Today’s Inside the Vault features programmer Mike Dulany. Mike is best known in the office as the guy who most looks like Will Ferrell. He started here as a QA tester and we tried him out as a programming intern of sorts – he never looked back.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a programmer. I work on a number of aspects of the game from artist tools to in game systems.
What other games have you worked on?
I’ve done QA on both IHRA Sportsman and Oblivion. Late in the Oblivion development cycle I moved from QA to programming.
What is the best part about working as a programmer? The worst part?
There’s so many best parts: the fast cars, the money, the fame. I’m going to go with the fame.
The worst parts: working late trying to find a threading bug that appears 1% of the time. Though, as long as there’s a big pot of coffee it’s not that bad.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
I used to old clichÃ© “I know a guy who works there.” Though to meet “a guy” I was an active member of the IGDA ( International Game Developers Association ) and met him (and a number of other interesting people) by attending the local chapters meetings. He informed me they were hiring QA staff and I was more than happy to leave my job at the time to join the team.
Advice? I think my advice is best put forth in these easy to follow steps:
1) Be good/extremely motivated in a particular area of game development.
2) Know a guy. (Optional, but recommended)
What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?
I think it would have to be one of the Smash Brothers titles; the sheer number of hours of enjoyment I’ve received from multiplayer matches with friends dwarfs any other game I’ve played. I still play Melee with a level designer here at Bethesda very frequently, to the point that he stores his GameCube console in my cube. Which leads us to…
What games are you looking forward to?
Smash Brothers Brawl.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
The desire to ingest caffeine.
Worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve been lucky enough so far to never have held a job that I considered that ‘bad’. I guess the worst experience I’ve ever had at a job was as grocery store employee. One day the manager asked me to work overnight and remove the guards at the bottom of the aisles, placed so items don’t roll under them, to clean the ‘dust.’ Upon removing them I found the prescribed dust… and sprawling metropolis of fungus. The guards, to their credit, did a great job at keeping the merchandise from rolling under the aisle, unfortunately they also excelled at denying entry to mops, so whenever there was a spill or broken jar in the area any of its contents that was able to slide under the guard remained there. To look under the guard in the spaghetti sauce aisle is to stare directly into the heart of madness.
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, playing games, long walks on the beach, holding hands, and puppy dogs. When I’m not engaged in one of the previously mentioned interests, I’m probably spending some quality time with the Mrs. (of course by ‘quality time’ I mean playing Rock Band).