The Dejobaan Voice. Who is he? Who are they?
Through some painful investigative reporting, I was able to decipher part of the puzzle. Even my most ruthless extraction methods could not unravel the whole mystery. But I got to know part of the Dejobaan Voice, Gameplay Architect Dan Brainerd.
(Image courtesy Flickr.com)
So you’re the Dejobaan Voice, huh?
Dan: To clarify, sometimes I am, sometimes it’s other people. Like Ichiro Lambe, President and Founder, and… others. We do not speak of the others. Which is kind of ironic, as they are part of the Dejobaan Voice.
How did you get involved in video game development?
Dan: When I was very young, my parents bought an Apple ][. Within a week, I was creating my own games in Applesoft Basic. They weren’t very good, but I learned a lot. Later in life, I worked with Ichiro on a number of creative technical tasks at another company. We worked very well together, and have collaborated on and off for fifteen years.
(image courtesy: Flickr.com)
Did you go to school specifically to develop?
Dan: I didn’t go to school for it. I would sum up my game creation experience as 80% improvisation, 19% prevarication, and 1% exsanguination. I’m not saying that I plant the seed of a game and water it with my own blood, but if that would work, it might be fun.
(Image courtesy: Flickr.com)
That’s you on the meditation track, isn’t it? Where do you come up with this stuff?
Dan: I am on the rejected meditation. Sadly, my meditation track wasn’t quite soothing enough, but we left it in so others could hear what didn’t work. I listen to it all the time. All the time. I quote it often. Randomly. On the bus. They won’t let me ride anymore.
I hear you came up with the premise for AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (Aaaaa! for short). What crazy thoughts were running through your head at the outset?
Dan: I have come to realize in the last year or so that I’m not getting any younger. It won’t be too long before, like all middle aged white males, I look to other cultures to steal cool things to adapt to my own purpose, and from which to leech what is popular. I poked around YouTube, looking for radical coolness I might co-opt for myself for my online persona. Then I came across this video [LINK]. I couldn’t do it myself, as I am a lazy slob with breakable bones, but nevertheless I was intrigued. BASE jumping seemed fun and cool, but also potentially delicious in video game form. A trickle of drool salivated from my mouth as I thought of how it might manifest into a truly tender and juicy game.
Now you’re the creative guy. Are you “crazy, throw cats at the wall for inspiration” creative, or a “let me sit with my pot of coffee and many books and ponder” kind of guy?
Dan: If I had to choose, I’d throw hot coffee at cats, then divine the future from the steaming scalding entrails, and find hints at destiny in their -- if you’ll pardon the expression -- caterwauling. Sadly, this plan is unfeasible as I don’t have any cats.
(image courtesy: Flickr.com)
Would you take cat donations?
Dan: No. Well actually… no. My roommates have dogs. Not going to happen. My creative process can be summed up as this: I come up with an idea, and later, I think of another idea, and then more ideas, and so on. It might be mathematically expressed as follows: as the number of ideas approaches infinity, so does time. I could make you a graph.
What is the most “out there” idea that you've pitched and gotten someone to say “okay, let’s do that”?
Dan: In recent years, I persuaded a group of museum curators and administrators to hire me as a manager of a cultural music and dance tour, based solely on my Dungeons and Dragons experience. I lie; not solely on Dungeons and Dragons alone, but also on my ability to be nice to people. Which I learned from Dungeons and Dragons.
Now I know you spend much of your time working into the wee hours of the morning thinking of ways to torture our players with new ideas. How do you do it? Energy drinks? Coffee? Spilling hot coffee in your lap?
Dan: I do drink more caffeine than is healthy (note the lack of “probably” in the former clause). But I do wish to make clear that I don’t hate people who play games. In fact, if you drew a Venn diagram in which one set was the general population of gamers, and the other set was people I hated, the intersection would be small, indeed. I will confess, while testing levels, I have intentionally shuffled buildings around to make it extremely hard for Ichiro to survive, and then acted innocent. But that’s not hatred, it’s a kind of love; the best kind.
Dan: I’d like them to know, if they’re interesting in developing games, the following things are unlikely to help:
1. Memorize Pi to the 1000th digit.
2. Achieve a height of physical perfection so that they may do a standing double backflip.
3. Add an item to this list and pass it on to 5 friends.
Please don’t report this to the post office. So that's Dan, the Voice behind Dejobaan. Well, he's a voice among voices. Who knows if the truth will ever be uncovered? We might have to throw him off of a tower to get the full story, but luckily, we've got lots of them here.
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