Welcome to Tricycle Games’s first-ever Meet the Developer feature! We wanted to start off strong so who better to introduce than our own CEO and founder Matt Tomporowski!
Tell me about your history (education, career, etc.)
I have my undergraduate in English Lit & Theatre from the University of Saskatchewan and I completed my MBA in Management of Technology from Simon Fraser University in 2013. I worked at Electronic Arts (EA) for several years of my career and worked on many great titles including Need for Speed, EA Sports Active, Medal of Honour, Deadspace, and The Sims.
Since finishing my MBA, I’ve worked on building, managing, and growing companies. In 2018 I founded my current company which is known today as Tricycle Games Inc. I also teach business courses for Vancouver Film School’s Game Design program. My favorite course that I teach is called Business of Games, where I aim to teach the students how the business side of the video game industry works.
What got you interested in the gaming industry?
I love to play games! (I play a lot of first-person shooters.) Back in 2000, I was playing Half-Life on my PC one evening and I only stopped playing when I looked over and noticed the sun coming up in my window! I recall thinking at that moment, “I should really do this for a living…” And that’s what I’ve done.
Over the course of my career, I have continued to play video games for fun. It is by far my most favorite form of entertainment even now.
How would you describe yourself? (As a developer/person/both)
I’m simply a guy who LOVES video games! I also love the experience and challenge of creating and growing a team and a business.
How long have you been a game developer?
I first got into the video game industry in the year 2000… So it’s been 20 years!
What titles have you created or helped create? Any favorites?
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 on Wii, on which I was the lead producer and lead game designer, is probably the game that I am most proud of. It was a first-person shooter early on in the Wii’s lifecycle and our team really had to innovate (and in many ways invent) workable FPS controls for the Wii.
First-person shooters are also a style of game that I really enjoy playing. For all the game devs out there, one piece of advice I can give you’ll always produce better results if you’re truly passionate about the genre and style of game that you’re working on!
EA Sports Active for Wii, on which I was the lead designer, was an extremely innovative fitness game, which I’m also very proud to have helped create. My career in video games started with Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 and Need for Speed Underground, so I will always love those games.
I worked on Deadspace 2 and The Sims. I also worked on many other titles on a variety of platforms including PC, games consoles, and mobile.
I love making games of all kinds!
Special Request from Matt: if you’re wondering how you could support Tricycle Games, please visit our Steam Page and add our game Medium Rare to your Steam Wishlist! It’s easy to do, it’s FREE, and it is an awesome way to show your support for our team!
What were some surprising challenges you’ve encountered as a game developer?
At this stage in my career, keeping my studio funded, developing new sources of funding, and paying all the bills are the big challenges I face every day. In order to fund the studio, I teach at Vancouver Film School, drive for Uber, and spend time meeting with interested investors, publishers, and other potential partners. I aim to take care of these challenges quietly and behind the scenes so my team can concentrate on their work and focus on making great games.
Any advice or mottos for newbies to the game dev field?
One of the greatest things for me about video games is the opportunity for all of us to get together and enjoy playing together as friends and equals. With that said, I can think of two mottos that are important to me.
First is our company tagline: “Video games are for everyone.” Because those are the kinds of games I really want to make—games that everyone can enjoy and play together as friends, regardless of race, gender, cultural background, political beliefs, or physical ability.
The second motto is actually a motto Richard Branson quoted in his book The Virgin Way. In the book, Branson quotes the British Royal Flying Corps motto “Per Ardua ad Astra”— or “Through Adversity to the Stars”. (Which is just cool!)
If you could go back in time to when you first started as an indie game dev, or just as a professional in the video game industry, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself?
Start my own company sooner! Running my own company is very challenging and risky. But it’s also very exciting and motivating, too.
What are you playing now?
I just started the Outer Wilds on my PS4!I really like sci-fi and I’m enjoying the cool mystery and unique gameplay!
What hobbies do you have outside gaming?
I play board games with a board game group and spend a lot of time with my dog Buddy. Buddy is my spirit guide! 🙂
I’m also constantly reading. I really enjoy going for a drive and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. There are so many great books to read and listen to. I’m addicted to books and podcasts I think!
FINAL QUESTION: Why the name Tricycle?
A tricycle is easy to use, accessible, gender-neutral, and pretty much enjoyable by anyone! As a symbol, it represents the kind of fun that we would like to create for our fans. We aim to make our games fun, accessible, and inclusive. A tricycle represents the easy-to-use and universal fun that we hope our fans will experience in the video games that we create.
And there we have it, folks! A quick snapshot about Matt and why we’re Tricycle Games.
We’re currently working on the fast-paced, family-friendly title Medium Rare, where you can play as cute dragons in a free-for-all of up to 4 players. Medium Rare is available on Android, and will be coming soon to iOS and Steam!