YPSH : Dropping by today is Paul Gold, Supervising Producer for Digital Leisure, a privately held developer responsible for The Casino in PS Home. Welcome to YourPSHome Paul. PG : It's great to be here. YPSH : First, congrats on getting the Casino published in PS Home recently. I'm sure we have lots to talk about there, but before we get into that, let's give our readers a little background on you and Digital Leisure. I think for most PS Home users, The Casino is their first introduction to the work of Digital Leisure. I think they would be surprised to know that Digital Leisure has been around now for over 14 years? PG : Thanks! The Casino has been development for some time, so it's great to finally see it live, and everyone having a good time playing at the tables and socializing in the space. Yes, Digital Leisure has been in the interactive gaming business for almost 15 years. It all began in the summer of 1997 with the notion of bringing back some of the greatest classic arcade games to the latest consoles and PCs. Since that humble start, we've broadened out to develop and publish a variety of games on almost every major platform in the last few years. We have our classic arcade line up as well as whole slew of casual titles like our extremely popular 'Mix Superstar' music creation tool on Nintendo's WiiWare service. YPSH : So David Foster, President of Digital Leisure, was with ReadySoft and left them to start Digital Lesiure. Wasn't ReadySoft responsible for the Dragon’s Lair/Space Ace home editions back then? PG : That's correct. David was at the helm of ReadySoft from its inception and was instrumental in redeveloping Dragon's Lair and Space Ace for the home markets in the late 80s early 90s. YPSH : In 1998, you became a Producer for Digital Lesiure. How did you hook up with David Foster and what were your first projects back then? PG : Meeting David and joining Digital Leisure was one of those random occurrences life presents you. I had been interning with a DVD authoring company at the time and Digital Leisure had just released Dragon's Lair on DVD-Video the year before. Now, this was just when DVDs were starting to show up on retailers shelves so, the community in Toronto for DVD programming was very small. Digital Leisure had seen some success with the DVD market early on with Dragon's Lair and naturally wanted to continue with the release of Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp. So, David hired me on to produce and develop Dragon's Lair II for DVD-Video. From that release I became fully involved with all of our DVD-Video and PC retro gaming releases. YPSH : Starting in 2003, you were also a Line Producer for Rogers Television. This was before you graduated from Ryerson University. How did that job come about and what did you do there? PG : Clearly someone's been Googling . As more of a personal side, I've been producing some local TV in Toronto for some time now. I'm always trying to keep my skill set sharp and you'd be surprised how much television and video game production can go hand in hand. YPSH : That's my job <smile>. In 2004, you became a Supervising Producer and VP of Operations at Digital Leisure. How did you duties change at D.L. with your new title? PG : As we continued to grow as company, naturally duties change. We all wear a lot of hats around here so titles are simply printed on business cards. However, as we grew I was afforded more time to explore other gaming areas where I believed the company could put a stake in to. Hence why we're here now talking about the launch of The Casino for PlayStation Home! YPSH : You also went to work for Infinite HD for three years, starting in 2006. Wasn't Infinite HD the first company to produce a BD-J disc (Blu-ray Disc Java, allows bonus content on Blu-ray Disc titles )? What was your role there? PG : Infinite HD was a side project and spin off from our work on the Blu-ray versions of the Dragon's Lair series. As with our DVD-Video efforts in the late 90s we had found a bit of niche in developing for fresh and exciting technologies. I believe it was CES 2006 or 2005 when I first saw the Blu-ray tech on display with HD screens and the visuals were stunning. It was that point where we kicked off the full restoration of the Dragon's Lair film and developed fresh HD transfers. The releases had a ton of bonus materials, and as you mention, it was the first Blu-ray Java title. The company was formed to provide service work for other people looking to get in to the Blu-ray market. YPSH : Sony's PlayStation 3 has been a supporter of BD-J. The PlayStation 3 added Blu-ray Profile 1.1 support with a firmware upgrade and wasn't it used to showcase BD-Live at CES in 2008? PG : Yes, Sony and about 18 other tech companies make up the Blu-ray Disc Association. The BD spec allows for a lot of fun interactivity with disc media. YPSH : Give us a run down on all the things that Digital Leisure does today, besides projects for PS Home, of course. PG : We're involved in a whole host of things! We've developed and published games across all consoles! From our PSN releases to WiiWare and DSiWare then there are our games on the AppStore and Android Market. We're everywhere! Most recently we released Mad Dog McCree on the AppStore. Mad Dog McCree represented the starting point for all of the American Laser Games FMV shooters retro fans know and love. As mentioned earlier we released Fast Draw Showdown on PSN, which is a fully PS Move supported title that comes with a bunch of fun PS Home clothing items to unlock, including a tumbleweed companion item. I think it might be the only PSN game out there with a free companion reward. I've only seen it out on Home a couple times, so it's pretty exclusive for those who know about it - and can unlock it in game. If anyone wants to see everything we've been up to they can visit out website at www.digitalleisure.com, but if you really want the most up-to-date PS Home news follow us on Twitter @digitalleisure or on Facebook www.facebook.com/digitalleisure -- We're always giving away free stuff, so check it out. YPSH : How many people does Digital Leisure currently employ and does it look good for more growth? PG : We currently have a staff of 15 of the most dedicated people who want each experience to be unique. And with every successful launch we continue to look for the best to add to that number. YPSH : Updating classic video games seems near to D.L.'s heart. Dragon' Lair and Space Ace were among the first to use TV-quality video. Don Bluth did a lot of the animation for those games, whom I believe worked as a Disney animator and worked with DreamWorks as well. Does he have any involvement with D.L. today? PG : I think classic games have brought us to where we are today in the current generation of game design and it's important to not forget where the industry