idea stage. What kind of other ideas did you guys throw around?


Q:

You're a huge inspiration; love the new album! You're overdue for a stop in Minnesota with the KWS band! What's one music-related item on your bucket list?

A:

Do you have a favorite state to drive through? Do you have family at who's house you ever crash?


Q:

The people. Oh my goodness the humans out there... When you go up to 6000 feet seeking company you find exactly the same kind of eccentric weirdo you were looking for.

And not just the hikers.

I met someone on the trail in Pennsylvania who was semi-retired and spent his days delivering "Trail magic" to the shelters. He'd show up at random with candy, pop, and even shared his weed with those who were into that sort of thing. (...raises hand)

He gave me his number and said "If you ever need anything as long as you're in PA, call me. Once you're in New Jersey, you're someone else's problem. But here... I got your back!"

Okay, cool I thought. 3 days later, when I came down with Lyme disease (didn't know it yet, just felt like shit) I took a chance and he answered. He came to fetch me and gave me a trailer on his property, with AC, TV, Wifi... It was heaven. He took me to a doctor and let me recover at his place. He refused every attempt to pay him back.

The AT is surrounded with people like this. Something about that thin strip of dirt attracts the kindest of the kind.

A:

It's always been "all powerful wizard"

The first was a game where you'd stand on a tower and fight back enemies.

The 2nd was a game where you were going to start as the first person to discover magic for humans and go on an epic quest leading armies against the undead (then we realized we didn't have a spare hundred million to make this idea come to fruition)

Finally we started on what Fictorum is now.


Q:

One thing i want that I haven't gotten yet is a 1960 Les Paul. I prefer them to the 58 & 59.

A:

I love driving in Utah, especially the southern part by Canyonlands and Moab, although the prettiest stretch of highway in the US is i70 east leaving Utah going through the Colorado Vale

My license lists my parents address I pop in and say hi every now and then but for the most part it's just me and my rig.


Q:

Big fan of the Moth!

Can you give us some idea of what happens behind the scenes? How much of the story did they help with?

Etc.., just curious how it is to be on the Moth, bucket list item for me!

A:

Where did you get started? Like first 3 steps. Besides the idea. Like drawing? Programming? Script?


Q:

My pops is OTR, too. The guy loves his job. Always gone, of course.

Where's the real money in trucking? To clarify, is it in fueling, many years of doing it, etc?

A:

The process is simpler than you'd think.

The Moth records in a few major cities (and for some reason a few small ones, like mine...) Once per month they host a "Story Slam" which is basically a high budget open mic. If you want to tell, you put your name in a hat and if they pull your name, you take the stage. No help.

You get 6 minutes with a hard cutoff, your story has to be true, and you can't use notes. That's it. You stand up there in the lights, completely blind to the audience and you just go. It's nothing at all like telling stories for friends at a party, unless you have 400 friends.

When you're done, a panel of judges gives you a score and the winner advances to something held once a year called a grand slam, and then nationals in NY.

As far as getting on the air, you don't have to win, the producers just have to like your story.

I did a lot of public speaking for my job prior to this and loved it. I come from a family of teachers, so I guess I have whatever makes you not fear audiences, so I'm one of those nuts who goes out in search of stuff like this. I tried open mic comedy for a while too and I'm terrible at it. Totally different format, but it gave me tons more respect for actual comics.


Q:

1) Download ue4

2) "I've always wanted to play as a powerful wizard"

3) "Can I program a guy to shoot fireballs?"

4)????

5) Profit

A:

When I find it I'll let you know :P i do alright but I'm not rolling in the dough. From what I hear Over size and Heavy Haul is where it's at.


Q:

How were the mosquitos?

A:

Are you working on making it possible to make boobs with earth bending?


Q:

Flatbed teams. Dying breed. We pay out the wazoo. But yeah, double drops and od loads pull money. Radioactive flatbed or Conestoga loads as well.

A:

Kinda annoying sometimes, but TERRIFYINGLY HORRENDOUS for about two weeks in August.

