In their third article devoted to the staff behind their upcoming game,
Cryptic's community managers have produced an in-house interview with
their lead programmer, Charlie Grisafi. The answers that he offers to
the readers are candid, extremely amusing, and almost unbelievable at
times. Take a moment to read through the article, then head on over to
official website and check out everything they've been up to
Charlie Grisafi, Lead
Programmer for Champions Online
Q: What do you do as lead
programmer on Champions Online?
A: One of
the great things about Cryptic Studios is the large team of very
talented and motivated software engineers that are working here. In
this environment, the main role of the lead programmer is to make sure
that all of these talented people are working on the right things at
the right times, so that it all comes together into an efficient,
well-integrated system. This requires the ability to try to see the
"big picture," while allowing other people to focus in more closely on
A big part of this is making sure that each person has everything they
need – design documents, other software, tools and anything
else the programmers need to get the job done. A lead programmer is
like the coach of a professional football team; making sure that the
team has the best players and equipment, trying to pick the right plays
and give them to the right players while keeping everyone on the team
pumped up and ready to win.
The image of a football team may not be what you imagined when thinking
about a team of programmers, but in reality, the dedication, hard work
and continuous effort required to implement something as complex as a
videogame requires a lot of the same qualities that make up any winning
Q: How long have you been
in the game industry, and what did you do before working on Champions
A: I have
been working full time as a software engineer for more than 25 years,
and I have been working in gaming for the past 18 years. Before joining
Cryptic I worked in coin-operated game development for many years,
working with my own small studio and also at various other developers
like Atari Games, Midway Games and Electronic Arts.
Q: What is a typical day
for a lead programmer?
A: I get in
to work as early as possible so I can work in a few hours of
programming before other people start to show up. Then I have various
meetings about tech issues, design, status updates, scheduling, etc.,
interspersed with more programming. Then I complain about being in so
many meetings. I'll try to get in a few more hours of programming
before heading home.
Q: What parts of
Champions Online are you most excited about working on?
A: I am
excited about all aspects of the Champions gameplay. There are a lot of
exciting systems, combat, AI, character creation and advancement, loot
and inventory, missions and many more. The great thing about working as
a lead (and sometimes not so great) is that I get to be involved in all
the different pieces that make up the game.
Charlie is excited
about all the great systems that are being developed for Champions
Q: What was the last book
Supermodels' Diet Secrets.
Q: What TV show do you
wish was back on the air?
Jennifer Garner fighting in different outfits – what's not to
Q: What's an interesting
fact about you that players would be surprised to know?
A: I did
some time in Folsom.
Q: What is your dream car?
A: Any car
with a robotic driver. It would be really nice to just climb in after a
long day and say "take me home." On second thought, after working as a
programmer for so many years, I can't say I would sleep well while
riding in it.
Q: Do you have any advice
for someone who wants to become a game programmer?
regularly, wear clean underwear, use deodorant and chew with your mouth
closed. Learning how to write code would not hurt.
Q: Is there anything you
would like to add?
A: No, but I
really enjoy long division.
this article on the Ten Ton Hammer forums!
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