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Interview with the makers, Pt. 1

March 08, 2018

We've hinted a few times recently that we're working on something new, and while it's not quite time to reveal that, it's not too early to get an update on the team.

Accordingly, a conversation with (part of) the dev team, who reluctantly put aside their codes and keyframes long enough to reveal a bit about themselves and their takes on the game industry.

I'm Doug Zartman, once the voice of BoB and the voice of Bungie, now helping out here at Industrial Toys. Here is Part 1 of our conversation:

Team hard at work during a recent internal GameJam. Nobody got motion sick. Promise.

1) How did you get into the game industry?

Alex (founder, old guy, team lead): My senior year of college I decided I wanted to start a business. My only real marketable skill was programming. And my interest, having grown up on Atari games and Zork was... you guessed it, gaming! So I wrote a game in C on the Mac and started a company to sell it. That company was Bungie.

Brent (founder, old guy, programmer): While at Apple working on early 3D hardware systems I reverse-engineered the Marathon file format to convert its maps into 3D content for our demos. Luckily it caught the eye of Alex at Bungie before Apple Legal and he hired me. I started the Oni project at Bungie in 1997 which was published by Take Two in 2001.

Jason (lead tech, new father): During my grad degree at DePaul, I worked on a game called Devil's Tuning Fork where you explored a world and solved puzzles using sound. Using that game as part of my resume, I applied to the Experimental Game Lab at Disney. We prototyped some very cool mechanics there. When that internship ended, one of the mentors for that program started working full time at Disney Mobile and he hired me to help him port JellyCar to mobile devices. Hence began my career.

Steve (old guy, art director): I got my degree in architecture at UC Berkeley. During my last semester, the University invested in a bunch of Silicon Graphics machines and offered a class on 3D modeling and animation. I learned the basics of 3D asset creation and it was the most fun thing I had ever done. I got a job in an architecture firm right out of college, but in my spare time I'd learn 3DSmax at home. It took about a year of working nights and weekends to get a portfolio together complete with a trailer for a fake game I designed. About that time Bungie was hiring in San Jose for an environment modeler. So I applied with my architecture background, but during the interview asked if I could apply as an animator. They gave me an animation assignment to do over the weekend and I spent about 30 hours over that weekend putting together a movie of a guy drawing and shooting weapons - and got the job! It was one of the best days ever 

Timmy (young gun, senior designer): I graduated from the USC Interactive Media Program.


2) Top 3 games of all time (that you did not work on)

Alex: I play a lot of games, finish very few. My favorite three? In no particular order: Portal, Ico and Plants vs. Zombies. All very different - but all took a tried and true genre and did something really surprising with it.

Brent: Nihilumbra - A super fun and innovative puzzle game with a deep and fascinating story.http://www.nihilumbra.com/
World of Goo - Another innovative puzzle game with a soundtrack that really captures the mood of the levels -http://2dboy.com/games.php
Jelly Car! - One of the first mobile games published for the iPad that uses soft body physics and had awesome human vocal sound effects.

Jason: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Portal, Megaman II

Steve: Street Fighter 2, Ultima VII, Candy Crush [bold admission there Steve - ed]

Timmy: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metroid Prime, Left 4 Dead 2


3) Rank yourself at multiplayer vs your officemates, who dominates? Who has the best excuses?

Alex: With all honesty it really depends on the game. If it's our game I would say I'm in the above average category, slightly below elite. Timmy probably thinks he's the best - but in reality it's RobV - 3D art guru who may not slay you with verbosity, but it will be Game Over before you've even gotten situated in a map. Whenever I lose it's totally because of an input bug.

Brent: I am revered as the dominant player in the office. Every day I enter the office to a High Five Tunnel as I sit down at my desk to dish about the daily lesson in ass-kickery awesomeness. Then I wake up to the crushing reality that I am total trash, hands down the worst player in the office.

Jason: I'm definitely top 3. Timmy and Rob V tend to dominate the most. Kearney has the worst excuses.

Steve: Hmmmm, I'm probably middle of the road. Jason and Rob V are really good and usually at the top of our office play sessions. And I have some pretty good excuses for losing which aren't really excuses because they're accurate assessments of the reasons I lost which are totally out of my control 

Timmy: I dominate in the games we make (except for Rob V, he can compete). Sean dominates at board games but he cheats. Alex's excuses are usually pretty good.

Thanks to the team for their time and keep an eye out for Part 2!

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