Charlie Grisafi is the lead programmer of Champions Online.
"Meet the Team" InterviewEdit
From the Champions Online official site
"In the third in our series of Q&As with the team creating Champions Online we get a few answers from lead programmer Charlie Grisafi.
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 individual tasks.
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 sports team.
Q: How long have you been in the game industry, and what did you do before working on Champions Online?
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.
Q: What was the last book you read?
A:Supermodels' Diet Secrets.
Q: What TV show do you wish was back on the air?
A: Alias. Jennifer Garner fighting in different outfits – what's not to love?
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?
A: Bathe 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."