You'll get 'em bad anywhere if you're there during mosquito season. For me it was Massachusetts. It was 90 degrees and I had on long pants, tucked in to my socks, long sleeves, gloves and a head net and I was still getting devoured. One of them bit me through my shoe.

Then, a week later, a cool breeze blew them all to Ohio I guess, or somewhere. They just... poofed.


Q:

Uhhhh no.

I mean we do have glacier, and if you're creative enough...

A:

I tried teams for about a month, I just couldn't get used to putting my life in the hands of another driver.


Q:

Wow! Very bold and inspiring. Good for you.

What is one piece of advice or a statement you'd like to share with everyone?

A:

This game looks great - however I tend to only play games with PvP. It looks like this could be an awesome pvp game - any thoughts around implementing a PVP mode?


Q:

Do you ever pick up hitch hikers? If so is it out if boredom, company or the randomness?

A:

What is one piece of advice or a statement you'd like to share with everyone?

Everyone? No pressure...

"Whatever you do, don't do nothing."

I didn't hike the AT all at once. I had to wake up every day and do a little piece of it. At the start, down in Georgia, Katahdin seemed a million miles away. Impossible!

Every step I took, no matter how insignificant it felt, got me closer to that summit. As long as you're doing something that gets you closer to that dream of yours, you're better off than if you'd sat there dreaming about it. You might not be there yet, but you're closer. Keep stepping.


Q:

I think we have a lot of polish and fixing to do before we get to adding more modes for our game.

A:

I do but only rarely, and usually out of boredom/loneliness


Q:

What are your favorite boots, shoes, and socks for hiking?

A:

Have you ever crashed a gate doing ninety-eight since you didn't have a doggone dime?


Q:

For shoes I go with Salomon XA Pro 3d. Not everyone will like 'em though. Merrell is very popular too.

I personally don't wear boots because they're too heavy. I get my ankle support from my trekking poles. Think about it. If I wobble or roll an ankle, I already have something in my hand to "grab" as I'm falling. 2000 miles, never sprained even once. Fell on my ass a bunch, but my ankles are fine.

I do have a pair of Vasque Breeze's with a thousand miles on 'em. Some places you just gotta have boots, and those are mine.

Darn Tough makes the best socks. If you wear a hole in 'em, they'll send you a new pair FOR FREE. Socks for life, can't be beat. Donate some to your local homeless, please.

A:

No thank goodness for EZPass! Also I'm in a truck governed to 65 mph.... 98 just isn't an option, though it sounds terrifying


Q:

What skills did you learn that were the most useful?

I grew up in the outdoors and on the trails, so making a fire or pacing the day seem second hand.

Is there something you wished you had learned before the hike?

A:

So for this I have a question, due to a long distance relationship I make the drive from Phoenix to Tucson and all of I-10 is 75 mph for the speed limit and if you have it governed at 65 can you not do the speed limit?


Q:

What skills did you learn that were the most useful?

Perseverance. The ability to look at a monumental task and take it apart in my brain, breaking it down into doable steps, rather than being intimidated by the whole thing.

Is there something you wished you had learned before the hike?

I wish I'd considered my nutrition more. I fell into a cycle of eating cheap lightweight garbage in the woods and high price tasty junk in town. Look where that got me. I would have made the weight sacrifice and actually carried an apple or something out of town besides sugary goop and carbs.

A:

That is correct. I cannot do the limit. But it's the limit not the requirement. Minimal speed on the stretch is 55 I believe


Q:

Thanks for the free ebook and thanks for sharing your interesting story!

Was there ever a time on the trail you thought you might actually die? I imagine you encounter plenty of wildlife, but also potentially dehydration, starvation, exposure, or possibly ax murderers?

A:

By law how often do you have to recite "Convoy" over the cb?


Q:

Mt Washington, home of the most severe weather on earth.

It was 54 and drizzling when I began my climb. Halfway up it was 45 and raining sideways, 60 MPH gusts. I decided to turn back and on my way down the wind knocked me over. I thought someone tackled me, but I was on belly sliding across wet rock toward a drop of unknown height. I grabbed a root at the last second like some kind of cartoon character. I watched my pack cover get ripped off by the gale, and saw it sail, flapping into the wet. Not an offering to the storm god, but a sacrifice, taken against my will. At least it didn't get me.

