We are the hungry dev team behind Defend the Cake! Find out who we are, which parts of the game we worked on, and what our deal is 🙂
Justin Klinchuch – The Tactical Baker
Justin is the gameplay designer and programmer behind Defend the Cake. Level design, mechanics, strategies, numbers, that’s all him! He got his start working in QA at Blizzard, and eventually became a Technical Designer on the Starcraft 2 team. He helped ship Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty, and went on to be the first person working full time on the project that became Heroes of the Storm. He lead the HotS Technical Design team until he left Blizzard in January 2015.
Justin has been playing tower defense games since the Warcraft 3 custom map days, and felt inspired to explore maze building as a central mechanic after being disappointed that so few modern tower defence games allow the player to shape the path. Justin does a lot of cooking at home, and is especially proud of his breakfast burritos, and chili. In his free time, he enjoys creating DJ sets of video game remixes.
Toli Carter – The Decorator Extraordinaire
Toli is the technical artist for Defend the Cake. Those deliciously animating towers, toasty walls, and dancing creeps are just some of his creations, along with directing the shapes and color theory of the game. His love of strategy games was fostered by Homeworld and Warcraft 3. This brought him to Riot Games where he built tools and made maps but craved a smaller canvas to build creative visions upon.
Toli spent a year learning to conjure pies, culminating in apparating a pie on the side of a mountain in the snow. Making sweets is his passion and sharing the fruits of his labors with friends brings a smile to his face. The first physical Defend the Cake cake was baked by Toli in celebration of the official company formation. His work on Defend the Cake is inspired by cooking, and the food that he encounters on his adventures. Often found learning to make new things, from baked goods to visual effects. He is always hungry for knowledge, learning how to use new tools and techniques helps him drive forward in creating new things. In his time away from Cake, he can be found building worlds in DnD and diving into content creation for VR.
Naomi “Nomz” Yee – The Flavormaster
“I don’t always eat dessert, but when I do, I eat a whole cake.”
Naomi is the creative designer who is responsible for bringing the flavor and personality to the world of Defend the Cake through concept art and sprites. The Eggbirds, Cakefaces, and the fruity environment art are her doing. Her love for StarCraft and Warcraft 3 mods made her want to create a small polished tower defense game that was accessible yet strategic. During her time at Riot Games and Blizzard, she was a producer for internal tools and release engineering teams. When she is not Caking, she is producering tech teams at Magic Leap and thinking about what the interactive medium could look like in the future. Lover of food, she considers eating one of her hobbies and her favorite food to be whatever she is craving that moment.
How It Began
“I wish I could play SC custom games on my phone…” was the thought Naomi had when first considering making a game on her own. Naomi and Justin were carpooling to Blizzard one day when they began chatting about making a tower defense game and learning Unity while doing it. It was a great opportunity since they both shared a passion for strategy games and dreamt about one day being able to create content from anywhere in the world. Naomi had some ideas for a fantastical food-themed world with castles made out of cake, and Justin had ideas he wanted to explore for a more strategic tower defense game that focused on mazing as a core mechanic. Shortly after leaving Blizzard, Naomi introduced Justin to Toli, a colleague that she worked with at Riot, and the 3 of them began baking Defend the Cake!
Although the team originally started in Los Angeles – California, most of development has happened while each person resided in a different geographical location. The Defend the Cake team believes in the art of remote collaboration and being able to work on a project together regardless of geographical separation. Toli is currently in Los Angeles (CA), Justin in the San Francisco, Bay Area (CA) and sometimes on the road cross country, and Naomi in Fort Lauderdale (FL).