Interview with the Game Lab

Posted on November 23rd, 2011
by High school interns Jonathan and Justin

Earlier today, interns Jonathan and Justin interviewed Game Lab members Peter Lu and Mark Essen. Below are the questions and answers of the interview.

Interview with Peter Lu
Interviewer: Jonathan Bae


1. What was your childhood like? Were there any obstacles that you’ve come across or achievements you’ve earned when you were growing up?

I grew up in Canada where we were the only Asian family in the neighborhood, moving to San Jose at the age of ten. I had a bad time in high school since it seemed that something was always holding me back. But for the most part, nothing really stood out during that time.


2. What are you most proud of in your life?

I can say that I’m not just proud of one thing, but many. I’m proud about what I’ve done so far and where I am going towards among other things.


3. What is your relationship with games? What drives your passion for gaming or developing games?

Before high school, all I wanted to do was to play games rather than make them, although my parents did not want to buy many games for me. Cave Story, a solo project by a Japanese game developer, was my inspirational figure for developing and designing games. It wasn’t until three years ago that I starting to develop games on my own.


4. Have you reached the apex of your career ladder?

Definitely not, there is more I could still learn in general. Compared to three years ago however, I confidently know that I have the power and ability to create games, but I still need to know more about game design.


5. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

I’m not really sure where I will see myself, but I do like creating games as my creative medium, although it is not the only creative medium I have an interest for. I can definitely see a change in direction for myself in that time period, but I don’t plan on ditching my current creative medium.


6. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? Why?

If I were to change one thing, I’d say it would be watching less T.V. On a more serious note, it would be writing more books as I have a short attention span for reading them. Books in general, and especially narratives, are what I consider creative material.


7. Are you satisfied with where you are today? In what ways could it be better, if there are ways?

I am quite satisfied with where I am at — I don’t think I could’ve done much better.



Interview with Mark Essen

Interview done by  Justin Rabanales.


1. What exactly do you do here at the game lab?

I write a little bit for the blog , write tutorials, guides for beginners and tool reviews.


2. Do you enjoy working in the position you are currently at?

Yes, definitely, being a student here I work time to time but not as much as everyone else.


3. How did you reach your position? What and how did you do it?

I went to college and learned on my own to make games. I played with my friends and played their games.


4. What was the hardest assignment/project you have done?

Making my first flash game, making a new language. Learning how to code and how it operates. Right now I am working on a bull fighting game which is proving to be somewhat hard because I’m still coming up with how it would work.


5. What assignment/project are you most proud of?

Nidhogg, a two player fencing game.


6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d like to have my own game company, employ my own people, and teach game designing.


7. If you could change on thing about your past, what would it be and why?

I wish I knew more people with the skills I need today which would make things easier today easier since I wouldn’t have to be learning everything all at once.


8. Where did you grow up? Did that shape your passion for game designing?

I grew up around here(LA) and it didn’t really shape my passion for game designing.


9. What brought you to UCLA?

I met Eddo(head of the UCLA Game Lab)  at an E3 convention. He invited me to come to check out the program and it seemed like a fun place to hang out and make games.