For the past ten years MadPea Productions has made it a priority to offer Second Life a unique gaming experience that pays homage to the bizarre, horrific, strange, unusual – and of course mad! From games like Zodiac Killer, The Lost Treasure of the Incan Warrior, Seven and most recently Spellbound to hunts like our Magical Christmas Hunt for Enchanted toys and our Premium Exclusive hunt White Winter and even our very own theme park Mad World, full of fun and games with new additions all the time – there is always something to entertain, delight and keep us captivated.
None of this would be possible without our amazing crew working hard to keep the contained chaos moving in perpetual motion. Our designers design, our scripters script, our planners plan, our writers write but none of this would come together without the vision. This comes from our Executive Producer Kyle Beckett and of course our Queen Pea Kiana Writer. Without them we are individual parts, it is only when they put us together that we become a single whole. They are the beating heart, the eyes, the brain and the soul of our MadPea monster.
Despite their very busy schedules they each managed to carve out some time for me so we could get to know both of them a little better. I began by asking Kyle a little bit about his history with MadPea.
“I have a very long history with MadPea. I have been in Second Life a very long time and so have been around for mostly all of the games. I started with MadPea as the store manager back in the day, but found myself helping with the design of some of the hunts and games. The first game I worked on was the original Lost Treasure of the Inca Warrior which was one of our most popular games at the time. From there I worked on the sequel to Room 326 and a hunt called Dark Dimensions. After that I quit MadPea to focus on college for 4 years because getting my degree was very important to me. Now that I have graduated college I am back working for MadPea again and have worked on Nightmare in New Orleans and our newest game, Spellbound.”
As an executive producer of MadPea Kyle spends a lot of time planning what goes into our games, he has the vision of the experiences he wants to create and guides the team into making that happen. “It’s a lengthy process of dreaming up a story that I want to tell. Then I create a concept of how I want to tell that story through gameplay and exploration. I think of what characters players will talk to and the locations they will visit. Then decide the challenges and puzzles I want to implement that feel rewarding, but also make the player feel part of the story and solving a greater mystery. I like a player to feel immersed in a game and want to know every detail.”
“I wrote the stories and designed the gameplay behind Cry of the Peacock, Dark Dimensions, and Lennon Park Massacre. I helped write the story and designed some puzzles for Nightmare in New Orleans. Most recently I worked on designing the story and gameplay for Spellbound. I am not a game designer in RL, but worked as a game tester for Sony when I was fresh out of high school. That is where I got a lot of my experience learning how video games worked behind the scenes.”
A lot of work goes into our fun and games! But it’s not all planning and drudgery as Kyle recalls the hilarity of an entire group of zombies breaking out into Thriller during the taping of the Nino youtube video “We have a lot of fun making the games. We had a lot of the crew dress up as zombies to produce the promotional video for Nightmare in New Orleans. I had the idea to give everyone the freebie item that makes everyone dance in sync with all the moves from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” when the zombies dance. It was so hilarious and just when we tried to stop, someone would start it back up again. That was one of my favorite moments working on that game.”
We do like to have our fun! And the best thing about MadPea is that there is always something waiting just around the corner. We never stop. “For the future, at MadPea we are always challenging what is possible in Second Life and how we can make our games more dynamic and interactive in a virtual world. With Nightmare in New Orleans we used NPC bots as zombies to attack players to create a FPS experience. Our players loved attacking the zombies with a variety of weapons we created. With Spellbound we created an entirely new experience where you harness the power of the four elements to cast spells and solve puzzles in a magical environment. A historic academy of sorcery has fallen into ruin and it’s up to you to investigate and discover what great mystery lies within.” And there is always more to come and with Kyle leading the way we can all be confident that barriers will be broken, new discoveries will be made and a whole lot of fun will be had by all!
And from our dashing leading man to our most daring leading lady, the Queen Pea herself, Kiana Writer managed to beat down the beast long enough to answer a few questions for me as well. Kiana started MadPea over ten years ago with one other person and a dream bigger than both of them. A lover of cult horror, suspense and of course games, Kiana wanted to bring these experiences to Second Life – a place where anything is possible but was lacking in one of the biggest aspects that brings us all together – games! It took a lot of hits, misses, bumps and bruises but she absolutely achieved that goal – and then she kept going!
“I’m like a never stopping steam engine running on Pepsi Max. I guess one of my flaws is that I don’t tend to look back. It’s always a HUGE surprise to me if someone tells me they’ve loved something I’ve created with the team. It’s hard to explain really. I have this bottomless chest of tales I just want to bring out. I love getting constructive criticism because that helps me to improve but I don’t really know how to react to positive feedback. Yes, I’m strange, lol!”
Today Kiana manages the organized chaos that is MadPea. “I take care of the overall management of MadPea, finances, roadmap, our crew, our land and platforms. I run weekly team meetings for the whole crew, for community, marketing and projects I’m the manager of. I manage our overall vision of what MadPea is and where we are going. I create new concepts (MadPea Alliance being the latest), make sure our promotional materials are created and updated. I’m currently in the role of our marketing director as well and I’m writing a new game. For projects I plan and maintain the asset list and create processes for reaching our goals. I am the person who checks everything that goes out under MadPea name and approves them.”
There have been so many games in the past, it’s difficult to name them all let alone pick a favorite among them but Kiana “They’re all special in their own ways and it’s so hard to choose. If you forced me to though I’d pick Sanity Falls. I thought it was such a clever concept back in the day and I was super proud of how it was executed.”
What about the current pace and direction of MadPea? What can we expect in the future? “During this year I’ve made a big change with MadPea focusing on interactive games and experiences more instead of taking part in events. We brought out Mad World a theme park that will see constant updates and new concepts. Next year we have a massive new idea coming up that will hit the grid with interactive social games and grid-wide games that are even easier to play as well as more escape rooms and take away games. Right now I’m super excited about Spellbound It’s a project that Kyle has managed and I’m pretty much staying out of it! Which is an amazing feeling, I LOVE the fact that I have another person I can rely on who sees my vision completely for MadPea writing a big game like this. It’s definitely been a huge hit!”
Big games, little games, hunts and prizes – these two dream the dreams and put them down on paper so we can all bring them to life and enjoy together and I for one can’t wait to see what they have coming next! So as always – stay tuned for more!