I’m the Lead Online programmer, overseeing the team responsible for implementing the network technology and online elements for our games such as matchmaking, multiplayer events, leaderboards, etc…
How long have you been with SMS?
I’ve been with SMS since the beginning, and was with Blimey!Games for a couple of years before that.
Where have you worked previously?
I’ve worked for a number of game studios over the years, starting at Graftgold in 1992, then on to ATD, Graphic-State, Acclaim Cheltenham and Kuju Brighton.
What influenced you to get into the games industry?
I taught myself BASIC on the ZX Spectrum when I was 12 but got bored of that quite quickly because it was slow. I then moved onto Z80 assembler and realised I could do so much more suddenly. With games being the primary purpose of all computers it didn’t take long before I started to write my own.
If you weren’t working in videogames, what job would you do instead and why?
Nothing beats the feeling of being in control of a helicopter, so I’d love to be a professional pilot… or maybe a Lego master builder, (all that Technics and Mindstorms to play with, and getting paid for it too!)
What’s been your proudest moment working at Slightly Mad Studios?
Playing Need For Speed: SHIFT online when it was first released. Everything worked as planned, and people were enjoying the racing.
And what’s been your toughest challenge?
Finding the right people with online programming experience (why does everyone want to be a render coder?). It took a while but we’ve got a great online team now.
What’s the one genre you’d like to work on most?
I’ve fallen into this trap before. I loved track & field style games so when I got the chance to work on Sydney 2000 Olympics I took it. After 2 years of button bashing you start to get tired of it though. I’ve worked on most genres and it’s the same with any long projects, but it’s always good to revisit past games to see them with fresh eyes later on to really appreciate what you’ve created.
What’s your favorite game of all time and why?
I don’t think I have an all-time favorite. I like different games at different times, but I can normally find time for any new Mario or Zelda games.
What’s your desktop background at the moment?
I don’t like clutter in the background so I always just have a plain colour. Blue on my main PC, with Orange and Green on my other two.
If you were a wrestler, what would be your theme music?
“Unstoppable” by Foxy Shazam
What was the first car you bought, and what car do you drive now?
My first car was a Cortina estate (hand painted in a tasteful ford tractor blue). I now drive a Ford Galaxy… not exactly sporty but I can fit the family and all my drums in it at once.
What’s the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
A custard sandwich… messy but ohhhh so good.
Where do you see gaming going in the future?
There will be no distinction between home consoles and handheld/mobile devices. Handhelds will become as powerful as home consoles, so you’ll plug your handheld into the TV while at home, and continue playing on the device’s own screen when on the move.
What are your hopes for the next-generation of consoles?
I hope we’ll get enough memory… it’ll never happen of course as you always want just that little bit more.