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Actor / EntertainerI’m Derek Hough, dancer, actor, singer, choreographer – AMA!

Aug 4th 2017 by DerekHough • 33 Questions • 41 Points

That's all the time I have for today. Thanks everyone!

I’m a 5 time Grammy-nominated guitarist with six #1 blues albums to my name along with a string of #1 mainstream rock singles and numerous awards. My new album Lay It On Down just came out last week - buy it at Amazon - and I’ll be on tour throughout the summer/fall.

Proof: https://twitter.com/KWShepherd/status/894283464178106369

Q:

Do crabs think we walk sideways?

A:

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?


Q:

Have you considered going back into Early Access? As a fan of FTL 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 consistent 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.

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:

Obviously.


Q:

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.

A:

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.


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:

Thanks for doing this AMA, Derek.

I really loved the tie you wore on this past week's episode of World of Dance. (The Divisional Finals)

Do you know where I can find it?

A:

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


Q:

Why perforce over git?

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:

I don't know. I just wear what my stylist tells me to lol


Q:

You've had some pretty significant acting/singing/dancing roles in your career - what was your dream role when you first started out, and what does your dream role look like now?

A:

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


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:

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:

I've already accomplished one of my dream roles. I got to play Corny Collins in Hairspray Live! I was able to act, sing, and dance


Q:

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.

A:

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.


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:

What's the biggest misconception about dance/dancers?

A:

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.


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.

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:

That all dancers are flexible


Q:

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

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

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.

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"


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:

Will you ever teach dance lessons to non famous people?

A:

what did you eat?


Q:

Does the success of this launch convince you at all to quit said day job and focus more on game dev?

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:

Yes, of course! Teaching is a great passion of mine! I love being able to open up a new world of expression to people.


Q:

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.
A:

Does the success of this launch convince you at all to quit said day job and focus more on game dev?

While successful, we're just getting to the point where I'll see all the money back that I've put in, if we didn't spend any more on Fictorum, which we will.

I'm not sure how sales will continue, but I'd love to be able to quit my job


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:

What is your favorite Dessert?

A:

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?


Q:

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

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:

Boston Creme Pie is my absolute favorite


Q:

Are you back to normal?

Not even close. I'm blurry now.

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

A:

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.


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:

I wrote you this when I got to know who you are hope you'll read this: 🙂 Hey Derek! First I just wanted to say I'm so angry at myself for not knowing you till like 15 hours ago I wanted to punch myself, I knew your sister from Safe Haven and Dirty Grandpa but I didn't know she was this amazing spectacular dancer so suddenly I saw a DWTS video of you two on YouTube that's when all the emotion started hitting me. I've been on YouTube since then. I felt inspired watching you do watch you best dancing with so much Passion it brought tear to my eyes and I decided I want to start dancing again =') it reminded me so much of when the first and last time I got on a dance floor with confidence (at my cousin's wedding 10 years ago when I was 10) and I danced without being self conscious then suddenly my mom (who didn't dance on her wedding and never does) told me you can't and should not dance again and it's a bad thing. In sum my mom and dad have this reputation forbidding me from doing what I loved to learn then and was passionate about including continuing Gymnastics which my school put us into when I we were first grade and sadly stopped 3 years later, playing the piano and DANCING. Things that could have help me take more care of myself, my body and my soul; build up my confidence that was ruined by my parents telling me what I can't and shouldn't do because they have never done it maybe wanted to keep my head in books and school. I don't know if you'll ever read this but I wanted to express what I felt watching you and your partners dancing these past hours since I got to know you are. I want to start dancing but this feeling of being so late to start, being out of shape I was in before, losing flexibility (I barely am able to do a proper cartwheel now) seem like a big obstacle for me I wanted to know your professional opinion on that is 20 too late ? (Ps. I'll try my very best to get to a position so I can witness your greatness up close someday ;)

A:

You look like someone's awesome middle school science teacher


Q:

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?

A:

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


Q:

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?

A:

You're never to old to start something new. You don't have to be great to start but you have to start to be great!


Q:

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

Thanks.

A:

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.


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:

Who was your favorite choreographer growing up?

A:

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


Q:

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.

A:

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

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


Q:

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!

