Brendon_Chung_at_GDC_2012

Brendon Chung – Blendo Games

Though you wouldn’t know it by looking at Blendo’s games, the studio has only one full-time developer – it’s founder, Brendon Chung. While most developers stick with one particular specialty, Brendon prefers to do everything. He writes code, makes models, animates, creates levels, and more. He’s happy to learn what he doesn’t know. In fact, he feels motivated by stepping outside of his experience on every project. Brendon is never content to stay in the same creative space for too long. His latest effort is Quadrilateral Cowboy – a first-person immersive sim title which represents a big increase in scope and size from his previous games. In this interview Brendon and I discuss Quadrilateral Cowboy’s development, his unique work process as a solo developer, and more.

 

  • 0:00 – introduction
  • 1:36 – Brendon’s game developer interview podcast, Extended Memory. The many failures and false-starts behind every well-known game.
  • 3:36 – Every developer has prototypes they’ve worked on and shelve away. We unearth and discuss one of Brendon’s – a five-player DnD-inspired game.
  • 5:31 – I ask Brendon about making games with a darker tone. Why Brendon thinks one-note art can feel sterile.
  • 8:14 – Brendon gives an update on Quadrilateral Cowboy. Why Brendon prefers to change it up in every game, and never stay in the same place creatively for too long.
  • 11:12 – Harnessing your naivete and passion to make games. How Brendon manages his excitement through long periods of development.
  • 15:13 – How Brendon deals with the isolation of being the sole full-time member of Blendo Games.
  • 18:31 – We discuss how Quadrilateral Cowboy is a big change in size and scope for Blendo, and why Brendon feels ready (or maybe not quite) for this challenge now.
  • 20:14 – The “content-hungry” nature of an immersive first-person game like Quadrilateral Cowboy.
  • 24:09 – The connected universe of Blendo Games and why Brendon chose to set every game from Blendo in the same timeline.
  • 28:47 – Brendon discusses how Thief inspired Quadrilateral Cowboy.
  • 31:03 – How Quadrilateral Cowboy’s traversal mechanics affected it’s level design. Why Brendon is OK with the player getting through the levels in unexpected ways.
  • 35:42 – Brendon talks about the organic development process he uses to build his games.
  • 39:42 – Brendon’s typical workday routine. Why Brendon has to force himself to watch YouTube videos of cats.
  • 43:52 – I ask Brendon if he’d ever be willing to return to a larger studio. The benefits and disadvantages of working with a larger team.
  • 47:41 – Brendon talks about his experience at GDC 2015 and the talk he gave on level design.

  • 50:09 – Level design tips from Brendon. How to take advantage of the player’s facing and attention to convey information.
  • 52:35 – The long term plan for Blendo Games. How Brendon plans to work on larger projects with temporary collaborations.
  • 55:38 – Thank you, goodbye, and outro.

 

Rob is a software engineer and amateur game developer. He lives in Bellevue, Washington.

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