Meathouse Design and Development
Before I can tell you about Meathouse, I’ve got to tell you about myself. My name is Justin Reeves, I’m a 36 year old heavy equipment operator from Mount Airy, North Carolina (Mayberry…no seriously, look it up.
I’ve been a gamer my whole life, my mother tells me stories about how when I was barely old enough to stand up my parents would take me to video arcades and put me on a little stool and I would just stand there and play my little heart out, even though no money had went into the machine and I wasn’t really playing. Gaming hasn’t been just a hobby of mine, but a passion for as long as I can remember. I always wanted to work in the gaming industry, but when I was younger and growing up in a rural area you might as well have just said I wanted to be a famous basketball player (I guess you would have to know how shitty I am at basketball for that to make sense but whatever).
After attending culinary school at the Florida State College at jacksonville, I worked in the food and beverage industry for a decade after working an odd variety of jobs for a living including a repo man as well as executive security. Finally in 2010, I decided to follow my dream of working in the gaming industry and attended Full Sail University’s game design program. I took my courses online, I was newly married and held a full time job as the sous chef in one of the outlets on the Amelia Island Plantation in Fernandina Beach, FL so I really had to be dedicated and stay focused because of everything on my plate. However, my marriage began to fall apart only about 2 years in, causing me to drop out of Full Saill with nothing to show for it except student loans that I am still paying on a decade later.
At this time though, I never thought that my dream was over, only on hold. It was around this time that independently developed games were really making it into the hands of the mainstream community, and it was around this time that games like Braid and Super Meat Boy were being released, opening the doors for many indie developers. This gave me tons of hope, because from my experiences at Full Sail and conversations with individuals in the industry, I had come to the conclusion that if I was going to ever do anything, it would be indie. This comes from stories about the development process for triple A titles, and that I would just be another spoke in the wheel and would have no creative input, altogether slaughtering the entire reason I wanted to get into game development.
Shortly after my departure from Full Sail, my wife and I got divorced and I fell into a depression that led to years of heartache, substance abuse, and jail time. I lost a lot of years of my life that were just wasted, but in 2015 I moved back to my hometown in rural North Carolina, where I met my current wife. I began working with a local company as a heavy equipment operator, where I did directional drilling to install fiber optic cable. At no point over these few years did I ever stop playing games, and I also would run a small website or blog because I’ve always just simply had fun building communities and voicing my opinions on gaming. I have 2 children now, 7 and 1, but I knew that as I was inching closer to 40 I was going to have to really start grinding if I were to ever achieve my dream so I started working with Unity every free moment that I got, as well as staying on top of the industry and constantly reading about everything in the gaming world as well as formulating ideas about the path that I would take to have a chance at development.
With the greed that seems to be so prevolant now in the gaming industry I knew I had a principal to stand by. If I was going to make a game, it was going to be because I wanted to, not for the money. I’ve been at or below the poverty line my entire adult life, and I’ll stay here for the rest of it right here in this little single-wide trailer as long as I have the chance to create. However, with a job that took me out of town most of the time with seemingly endless travel and hard physical labor, I didn’t know if I would ever have the energy to put in the work I knew needed to be done in order to achieve the dream I have had since childhood.
Then, as faith would have it, I seriously injured my back in October of this year (2019).