A:

Napoleon and Tabitha Duomo. They're amazing!


Q:

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.

A:

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/


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:

Hi Derek!

What was one of your most memorable dances you've done on Dancing with the Stars?

A:

You just linked back to this entire thread.


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:

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?


Q:

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))) 😙

A:

My most memorable dance was the Macy's Stars of dance with the rotating room.


Q:

Fixed.

A:

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.


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:

Are you coming back to DTWS for the next season?

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:

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


Q:

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

A:

No, I won't be back on DWTS but they will always be my family


Q:

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

A:

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.


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:

Hi Derek-congrats on another Emmy nom!

I've really gotten into WOD and have enjoyed you on the judging panel :) How has it felt being on that side of the table, so to say? Have your experiences with being judged on DWTS shaped the way you judge the dancers on WOD? (though I know the points system on WOD is much different-and better, IMHO-than DWTS, was still curious!)

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:

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:

Hey Jessica! What are your favorite hobbies?


Q:

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

A:

Some judging experiences were better than others. The end result was not always what I expected. Being judged on DWTS did not effect the way I judge on WOD. I base my judging on performance and passion.


Q:

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.

A:

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!


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:

Hi Derek!

How is it to collaborate with your sister on projects? For example, Dancing with the Stars.

Do you currently have any plans to continue doing projects or events with her?

Thanks so much!

If anyone's interested in following me on Instagram, there.

A:

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


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:

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


Q:

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?

A:

Working with someone who I know so well and who knows me so well means we can communicate without having to speak.


Q:

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.

A:

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!


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:

Hey Derek!

Really enjoyed seeing you on the other side as a judge on a dancing competition. What was your experience like on World of Dance?

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:

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

A:

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


Q:

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?

A:

WOD has been amazing! I'm enjoying be on the other side of the desk for a change.


Q:

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.

A:

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.


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:

Will I ever get to see a Derek/LesTwins dance collaboration?

A:

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


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:

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?


Q:

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

A:

There's nothing in the works as of yet.


Q:

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.

A:

u/Elchipacabra works with databases for his day job

I took some c++ classes in college.

But yea, that's about i t.


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:

Derek I'm a big fan for pas 10 years, congrats on your success - well deserved. Kudos on MLB and recent Emmy nom plus WOD is great. Do you have plans for acting in the next 6 months? Do you plan on pursuing music and in what ways over the next year? If you would go to the West End again would you prefer to perform or be a choreographer? Any music videos on the horizon? On WOD, are you encouraged to score in any capacity as producers would prefer?

A:

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.


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 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:

I have a really exciting music project that will hopefully be announced soon - a collaboration that I was thrilled to be a part of!


Q:

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...)

A:

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.


Q:

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

A:

1969 Charger


Q:

Hi Derek! I must say that I am constantly blown away by the enormous amount of talent you encompass. It's inspiring to see someone live life so passionately in the way that you do! In fact, it's inspired me to start taking up ballroom/latin dance lessons as well. Any advice on which style to start with (perhaps the easiest to learn)? I have some ballet and jazz experience.

A:

Can I see a photo of you now?


Q:

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?

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:

Trust your coach. They will know best what you're capable of. But cha cha is fairly easy to start with.


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:

You recently went to London, any clues you can share as to why you were there?

A:

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.


Q:

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

A:

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


Q:

whatever happened to corey sterling?

A:

I was there for business meetings and was also able to see my good friend Giovanni perform in Bat Out of Hell, the Musical.


Q:

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

A:

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.


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:

Hi Derek.. Congrats on WOD!! I'm a huge fan of yours and have been for the past 10 years. So proud of you and the amazing work you created throughout the years.

My question: You and Jared were amazing in New York Spring Spectacular- Will you two be working together again in the near future? I know you joked a remake for White Nights? Any chance of that happening on Broadway or in film?

Wishing you continued success.

A:

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?


Q:

I've actually been thinking recently about how I wish you could have magic in a game that was a bit more customizable, and then the game pops up on my front page the other day. As for an actual question, what do you think was the biggest challenge for you guys during development?

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:

Jared Grimes is one of the most amazing tap dancers I've ever been able to perform with. I hope we get to work together again in the future.


