Here is another interview from the Dutch Bar Citizen featuring Brian Chambers!
The people who made this video possible are Swift Omnium, Obi-Joop Kenobi, Asuna Akira, Case_C,and Facerafter. Transcription was provided by Relay. Enjoy the video!
Brian Chambers(BC): Hey everyone, welcome to the very first Dutch Bar Citizen. I’ve heard it’s going to be crowded there tonight so hopefully you’re not too packed in, please enjoy yourself and have a drink on me.
Swift Omnium(SO): All right, thank you Brian. Can you maybe give us more introduction about yourself?
BC: Absolutely, my name is Brian Chambers, I am the Development Director here in Foundry 42, Frankfurt.
SO: All right, so this is a new office, right? So, this is your first office?
BC: No, no… so this office we moved into last year in July so we’ve been here a little bit of time. Our very first office we were in a temp space, it was very, very small. We were very cramped in, then we started looking for new places once we got bigger. The office that we’re currently in, when we moved in or were handed the keys and signed the lease… there were no walls, no anything. So, it was a blank canvas, I had some ideas in starting how to build it out, you know, what furniture should we get, what colour should we paint the wall. I started asking the team so we could all kinda democratically vote, everybody had a different opinion so at one point I just said, ‘you know what guys, I’m going to do it all myself and if you hate the office, you can remind me everyday that you come in’. Day one everyone moved in and they all seemed to really enjoy it, so when we first moved in here we had twenty one employees in total and I think we just signed another contract yesterday, I believe. So I believe we’re actually up to 56 employees here at Foundry 42.
SO: Right and there’s space enough for more?
BC: Yeah, we can have up to 74-75 people.
SO: All right, yes.
SO: Because it was also possible here with all the space to expand it?
BC: So yeah, absolutely. When we first moved in we had this one space that held 49 people and it took a few months to build this space out so the landlord held on some of the adjoining space for us for free, just kinda as a nice ‘hey, if you ever need this space’. So, just before Gamescom, so in August we took advantage of that and officially expanded into there so that took us from then 49 to 74 seats.
SO: So probably a busy time during Gamescom.
BC: It was incredibly busy. It was… we didn’t necessarily want to help push all the Gamescom stuff and do this new expansion at the same time but we had to do the expansion because we were...although we are incredibly picky on who we bring into join the team, what new hires, we were still growing at 2-3 people per month. So if I didn’t get the extra space done in time there was a potential risk that we would have employees we wanted to hire but we wanted to have space for them. So, we did push it fast.
SO: Yes, can you maybe explain something about your daily routine?
BC: Daily routine… it’s always working on Star Citizen, it’s always new, right? There’s always something that goes on, it’s a little fresh that kinda curveballs get thrown at you. You come in the day with an idea which you’re going to handle, usually something comes up that will take some higher priority and you jump on that to sort it out. I’m in the office every day about 8 am, most of the rest of the team is between 9:30-10...those times between 8-10 is where I get a tremendous amount of work done because the team’s not here and I can just focus and push through things. Once the guys come in there’s always stuff to discuss, where’s our progress on things, issues that come up, decisions that need to be made, both not only on the game but even just on the facility and hiring people and just keeping the office running in a healthy way for everyone to be here.
SO: So, the atmosphere right now, pushing out 2.6 and looking forward to 3.0, is there an extra tense atmosphere here or is it like no issue here?
BC: I don’t think it’s… I don’t think tense would the right way to phrase it. You know, people… you become more and more focused on details when we get closer to launch as you need to, right? So, you have an idea for something, right? Whatever it game it might be, you start putting all the pieces together and it’s on paper and then assets come in and codes coming in and all these things start coming together and once all the pieces come in then that’s when you really start tuning. You start finding out what bugs are there and it forces us to work more on those details to make sure that feature or that system is there and complete. So, that...not necessarily is it tense but it does give us a fairly defined focus, right? With that even on this push for 2.6, we just recently had for the last two weeks now or three weeks, we’d had I think 9 members from the UK team out here.
SO: Oh really?
BC: Absolutely, they just went back yesterday because they’re CHristmas party is coming up so they should be back in the UK for their company party but they’ll be back next week as well. So they’re working with our team to push in tandem we also have some guys from the German office in the UK working with them in certain disciplines. So you know, you find when you pull people together at times it increases the productivity so when we get to the end of something or close to the end or if we’re in the middle but we really want to push and sort some issues out… we’ll pull people together that are all within Europe sometimes even from the US to focus.
