Joining us from the caravanserai of the Nunhead touring troupe of the Ballistic Transistor Blister Sisters comes Tim. Originally roughed out as the test page of an experimental 3D printer, Tim is now kept in reserve in the nether fens of Splash Damage, only to be unleashed when we need to humiliate visiting journalists, irritate external producers or just generally create ruckus and cause conniption.
Possessed of every First Person Shooter guile, ruse, exploit, stratagem, gambit, ploy, plot, plan, wile, feint, artifice and device, Tim has been forbidden from involvement in most of our playtests, as he just makes us cry, and when we cry the doves cry, and you just don't need us to tell you what happens when doves cry. He's made from a sort of photovoltaic paste, won't be told, and is wanton about won-tons. He's available in a sort of flask, or as a knotted thread, or in five Lucite bins.
Things You Were Too Afraid To Ask...
Every once in a while, we interrogate one of our own and put their answers up for all the world to see. Read on to find out more about what Tim does, how he ended up at Splash Damage, and more.
What do you do at Splash Damage?
As a Producer and Scrum Master, it is my job to lubricate the sprockets and cogs that make up the mechanical heart of Splash Damage. I help the development team by deflecting all the day to day flotsam and jetsam enabling them to concentrate on making a great game. This can involve an ever-changing, wide range of tasks from overseeing the programming team; creating place-holder audio, such as gun sound effects and voice-overs; to creating videos and slide shows.
Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?
Like everyone at Splash Damage, I have a real passion for computer games and have always been interested in the creative side of them. Back for the first Doom I was making maps and making the zombie soldiers fire bananas. Subsequent games have been subjected to other abhorrent acts of abuse, such as an ‘old man’ voice and texture pack for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. RTCW also enjoyed an ill-executed map based on the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which even found its way onto a PC Gamer coverdisc.
However, it was clear my attempts at modding were spectacularly amateur so I had to find another route into the industry… anyone need a games tester?
Why did you join Splash Damage?
Already a big fan of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, I enjoyed many epic battles on Splash Damage's maps like Market Garden and Tram Siege. They were creating the types of maps I wanted to experience. When Wolfenstein : Enemy Territory was released I couldn’t stop playing it, which was lucky really since it was my addiction to that sick game that led me here. For all the time I thought I had 'wasted' playing W:ET, I had, in-fact, been training for a job. That job was Production Tester.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part is working in an exciting and dynamic work place where I can be doing something different everyday. From editing videos, organising recruitment, producing audio, to playing an exhibition matches at i31 and being the Programming Team’s Scrum Master, my work is interesting, varied and inspiring.
The worst part is when tracking down or reproducing a bug requires us to constantly install and uninstall software and change drivers plus hardware until we hit on the magic setup or have that ‘winning’ combination. Sure, it feels great at the end, but the monotonous method can be very repetitive and boring. Although, to be honest when you balance it with everything else I do I can’t complain!
What was your first gaming experience?
My earliest was playing on an Atari-type clone, battling my brother in an extremely tactical tank shooter. My first proper computer experience came with an Acorn Electron and games like Vindaloo and Chuckie Egg. This was closely followed by a BBC Micro and the classic Elite, where I would crash into Space Stations after refusing to pay 50 credits and be deemed a fugitive just because of a few stray bullets!
What types of games do you like, and what's your favorite game of all time?
I like Graphic Adventures and First-Person Shooters, but damn the person whoever mixes the two! My favourite game is The Secret of Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge, with Sam 'n' Max Hit the Road a close second. I just love the music from those games, and even subject my lucky co-workers to beautiful renditions. My favourite FPS is Return to Castle Wolfenstein; it has a great single player, but even better multiplayer and is the game that spawned Enemy Territory!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?
I like to concentrate on waxing my moustache, writing music and dancing with my cat. I also play far too much Team Fortress 2 and sometimes do the odd bit of mapping.