A:

Only when I need my ass kicked


Q:

Hello! I just busted out laughing hard enough to scare my dog after looking at that sweet mullet, but I do have a question:

What were your favorite parts/views of the Appalachian Trail? Where are the spots that just take you aback and make you appreciate our glorious planet?

A:

Are you worried your job will be taken by self driving trucks?


A:

I see them as a thing that will be but is not yet, I doubt that they will be fully autonomous anytime soon cars will be first trucks after, the trucks will need a lot more in depth infrastructure to be viable.


Q:

What would you say was your transition back to "normal" like? What specifically about your day to day life made it so hard to return to?

A:

Dear lord, I've heard so much complaining on the self-driving trucks and after flatbed, you need someone who can just deal with the load. The route I see things going for a few years is the one on the interstate, which is basically autopilot for airlines, and they still haven't gotten rid of the pilot.


Q:

I've written about this extensively. I've talked about it too, with my wife, with a therapist and with other hikers. Still trying to figure it out.

Thru hikers use a couple of phrases pretty casually, not realizing that they carry some weight. We refer to what happens on trail as "out there" and things in town as "the real world." It's like there's a total separation of realities, but you become so casual about it. It's just second nature. Everyone knows there's two versions of reality. The one where all the uptight people who smell like the shampoo aisle drive around and honk angrily at one another, and the one where my brothers and sisters talk to the squirrels and sing to the birds. It's insane how weird you get after a few months "out there."

For five or six months your entire physical reality consists of what you can carry. You reduce and streamline your life like a wandering monk. At one point my most cherished possession was a cup. You don't need a big house, you don't need a new car, you don't need new pants, just more duct tape.

You become a minimalist. You develop a Pavlovian response to sundown: Time to sleep. Hot water and electricity are miracles. Ice cream is orgasmic. One bite of an apple makes your eyes roll.

AND THEN...

You're back in a cubicle with a report due so you can keep getting paid so you can gas up the car. Janice from accounting is clipping her god damn fingernails again and why the hell isn't the wind blowing? Oh shit. I'm inside. I have to get out.

Next thing you're sweaty and palpitating. Fuck the TPS reports. I'm out.

It takes five or six months to walk to Katahdin. It takes a few hours to climb it. It takes the rest of your life to get back down.

A:

That's about where I am with it.


Q:

I apologize in advance if this question has been asked, but how did you entertain yourself while walking? Did it just become an autopilot type thing that you didn't have to think about? Did you have books/music to keep some sanity?

A:

Curious, what type of rig do you drive? Dry van, reefer, flatbed, etc? Do you run independent for bokers or with a company?


Q:

Podcasts, music, and nature. But most of all, the people!

A:

I run for a mega carrier and have since day 1. Currently I'm in a '16 Freightliner Cascadia, I haul dry van, I'm dedicated to our automotive division, I haul mostly MOPAR parts. I have done reefer in the past


Q:

Thanks so much for the free book! Very kind of you.

Odd question, but something I'm curious about. It's easy to get online and find lists of mistakes to avoid on the trail, but are there any you know of (or made) that may be uncommon or not talked about much?

A:

Would you rather be an O/O, or do you like driving for a carrier?


Q:

I had read that my feet would get bigger, and when they did, I was in denial. I should have bought bigger shoes, but didn't, so I damaged my feet. Took a long time to repair themselves too.

A:

Fuck being an O/O the miles are shaky, and there is way too much overhead. No thanks I'll stick with my carrier job. Money I'm making isn't half bad and I love comfortably, I'm not trying to be rich and I don't need much, most of what I make funds my international travel, I haven't got much else besides bills :)


Q:

I just want to thank you for sharing your experience in your book. I bought it awhile ago, and stayed up all night reading it (making for a loooong ass workday). It's one of my dreams to hike the AT, I'm trying to get my husband into hiking so I don't feel badly about going alone. Your book made me feel a lot better about the fact that I'll likely be hiking in my 40s like you did and showed me that it can be done. It also helped me mind my feet and how I walk during my day hikes now since before I was just ignoring any weird feelings/pain. So, seriously, thank you.

