Hello survivors! Only 2 interviews to go! And today, we’re very happy to introduce you to our favorite rune-carving shaman: Thomas, lead developer on Dead In Vinland! If you guys encounter any bug in the game, this is probably his fault, but he’ll say it’s not.
Guess which one is Thomas!
Who are you?
CCCP: Tell us your name, your age, and your role at CCCP for Dead In Vinland?
Thomas: I’m Thomas, 29 (30 in July OMG this is so close!) and I’m the lead developer on Dead in Vinland.
CCCP: What did you do before?
Thomas: I first tried attending an engineering preparatory school, but it didn’t really fit me so I dropped after the 1st year and forked to a “DUT informatique” (2 years diploma in IT), which taught me the basics of generic programming: algorithm, software, web, database… I didn’t want to end my studies right away, and I was already interested in games dev (that’s what made me follow the IT path in the first place) but the possibilities in France were close to non-existent in that domain, so I jumped on a plane and went to Middlesbrough, UK, to get a BSc in Computer Games Programming.
Once this was all done, I came back to France, worked on a personal project for about 5 months to start my portfolio, and then landed a job in a tiny (we were 3!) company making (mostly) mobile games with Unity. Fun fact: my very first task was to make a full chess game for mobile… where 3 players compete! 2.5 years later the company closed, and I spent a full year looking for a job (Unity wasn’t as well-known back then…) before landing my current position at CCCP.
Your role for Dead In Vinland
CCCP: Tell us more about your role in the game.
Thomas: Since Dead In Vinland is a follow up game, the very first tasks were to plan with the Game Designer everything that we wanted to improve upon the first game and think about what these improvements would require: a couple more features, some fixes or a complete scrap/rewriting of the system. Spoiler alert: it was often all of them, for various reasons (the system had too many changes/I didn’t like how it was done/the art structure was too different…) Then, time for action: I had to actually implement all of this in the game!
Later on, when I received some backup in programming (Raoul, and another Thomas for a few months) I had to divert a part of my efforts to a higher level, managing the team of 3 that we became so that we don’t waste our time hindering each other.
Since we’re a small studio and don’t have specific people to do everything, I also had to take care of some non-programming stuff like dealing with some external partners: localization, sound design…
A horn is hiding on this picture
CCCP: What’s your typical working day at the moment?
Thomas: Currently, as we’re closing to the release and most all of the features are finished, the typical workday alternates mostly between testing, bug fixing (who am I kidding, there are NO bugs!) and polishing the game.
CCCP: Your favorite mechanics in Dead In Vinland?
Thomas: One of my favourite mechanics is actually a simple/small one: the parallax effect (3D movement) of the camera. I really like how it makes the game stand out and gives it a unique feeling, despite being only made of 2D planes/sprites. It requires a pretty tedious setup once the scenes become more complex, but I really think it’s worth the trouble.
What a great Parallax!
CCCP: Your favorite character? Why?
Thomas: My favourite character is Gudrun, the Volva. I just can’t get enough on how she is (or acts!) all crazy, constantly playing on her venerable age when she feels like disturbing her conversation partner.
Gudrun, the Völva
As a gamer
CCCP: Your favorite game?
Thomas: Even if I don’t play it anymore, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say DotA 2. I can’t lie about it, my Steam “time played” counter is like a brand!
DotA 2: Thomas’ favourite game!
CCCP: What have you been playing lately?
Thomas: Into The Breach when alone, Divinity: Original Sin 2 coop with my girlfriend, and Rocket League with my friends (>What a save! >What a save! >Okay.)
In the office
CCCP: Describe your co-workers with 3 words.
Thomas: Drink – Drank – Drunk
CCCP: Any good anecdote from within the walls of CCCP?
Thomas: There are so many it’s quite hard to choose from (cf. the 3 words ^_^). But yeah one of the best ones was back at the Paris Games Week 2017, where we were presenting DiV. There was a small (it always starts that way!) party organized by pals of the Made In France area after closing time and, well… we didn’t want to stay small! So after it was over (and we were getting warmed up), we wandered a bit disappointed and, oh miracle! Managed to crash in a (really) big party (no names, we weren’t exactly… invited! Ssssshhh!) that was finally up to our expectations. We had a greaaaaaaat time, even if the morning after was a bit of a hassle ; we were still there and ready to show you the game though, because we love you guys <3
He drinks his morning “coffee” like a true – beardless and very small – viking!
CCCP: Your favorite object at work?
Thomas: I love my Viking drinking horn! We got those for the Gamescom 2017, as a gimmick all of the DiV developers had. I really like how it looks, and it immediately makes any beverage better (of course we also used them properly, they’re not limited to being gimmicky!)
CCCP: Any advice for those who want to become an Programmer like you?
Thomas: If you are lucky/dedicated enough to have access to a “Game Dev“ specific course, all the better, but keep in mind that it’s definitely not the only path to become a games programmer. As far as studies are concerned, you can definitely score a position even if you come from a “generic” programmer path, as long as you show enough dedication with some nice side projects. If you have nothing to show, nobody will watch, so make an online portfolio and fill it a little bit; make games (they don’t need to be finished!) on your own, with friends, heck even with strangers during game jams!
That’s all for today! Now, you know all about Thomas! Don’t believe him about the parties and the drunk parts, this is absolutely false. Ahh, those developers, you can’t let them out of their cave for too long. Don’t forget to join our Discord server if you want to join our community or just say hi to Thomas! Next time, you guys will finally meet the mastermind behind all of this: Matthieu. Happy surviving!