Nominee | Best Student Game

Don Schmocker is a game designer and artist.

Each year at GDC, MFA students from the NYU Game Center interview the Independent Games Festival nominees, asking them three questions about their development process. In addition to this interview, you can read all the insightful interviews from 2017 here. These conversations, and much more, will happen when the Game Center returns to GDC in 2018. Learn more about the Game Center at GDC 2017.

Mary Kenney: What main concept, image or question began this project?

Don Schmocker: In a game development sense, it was a different way of creating and using a vehicle. We have racing games, but I wanted to create deeper play and control, as well as ownership.

Kenney: Why?

Schmocker: You have a relationship with your vehicle, and I wanted to tweak that relationship and explore it.

Kenney: Describe a specific experience with another game or media that influenced you as you worked on Far: Lone Sails.

Schmocker: Journey was a big influence. The works of David Lynch, and many movies, were all inspirations for the project.

Kenney: Is there a specific tool or methodology that you feel was important in shaping a unique characteristic in your game?

Schmocker: The level design was very important in a game about using a vehicle with deep, interesting controls. We designed levels in two stages: one was the road, and one was the vehicle. Moving the vehicle through a space we’ve designed was its own level, within the game.


Mary Kenney used to be a journalist, but decided she was better at writing games. Ask her about gamedev, tabletop and owning a dog in New York.