Ben Foxworthy is a mission programmer for Champions Online.
"Meet the Team" InterviewEdit
Q: What do you do on Champions Online?
A: I'm the newest programmer on the Champions Online mission team. I work on a lot of the gameplay features that make up the content of Champions Online – things like missions, contacts, NPC spawning, world interaction and other fun stuff. I also work on editors that the designers use to make our missions and zone content, and I support the designers by helping them use our tech effectively.
The most interesting part of my job is that I'm right in the middle of everything. The mission systems have tendrils in just about every part of the game, so I've worked with almost all of the other programmers here, and most of the designers.
Q: What is your typical workday like?
A: It's pretty much exactly like xkcd #303.
Q: How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Champions Online?
A: This is my first job since I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007, so I've worked in gaming for about a year. In college, I did a summer internship at Sony, where I worked on NBA '07 for the PSP, and I had a couple of jobs working as a database and application developer for the university.
Q: Who is your favorite Champions character?
A: Lately I'm into the concept art for Armadillo – he looks awesome!
Overall, though, I'd have to say Teleios. I just love the narcissistic genius concept, his whole backstory, and the whole "perfection" theme. I also like how his motivations are different from those of most villains; his superior intelligence leads him to see people as guinea pigs, and he's evil through apathy rather than malice (Or that's how I interpret him, at least.)
Q: What aspect of Champions Online are you most excited about working on?
A: I'm really excited about working on the Nemesis system. I think it has the potential to be the killer feature of our game, because it's so different from anything in other MMOs. In addition to just being a cool customization feature, I think it will add a ton of variety and replay value to our gameplay. Plus, it has some stuff that will be fairly fun to implement on the technical side.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Video games, of course. Other than that, let's see … I play tabletop role-playing games once a week with co-workers. I play guitar and write silly songs. I love seeing theater or live music as often as possible. I also enjoy going out to eat with friends and generally being social.
Q: What is your secret superpower?
A: One time I got a bullseye on a dart board while jumping on a trampoline – does that count?
Q: What game or games are you currently obsessing over?
A: I'm not the obsessing type. I tend to try lots of games and play them a little bit. Lately, I've been playing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and GTA IV. I also dabble in World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online, and I've been experimenting with Age of Conan.
Q: What one thing gets you through the day?
A: Spinning office chairs.
Q: What is something interesting about you that players would be surprised to know?
A: I once bought 1,000 glowsticks on eBay. I still have most of them.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to break into gaming?
A: First of all, you have to be willing to put a lot of time and effort into looking for opportunities. There are plenty of jobs out there, but internships and entry-level positions often aren't advertised as aggressively as senior positions. It's up to you to dig for them.
Here's one trick I learned – if you see an ad for a senior-level position on Gamasutra or some other site, go directly to that company's web site and see what else they have. Chances are there's an entry-level opening as well.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: My Champions Online character is going to be named "MetalloMoose."