Meet Ian - Technical Lead
Hey Ian. Let’s kick it off with gaming. Hit me with your favorite games.
Hmmm... how far back do I go? Recently, I’ve been playing Horizon Zero Dawn. The technical achievements in that game are brilliant. They’ve been able to deliver on technical prowess, as well as gameplay, and storytelling. I’ve watched presentations on how they accomplished all of that, and I’ve been really impressed with it.
Historically is tough. I know there was one point way back when I was studying for exams, and I had to call a friend and be like – dude, please can you come over and sit at my computer and play Civilization so that I can’t? I was so into that game that I felt the only way I couldn’t play was if someone denied me the resource of my computer.
Ok, you’ve been here nearly 20 years. How did it all start for you?
Well I was computing while at school and went on to study at SFU. I kept in touch with some friends who joined Radical Entertainment after graduating. I heard a lot about it from those guys, and I ended up getting a job there when I finished my degree.
A year or so later, one of my school buds joined this new company called Relic. He was telling me all this great stuff about the game that was to become Homeworld. As the game became more public, I became a bit of a fanboy. I was going over, hanging out at the office, and stuff like that. Eventually, it was like, okay, I just need to work there.
For a grizzled vet who’s seen it all, what projects stand out most for you?
Well Company of Heroes for sure, but Impossible Creatures was my first full project at Relic and it was a really important game for us. With Impossible Creatures we were figuring out how to build the tech, and how to create together. We made a good game, but Impossible Creatures was all about us learning. That process allowed us to make a great game in Company of Heroes.
Ian Back in 2000
I hear you’re involved in a big Essence Engine upgrade right now, can you explain it to a luddite like me?
Basically, we’re rebuilding a lot of the system, but the broad goal is to make our games perform better. Whether that means more units, the same number of units with better behaviors, or better stability, we want our games to perform better for a wider audience.
What’s great about working with an in-house engine?
Essence lets our programmers across the studio work together. The way we use Essence means we work closely with the creative people, like designers and artists, to bring their vision alive in game. That’s what’s so awesome about game development – working together to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
You are a Vancouverite born and bred, what keeps you busy around here?
I’ve got family and kids here. My sister is in town, my dad’s nearby, my fiance’s family is here, so it’s very much a small bubble that keeps me pretty busy. I can sometimes end up as a tourist in my town when people come to visit. Somehow, and very embarrassingly, I’ve never done the Grouse Grind, and my son did it at the age of six!
Now for the most important question. You always wear shorts, why?
Oh man, yeah, high school. I wore shorts, and there was this other guy who wore shorts. There was this kind of mild allegiance, like yeah, we wear shorts, that’s our thing. Embarrassingly I ran into him a couple of years after high school, and I was like, you’re wearing pants? He was like yeah… of course.
Also, I’ve been ‘the shorts guy’ for so long, I don’t think I could stand the ridicule if I switched to pants.