Interview with Greg Broadmore at GDC

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Interview with Greg Broadmore at GDC
Greg Broadmore, Concept Designer for Weta Workshop

After scoping out the Super Magnetic Game-o-Matic action, I ran intro Greg Broadmore. Greg is one of the concept designers from the illustrious Weta Workshop who is going to be sketching up concept art from the pitches mashed up on the magnet boards. I grabbed a few words with him while I had the chance.

MAKE: You’re known for doing concept design for Weta Workshop, District 9, and the Dr. Grordbort line of rayguns. What brings you to GDC?

Greg Broadmore: Good question. Basically, I’ve been interested in games my whole life. And I’ve spent the last 10 years helping to make films. But I’m particularly interested in games and I’ve always wanted to come here as long as I’ve known about GDC. So I’m here just to see it for the first time, to learn and adsorb as much as I can. I just started working with Valve adding Dr. Grordbort weapons for Team Fortress, so I’m interested to explore more of it. I’m here on a learning mission.
MAKE: Had you ever done concept art for games before?
GB: I’ve done a little bit. I don’t really see it as being much different than designing for anything else. It’s just creative.

MAKE: We love your line of Dr. Grordbort’s rayguns at MAKE. What’s the process there of going from concept drawings to final product?
GB: It’s quite tricky. I believe the hardest designing in the world is making something that’s actually going to be built as a physical product. It’s certainly hard to build something, design something that’s going to be in a digital world, say a creature in a film — that’s hard, but there’s nothing harder than doing physical stuff.
MAKE: What makes it especially difficult?
GB: Well, with the rayguns, doing side-on schematics and drawings from various different angles. Half of the process is actually working with the guy who’s going to be physically building it. In the case of the rayguns, it’s usually David Tremont, a model maker who’s been working at Weta Workshop for god knows how long now. I work with him problem-solving all the way through. I suppose it wouldn’t be much different from any other creative process where you have to build something from something you’ve imagined, but you have to be very careful because everything has to function, everything has to feel right. For instance, with the rayguns, as ostentatious and over the top as they are, they still have to be ergonomic; your finger still has to reach the trigger. In a digital design, you don’t have to worry about such things as much — you can fudge them, but when it’s a real object, especially when a person is going to hold in their hands, it has to look right and feel right. I’m really nerdy about that kind of design, having it make as much sense as possible.
MAKE: So, have you been doing game concepts sketches yet? [for the Super Magnetic Game-o-Matic project]
GB: I’ve only just been wandering around at the moment. But I’m doing one hopefully later on in the week. I’m actually trying to find the guy who’s organizing it.
MAKE: Oh, yeah. I think it’s that guy… Thank you for your time.
[And with that, he was off.]

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10 thoughts on “Interview with Greg Broadmore at GDC

  1. Simon Jansen says:

    They are nice weapons, but very impractical. Too many dangling bits to catch on clothing and what not. Is an issue with steampunk where fashion overcomes function and it becomes less believable.

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      That’s a good point, Simon. I mean, they’re obviously fantasy weapons, but it does bug me when designs in these fantasy worlds become so obviously impractical (like the giant space marine shoulder pads in WH40K that would seriously impede line of sight and range of motion).

      But holding these Greg Broadmore weapons IS amazing. They REALLY feel like they’re real and are so gorgeously produced. To the point that, when I held the blunderbuss in the image above, my immediate thought was: Oh my god. I HAVE to have this! How can I figure out a way to get this? I was sort of shocked by my covetous reaction.

      (I settled for the Victorious Mongoose, the tiny desktop display raygun. Still really nice. Just tiny.)

      1. Simon Jansen says:

        Oh yes, they are definitely nice pieces. Expensive but very nice! I’ve been to Wellington a number of times but never actually made it to the Weta cave there but I have seen some of these guns at other things and the detail on them is amazing.

  2. Sean Ragan says:

    OMG you got to interview the Splat! gun guy. So. Jealous. WTG Blake!

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    Interview with Greg Broadmore at GDC | MAKE

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