Saturday, 23 March 2013

Meet the developers: Susanne Chan

This week I chose to interview Susanne Chan, one of the gameplay designers here in E1 Studio.

She is warm, friendly and a highly intelligent individual with a remarkable amount of patience. She’s the kind of person you would like to sit next to in an office.

Unfortunately, we sit at opposite corners of the studio and she has been real busy of late. This kinda got in the way of me getting to know her better.

But that’s why I love this blog.

It’s a great tool for me to connect with my colleagues here at E1 Studio.

Hey Sue, let’s start off with a little bit about your background. Where are you from?

I was born in Switzerland and raised in Penang. I studied in international schools there. Penang's a nice island, quiet city living without the hassles.

What were you before joining E1 Studio?

I was naturally drawn to writing from an early age so it's no surprise I pursued it as a career. Started as a journalist after college then became an advertising copywriter. After 10 years of being a commercialism monger, I grew restless. I had been interested in game writing for years so one day, I decided to take the plunge.

What is your role in the development of the Hoodwink series?

I am the Project lead for Hoodwink 2. I help to steer its creative direction and supervise gameplay design.

Can you share with me your all-time favourite game? Or the game you find most memorable?

It's really hard to name just one. If you twist my arm, I would have to say Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
If I could list my top ten, I would say: Dreamfall The Longest Journey, Beyond Good & Evil, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M's Way, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Bastion, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Planescape: Torment, Dishonored, Fallout and Arcanum.

Which game designer do you look up to the most?

There are four actually. Chris Avellone, Richard Lemarchand, Danien Chee and Sean K. Dunkley. I admire the narrative and character depth in Chris Avellone's games.

I had the opportunity to attend one of Richard's presentations about player engagement. It was pretty inspiring and made me think about game design in a different way.

Danien Chee and Sean K. Dunkley are great as they have been giving me advice about game development from time to time, helping me to broaden my views and grow.

Also, this might sound corny but I am also inspired by my co-workers who are able to teach me something new every day.

If you could play any kind of character you wanted in an RPG, what would you be? 

A demon space pirate who crash landed on a Conan the Barbarian-esque world. (You did say it could be anything)

What song/band/artist are you currently listening to?

David Guetta. I've been turning myself deaf listening to his music, especially those from Nothing But The Beat album. I like how his style changes to match the various singers.

What’s your favourite painting?

I'm a fan of Art Suydam and have a collection of cards featuring his artwork. His drawing "Mysterious Worlds" is my favourite. It reminds me that there could still be beauty amidst horror.

What do you usually have for breakfast?

My favourite is pancakes but that is more a lazy Sunday brekkie. Charcoal bread with butter. Soft boiled eggs with pepper and soy sauce. Hokkien Mee (when in Penang). If I don't have time for breakfast, I run on Swiss coffee.

Are you a Dog or a Cat person?

I grew up with both but I love cats. Or more like am cat mad. It's one of the first things people remember about me. Here's a pic of my cat, Brat. Dopey isn't she?

Any advice for the budding game designers out there?

Don't be afraid to think big. You can always distil the good parts from there.
Never be afraid to fail. You can always learn from your mistakes.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Everyone's learning something new every day.
Most of all, go out and experience life. It's the best place to find inspiration and ideas for your game.

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