Clear As Mud

Clear As Mud

A new game design and development podcast from the folks at mudstack. Tune in as we talk to people in the video game industry to learn about their journeys, challenges, successes and failures.


August 10, 2023 42 mins

Enveloped in an aura of creative brilliance, today's guest on the Clear As Mud Podcast is the illustrious Vani Balgam. A luminary in directing, writing, and producing, she's the founder of Dancing Atoms—a visionary creator studio forging connections between Asian and North American storytelling, birthing authentic narratives for a global audience.

Vani's career gleams with achievements, including her role as Head of Creative Manage...

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In this episode of Clear as Mud, we are joined by David Tucciaronne, the Director of Development at VR Vision. David is an exceptionally fun guy with an impressive background in both leading startups to success and innovating on the most cutting-edge VR technology.

We explore his personal philosophy of having a life-work balance and the importance of keeping a lean and dependable team of artists and developers to nurture success an...

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Today’s guest is James Adkins, Senior VFX Artist for Sony Playstation at Santa Monica Studio. James is a brilliant and talented artist who has worked on some amazing games and most recently the critically acclaimed God of War Ragnarok. We take a deep dive into his creative process, exploring how he finds inspiration across different media, and deconstructing what it is like to work on one of the most beloved franchise...

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Get ready for an incredible guest on the Clear as Mud podcast. We had Dan Fadness, Art Director at Terraform Studios, sharing his valuable insights on mentorship for aspiring artists.

He stressed the need for strong foundational knowledge before diving into mentorship, and he gave us a glimpse into the crucial role of an Art Director in the game industry.

Dan also talked about the importance of communication and problem-solving ski...

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“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

Dave Branco, the Community Manager for the Game Development World Championship, shares his journey from working in finance to taking a bold leap, moving halfway around the world to Finland to pursue a career in the game industry.

We discuss the importance of creating a positive and engaged community around your game, using creative early marketing strategies...

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Brad has worked as a 3D artist since 2008. He has been a character artist on multiple games in the Call of Duty franchise including Vanguard, Black Ops and Cold War. Brad delves deep into the process of creating characters from a technical and order of operations perspective that shines a light on what it takes to make character models for one of the most high profile franchises in the world. 

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Have you ever watched one of those CG cinematic trailers for a game online and wondered how it was made? Well, look no further. Pierre has had a hand in creating trailers for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Rainbow 6 Franchise and working on the cinematics for Call of Duty Vanguard. 


We get into all that and more in this episode of Clear As Mud. 

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Ian has what every producer needs and not what every producer has- the personal touch! Throughout his work at Mythical Games, Zynga, Bioware, and 343 Industries, Ian puts his team first by getting to know them personally and professionally which in turn dictates his production style. 

We talk about he does this, his experience with crunch and the trials and tribulations of production in the industry.

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Seth has worked in VFX on the film and TV side on Spider-Man 2 and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. On the game side, he’s worked on Star Wars- The Force Unleashed, the Battlefield franchise, the Dead Space franchise, Dante’s Inferno and was also on Amy Hennig’s canceled Star Wars game before the plug was pulled.

He's had an incredible career. This episode is fittingly technical given Seth's technical backgroun...

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William’s career has been built around working on mobile and casual games for companies like Ubisoft and Zynga, but now he’s at a bit of a career crossroads in the sense that he wants to work on independent titles in different genres.

We dive into the reasoning behind his career change, the challenges of marketing himself to indie developers and in a rather sweet story, how he created a project at a game...

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Giovani worked tirelessly, working two jobs and attending school to realize his dream of working in 3D art. After eight years of giving himself unconditionally to his craft, he broke into the industry at Skydance Interactive.

This led to him working at Sony's Santa Monica Studio on God of War: Ragnarok and now for Respawn working on Jedi Survivor.  Hear how he proved that no matter what stage of life you're in, nothing beats unbri...

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Darren has worked in the game industry for over 30 years as an artist, an outsource teams manager, and now a studio director. 

We talk about the differences between working in the industry in its nascent stages compared to now, Darren’s experience working on 50 Cent: Blood In The Sand, and how Atomhawk has established itself as one of the premiere game development outsource studios in the world having wo...

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Fabio had to teach himself programming in order to carve out a career in the industry. He had no idea how to make games or what a game designer actually did. But curiosity, ambition and determination led to him diving fully into the world of engineering to realize his dream.

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February 22, 2023 50 mins

Aaron takes us through how he works collaboratively with a team and touches on the core events that shaped him as a producer. We then walk through a hypothetical game pitch that Aaron breaks down and delves deep into how as a producer, he would make that game become a reality.

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Seth Smith comes on the show to discuss his work on Riot’s tactical shooter VALORANT, and his goal of creating a multimedia franchise that spans games, novels, comic books, film and TV. We also talk about  // Hello, World an inclusive social mixer that Seth spearheads, designed for anyone who champions representation in tech and entertainment. 

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Matt has worked both in the film and game industry. On the film side he worked on a ton of different movies including the Harry Potter franchise and the 2003 seafaring period piece, Master and Commander. 

On the games side, before he was at Bad Robot, he’s worked at Amazon, Microsoft, and Valve. We dive into Matt's experience working in film, creating the weather effects for Forza 6, his time at Valve,...

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Martin has worked as a designer, a teacher, a leader designer, and a design director and now has started his own game studio. We discuss Martin’s approach to running a studio, game development, and systemic design in all its forms. 

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Shaun Bell takes us through his time as art director for Treyarch. He worked on numerous Call of Duty: Black Ops games from 2011 until last year.

We unpack a ton of information in this episode including what it’s like to make a multiplayer map in Call Of Duty, how Shaun guides younger artists, diversity in the game industry, and how his team overcame the COVID 19 pandemic during the development of Black ...

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Matthew has worked in the industry for over 30 years now as a QA tester, 3D Artist, Narrative designer, and Mission Designer. In addition to working at Arena Net, he's also worked at Ubisoft and EA.

Matthew breaks down the greatest qualities and detriments of narrative in games, what a Narrative Designer actually does, and how integral they are  in the creation of a game that features a narrative. 

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Agata takes listeners behind the curtain of developing games for VR and Mixed Reality, the challenges of dealing with people’s negative preconceptions of VR, and how Mixed Reality could take us into a brave new future that goes beyond entertainment. 

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