IWD Spotlight: Hannah Crawford, Co-Founder of Maeth Inc., & Lead Developer of Sprawl
This International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting one of our favorite developers, Hannah Crawford, Co-Founder of Maeth Inc., and Lead Developer of SPRAWL.
Hannah has worked on some of the biggest series in gaming, including Sea of Thieves and the upcoming Horizon: Call of the Mountain.
On top of that, she is also the co-founder and technical director of the two-person development studio behind SPRAWL, a cyberpunk-themed, retro-futurism-styled first person shooter. SPRAWL is the project that has given us the pleasure of working with her and Carlos Lizarraga on an amazingly fun, fast paced, head explodey game.
We asked Hannah about the games that inspire her as both a developer and a gamer, and three titles sprang to mind.
“Dishonored is my all-time favorite series, it really lets the player get creative with how they want to play, and the level design is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
“Quake was the catalyst for so much of what I work on, and I think it’s telling that people are still playing the game and developing new mods over 25 years after its release.
“I’m just a massive racing sim fan, and spend way too much time having fun in Assetto Corsa, it’s modding scene gives it a massive leg up on all the others and the community is so friendly.”
Hannah contributes her love for learning the mechanics of how things operate that led her on a path towards game development.
“I grew up playing video games and I have always been interested in taking things apart and figuring out how they worked,” she explains.
“I was messing around with some old school Unity tutorials for fun, almost a decade ago now and when the programming side of stuff started to click with me and I realized I could create anything that came to mind and really have an impact on how a game feels… I was hooked!”
Hannah’s had the experience of working on both big-scale titles, and her own smaller team, and has advice for people looking to get their foot in the door.
“You don’t need to have a formal education to get into game development! You can learn by taking little steps and working on some small projects. Studios love seeing stuff you’ve previously worked on and that can get your foot in the door.”
She adds, “I’m a massive fan of tiny teams and self-taught creators. I don’t think experience at a big studio is required to make awesome games, but I do recommend (if you have the opportunity to) spending some time working with some really smart people who know what they are doing, as it will really prepare you for future projects.
“No matter how much I thought I knew, the first year I spent working as part of a large team was the biggest learning experience of my life.”