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Day One

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Well, I am now officially a full-time industry professional. Today is my first day of work at Egosoft working on the X game series. Those of you who have been here before (and are masochistic enough to come back) know that I've already been working with Egosoft for over three years now, beginning as a volunteer, and then working part-time around my Evil Day Job.

Today I've started in exclusively at Egosoft, working from home over the Internet to the main company office in Germany. It's actually pretty much exactly like my part-time work, except there's more of it, and the paycheck is bigger. Time will tell whether or not I continue to enjoy the job when it's what I do all day [smile]

So far all I've really done is work on getting my build environment back in sync. I was basically "out of office" for the last two months while finishing up stuff at The Evil Day Job, so I had quite a bit of updating to do in terms of code repository synchronization and tools adjustment.

At this phase we're working primarily on updates and demos for X3. This is a relatively low-strain project (compared to the pre-gold-master rush) so there's been a lot of time to update the various tools and utilities we use for working on the games. We're in the late stages of arranging the next main project, so some preparatory work is being done for that as well. It's looking like we will be doing a content expansion for X3, with a heavy emphasis on missions, quests, and such - which just so happens to be one of my areas of responsibility.

One of the other big areas that I'm going to be involved in is project coordination. The main office has a great set of design plans, documents, bug/task tracking setups, and all the trimmings of good software creation. The problem is, part of our development team (including me) and all of our testing team is spread out across the world, and these resources are not really nicely connected to the Internet. So we'll be looking at a major internal overhaul of some of the development and testing processes. The main goal here is to help get design documentation and work coordination into a more usable and accessible format, so that we can spend less time trying to figure out whether or not Foo is really a bug, and more time actually getting work done.

My next task is to install the game and get a working test environment on my development workstation. During the engine work on X3, the engine only supported Shader Model 2.0 capable cards, which meant I had to run the game on my testing/gaming rig instead of my workstation. This translates to copying built binaries over to another machine and physically walking over to my couch to run the game itself.

The engine now supports SM1.3, which means my development box's Ti4800 can run the game (weakly). So for post-release work, I'll be doing most of my code testing on this machine, and reserve the other box for hardcore final playtesting. That should speed up things quite a bit, and let me get nice and fat since I can sit in the same chair all day instead of walking back and forth every time I recompile the code.

So there you have it. Enough drivel... time to get back to work [smile]
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Congrats on the promotion!

Is Egosoft a distributed team or are you a special case? Would be interesting to hear about how you manage your day-to-day setup when you're working professionally over the net [wink]


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The bulk of the team is in the Germany office; myself and three others work remotely, from various distances.

Arrangements are a little inconvenient at times, but the benefits of having a perfectly controlled work environment vastly outweigh the annoyances of a VPN to another continent. I'm thinking of doing a "Why 9-to-5 jobs suck" rant that covers some of the bigger reasons as to why I'm so happy to have switched.

It definitely takes a lot of self-discipline to actually work all day, but it's worth it.

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