grew out of. The Dragon's Lair series, as well as the American Laser Games series of shooters (which we've re-released), showcase an era that always puts a smile on gamers faces. No, they can't compete with the blockbuster titles of today, but they are fun part of the history of gaming that shouldn't be lost, which is why we love to re-release them. Sorry, back to your question - got a little off topic there. Don Bluth's team of animators were the main creative and visual force behind Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp. Don Bluth created many of the most beloved animated films of all time including 'The Secret of NIMH', 'An American Tail' and 'The Land Before Time'. Don Bluth doesn't have much direct involvement with Digital Leisure, however he, Gary Goldman and Rick Dyer were kind enough to be involved in our HD releases and even provided a full commentary and series of interviews for the Blu-ray release. YPSH : Was the Dragon's Lair personal space D.L.'s first project for PS Home? How did D.L. get involved with PS Home? PG : When we began developing Dragon's Lair for PSN we wanted to provide something really fun and exclusive for PlayStation owners. When PS Home launched, I had explored the areas and spaces and thought it was really unique idea for a console. As we got further in to development my account manager at SCEA had been explaining the idea of the Rewards system in PS Home and how we could do something fun with Dragon's Lair. After some internal discussions we decided to reward Dragon's Lair owners with an original Dragon's Lair Arcade Machine for their apartments that can also be used to directly launch the game. From there the ideas just started pouring out which lead to the release of a whole slew of Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II items. You can become Princess Daphne, Dirk the Daring and Ace or simply outfit your avatar as them. We also made a couple fun companion items of Singe the Dragon and a 'Giddy Goon' which is one of the most recognizable creatures from the series. For our Fast Draw Showdown PSN release, we created a bunch of fun western themed rewards for in-game badges you can unlock. So Dragon's Lair was the first project, but we loved PS Home so much we just couldn't stop there! YPSH : Digital Leisure has developed some casnio-like games for Nintendo. Did that spark the begining of what we now see as the new Casino in PS Home? PG : Yeah, you could certainly make that connection. When we released Texas Hold'Em Tournament on WiiWare a few years back, it was one of the number one selling WiiWare games for some time and it's certainly our most successful on the platform. We've always wanted to return to live card gaming and PS Home was the perfect place to set up shop. YPSH : Certainly, The Casino is D.L.'s most ambitious project for PS Home yet. Texas Hold’em Poker, Blackjack, Casino War, Big Six Wheel, Keno and two different games of Slots, are all currently available for play at The Casino. The Poker tables can be a little hard to get into if it's busy. Any plans to increase those? PG : We've received a ton of feedback from users and we've written them all down to be addressed. The PS Home audience is passionate and vocal which might scare some devs off, but we're more than happy to listen and implement things to make The Casino the space Home users want to hang out in. The beauty of PS Home is that we can update the spaces regularly, add more tables, add more rewards and more features - and that is exactly what we plan on doing. But you have to give us some time to get it all ready! YPSH : Plus The Casino has a V.I.P. area with some Poker tables for high-rollers. Any plans to add to the V.I.P. area? PG : Definitely! In fact, as per requests we'll be adding in more Blackjack and a Big Six Wheel for our VIPs. You should see that update very soon. YPSH : The Casino also gives you a free hotel room and a V.I.P. Suite is available for winning 100,000 chips or buying the V.I.P. Chip Bundle. Any future plans for those? PG : We have a series of fun updates planned for both rooms. In fact, we know people have had quite a laugh at the budget hotel room, and we have some updates planned for that room that will have you hoping for an upgrade. As for the VIPs we'll be opening up the space and based on user feedback making it more an more premium Vegas like. YPSH : The Casino offers lots of rewards (which we have posted here). Any more coming down the line? PG : Yes, there are over 100 rewards that we launched with, and we plan on adding more and more rewards and ranks for each game available. For those of you who have already cleared the first four tiers you'll automatically be rewarded new items as they are released. YPSH : The Casino already has a lot of games, but I can think of just as many more. Like Rummy, Craps, Let It Ride, Roulette, Baccarat and more. Will future expansions of The Casino include more games like these? PG : For sure! We have a whole bunch of games and variants of current games we plan on updating the Casino with. Someone even threw out Bingo as a request -- you never know! YPSH : Has The Casino got Digital Leisure interested in future projects for PS Home outside of The Casino? PG : I think there are endless possibilities for future scenes in PS Home. We've got lots of ideas on-the-go and you'll just have to wait and see what releases next. YPSH : What about on the console game front? Can we expect any new releases there this year? PG : Well, we have yet to officially announce it, but we've decided to bring the Mix Superstar experience to the PlayStation 3. The response was so overwhelming on the Wii, so we've given it a full facelift and you should hear more about that through the Spring. In fact, you'll probably see some fun PS Home integration too - but I really can't say more. YPSH : Dragon's Lair made its debut on the Android Phone and Tablet and Mad Dog McCree, Dragon's Lair and Space Ace for the iPhone. Dragon's Lair and 5 in 1 Solitaire are available for the PSP. Any more goodies coming for the portable/mobile market? PG : Android users can expect Space Ace and possibly Dragon's Lair II to release later this year! YPSH : Congratulations to you and David for a 14+ year run in the business! I think a great big 15th Digital Leisure Anniversary Party in The Casino is in order here! PG : Haha! Maybe we'll do that! YPSH : Paul, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today and I hope we see you dropping by YourPSHome often. Our members love to give the devs feedback! Now if you'll excuse me, I have 40,000 chips to unload in The Casino PG : Thanks for having us and for all the feedback on the space. We're happy to come back and chat anytime. Be sure to stop by the new Digital Leisure thread in our Developers Forum and welcome them to YPSH and give them your feedback.