Gold Showcase Winner: Team Brodinjer

Video game Brodinjer banner (provided by Calysto Chastain).

This summer, DGM News Flash decided to approach some of the 2021 DGM Showcase winners and ask them about their projects. Our first interview is with the team that created the animated video game Brodinjer as part of their Senior Capstone. Team members include Skye Slade (Technical Director and Lead Programmer), Rhett Wimmer (Senior Character Artist, Environment Prop Artist, and Concept Artist), Calysto Chastain (Lead Environment Artist, Art Director, and Lighting Artist), Kyle Hinkley (Project Manager, UI/UX Designer, Sound Designer, and VFX Artist), Jonathon Rogers (Animator), Jonathan Luther (Animator), and Eloy Lazaro (Animator).

This week, we pinned down three team members to give us an interview on the project, including their thoughts on approaching an animated game, working during the COVID pandemic, and learning from a small team approach. Below is that interview with Project Manager Kyle Hinkley, Art Director Calysto Chastain, and Senior Character Artist Rhett Wimmer.

Digital Media: Okay, team, what is the story behind the Brodinjer project?

Kyle Hinkley: The five of us signed on to an undefined game project mostly because we really didn’t want to make an animation. Calysto came up with the idea of a half-giant, and the other unique ideas [it] sort of coalesced from each of us brainstorming for a few weeks in 2019.

Calysto Chastain: Production on our game began with our team’s shared ambition to create an action-adventure role-playing game. Most of us had played titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and games in the Legend of Zelda series, so we wanted to create something of our own that captured the same sense of wonder and feelings we experienced when playing those stories.

DGM: Can you tell us a little about the game?

CC: In Brodinjer, you play through the tale of a young half-giant, Malik, in his quest towards acceptance and belonging. The dark, powerful, and destructive magics once wielded by the ancient Giant King Brodin still haunt the village folk of Brodinjer centuries later, leaving them wary of all giant kind. It is up to Malik to open their hearts through action and free the village of King Brodin’s lasting wicked curse once and for all.

 

Screenshot of the game showing Buru the Shaman and Malik outside of Buru's hut. There is a banner at the bottom of the image giving direction by Buru "Over that hill is a path that leads straight to the ruins." Screenshot of the end of the game where a large purple skeleton of the Giant Brodin towers over Malik. Power bars are shown at the top and bottom of the image with available weapons also on the bottom.

Screenshots of Brodinjer  game with Sharman Buru and Malik (left) and King Brodin towering over Malik (right) (provided by Rhett Wimmer).

 

DGM: Did any of you have any concerns approaching this project?

Rhett Wimmer: The biggest challenge of working on Brodinjer for me would have to be uncertainty. As students of the Animation and Game Development program, we had never worked on such a big project before, and we were constantly worried about getting the vision right, hoping the game would work and flow together. Obviously, we were worried about even completing such a task. 

KH: It took some adjustment to find our roles and follow along with the technical or art direction. Then, when the pandemic had us doing all of our meetings and work from home, we really had to ramp up our communication via Discord because there were no casual meetings in class.

DGM: Okay, like any project, it had its challenges. What were your favorite parts of working on this game?

KH: My professors probably wouldn’t approve of this answer, but honestly? I loved working on this project from home. School had broken, utterly, my sleep schedule, and I was rarely fully awake during regular class hours. Being able to work during my peak hours between midnight and 8 am really helped me to focus on work without distraction.

CC: I think one of my favorite moments was seeing my concept art brought to life by our fantastic character artist, Rhett Wimmer. It really set in the reality that we were making a game with our own style, vision, and voice that we could be proud of someday.

 

Hero gaming character Malik dressed in leather and fur with green coat and red bindings on arms and legs. He has his hair tied up and red lines on his nose, cheeks and chin.Concept art of Buru's hut with a bed, desk, bookcase, window, and door around the room. In the center is an small fire surrounded with rocks, a kettle hanging over it, and two stools nearby. 

Concept art of Malik (left) and the interior of Shaman Buru's hut (right) (provided by Rhett Wimmer).

 

RW: My favorite part about working on Brodinjer was creating Malik, the main character. It was so much fun to design what he looked like, and then to see him in action and functioning in the game was so rewarding for me. I also loved seeing the end result of the game as we finally had something to show for all of our hard work. 

DGM: Anything else you would like the world to know about working on Brodinjer?

KH:  I was, officially, the Project Manager and did configure the git boards and repos necessary for collaborative remote work, but my team was made entirely of motivated, self-starting people. In the end, I did a little of everything, and I think the program really prepared everyone for working in that way. A large team will need individuals who have [a] very narrow proficiency focus, but a small team of generalists turned out to be very efficient.

CC:  We had a team of absolute powerhouses, and we all really pushed ourselves to the limit to achieve our goals for Brodinjer.  I was already impressed with what each of them were able to accomplish even in the beginning, but they’ve bloomed into even more amazing artists, programmers, and animators right before my eyes. I’m happy to call them my friends and to have had this opportunity to create something with them.

 

Shaman concept art with front and side sketches to three dimentional animation front and side views of the Buru character a birdlike creature in robes with angel wings and arms.

Shaman concept by Calysto Chastain and model by Rhett Wimmer (provided by Calysto Chastain).

 

DGM: So what is on the horizon for your game?

CC: I’m excited to announce that we’ll be publishing our game as free-to-play on itch.io very soon. Keep an eye out for Brodinjer, by Brodinjer StudiosWe also have our sights set on Steam here in the near future.

DGM: Well, big thanks to Kyle, Rhett, and Calysto for sharing their thoughts and artwork with DGM News Flash. We hope to see big things come from you all in the future.

 

Brodinjer DGM Showcase entry.