We’re back for another round of Inside Crytek: our very own interview series which features different members of the Crytek team. First you can get up close and personal with them, and afterwards you get to ask the questions!
To submit your own questions to this week’s interviewee, simply post them under the link to the article on our Facebook page, GFACE, CryDev or MyCrysis. We will then forward the best and most original questions, and next week the answers will be posted online.
Part 7 features Chris Speak. Chris is from Burnley, United Kingdom and has been at Crytek since April 2012. He has previously done some amateur art for unreleased mods and currently works as a QA Tester.
1. Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?
I’ve wanted to be in this industry for as long as I can remember, and tremendous games like Fallout 2, Final Fantasy 7 and Baldur’s Gate over the years have only fuelled that fire, but it’s only recently that I’ve been given my shot and I was lucky enough that Crytek took a chance on me for their Sandbox & Tools QA team. I worked hard at university and graduated, but home commitments and a huge chunk of bad luck meant I didn’t get into the industry quite as quickly as I would have liked.
2. Why Crytek?
I originally started my search for work by applying to tons of smaller studios and indie developers and finding that none of them seemed willing to go out on a limb with hiring a new member for their teams who had no professional experience. I won’t lie; it was disheartening to be turned down by developers who weren’t even known because they’d not even released a title yet. Eventually I figured “What the hell, aim higher!” and started applying to more established companies, at first aiming for those who had released titles I dearly loved, one of which was Crytek with the Crysis franchise. I was incredibly lucky to not only get in here but get the role I wanted, and these incredibly talented guys and girls around me work their butts off every day crafting what are, unquestionably, works of art. Blood, sweat and tears go into the games made here and nobody stops working until the job is done. There’s an awesome atmosphere here that is indescribable, so why work anywhere else?
3. What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job has to be finding something wrong with what I’m currently testing, and not only being able to reproduce it 100% of the time but then being able to give the Sandbox and Tools team a good enough description of the issue that they know what is wrong immediately. It’s even better if I can reproduce it in-front of them, but we’re not always that lucky.
The worst part? It’s not that bad, but Sandbox & Tools QA can be repetitive in nature at times, but it’s far more enjoyable than working in a warehouse in 45c temperatures in mid-summer, lifting fridges, TVs and washing machines like I did back at university…
4. What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on testing the Level Export functions of the CryENGINE Editor to make sure that everything comes out “on the other side” the way it was intended. Obviously if anything doesn’t export properly it’ll mean anything from a missing asset that has no bearing on the gameplay to something hugely important that could result in a totally unplayable level. Aside from that we’re usually assigned different sections of the CryENGINE Editor to test on a day by day basis, so the lads and I here in Sandbox & Tools QA are all getting pretty well versed in it!
5. What music do you listen to at work?
I’m unashamed to say I’m a metal-head and I listen to bands ranging from Coheed and Cambria, Dream Theater and Opeth to Amon Amarth, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Megadeth and Machine Head.
6. What inspires you in your work or in life?
I’m very much inspired by the people around me since arriving here at Crytek. Seeing the passion and determination in the people here is - dare I say it - “intoxicating”. I’ve never lacked motivation, but working here enhances it tenfold!
7. What types of games do you like, and what is your favorite game of all time?
Well, being a FPS player obviously is part and parcel of working for a company like Crytek, but I’m admittedly normally an MMO gamer, so I’ll discredit myself and everything I’ve just written by claiming “World of Warcraft” was my game of choice for the past 7 years, but honestly I’m open to play anything if it’s good. Since moving to Frankfurt I’ve found so many coworkers with similar tastes in games, so my current games of choice are Battlefield 3, FIFA 12 (and recently 13, demo-wise at least) and Guild Wars 2. I also dedicate quite a bit of my downtime to Football Manager 2012 and getting my hometown team of Burnley (Up the Clarets!) into the astronomical heights of the Champions League, where we crushed Real Madrid 6-1 in the final. Total realism for you there, of course!
8. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love cooking, socialising with my friends and colleagues on nights out is always fun when time allows it, but even if that isn’t possible, Frankfurt is a great city with tons to do so there’s never a lack of options.
9. Do you have any tips for people wanting to get started in the industry?
Work your butt off. Never give up.
That may sound like simple advice that everyone gives, but honestly it’s true. A job in this industry isn’t just going to fall into your lap, you need to work hard for it, learn a related skill to something entry level so you can add something to your CV that gets you a foot in the door and break your back to make the best of the opportunity. What I would suggest to anyone looking for a way into the industry is to pick a discipline and stick with it. Get really good at one specific thing, be it rigging, character art, texturing or otherwise and practice, practice, practice until your fingers bleed. A jack of all trades is a master of none.
Remember to post your questions to Chris in the comments below!
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