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From Head to Hoe: Hobbywork in Fancy Hats

This week, we feature Radu, the Product Designer of Escape the Pacific.

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Welcome to our bi-weekly newsletter about the unique folks in the Hashtag Survival community!

This week, we feature Radu, the Product Designer of Escape the Pacific, an open-world survival craft game.

POI: Radu

When faced with the phrase "it's not possible," my response is always, "Challenge accepted!"

My upbringing was deeply rooted in the outdoors, where I developed a profound appreciation for the beauty of life. Much of my childhood was spent in my grandparents' village in Romania, milking goats and cows for breakfast, raising chickens, eating sustainable 95% from our garden and fields, and foraging for berries in the absence of supermarkets. I also had an early fascination with electricity, which became evident when I accidentally short-circuited an entire apartment complex at the tender age of 11, a moment when I realized my destiny as an Electrical Engineer. In a time before smartphones and computers ruled our lives, I relied on my own experiments to satisfy my curiosity.

Several years later, at 16, I left my home country of Romania for Germany, where I delved into Graphic & Web design, filmmaking, and the intricacies of business management. My journey eventually led me to Ireland at the age of 29, where a chance encounter with Peter from the G4G Team opened the door for me to work on "Escape the Pacific."

In addition, I’m building apps using Flutter and Dart, managing websites and online shops, cultivating my own vegetables and craft butter from scratch, and running a small leather goods manufacturing side hustle under the alias "handcraftbandit."

I was born in Romania, two years after the fall of communism. Survival has always been a constant companion in my life. Games have played a significant role in shaping my existence since my earliest memories. Growing up, I was captivated by the Chinese version of the Sega Mega Drive known as "Terminator," Super Mario, and the iconic Atari. An unspoken rule between my mother and me allowed me to play after school, and she indulged in gaming once I had gone to bed. This new technology offered an escape from the real world and a taste of boundless adventure.

When I finally acquired a PS1, I immersed myself in Resident Evil 2. After mastering the game inside and out, I set a personal challenge to complete it multiple times within 24 hours—managing three runs of six hours each. However, my relentless pursuit of this goal led to my mother taking away the PS1, an “incident” that occurred when I was just 10 years old.

Before I even discovered the Survival genre in gaming, I was unwittingly a survivalist. Whether sharing stories by a campfire or losing myself in a book like the Metro series, I've always been drawn to tales of survival. In late 2021, I stumbled upon a survival game recommendation on Steam. Although I had seen and ignored it before, this time, I decided to give it a closer look. At first glance, I thought, "This game appears average, but Steam must see something special." Positive and intriguing comments from players convinced me to make the purchase. To my delight, I discovered the game's exquisite beauty and intricate mechanics. Further investigation revealed that "Escape the Pacific" had been published in 2018 and still received regular updates. I saw immense potential in the game and the team behind it and promptly reached out to the developer, Peter, on Discord.

In January 2022, as I began my customary "New Year strategy" of approaching companies aligned with my passions, I contacted Peter, the developer of "Escape the Pacific." I showcased my skills and offered to contribute to the game's development. After a series of emails and negotiations, he welcomed me aboard, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I've worked on improving internal operational systems to streamline the development, updated the Steam page with fresh content, graphics, and languages, designed and implemented a new game menu UI, and created a new website to showcase the game. Behind the scenes, I've spent nearly a year developing a fresh UI with updated HUD elements and collaborating with Peter on designing new game systems and mechanics.

Check Out Some Games I Love!

Needless to say, I love Escape the Pacific the most, which makes it the ultimate favorite.

  • Resident Evil Series – These games hold a special place in my heart, as they accompanied my growth from a young age.
  • The Elder Scrolls SKYRIM – An epic adventure that left a lasting impression, although the experience changed as I aged. Maybe because I grew up?
  • Inscryption – This game is out of this world! A game that transports you to another realm, simultaneously evoking excitement, fear, anxiety, and joy. It's a true work of art.
  • Metro series – A well-crafted series rich in story and emotions.
  • Stranded Deep is perhaps my most intriguing choice, especially as an Escape the Pacific development team member. However, it has profoundly impacted my appreciation for the Survival genre. Regardless of any reservations others may have about its inclusion here; it occupies a special corner of my heart.

5 Thing I Love

  • Cooking for Loved Ones - Preparing a meal for someone is the highest expression of my love, care, and appreciation for them being in my life. I source ingredients from my garden and local producers as much as possible, fostering a deep connection with my community. If you ever heard of Blue Zones, you know that strong positive ties to your community contribute to a long and healthy life.
  • Compost – Turning something that others consider waste into the most valuable fertilizer on this planet makes me happy. I could talk about subjects like these all day. (Also gardening!)
  • Business – If you ever heard of the “helper syndrome”, I positively suffer from it, admiring those who venture into entrepreneurship. When my schedule allows it, I offer my assistance to businesses I believe in, often without cost. To me, true friendships are more valuable than some numbers on paper.
  • Learning – My wife often marvels at my insatiable appetite for knowledge, manifested through reading, networking with experts, and learning from my own failures. If you ask her to tell you one thing about me, there’s a high chance she’ll say, “I wonder every day how his brain doesn’t burn and explode.”. I recommend this book, this book, and this book!
  • Spark Mail App – Initially only available for Mac users. I had the privilege of beta-testing the Windows version of this software. It seamlessly manages my 15 email addresses, boasting smart templates, team functions, snooze features, distraction-free mode, and AI capabilities.