Developer Interview Series: Ben Wong

In this interview, we speak with Ben Wong, the very first employee hired to work for Boomzap back in 2006! He is an Artist/Animator based in Malaysia and has worked on almost all the games developed by Boomzap. 

What got you interested in the video game industry and how did you learn about Boomzap?
I’ve always wanted to be in the game industry since I started working. My first job was in a game company where I met some of the great people whom I’m still working with today. I found out about Boomzap when Allan and Chris were planning to start up the company. Allan was one of the people I had the pleasure of meeting before in the old company, so we got to talking and back then they needed somebody who could make art that wasn’t programmer art, so I joined them.

What course/degree did you take in college? While you were studying, was there an option for you to take any classes regarding game art or video game development?

Way back then there weren’t any specific game development course per say. I studied graphic design, switched to classical animation in a local college before getting my computer animation training in Sheridan College.

How does the Boomzap game development process usually work for you? What kind of directions are you given for a specific game and how do you move forward?

It has changed a lot since I started working here. “Take this. Go make pretty” is now a more structured team effort consisting of designers, artists, animators and sound persons working to get a game out that is fun and entertaining to play as well as a delight to experience.
There is usually an initial idea of what we want to achieve in a scene, and then there’d be some influx of feedbacks and better ideas before some compromises are made and we are all satisfied enough to call it “done” and worthy. It’s always going to be a hard balancing act to make something new and inspiringly awesome versus completing it within a reasonable amount of time.
Moving forward with the development process is just continuing this balancing act while not being too stubborn or resistant to change. Adaptability and problem solving is always the fun part of playing games, I’d think it also holds true for game development.
What are your favorite Boomzap games that you’ve worked on and why?
I can’t really say there were any favourites amongst the games I’ve worked on. That has got to be the most unfair question ever. I like all the games equally much. However I can say that there are some that hold some sentimental value to me like *cough* Jellyboom, Frogs in Love and Orchard. Mostly because they were earlier made games with more trial and error but also because it’s our earliest labour of love.

Jelly Boom

Are there any particular artists that inspire you?

There are so many that I could not begin to list them out. Also because I don’t know most of their names. Nowadays I get inspired from our own talent pool who produce these amazing artworks. Keeps me wanting to make their art come a little more to life through my animations.

What are your personal favorite video games to play?

GTA series, DragonAge series, Fallout series. OMG. Fallout2, is like my most favourite game of all time.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not making art for Boomzap games?

I try to catch up with life. And the occasional casual gaming.

What advice do you have for those that are aspiring to be game artists?
I don’t think it applies only to artists but to game developers in general. Try to keep working on your own skills but try even harder to work with other people. Game development is… as cliche as it sounds, a team game.