SO: That’s great and I can imagine that you're proud of the team right now, they’re accomplishing so much, so many things…
SO: Are there things that maybe that recently happened or anything you wish to share with the community or Bar Citizen?
BC: It’s hard to say, you know, yes I’m absolutely proud of the team. I feel incredibly lucky with the team we’ve pulled together, people seem to like to be here. We go out of our way to hire people that are passionate about the genre and passionate about the project that they’re on. So, it’s cool to see people working everyday, right? If I call out one discipline that, oh this one’s really cool or oh this is cool… then that’s kinda crappy to the other disciplines, right?
There’s lots of things I think if you look at collectively that we’re doing, I mean the design team is growing and they're really getting traction. We’ve got a lead level designer here that’s pushing his team, lead system designer that’s pushing his team… Todd Pappy on top of that driving at and driving a lot of design across this whole project. Toby driving the weapons guys, getting that sorted, we’ve built up a team now… four guys just focusing on weapons both NPC and ship weapons or FPS rather and ship weapons. Procedural planets, that’s nuts, right? The engineers that have been able to pull that off, I still remember the first time internally that we saw Pupil to Planet, when Marco had gotten the tech done and threw it to Hannes and we put a guy there and you went from sighting a tiny little dot in space to flying all the way into this dude’s eye. We were like, what’s going on here, this is nuts, right? So we get excited about that. Goes on and on, you’re not able to see right now progress of the cinematic side because they are focused for Squadron 42 and we’re doing our best to make sure when that’s revealed that is fresh and new to everybody, right? But the progress that that team’s doing and cinematics that they’ve been put together so far, the progress they blow me away.
So, I could go on and on… I mean we’re building up a small environment art team now, that’s up to 6 people. They’re working really, really close with the engineers pushing the ecosystems and terrain, detail in the terrain for the procedural planets. Once… and kinda a bit of R&D because some new terrain means, you know, there is a difference from technically and aesthetically and functional wise on how we’re building shrubbery and grass, right. On a planet versus how you’re building things to be covered in snow or lightly dusted with snow, right. So, excuse me, there’s different things that we have to be mindful of on a technical end and the aesthetic end, so they’re really pushing on the terrain to really get the detail that it needs to be. Yeah, I could go on and on and on, and sorry for anyone I left out but…
SO: No, it’s great.
BC: Yeah, yeah it’s great honestly and also on top of that, I mean, all the guys here work on a daily basis, a daily basis with all the other guys from the other studios as well, right. There’s a constant collaboration which is cool and we’re constantly updating the way we communicate to make things more efficient and how we share information and so on. So, it’s good, it’s a good global team.
SO: Yes, it is because I maybe just speaking for myself but when we were walking into your office, very pleasant and everybody is just...it’s a good mood and it’s very good to see.
BC: Absolutely, yeah and part of that I mean that is… it sounds silly maybe but it’s honest constant work on my end and everyone else’s end to make sure it maintains that, right. We try to keep an atmosphere that I’d like to say here in the German office, we’re very relaxed. Yet at the same time we don’t mess around, we have a task, we focus on the task and we get it done. If we have issues, we bring those issues up, we address them immediately and the flip side if we have strong wins or we pull off something we’re proud of we all celebrate. So yeah, I try really hard to keep the office here relaxed feeling and inviting and I think so far we’ve done pretty good.
SO: So, perfect balance between relaxation and getting shit done.
BC: Absolutely, I mean ask anybody here randomly, right, and I do… you know, could they lie to me? Sure they could lie to me if I’m the boss of studio but everybody usually says, you know I really enjoy working here, right and I’ve heard numerous times which makes me smile, they go, this is the best place I’ve ever worked. I go, that’s awesome.
SO: That is awesome.
BC: I’m like I’ve done an ok job then to make sure and so have our leads and our other directors, and that also means we’re bringing in the right people that have the right skills and push things and they have the right mentality to work together.
SO: So, are you looking forward to something, like something’s that’s coming up or something you want to share?
