It’s back! After a riotous good time in 2013, The Brain Dump returns to PAX Prime this year for another rapid fire session with accomplished game developers. Everyone gets their own five minutes to talk on the theme of "One Weird Trick" to Game Development. And no two tricks are alike, I assure you.
Who’s in the lineup? Well let’s see, we’ve got:
Jeff Agala - Creative Director at Klei Entertainment, makers of Don’t Starve, Mark of the Ninja, and freshly on Steam Early-Access game Invisible, Inc.
Katie Chironis - Designer extraordinaire who I got to know at Microsoft where she worked on things like D4, Ori and the Blind Forrest and who is now out in the indie world.
Sylvain Dubrofsky - Senior designer at PopCap Games, whose illustrious past includes everything from Rock Band to Peggle.
Chandana “Eka” Ekanayake - Art Director at Uber Entertainment, where he’s led the art efforts on everything from Planetary Annihilation to Toy Rush.
Jared Gerritzen - Man of many roles, previously studio head at Zombie where he launched Blacklight Retribution, now mixing things up at Major League Gaming.
Deborah Hendersen - A user research lead at Microsoft, where she’s worked on everything from State of Decay (a personal favorite, naturally) to forthcoming titles like Quantum Break and Scalebound.
Ellen McLain - Accomplished voice actor who you may know best as the voice of some disturbed robot called GlaDOS in some little game called Portal.
Bernard Yee - Veteran producer and executive, recently working on Plants vs. Zombies, now the producer over at Oculus VR’s Seattle studio.
The session is Monday at 11:30AM in the Sphinx hall - if you’re at PAX, swing by and say hi and listen to all the trickery.
Also straight out of Gamescom, here’s 8+ minutes of gameplay from Remedy’s Quantum Break. This focuses on gunplay at first, but gets to some of the unique time manipulation mechanics later in the trailer. The game lands somewhere between Max Payne and Alan Wake, and if you like either of those, it’d be silly not to be tracking this game.
As for the unique narrative stuff I worked on… you’ll have to wait ‘til later on that.
Me becoming enraptured with Lauren Bacall was very much tied to me falling in love with film while in college.
I remember seeing her first in To Have and Have Not on VHS which I sought out primarily because it was a Howard Hawks film (he being a then-and-now favorite). I was stunned at how perfect it was and how utterly unique she was. I’m still surprised that movie is not more revered. (And remember - she’s 19 in that film!) Soon thereafter I programmed it at the University of Chicago’s Law School Films. I remember we couldn’t show it in the Law School itself (because the UofC Law School administration hated us and always hijacked the theater with little warning). We had to rent the Oriental Institute instead, but the movie still played fantastically.
Then The Big Sleep of course - we put the above image on the cover of one of our LSF calendars. Years later I would see the original “tamer” version of the movie at the Film Forum in New York - the cut where they realized her character was written too meek and had to be made strong and infinitely alluring because that is what she did.
Later as I got into Douglas Sirk, and loved her in Written on the Wind, still probably my favorite Sirk film. It showed how age just made her better. People call that film a melodrama, but I think that does it a bit of a disservice. It’s just good storytelling. We showed that too, naturally.
I cannot think of a more alluring movie star, a woman who dominated or at least stood toe-to-toe with every man she bothered to talk to. There will never be another like her.
Images and words mostly about video games, crime fiction, and Hitchcock.
Richard Rouse III is a game designer and writer working on an indpendent project. Recently he was a design lead at Microsoft Studios, working on titles like State of Decay, Sunset Overdrive, and Quantum Break. He was creative director and writer on The Suffering action-horror franchise, and has also worked on Rainbow 6: Patriots, Homefront, Drakan: The Ancients' Gates, Damage Incorporated, and Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis. He wrote the book Game Design: Theory and Practice, and is known for his lectures on game design and storytelling. He lives in the Seattle area with his very understanding wife and children.