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To the games industry... and beyond!

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If it seems like a while since I updated this, then you'd be right, it's been a while [grin]

Between my last entry and this a number of things have changed in Life De Le Phantom and now I've got some time to breath I figure it would be a good time to mutter about it for a bit for your general amusement [smile]

So, as mentioned in my last entry I've moved down to Brighton to take a position as a programmer at Zoe Mode. I started work there on the monday, however due to conflicts of moving and journeys and such I had to move down on the thursday before hand.

So wednesday rolls around, stuff is packed into a van, thursday rolls around and my parents and myself get into said van and take the 4h journey down to Brighton from Ipswich. Stuff is unpacked, parents leave, money and keys are exchanged and I'm in my new home... which is pretty much a room in a house shared with two other guys; a german guy called Nick who teaches at the local uni during the week and Craig who is the landlord.

This setup as made me wonder if there is some unwritten rule in the universe which says whenever I leave home I must spend 6 months under the same roof as a german? In my first year at Uni we had Frank, and this time it's Nick... fortunately unless I go back "home" again to stay this event shouldn't be able to happen again... probably.

I kicked around in Brighton for a couple of days, getting myself settled, a desk built, internet setup, some kinda food plan going and generally wandering around. As I didn't have access to the internet on my first night here I ended up buying and watching most of Scrubs season 6 on DVD which I happened to see on sale in Sainsbury's when I was looking for food. By Friday afternoon I had interwebs back (huzzah!) and I wandered out to the local alternative night to get my drink on. I'll tell you this, there is something strange and almost disconnecting about moving to a city where you don't know anyone.. at the same time at least you don't have to worry about people yelling your name or driving passed and beeping a horn and it not being you there were trying to get the attention [grin]

So, work...

Well, monday rolled around and I had to be there at 10am, I got there a bit early because I misjudged the distance slightly but this was a good thing as on route I managed to break a bit off a tooth; this was a good start to the day... at least however it didn't hurt [grin]

Once I got in I waited for the guy I was meant to meet, the turns up with someone else who turns out to be Barry, the lead coder for the team I'm joining. We wander off to the 9th floor where I'll be working and we then play a little game of 'see how fast you can forget this' as I'm then taken around to see the rest of the guys working in the team, whos names I'm told and promptly forget *chuckles*

I'm tend pointed at a desk and told it's mine, we sort out login 'stuffs' and Barry gives me a quick run over the various tools etc we use (Perforce for version control, code warrior for C++ as it's a PS2 game, whatever I like for Lua coding and some program whos name has escaped me for bug tracking) and I'm left to spend the rest of the day basically hunting around the code base.

In the afternoon I get told that a guy known as Brooksy will act as my mentor while I get up to speed, and I spent monday and tuesday basically getting my head around the code and 'dicking about' in general.

On wednesday I finally got to do some 'real' work as I was assigned two trival bugs to fix based on QA feedback from the publisher. This took most of my morning but that was taken care of in the end. I liked this, because until this point I felt like a guy sitting in an office and not part of the team, but with this and the conversations/discussion with Barry about the fix and where to go made me feel more like a member of the team [smile] *insert heart warming feelings here*

At which point we were left in an odd situation; you see Zoe Mode are an agile development shop and were coming to the end of a milestone so everyone was allocated to tasks and things were already flowing at which point I appeared and started to cause chaos because they didn't really know what I was going to do. You see everything is broken down into 'scrums' where a group of people (generally a code or two, a designer and an artist or two) are put together to work on a specific section of the game, however because of when I joined I had no scrum and as such was taskless.

Part way into wednesday afternoon a solution was approved, which interrupted some more dicking about I was doing, in that I was going to work on a section of the game pretty much on my own until other people could 'join in' (ie a new scum was made). The section was pretty much a rough idea at this point but after a conversaion with Ben, a designer, and Brooksy a way forward was invisioned and I set about working on the flow of things.

Thursday I came in and continued this, with Ben handing me off a design document in the afternoon which closely matched where I was going with the code anyways. Thursday also marks the day of my first 'real' commits to the game database... yay! Thursday also marks the day when I nearly broke things, heh

I came in on Friday to an email from Barry to the team saying 'someone checked in the project file with a local path referenced. I've fixed it but try not to do it again'. I then found the email from Barry to me saying 'that someone was you' *chuckles* I'd already realised this because I did accidently add a local file to the project outside of the source tree, however I'd noticed and deleted it and remade it in the source tree.

It turns out that codewarrior is annoying; it had removed the file but when it added it in the first place it added a path reference to my local directory to the project to keep things sane; this is what caused the problem (turns out Barry didn't know about this either, which marks the second 'oh rly?' thing I've discoverd since I started, one of which is in the code base). Of course, none of this would have happened if Codewarrior either (a) set the default 'new' directory location to the location of your project's root and/or (b) remembered where you last created a file, much like Visual Studio does.

Anyways, that got sorted and while everyone else went manic trying to get things ready for a milestone on monday I got the code written for the game section I was working on. All it needs now are Lua files for scripts... oh, and some assets [grin]

Oh, also on friday I finally got a key so I can get into the building, during the week I managed to mostly time it ok to get in the building apart from once where I had a few mins to kill anyways so hung out outside the building until someone else went in [grin]

And that was my first week at work.

Over all, pretty cool; the people I work with are sound, the enviroment is nice, time flies passed and I can listen to music all day while I work.

Hours are 10am until 6:30pm, mostly because the idea of getting up before 9am bothers me and it's not like I have much to do of an evening anyways... apart from friday when I hit the local metal night and see strange strange people (such as last night where there was this guy who rom the neck up looked like someone from the Kings of Leon (long hair, long beard thing) yet was wearing the tightest bright yellow t-shirt I've ever seen, tight jeans, had a handbag over his shoulder and minced about the place like he wanted to be a girl... it was... strange...).

I've decided that, come hell or high water, I'm staying here until the game ships (Augest if things goto plan I believe) and at which point, depending on how things have gone, we'll see how it goes.

So, yeah... 'sup game industry [grin]

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Hehe, since starting at Juice I have broken just about every build there is [grin]
...I tend to just blame it on source control though and get away with it [wink]

Zoe Mode sounds awesome and I'm glad you've settled in

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Is ZoeMode's standard day 10am - 6:30pm or do they have a bit of flex so you can get in at 9 and work till 5:30 if you want? Most place I have worked offer a bit of a choice, some even let you go earlier on a Friday, which is something everyone should do in my opinion unless it's milestone week.

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