BC: What am I looking forward… I always look forward to the next release, although that sounds a little softer or bland. I always look forward to the next release because we see it for a long time, right, we work and work and work and work and the moment we can get something into people’s hands... and you get that feedback, right. Every morning I come in, almost every morning, I’m watching people play on Twitch and different streaming and it’s fun to see their reactions, right. It’s even fun to see their banter, what they don’t like, it’s good to hear the opinions of what we put out here. So, I’m fortunate enough that I see things we’re doing today, you guys won’t see for a few months, right. Can I explain them all, no, we can’t but this project is unique in the sense that we’re live and constantly progressing in giving more of our progress out to the players. We’re fortunate enough that there are so many backers, like you guys out there that are embracing this process with us. The alternative in general developer/publisher traditional, we’re locked in a room for a few years and people only see like a pretty trailer you put out for Gamescom or an E3 or some type of show, right. You guys have seen what we’re doing on a daily basis, I mean it’s gotten as far now we’re publishing our schedules to people, right.
SO: Yeah, true.
BC: That’s nuts so it’s incredibly unique but it’s also at the same time incredibly rewarding.
SO: Yes, yes, I can imagine. So, what are your experience with offline and online communities?
BC: Community’s awesome. They’re so much fun, sometimes you just get people that give you accolades, ‘this is awesome dude, you’re doing a great job’ I get some people that go, ‘you did that thing and I didn’t like it’, right. I get a whole mix, I’ve tried to have some presence a little bit in the community when I get on Twitch and so on and Twitter. I like discussing back and forth as much as I can, right. I am watching people in the community every single day to some extent, sometimes I don’t say I’m there and I just lurk, right but it’s fun, again it’s fun to watch people, it’s fun to banter and the supports great. Offline it’s awesome as well, we… I definitely can I have friends now that I have met through this game that now we socialize with, right. That I socialize with, you find common interests and so on. So, you’re not playing the game anymore and you're not streaming but you’re still hanging out and you’re still talking, right.
SO: Perfect example is the Bar Citizen right now.
BC: Absolutely, 100%. People come together and with common interests that hang out and have fun, right. They…we recently in October had a.. What they call CitCon out here in Germany, 500 people came together, right. Based around the game, it was awesome, so much fun and just as an even how the thought with the community has been extended for me, I’d asked the team, ‘hey who wants to come?’ and of course it’s local to us, it was out here. I had half the team show up, on a Saturday night, they took their own Saturday night and said, ‘absolutely, let’s hang out with backers...and fans’, right. So, it was a blast.
SO: There is also one question from the community, are there any relatives of yours that also play Star Citizen?
BC: Yes, shout to my brother-in-law, Stoutman PR . He streams everyday I think is probably 80-90% Star Citizen which is cool. He’s a little bit older than me and he’s an old school PC gamer, old, old school. He… interesting with that he… we check with him occasionally, my wife...he’s my wife’s brother so they chat a couple times a month and at one point he asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘Oh I started streaming’ and this was when he just started and she goes, ‘oh yeah you’re streaming what?’. He goes, ‘it’s this new space game, kinda just getting into’. She goes, ‘oh yeah, what’s it called?’. He goes, ‘Star Citizen’ and she looks at me and goes, ‘my brother’s streaming the game you’re working on’. He had no idea, he knew I was making games, been doing this for roughly 20 years but he had no idea I was involved in it, right and I think at that point I don’t even know if the German office was even announced. So yeah, I have since gone on and did an interview a long time ago, you know, while he’s streaming and so on and I was fortunate enough when I went out to LA to hang out with him for a good amount of time. Definitely plugging him you should check him out, he’s a cool dude and he takes...and another things that’s cool Stoutman does and other streamers, they take the time when new people come in and go, ‘hey how do you do this’ and woah, woah hold on. I’ve seen people get out of the game, go back in the UI, this is how you select ships, this is how you do this, they really help people, right. They’re not beating them up and go, ‘you’re a noob’, you know, bla bla bla. They’re coming in and they’re embracing them and going they’re going, awesome, cause they know the more people and the more they can show and people can experience it...they may get hooked like they are and keep pushing then the community grows and grows and grows, so.
SO: All right, I can’t imagine. Well Brian, thank you so much for taking the time.
SO: For us and all the Bar Citizen… Dutch Bar Citizen fans out there.
BC: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure, again I hope everyone is having fun tonight and thanks for taking the time to listen to me ramble.