Developer Spotlight: Ben Ruiz, Team Colorblind

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Classically trained animator, combat consultant, and co-founder of Team Colorblind, Ben Ruiz has done some spectacular work on his upcoming game, Aztez.

At the moment, Ben is the sole combat designer and artist for Aztez but since 2005, he’s shipped 15+ games. Elsewhere, Ben frequently writes about combat design on the Aztez development blog, he offers video game combat consultation, and teaches level design and game production at local universities and technical schools.

We caught up with Ben to ask a handful of questions about his work with Team Colourblind:

What does your work with Team Colorblind entail?

I am the artist and combat guy at Team Colorblind. I established the look of the game and built out the world. I also design, build, and tune every single attack and attack reaction in the game. Because I'm the sole combat guy, my job is also to watch the players and maintain enemy and weapon balance.

What was it that drove you to game development?

I've always wanted to be a game developer. My motivations have changed as I've grown up, but I've always liked getting the worlds out of my head and solving problems. As an adult, my primary motivation is building technical game experiences in unique worlds.

What has been your favourite project to work on; personal or professional?

Aztez has definitely been my favourite project. I've been wanting to make this kind of game my whole life, and the fact that I am in creative control is a dream come true. It beats everything else I've ever touched, easily.

What hardware/software do you usually use?

Our game engine is Unity, and I use Maya to model and rig, Motionbuilder to animate, and Photoshop to texture. I use After Effects to cut video and we use Slack to have all of our communication in one place.

What misconceptions do people have about your job?

The biggest misconception is that there is a big team of us making this game when it's really just 2 of us full-time with some a few (enormously helpful) satellite helpers. There SHOULD be many more people working on this but we're too greedy and masochistic for that.

What do you love most about your work?

The part I love the most is the creation and tuning of new weapon systems. Imagining them is fun, and making them happen from scratch is super enjoyable. It all culminates in handing it off to someone else and they really like it. Tuning it to perfection is the cherry on the cake.

Do you have any advice for budding game developers?

If you're a budding game developer, then you should always be working on your core skills. Get into the habit of constantly getting better at what you do. If you're a budding game designer, finish things! And then give them to people and let them rip apart, and then iterate until it's fun. If it's not getting more fun, then scrap it! This is the design process and it's crucial to understand this.

If you could’ve worked on any game in the past, what feature would you have added?

I would have added a quick travel to Dragon's Dogma. I loved that game to death but I stopped playing after about 15/20 hours because I found myself running to the other side of the world more often than I found myself doing fun things. It was a gross misstep in the design of a game I was ready and willing to dump a ton of time into. :(

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