Renee Nejo

Unity Game Artist and Designer

Renee is an independent video game developer. She's been making games since 2010, and has worked on Ever Jane, Gravity Ghost, and her most recent passion project: Blood Quantum.

Blood Quantum

Blood Quan·tum

bləd/ˈkwäntəm/

- is the amount of Indian blood you possess as determined by the number of generations of Native people you descend from, and it's the process that the federal government uses to say whether they consider you a Native American or not.

If you are not Native, chances are, you've never heard of it.  I don't mean in the "my great grandmother was a Cherokee princess" sort of way. I mean if you identify as a Native American, you know what blood quantum is. 

It's origin was basically to bring about the extinction of the Native American people. It has continued to be relevant as Native country has tried to practice self determination. If you have never had to practice self determination with regard to where you come from and who you are, you are very lucky. 

I'm a half breed Native American. The "half breed" part matters. Please don't ask which half.

I'm not going to get preachy here, but it's important that I describe a little where I'm coming from before I start to talk about my personal game project publicly. It should also be noted that I work full time and so do both of the programmers. I've been working on the design for about a year, but not really with as much time as I'd like. This project is important for a lot of reasons, and I hope you can see everyone of them.  <3

Game Description:

Blood Quantum

Blood Quantum

Blood Quantum is a top down 3/4 Perspective Godlike with a few tower defense elements developed in Unity. 

The player interacts with little "Drawplets" to further their growth in their villages.

Drawplet

Drawplet

At first, the player's involvement has to do with leveling up their drawplets by hunting, farming, and building. By giving Drawplets "Purpose" or a job for their class, the "Spirit" of the village goes up. With the "Spirit" high, new baby Drawplets appear. It takes time to grow the village. Unlike an RTS, the loss of a single Drawplet is a great one, and death in battle is permanent. 

The Other Drawplets

The Other Drawplets

Blood Quantum the game is my love letter to my identity and family. Being half-breed is a special kind struggle. I'm constantly pulled in dividing directions with regard to my identity and always have been. When I was young, and we were starting to learn about manifest destiny in school, I couldn't wait. This was a subject that I actually knew about outside of school, because of where I came from. I felt like my little heart had a lot to offer to the conversation. But when It came time to read in class, that's really all we did. There was no discussion. No interaction. My short window to talk about what I thought made me special had closed, and the teacher had her lesson plan to stick too. I was SO disappointed. This is what set the tone for me with regard to my identity: "no body cares".

As an adult, now, I refuse to accept that. People do care. But most are completely ignorant to the very real matters and issues at hand. I hate that right now the fight that's getting the most attention is the Redskins debate. Shouldn't be a debate, but when I talk about the reality of the living conditions and reservation law, people are astonished. They've never heard of Blood Quantum before and almost can't believe that it's real. 

It's always been my attitude that education is key. We move on to "more important" things. We have only a finite amount of hours in our lifetime. But I believe being enlightened to reality, we can empower ourselves to make the obvious and right decisions. So, with that in  mind, I wanted Blood Quantum the game to be one of those things. I wanted to create a situation where the player puts a part of themselves in these characters. I made the decision to not make them resemble indigenous people very purposefully. I personally do not find the portrayal of Native Americans in the media to be acceptable.  Right now, when people see that imagery, they become immediately displaced. They can't relate to natives. I want the player to really care for these little Drawplets, and the focus to make them tactile and endearing is a huge part of that.

I heard somewhere that curiosity is the most powerful motivator to learn. This is my little experiment in educational gaming. I'm not interested in giving the dates and times of these atrocities, as much as I am interested in showing (even in it's smallest measurement) what it feels like to have what you understand and love, ripped away from you. To anyone who has some knowledge in American History, you can probably see the historical parallels. I don't want to just give that information in dates and numbers. I want to show it. The only thing I've left alone was the name Blood Quantum. I'm hoping that if anyone plays this and thinks to research "blood quantum" and it's origin, I've done exactly what I set out to do. 

More Screenshots to come!

All Content Created by Renee Nejo