Hello Hugh! Could you tell us something about you, Stellar Jockeys studio, how were you established and what else are you doing?
The Stellar Jockeys are composed of four members, programmers Harry Hsiao and Dale Kim, my brother Jack Monahan, and myself (Hugh Monahan). Jack and I work together on the art and design side, though on this project Jack's been predominantly responsible for the art as I have been for the design. I met Harry and Dale while they were still working on their undergraduate degrees in CS at the University of Illinois; we started working on some hobbyist projects together which two years later grew into starting a company and eventually to working on Brigador. Jack joined the team at the end of 2012 to take over the art side and we've been a team ever since. Brigador is currently the only project we are working on.
Brigador is a unique game. There are not many robot (mech) games on the market and even less of your genre and visualization. I don’t why but I just recalled a very old game from ZX Spectrum called Nether Earth which I was playing as a child :-). What was the first impulse to create Brigador? Who was the main brain of the whole project? Can you tell us more about the game’s history?
You know Nether Earth was actually mentioned once before by some commenter when we were still early in development; it was the first time we'd ever heard of it but that's actually been the case for most games people bring up. Desert Strike, Mechwarrior 3050, Future Cop: L.A.P.D., Bedlam– these were all new to us when people asked about them as influences after our first trailer launched at the beginning of 2014. It's been a real pleasure finding out about all these games after the fact.
How many guys were working on the game throughout the whole project?
As for the impulse behind Brigador, it's been a long road getting from initial ideas to where we are now– this isn't a case of a game appearing fully formed. The original design was for a top-down persistent RTS… There were certainly interesting ideas there that I'd like to revisit but it was an even more ambitious project than what Brigador ended up being, so we scaled back and re-evaluated, and after several iterations settled on direct control of a single vehicle in isometric perspective. Gameplay wise the biggest single influence, for me in particular, was Crusader: No Remorse, with Syndicate a close second. Both games have 3D aiming in an isometric space, though both handle that via an auto-aim system that had some issues. So those provided the original impetus, but ultimately Brigador was conceived through a kind of pot-luck mentality, where everyone brings what skills they have to the table and you see what the best thing you can build with that is.
The original team was just Dale, Harry, and I, then Jack joined in soon after. Outside of a few contractors that's been the team ever since.
How long did the development take?
We started full-time development of Brigador at the beginning of 2013.
Have you experienced any crisis during the creation? Was everything going smoothly and you were simply making a great game with a clear path to the Steam release? Or were there any moments when you said to yourself why am I doing this? Is it worth my time and nerves?
It's definitely been a difficult road. The decision to build our own engine tacked on a good 2 years to the project, and during a great deal of that development we weren't even sure what we were making; we went through 7 restarts in design on the game before we had the kernels of what would become Brigador.
Are you satisfied with the final product? Would you change anything? Would you do something differently?
Well the game isn't done yet, we've only just launched Early Access so there's a ways to go, but overall I'm very happy with and proud of what we've ended up building. It's a unique game with a unique art style, and I think it will age very well over the years.
Your game has quite a good score on Steam. Is everyone from the team happy and well paid after all the hard work? 🙂
It's too early to talk numbers, but we are certainly happy to have a game out on Steam and to be getting all the feedback from new players as a result. And it's definitely been a tremendous lift for us to see how well people have received the game.
Do you plan to make another mech game? Or just another game? You have already made your own engine so it seems as a logical way to go, doesn’t it?
We plan to keep exploring this universe we've built in a variety of ways and with a variety of games. All we know right now is that if we get to make a second game after Brigador it's going to be a much smaller project so that we can catch our breath and keep the momentum up. None of us are ready to start another 5 year project.
Would you like to say something more to our readers?
Check out Brigador! It's a tough, challenging, but fair game that doesn't waste your time and is very satisfying to play. The whole game world is destructible, we've got awesome music courtesy of Makeup and Vanity Set, and there's an awesome variety of vehicles, weapons, and playstyles to try. Just check out some of the reviews on our Steam page!
Thanks for your interesting answers!