As for my (required) questions: 1. How are your knees? 2. How's Lemmy? Do you keep up with him or Voldemort anymore?

A:

Ever want to drive a truck in the UK? Got my artic license here, but always interested in having a go in an American truck haha


Q:

As for my (required) questions: 1. How are your knees? 2. How's Lemmy? Do you keep up with him or Voldemort anymore?

My knees are great! Which is kinda surprising, since I had my 3rd arthroscopic done 3 weeks before starting the AT.

Lemmy is in art school chasing his dream! Voldemort and I just talked a few days ago. I think we'll be friends for a long time!

A:

YES all the time totally want to drive Europe looks so challenging


Q:

What was your favorite sight/view on the hike? Your most reviled?

A:

In the UK it's very busy on the roads, but we only have flat front cabs unlike you guys, do you have pictures of you living space in your lorry?


Q:

Favorite: The entire state of Maine looks like this. http://i.imgur.com/owLVQGC.jpg

Least Favorite: When Satan designed Hades, his chief architect proposed a cobblestone road for the main thoroughfare. Upon seeing the model Beelzebub declared it too sinister for even the likes of Hell, and the plan was scrapped. The model was shipped to Pennsylvania where it serves as the "trail" for now.

http://i.imgur.com/M10sLvi.jpg

A:

I'll post some later today. I was sick all last week so my house keeping went a bit shit:) I don't mind the cab overs (you called them flat fronts) the extra manuverability would be amazing. The living space in a conventional tractor is a big bigger I think though. As for traffic, I've survived LA, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, nothing scares me.


Q:

When you started hiking, was there somethings for which you found you had overprepared/underprepared?

Also, how did you deal with weather? Do you just hike through rain or is that often not possible?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

I sent a lot of stuff home those first few weeks. Stuff I never would have thought of. For instance...

Those fancy Nalgene bottles I bought? Impractical. Gatorade bottles hold as much, weigh half as much, and can be thrown out/replaced for a dollar. I didn't need my wallet, or a map, or my sunglasses. Sunscreen either. So many pounds dropped that first week!

The cool thing about walking in the rain is when you get totally soaked and can't get any wetter. That's when you stop caring and start splashing in puddles and singing. People pay extra for rain scented laundry, you get to be the real deal for free!

A:

Just wondering what I did to piss in your Cheerios? Its my house if I wanna jerk off I will!


Q:

What's the one thing you never imagined you'd eat on the trail?

Was there any food you wouldn't eat before the trail, that you found yourself eating out of necessity?

A:

Has your truck ever broke down? What is the procedure for getting such a large machine recovered and repaired?


Q:

What's the one thing you never imagined you'd eat on the trail?

A half gallon of ice cream in one sitting.

Was there any food you wouldn't eat before the trail, that you found yourself eating out of necessity?

Antibiotics.

But seriously, shots of olive oil. Just a little sip with dinner for fats.

A:

Sure I've lost tires here and there, radiator hoses, fan belts, you figure I drive more in a year than the average person drives in about four. That's a lot of ware and tare on the truck. My company has a department dedicated to breakdowns. And it's similar to breaking down in a car... The equipment is just bigger.


Q:

Do you happen to do any runs or races?

I just want to say thanks for motivating me to get up and start walking and exercising again.

I eventually got into running again. Something I used to love to do when I was younger.

Thanks!!

This is me just one week ago: http://i.imgur.com/2cs0g0Pl.jpg

A:

I'm leaving for training with prime early September, I have a couple questions. Firstly: what are the options for internet service otr? I'm an avid gamer, and plan to bring my beloved pc along for the ride(after training of course.) Are these 4g jet packs at all good? Do truck stops have considerable WiFi? And secondly, how often do you find yourself with a day off that you can do with as you please?


Q:

My wife and I ran some Tough Mudders and few half marathons a couple years ago. Not much into it anymore though.

Nice pic! You go!

