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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Jul 8, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we are beginning to come dangerously close to spending longer talking about Republic Commando than we did playing it. This time, we get a look behind art development for Star Wars through the eyes and voices of two artists who worked on the title: Greg Knight, who was the principal concept artist for the game, and Paul Pierce, who designed the look and feel of the user interface. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:45 Interview segment
1:14:39 Break
1:15:14 Feedback

Issues covered: how Paul got his start, web design in the 90s, learning 3D modeling, how Greg got his start, the ubiquity of LucasFilm in Marin, making an important connection and getting an unstoppable recommendation, the importance of art in establishing a game, the design of HUDs and menus, the distinction between UX and UI, how UI art got into the game, iterating the UI in response to the game you're building, starting out as a texture artist, imagining rooms as a whole and getting noticed for your control of tone, an exciting time to learn about concept art, being a force multiplier for the art team, the need for concept art with rising fidelity, keeping cohesive style and flow in the art by use of concept art as well as art direction, differences with film, what immersive experiences mean for content, lacking control of camera, good ideas coming from all over, vs auteurism, putting a burden on UI aesthetics by being always first-person, bringing in the visor pieces, losing visual real estate and that conversation, the impact on design on art decisions, putting the ammo readouts on the guns, marking up renders to figure out where UI elements would go, weapons as characters, running into resistance with the programmers, the ways programmers can... avoid work, the conversation you have to have around iteration cost, fitting into a palette, designing vehicles that didn't exist in canon, coming up with the tone of a more deadly clone story, figuring out who the clones even were, figuring out what the side stories were, imagining beyond the borders of the film, morphing to a different scale, how little a Geonosian means to a Jedi and how much to a trooper, colorgrading and how it sells various tones and moods, giving a different interpretation of Star Wars, seeing something of Republic Commando reflected in Rogue One, focusing on what's important to your characters, the heat and contrast of the Geonosians, pulling on the film's UI elements, avoiding drama on a project, checking egos at the door, how collaborative the game was, the value of technical art, the energy of team members, tech artists as glue and bridges, the value of a demo, Neanderthal Tim, when your level is difficulty, the design ideas behind the hangars and bridge, the knobs you had to turn for storytelling through tone, having to die again and again, failure without excessive punishment, the ability level of the team, where your skills are relative to the game, improving communication between branches of the team, setting a vision without falling to design by committee, being able to deliver a new experience for a Star Wars audience, the challenge of making an AI that keeps pace with the player, "The Squad Is Your Weapon," the debate around the efficacy of the squad, building around the game's goals and how other games might attack that differently, the importance of building consensus, trying to find a way to say "yes" to an idea, "everybody can design," being able to have the squad revive you.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: LucasArts, Jedi Starfighter, Bounty Hunter, Galactic Battlegrounds (series), Escape from Monkey Island, Lucidity, Disney, 2K, Transformers, EndeavorRX, Akili, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, The Phantom Menace, EA, Jedi: Fallen Order, NYU Film School, Whole Foods, Cybernautics, Rocket Science Games, Obsidian, Behind the Magic, Haden Blackman, Starcraft, Dan Colon, Lightwave, LucasFilm, Ralph McQuarrie, Hal Barwood, Chris Williams, Unreal, Adobe Illustrator, Peter Chan, Joe Johnston, Doug Chiang, Obi-Wan, Bill Tiller, Jedi Knight, Dark Forces, Nathan Martz, Jeremie Talbot, Hideo Kojima, Metroid Prime, Maya, 3DS Max, Daron Stinnett, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Rogue One, Paul Murphy, James Zhang, Adam Piper, Harley Baldwin, Mafia III, Hangar 13, Top Mix, Kovaak's Aim Trainer, Galaxy of Heroes, Reed Knight, TIE Fighter, John Drake, Ryan/biostats, Pat Sirk, Gary Whitta, Book of Eli, Fallout, Nick from LA, Halo Reach/Halo 5, John Hancock, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Epic Mickey, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
YET. ANOTHER. INTERVIEW.

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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