Q:

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

A:

As for an actual question, what do you think was the biggest challenge for you guys during development?

In hindsight getting good constructive feedback was probably our biggest challenge.


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:

Hi Derek! If you could come up with a signature dance move named after you - what would it look like?

A:

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.


Q:

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

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:

It would have to be my off-time dancing that I've been obsessed with lately. It's much harder than it looks!


Q:

Please do!

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

A:

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.


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:

Hi Derek :) was wondering where are you going for your next vacation?

A:

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?


Q:

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?

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:

I was just thinking about that! Where should I go?


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:

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!

A:

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


Q:

Have you ever danced with someone in a wheelchair? If not my mom and I would both like to volunteer!!!

A:

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


Q:

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

A:

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


Q:

I have a few times while we were on tour.

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:

Marcus King


Q:

Hi Derek,We all have periods where we feel low and like we're messing up everything we do,what do you do when you feel like that to get back up?

A:

Why did you do it?


Q:

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?

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:

I move! Motion = Emotion!

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:

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.


Q:

What is your dream adventure?

A:

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.


Q:

How'd you come up with your company name?

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:

When I turned 30, Julianne gave me a traveling to Hawaii to work with my favorite photographer, Clark Little. That whole trip was a dream adventure!

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:

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:

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


Q:

Who's your favorite celebrity and why?

A:

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?


Q:

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

A:

What is your favorite guitar pedal?


Q:

Julianne Hough for obvious reasons

A:

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


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:

Currently it would be the Analog Man King Of Tone pedal


Q:

Are you planning on seeing the DWTS Tour before its over?

A:

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

What has been your most memorable encounter with wildlife?


Q:

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?

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:

I've seen it!

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:

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 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.


Q:

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

A:

How do you go about hiring composers for music?


Q:

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

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:

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:

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


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:

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


Q:

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?

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:

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.

A:

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


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:

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


Q:

What is the very best cheese?

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) 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:

Depends on what you're eating it with.


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:

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:

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

A:

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

Thanks!


Q:

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.

A:

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.


Q:

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

A:

It seems your game has been met with mixed reviews so far. What are your thoughts on the negative feedback? Do you feel like people didn't understand the game or that you missed the mark somehow? Are you proud of how the game turned out? What would you do differently if you could?

Sorry for all the questions and if they appear trolly, I'm just genuinely curious how devs deal with negative feedback, it says a lot about the company.


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:

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.


Q:

It seems your game has been met with mixed reviews so far. What are your thoughts on the negative feedback? Do you feel like people didn't understand the game or that you missed the mark somehow?

I think some of the negative criticism is fair, and some of it isn't. We read the feedback seeing the things we can improve. We'll try to improve Fictorum as much as we can.

Are you proud of how the game turned out? What would you do differently if you could?

I don't want to focus too much on hindsight, we did the best we could with our abilities at the time.

A:

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.


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:

If you knew what you do now, how would you change the path you took to make the game?


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:

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


Q:

The biggest thing is I probably would have tried a little bit harder for outside funding, and used that money to build up the game a bit more, so we could have launched a better Kickstarter.

On a programming note, there's almost nothing I wouldn't change from the early days, we've learned a lot and our code has improved a ton.

A:

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


Q:

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

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:

Does Mel G have any guitars?

A:

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.


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:

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


Q:

What was your fondest memory during your trip?

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:

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:

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.


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:

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


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:

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:

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.

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:

How were the mosquitos?

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:

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.

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:

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:

Currently a college student studying CS, considering to go into game dev industry. What skills to have or classes to take would you recommend that would help enter that industry, or at least check if thats what I want to do in life?


Q:

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.

A:

Start making games now.

Download Unity or UE4 or start working on games now.


Q:

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

A:

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


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:

Uhhhh no.

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


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:

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.


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:

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.


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?


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:

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.


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:

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


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:

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.


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:

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!


Q:

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

A:

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


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:

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!


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:

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.


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:

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!


Q:

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

A:

Silkies For Life!

Oohrah.


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:

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.


Q:

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

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

A:

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


Q:

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

A:

Green Giant. Tall guy, green shirt.


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:

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!


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:

Yep.

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


Q:

How are your feet!?

A:

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.


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:

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.