A:

I love gaming. But internet OTR is expensive as balls, check out AT&T'S jet pack services. Be careful with that gaming out here though friend. When you're done for the night you should probably spend time exercising. Then going to bed to do it all again, I know it sounds awful, I love to game too, but it's just a word of advise.

As to down time. Some drivers have more some have less. My account keeps me pretty busy, but I generally burn my hours weekly so I have to shut down for a 34 Hr. Reset, which they will teach you about in training.

One more piece of advise. Learn what you need to in school pass the test get the license. Then throw everything you learned in school out the window. Cause it's got dick to do with actually truck driving. YOU KNOW NOTHING learn, pay attention. Seriously that licesne doesn't make you a truck driver. :) Once you go to train feel free to message me with any questions you may have.


Q:

Those appear to be the same shorts they give us in the usmc. Are you a former mayrin?

A:

Your username... Is it hard to not drive Fri night through Saturday night? The company accommodates this?


Q:

Silkies For Life!

Oohrah.

A:

My username is a movie reference not a reality for me personally


Q:

It's always great to see hikers reaching out.

A couple logistical questions,

1) What did you use for maps?

2) Did you ever use the mail drops for resupply, or did you buy in town?

3) What what your daily mileage in the South, and how did that change once you hit the new England mountains and 100 mile woods?

And just for fun, what is your trail name, and how did you get it?

Thanks!

A:

[deleted]


Q:

1) What did you use for maps?

The AWOL guide. Each page is an elevation profile since you don't have to worry about turning left or right ever. There are tick marks corresponding to points of interest like water, shelters or road crossings. Lists of phone numbers for each town too.

2) Did you ever use the mail drops for resupply, or did you buy in town?

All of the above.

3) What what your daily mileage in the South, and how did that change once you hit the new England mountains and 100 mile woods?

I hiked 7 or 8 miles my first day. That was as far as I needed to go. By the time I got to Virginia, I'd been hiking long enough to get my "trail legs" and the ground flattened out, so I was cruising 20s. That was the norm until the Whites (New Hampshire).

They told us for weeks in advance, "Watch out for the Whites! You'll cut your milage to a third!" Of course we didn't believe them. We were invincible.

My first day in the Whites, I hiked 7 miles. The next day, 3. And the day after that, zero because a freak storm pinned us down. The Whites are no joke. Everything north of that is like running a Tough Mudder every day for three weeks.

And just for fun, what is your trail name, and how did you get it?

Green Giant! Tall guy, green shirt. Sometimes I say, "Tall guy, low carbon emissions" but that just goes over their heads.

A:

I am homeless I live in my truck, there is no time when I'm not in my truck. I take two big "vacations" a year usually somewhere internation, I'm going on a cruise next.


Q:

low carbon emissions" but that just goes over their heads.

If that goes over their heads, you are exceptionally tall.

A:

Do you park the truck in the port when you get on the cruise? :)


Q:

You are literally the first person to get that. This is why I keep trying.

A:

Nah, because of how long I'll be gone I'll have to clear my stuff out and let someone else take the truck. I'll get assigned a new one when I get back.


Q:

What was your trail name, and how did you get it?

A:

Does that take a long time to clear your stuff out? You mentioned having a pretty cool setup in the truck, with the refrigerator and all. Is that something most truckers have in their trucks?


Q:

Green Giant. Tall guy, green shirt.

A:

It will take about three hours to pack and move everything, but I've done it before so I have a system of doing it and unpacking it in the new truck so that if I have to move it's easy to repeat :). Yes lots of truckers have a fridge. If not at least an electric cooler


Q:

I admire your stamina and will power to walk the trail! I've been fantasizing a little bit about doing it myself, but I'm not in the financial or physical position to do so. At 390 lbs, it'd be a struggle for me to get moving in the first place... I was at 332 less than a year ago, and fell off the weight loss bandwagon when I injured my shoulder lifting... I was down a total of 102 lbs back then, but the injury took the wind out of my sails and I started eating comfort foods again...

I'm just getting started again with cardio, and I've been thinking that a long distance multi-week hike would be the perfect way to get started again... I have the strength and a lot of stamina due to the weights/cardio in the gym, I just don't know if I can afford to do it.

