Chris Rodriguez is one of our newest programmers and the subject of today’s Inside the Vault. He’s also the first BGS developer to have his picture in the new upstairs office space (let there be light!).
Read his Inside the Vault after the break…
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a programmer in the Systems Group. My core responsibility is implementing and maintaining the animation system.
What games have you worked on?
I can’t talk about what I’m currently working on. I got here too late to work on Fallout 3, although I did get to play it a ton before it came out. Before that, I worked at Schell Games doing contract work for Disney Imagineering on Toy Story Midway Mania.
What is the best part about being a programmer? The worst part?
I’d say the best part is working tirelessly on new functionality and then seeing artists and designers do amazing things with the system you created. The worst part has been those rare days when some part of the new functionality gets used in an unexpected way and the whole game breaks down with everyone waiting on you to get the game working again.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
I wanted to get into an entertainment field when I left college, but after many failed attempts, ended up working as a Navy contractor on Missile Defense (simulations, not the game). I decided to go back to school to shake up my career path and I was lucky enough to get into Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center. After my first year, I got an internship at Schell Games and they liked me enough to keep me on full time.
I feel really fortunate not to have a horror story of getting into the industry. Hard work and a lot of luck helped me get into the place I am, so my only advice would be to work hard and hopefully luck will strike you too.
What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?
I know it’s rather common, but the Monkey Island 2 captivated me in a way no other game has since. I had always been a fan of adventure games, but the blend of adventure game, comedy and zombie pirates struck a strong cord for me as a middle schooler.
What games are you currently playing?
I have a long backlog of games that I want to play. I just finished Assassins Creed 2 and thinking about getting the DLC. Next on my plate is Mass Effect (I never made it very far the first time I went to play through because of crunch at my old job, so I want to play it through before staring ME2). The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is also in my queue. I am typically behind in playing the games people around here are excited about though. Besides, practicing for the BGS Madden 10 online franchise playoffs takes up most of my free time.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Certainly not an alarm! I’m actually a morning person, so I typically wake up early on my own and do stuff at home before coming into work, because that’s when I have my energy. As far as work goes, I’m helping to make a freaking awesome video game, and that goes a long way.
Worse job you’ve ever had?
One summer before I turned 18 I was hired as a stock boy at a Dollar Tree. My first day was spent stocking douche (why?! If I were a lady, I wouldn’t trust it..). There was also the nearly daily “How much does this cost?” question (despite giant banners everywhere that say “EVERYTHING A DOLLAR (even if marked greater)”). Actually, it’s a pretty pitiful “worst job”, but it’s all I got.
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Other than the normal stuff â€“ traveling, hanging out with friends, and playing games â€“ I play ice hockey. I grew up playing street hockey and then in high school switched to roller hockey. A few years ago made the switch to ice, and haven’t looked back.