Who are you?
I’m Chris and I’m a Campaign Programmer on the Total War team. I started my career as an academic and prior to working at CA I was doing research into computer graphics and vision with applications in movies and games.
What’s it like to be a programmer?
I would consider programming the most interesting facet of games development. We take the initial design ideas and make them a reality. Often this involves a lot of lateral thinking and development of new technology to produce fast, memory constrained solutions to complex problems. The freedom to think about and overcome these challenges provides a very satisfying job role.
Why did you join CA?
I was looking to make the move into games from academia and upon realising that the creators of Total War are situated in my home town decided to drop them my CV. From the moment I arrived on site the working environment seemed full of passion and a lot of fun. Despite having zero previous experience working in games they offered me a job based on my programming skill and academic background.
What does your average day look like?
After turning up in the morning and deciding upon what of the free food I will scoff before beginning work, I will sit down at my desk. Depending on our point in the development cycle, days either consist of working with designers to put together and implement new systems and features, or working to fix bugs and polish existing systems.
What’s the best part of working at CA?
CA is one of the UK's premier and longest established games companies. As a member of the Total War team we work on and put out AAA releases which give you a real sense of pride in what you do. They also like to keep us well fed; providing food from any local takeaway outlet whenever you are working late or early.
What advice would you give to games professionals interested in working at CA?
Know C++ along with algorithms and data structures inside out. The programming test CA gives requires an in depth knowledge of the language. Additionally a working knowledge and experience of playing past studio releases is very useful and desirable. If you are applying for a particular specialty make sure that you know your discipline as if it were your religion. The staff here love nothing more than to test candidates to find out just what they really know.