WHAT CAN PROGRAMMERS

Monica Lewinsky in the office:

Recently, I was explaining to you (unless you read my last year’s reports moonhead

Studios), who is responsible for Lionhead to look Black & White and her (game) consuming three-dimensionality. Of course, artists and programmers of the game engine. For those of you who are closer to Quake, explain: thanks to the artists and engine-programmer you will be able to move through three-dimensional mazes and halls. But the guards, past which you will dart about, will not attack you, and your BFG did not shoot as long as the programmers responsible for the playing of the project, not to breathe life into this three-dimensional world created by … right! ,, Artists and engine-programmers.

Our old friends Peter Molyneux, Mark Webley, Jonty Barnes and Richard Evans are precisely the team that has been programming games. Peter is responsible as a whole for the entire project and program AI peasants inhabiting the world B&W. On the screen, these little men will work, get drunk at parties, hang around shopping, fishing, dancing, to celebrate the wedding — that is, to behave how people behave in real life.

Once I arrived at the office at 9 o’clock in the morning and saw Peter, who was sitting at his desk and simply did beamed with pleasure.

"You’ll like it, Steve, — he said. — See, now I sell one of their tribes football." He clicked on the green field. "Ltd! They run the ball. And begin to play it! Look away! Now they were joined by a few more people! These bastards invent some new game …"

I watched in fascination at the screen: the ball came together more and more people. Peoples play ball. After some time, they "invented" Football. 22 small peasant playing football on the field between the two gates. Peter confessed that he spent all weekend programming is small "invention".

Mark Webley once created a test for A1 Version B&W, and later became the chief manager of the project. Today he manages the game and engine-programmers and vigilantly stands out to (God forbid!) Any necessary service routine is not lost and has been included in the list of urgent affairs of the encoder. Keep out of the hands of such a project — not your bun cracking, guys! Mark all of this part of the beast, when he worked in Bullfrog, then for three years in charge of the coordination of 30 different designs (for PC, and for set-top boxes). But, by his own admission, to control Black & White — a hundred times more difficult.

Richard Evans is now struggling with the problem of assessing the user’s actions to play in terms of good or evil deeds it. I hope you have not forgotten that the landscape of B&W changes depending on whether any of the wizard Gandalf, good or evil Sauron — you play? Richard graduated from Cambridge with honors, perfectly copes with its task. And if you remember how he enjoyed success in women, it can be safely and firmly say: man is doing well on all fronts. But more about that later.

I already wrote about what the Jonty Barnes, his navigation software makes the animals move from one place to another on the most efficient path. And his special "stadoobrazuyuschie" programs allow different beast entirely natural to move in herds and flocks, without the inherent computer programs unnatural geometric accuracy. Recently Jonty switched to the effects of magic spells and a new system "gesture recognition"Which will be used to create spells. For example, to create "Ring of Fire"It will need to make a circular motion with the mouse. This feature is directly linked with the acquired skills in the game: the better you draw your mouse spells, the more powerful they become.

I asked Jonty talk about the progress of the game. His word.

"Black & White is on the stage of development, when the basic code of the game is going into a whole. Disparate systems that each of us is programmed separately, must now coexist harmoniously in the game. And oh, how it is not easy!

Float various errors and problems. Last week, Richard put into play one of their animals. Wide-fall, it began swinging legs. Obviously hungry. . The next food that the animal was able to find was … was it itself!

The error was quickly corrected with the help of additional lines of code, in which the cattle were forbidden to consider themselves the most as a food source.

Programming logic game based on a test version has allowed us to play in& W is already at a fairly early stage. We were able to test the design and operation of the new game features as they are developed. We still have to play at Black & White thousand times before the final version will be released. But the test version is useful only in the beginning. When working out the basic scheme of the game is completed, it is important to check in "home" environment using 3D engine’a.

Andy Robson, our manager testing immediately reported programmers all errors identified by the team of testers. Andy’s face always lit a smug smile when it brings programmers regular news about their glitches. He loves his job. Each month it updates the table "In whose code more mistakes". But programmers — people are quirky, and we know how to shift the blame on others. Especially this is different Peter, who has always insisted that his personal code completely, absolutely, infallible. In fact, the greatest number of errors found is in its programs, and Peter, being Priepert to the wall, it is usually explained by the fact that he supposedly forced to combine programming with endless interviews and business meetings. Frail excuse! Andy is not any excuse. He just fills up the table boss printouts seen errors. And smiles.

The site Lionhead has a forum, which discusses programmer’s craft, from which visitors can learn about our work, so to speak, "advanced" level. Thence I track messages every day and I try to answer questions.

According to popular belief, the programming — the inheritance of men. Women in this profession — a rarity. However, train one recent contenders for the position of the game programmer was a woman. She looked so cool that even Mark Healy took her "on a note". The girl liked absolutely everything and, I think, got accustomed to the team, if not for her inexperience. In general, she was denied. Someone filed a voice "behind"But one Steve Jackson insisted: "We can not take someone only because he pointed belly dance as one of their hobby!"

Programming is unlikely to provide a person a brilliant career. But ask Richard about this, and it in no time will prove you otherwise. At one site, Richard met a girl named Erica, who appeared to know everything about everyone at Lionhead. She liked the talk about programming artificial intelligence, and Richard somehow decided to invite her to the office. That evening, he called his friend in the programming contest for speed — and won. Eric watched the scene was so shocked by the splendor of Richard that crawled to him under the table, in order to reward his … um … in a manner of Monica Lewinsky. Later, Richard was horrified at the thought that the ubiquitous webcam Lionhead certainly referred to the Internet, and this picture!

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