Brendon Chung is an independent games developer and founder of Blendo Games. This August he released the crazy crime game Thirty Flights of Loving, the sequel to his 2008 game Gravity Bone. He kindly sat down with us for ten minutes to chat all about it, and how he got into the games industry.
What is it about games that attracted you to the industry in the first place?
As a kid, I grew up making games as a hobby. I made a slew of games in QBasic and maps in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Everything I made was fairly awful and crude, but was very enjoyable. It rubbed those same pleasure centers of playing with toys and seeing how machines work.
Thirty Flights of Loving has a very pulp fiction feel to it. What were some of your influences when designing the game?
A lot of Wong Kar-Wai, a lot of Valve and Looking Glass Studios storytelling, a lot of Disneyland ride design, and a lot of influence from LucasArts & Sierra adventure games I grew up on.
What made you write Thirty Flights of Loving as a series of vignettes rather than a linear story?
I like to experiment with my games, to try to do things differently and see what results from it. The results are hit and miss (as my email inbox of hate-mail attests to) but usually are, at the very least, “interesting.” Creating meaning via editing was something I’d been wanting to play with for a while.
What were some of the challenges you faced when making the game, and how did you solve them?
Iteration was fairly slow. In order to see any lighting changes I had to take several minutes to compile the map. Gameplay revisions didn’t take as long, but still took a fair amount of time.
In order to work around this I made basic helper modifications. At the end of every map compile I had the tool make a beep noise, so I had an audible notification of when to return to my computer. To get around the game world quickly I created a network of debug teleporters to get me anywhere in the game.
In 2005 you began working for Pandemic Studios. What are some of the differences between working on big projects and your own, smaller titles?
Scale, scope, and fidelity are things that a large studio can tackle, and that a small studio like me has to be careful with. Being independent grants more creative freedom, but places more responsibilities on your shoulders, such as marketing, the business end, order fulfillment, website maintenance, user support, and other back-end details.
As an indie developer, what are your thoughts on the opportunities granted by the likes of Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter?
It’s an exciting time to be an independent developer. It’s always good to see more funding channels and more distribution channels available.
Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on Quadrilateral Cowboy: http://blendogames.com/qc
Quadrilateral Cowboy is a cyberpunk game focusing on hacking, stealth, and programming syntax. It’s currently being made and will hopefully be available next year.
Thirty Flights of Loving is available to download direct from Blendo Games’ website for Windows and Mac.
Visit the website here.
Follow Brendon on Twitter here.
This is only the first of many interviews to come! Keep checking back, as soon we’ll be talking to Miguel Sternberg of Spooky Squid Games, and we have another one lined up with Dan Walters of Micro Macro Games.