It’s RAGE launch week and this week Shawn Casey steps up to the plate to answer questions…
What do you do at id Software (or more specifically on RAGE) and how long have you worked at the company?
I’m a Generalist Programmer and currently responsible for the save games and achievements across all platforms. I joined the team January 2010.
When did you decide you wanted to get into game development?
Like most developers, it’s been a lifetime dream to work in the games industry. When I was ten, I bought a VIC-20 and started to tinker around with it. COMPUTE magazine had BASIC programs in the back of the magazine that I would type in so I’d have something to play on the system. It’s crazy, but at the time, I had no way of saving the programs so I’d keep on the computer for weeks at a time. That got old pretty quickly, so I started learning how to program things on my own. We eventually upgraded, bought a C64 with a 1541 floppy drive and I was finally able to play cool games like Summer Games and Bard’s Tale. Aside from the Atari, we never had any of the other popular consoles. Most of my gaming experience growing up was with computers. I think this is what helped me more than anything to lean more towards developing rather than just playing games.
Why do you think working at id is the best job in the world?
We truly have some of the top talent in the industry. Working at id is working in a state of perpetual challenge. I thought there would be too much pressure, crunch, overtime, but it’s not too bad, even though we’re in the middle of, what did Tim call it, “super-crunch”? It’s nice having group of extremely talented, level-headed engineers who check their pride at the door and are able to have deep technical discussions. Equally important is the ability to communicate with the other groups and have your input valued. At id, the designers and producers are keenly aware that all of us here are gamers and there is a lot of professional respect across the groups. Also, not everyone can say they work with the creator of the FPS genre.
What’s your proudest accomplishment at id?
Skippable single-asserts. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most.
Do you remember the first game you ever played?
It was either Christmas ’78 or ’79, we got an Atari 2600 as a family gift and one of my older sisters cried hating it so much. We played Combat for quite a while that day and every day after that.
If you’ve got a dinner reservation for two and you can invite one game developer to join you?
There are a lot of folks here that I enjoy talking with and hearing stories about the old days, but if it had to be someone outside this studio, I’d have to choose Chris Taylor. His innovations with Total Annihilation were ahead of its time..
What games have you been playing lately? Anything in particular that stood out?
I’ve been playing more Wii games than anything else with the kids. The latest Donkey Kong game was excellent, Kirby was good, but playing Kirby with a 6-year old can get pretty frustrating with its character collision and interactions. I’m enjoying the trend of FPS games pulling in more RPG elements though. There is a definite feeling of convergence between the two. RPGs are feeling more FPS-ish and FPSs like RAGE are starting to pull in more things like quests and other traditional RPG mechanics.
What are your non-gaming hobbies?
I try to spend as much time with the family as I can, playing frisbee, baseball and riding bikes are their favorites. We also have a Friday game night and try to play a board game like Ticket To Ride, Clue, Pandemic. I also do some programming on the side and our family is pretty active with our local church.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Formative childhood movies: WarGames, Tron and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.