Any suggestions on how someone like me could do what you did?

A:

Best random place that you have stopped and it surprised you, not what you expected it to be good or bad?


Q:

It sounds to me like you're on your way. Just stick with it!

Here's what I like to tell people who are thinking about doing something like this, but are worried about physical fitness: As long as you can carry your pack seven miles, that's all you have to do on day 1.

The first shelter is 7 miles from Springer. If you start in April, you have almost 12 hours of daylight in which to accomplish that task. You could walk a mile, even taking a full hour to do it. Then rest half an hour. Then walk another mile. Then rest a FULL HOUR. And so on. If you can do that on the first day until you've done 7 miles, you win for the day. Eat some noodles and go to sleep.

If you can do that for 3 days in a row, you've made it to your first town. Now you get a real bed and a hot shower.

You don't need to hike 20 miles on that first day. You can do the whole trail without ever hiking 20 miles.

I say, find trails near where you live. Bike paths, even the track at a nearby school. Whatever you do, don't do nothing! Get out there and walk, even for half an hour every other day. It gets easier and it gets MORE FUN. Don't ever quit!

A:

Loretta Lynn's Country Kitchen, thought it would be some second rate tourist trap dinner. Turned out to be an old school world class southern/soul food buffet. God it was good.


Q:

I am probably not the only one to say this, but, I have trouble convincing myself these are in fact the same person.

Not even the same SPECIES.

Did you have to prove who you were to people who didn't believe you?

A:

I've always wondered what is it like living in a truck? What do you do in your free time?

Also what model is the truck? :]


Q:

Yep.

Those pics are also still frames from my animated beard growth video, which usually convinces them.

A:

Living in the truck is, well like living in any tiny home. I don't own a lot of stuff. In my free time I reddit, crochet, watch Netflix and travel :)

I'm in a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia evolution.


Q:

How are your feet!?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

I did bad things to my feet.

I knew in advance that my feet would grow half a size, or even a whole. Somehow, I ignored that when it happened, I guess I was in denial. Anyway, I damaged the main nerves in each foot. It took me a year to get normal feeling back, and even today I have to wear metatarsal pads to prevent re-damaging them.

This is not normal however, so don't take my case as typical.

A:

I don't have a problem with Class A RVs idk about other drivers, I find it a bit concerning that you don't need any special license to drive those monsters. And there are definitely some people who shouldn't be driving them.


Q:

Just downloaded the book. What was running through your mind when walking? I ask this I am picking a course for university and wonder does your thought process change when you have hours upon hours to walk and think for month's.

A:

Got a few questions,

  1. How'd you get internet connection?

  2. How do you make money? (I'm not familiar with the trucker job)

  3. Where do you sleep & pooping/peeing ?

  4. Ever thought of buying a house and settle down?

  5. Lastly, do you ever do backflip with your truck?


Q:

Just downloaded the book.

Awesome! Thanks!

What was running through your mind when walking?

You're about to find out. ;)

Not being sarcastic either, but kinda the whole point of my book is that I want the reader to get inside my head. When you're done reading it, you'll be just as nuts as I am.

Remember this when you get to Chapter 15, "Everyday." I used it to take a break from the story and try to capture every minute detail about a "typical" day on the AT. (There's no such thing, but I tried!) This is the one that'll get you into the long distance hiker headspace.

A:
  1. I have a cell phone?
  2. I get paid per mile driven
  3. I sleep in the sleeper birth of my truck (there is a living area in the back of a semi tractor) I take care of my personal business at truck stops, for emergency pee on the road a wide mouthed bottle.
  4. I have incurable wander list I have no intention of stopping what I do, this is the only job I've ever loved.
  5. God no, the thought is horrifying.

Q:

what does your username mean?

A:

Have you ever seen a film called The Big Lebowski?


Q:

Big Lebowski reference

A:

The dude abides in this one


Q:

[deleted]

A:

This is a hard one, there are so many strange things out here, I once met a trucker who lived in a single truck with seven cats... Gross.

Creepy? Like ghost creepy? There's been a few strange nights in the New Mexico desert.