Jeff Brooks Interview: Bringing Classic Designs to New Games

By Callum Rushworth

Recently I stumbled upon an indie game known as Circadian. I couldn't help but notice the wonderful similarities between this game and EarthBound/Mother. Amongst all the big launches of triple A titles, I was immediately intrigued by the wonderful old school look of the game, and how it brought back memories of the classic NES title.

I decided to get in touch with JB Gaming lead man, Jeff Brooks, to see what inspired such a project.

GG: How long have you been working in game development?

JB: I have been developing games as a hobbyist since my childhood starting in 1999, and have also taken various classes throughout my college education in the late 2000s to help improve my skills. In 2012, I landed my first full time job developing mobile games at a startup local to me. I shipped many games to Google Play and Apple iTunes, and learned a lot about product development and working with teams on larger projects. In 2014, I left that job and formed by own independent video game company, JB Gaming.

GG: What inspired you to create Circadian?

JB: I've always loved EarthBound and the Mother series. I've been playing them since I was a kid. It’s my most beloved series of video games. As a game developer, I've always wanted to create a video game that fans of the EarthBound series can appreciate, and share with them my own personal creation inspired by the series. In recent years, we've seen more games like LISA and Undertale striking the hearts of similar fans around the world. I kept saying to myself, where is my contribution to this great art form?

GG: Was Circadian something you had wanted to create for a while or was it a result of brainstorming new ideas?

JB: The development of Circadian came about one day in September last year (2016) when I was exploring old hobbies that I hadn't picked up in a while. It came to my attention that game development used to be my most beloved hobby all my life, and that it's been exclusively work for the past 5 years. I immediately started working in my spare time on a game that would feel good to me: a game that felt like EarthBound when you played it, but was something new. Over the next few months, the project evolved into a prototype, and eventually into a full time obsession. I've now started focusing on bringing Circadian to as many eyes and hands as possible in the future, and to make it stand out on it's own from the material that inspires it.

GG: I read that you are currently handling all creation points for Circadian. What is the reason for handling such a huge workload all by yourself?

JB: The biggest reason being is that I can and I want to. This has become the most personal and passion-driven project of my life thus far. Since the beginning of my game development experience, I've been wearing a lot of hats, producing graphics, sound effects, music, code, and game content. This feels like what I was meant to do.

The second most reason for handling all of the creation points is that I am still producing other games with my team at JB Gaming. We're developing some awesome games, and Circadian is going to be another one of them! I'll continue programming and leading production of JB Gaming's team products, allowing our artist to draw our beautiful high resolution games, while I handle the production for our more retro-style game Circadian. There definitely is a chance that in the future we may put more hands on the project, but for now, I'm working on it feverishly solo.

GG: Will Circadian be released as a demo so that people can try the game beforehand or are you waiting for a finished product?

JB: Yes, I'm working toward releasing a public demo in Fall 2017, and releasing the final game some time in 2018. I look forward to getting it out there for world to get a nice preview of what they expect from the final game.

GG: Will there be references to Earthbound and other games in Circadian?

JB: There will likely be some cultural references similar to EarthBound, however Nintendo's characters and worlds will not be used or referenced. There will definitely be some crossover with games made by my independent game developer friends and colleagues.

GG: In regards to updates on the games progress, where should people be keeping their eyes focused?

JB: Right now, the best places to keep up with the game's progress would be on my personal twitter account, the JB Gaming twitter account, the JB Gaming Facebook page, our company website, and our company Discord chat. We're currently developing a website for Circadian, but haven't launched it yet. It will be available at www.circadiangame.com within the next few weeks, but for now this web address points to our company site. I welcome everyone to join our company chat and follow us on social media, and keep your eyes on the future Circadian website.

JB Gaming Website: http://www.jbgaming.io/
Jeff Brooks Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffgamedev
JB Gaming Twitter: https://twitter.com/jbgaminginc
JB Gaming Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jbgamedev/
JB Gaming Discord Chat: https://discord.gg/gAbxjSj

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