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Galaxian Highlights 9 | The Eggcellent Order of the Crush

Today, we zoom in for a close up on your favorite mad scientist here at Gala– Warren!

The world of Web3 entertainment requires masters of many different disciplines working in concert with each other, and Gala’s experts are the best in the business at collaborating and creating magical things together. The Web3 frontier is the future of culture and technology, and the brightest minds work hard every day to manifest decentralized dreams in digital reality.

Occasionally logical excellence and brilliant artistic vision coalesce in one superhumanly amazing developer. His unique and multi talented mind is well versed in both the objective and subjective– in fact and fantasy. You’d think such legendary proficiency would make him deifically detached from his fellow humans, but his positivity and refreshingly down to earth attitude is infectious to all he meets.

We’re of course talking about the one, the only… Warren!

Currently, I’m Game/Creative Director for Town Crush. Prior to that I was Art Director on Town Star.

“Polygonal Pixeleer”. It felt fun and I always liked how Disney called their creative folks “Imagineers” back in the day. That resonated and stuck with me.

I’m not entirely sure I had a choice. I grew up playing video games but from a very young age I was curious about how they were made.

Once we had a computer I could actually type things on, I was hooked for life.

One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m principally a programmer. I took up art pretty late in my career but my true love is coding. I can happily lose hours at a time tinkering with a piece of low level code, or scripting in a game engine, or anything related to software engineering really.

It’ll sound trite, but when I think about books that have stuck in my brain and influenced my path in important ways, I have to give it to “The Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks. It really kindled my love of fantasy and adventure and I think it’s why I primarily loved RPG games growing up. Ultima, Bard’s Tale, Wizardry … they allowed me to combine gaming, computers, and fantasy all at once.

Today, Warren works alongside many others who are fond of mixing fantasy, gaming and computers.

The answer is … well, the community itself. It’s fun to interact with them on Discord or live at events like Galaverse. Talking to people who are already emotionally invested in what you’re doing is especially satisfying because you can relax and talk about larger plans or longer term vision over trying to sell them on the concept of what you’re creating.

They’re interested in what you’re creating, not WHY you’re creating it.

These are objectively the most important community discussions.

I haven’t eaten enough of either to really say.

I think to answer this fairly, I’d have to give the nod to games that have stuck with me over the years. Games that I don’t mind devoting brain space to, and that I go back to from time to time to rekindle the flame.

Bard’s Tale 3/Ultima 4 — The early games on my Commodore were such wonderful worlds. The hours spent mapping out the dungeons on graph paper, step by step, is a formative memory. Reaching the end of the game with an inch thick stack of well worn paper maps was incredibly satisfying.

Fallout 2 — I forget how I found Fallout now. But once I had, I was hooked. Forever. Being able to putter around that world, leveling up, getting perks, grinding xp, gaining gear, etc. I never actually completed the game but I spent hundreds of hours in that game world, having an amazing time.

Doom 2/Quake 1 — Nothing sparked my interest in a career in game development like those games did. The technology, the graphics, the brutality of the weapons, the … Well, everything. Instant love affair. And when we gained the ability to make our own levels, I dove into that head first. And that, in fact, was what led to my getting started in the games industry — as a contracted level designer.

I’ve always cast sort of a wide net with music. In high school, not so much. That was heavy metal, all day. But as I got older, I never lost my love of metal but I’ll listen to almost anything these days if it makes my brain happy.

And it varies based on what I’m doing. For example, I’m not someone who can listen to something with lyrics or really dominant sound patterns in it when I’m programming. I need some techno, clubby, background type stuff. Or silence.

But if I’m doing something art related, then it can be anything that gets my blood going. My favorite music is usually Metallica, Slipknot or Slayer. For whatever reason, metal fuels art for me.

Interestingly, over the last few years I’ve gravitated towards SynthWave for both tasks. It satisfies a part of my brain that likes to feel nostalgic but also not sit in the dead quiet of my noise canceling headphones.

I have to give the primary nod to John Carmack. Following him through the development of Doom and Quake and the subsequent titles from id Software was life changing. He is the programmer that I wish I could be. I think that’s an important part of having a role model — it needs to be someone who you can aspire to their level but probably never actually reach. John, for me, is a constant source of inspiration.

When I’m not making games for Gala, I’m generally doing programming for fun. I like learning new languages, new text editors, and new workflows. It sounds boring but it’s really not. My brain likes to learn. It feels best when it’s forming new pathways and taking on new information.

As an older developer, I also think it’s an important part of staying on top of your game. If you keep doing the same things every day for years on end, you’re going to stagnate in your career and you’re probably harming your brain long term. It wants to learn. Let it.

Warren pictured alongside stagnant brains.

Bacon is the easy answer but if I think about it — my wife and I switched to Keto a few months back so my food preferences are in flux. Right now, honestly, it might be avocados. There is nothing that can’t be improved with the addition of avocado.

Please don’t put avocado on that beauty!

I’ll see your question and raise you an “Eggsecutioner Hood” for the chicken tank. It feels so obvious that I can’t believe it doesn’t exist yet, amirite?

Non-artist’s rendition. He’s onto something. Everybody listen to Warren!

The freedom. Gala excels at allowing people to do what they do best. I’ve been lucky enough to work at 2 companies now that allow people to shift around between roles and departments as they show an interest and an aptitude for it (the other one being Epic Games).

Gala promotes the attitude of “ask forgiveness, not permission”. And I love that. They’d rather have you overreach and need to be pulled back a little, rather than trying to get approvals and permissions before trying something.

I think I’d be a decent express depot driver. It’s mostly downtime combined with the occasional trip to the big city. I’m in. Lots of free time to work on programming projects.

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