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Payload Studios Q&A – Richard Fox

A few of our developers have taken time out of their very busy schedules (just joking, they just play Tetris all day) to answer some questions about themselves and how they got into working in the Games Industry.

First up we have Richard Fox. He’s been a programmer at Payload Studios for coming up to two years and has worked on the set-piece missions in TerraTech amongst other things.

1. How did you get into programming?

I’d always had a keen interest in expressing my creativity through games. I’d dabbled in programming languages during secondary school but it wasn’t really until my college computing classes that I realised how much I enjoyed building things in code and how it would give me endless possibilities for bringing my ideas to life. I decided to do a computing degree at university and ended up graduating and working as a programmer in various different industries including fashion, stock control, oil and gas and architecture. I also spent a year in between at a small indie company where I worked on some military simulation software and some mobile/web games. During this time I was fitting in bits of games development on the side by getting involved with a couple of mobile games and small projects.

2. How did you make the switch to the games industry?

After a while I concluded that my current line of work wasn’t fulfilling my creative side as much as I would have liked and that I would like to refocus on a more creative industry, specifically games. I’d always wanted to go back to study some more advanced computing topics so chose to do a part time MSc at Goldsmiths related to games technology and the games industry specifically. A large proportion of the students came from other industries looking to get into games and it was very creative focused with everything being applied to games and graphics, which was great for me. The course and lecturers had many ties to the game industry which provided me with work opportunities and a route into console and pc games development. I took a low level position initially but due to my previous skills and experience I managed to progress quickly and the rest is history. 

3. What does your role involve?

My role at Payload studios tends to span lots of different areas and I would be described as a generalist programmer. In most small to medium sized companies programmers are not usually specialised into specific areas but are encouraged to work in many different areas. I prefer this kind of company mentality as it allows me to get involved in many different areas of the game and the aspects of the company. If someone is interested in a particular area of development they can just ask their lead and the company will try their best to get you in the associated teams. Often in larger companies it’s easy to get pigeonholed into certain parts of the game or certain technologies and it can become difficult to make a change and move into another part. At Payload there are lots of opportunities to work on various different areas so luckily this isn’t an issue.

4. What’s life like at Payload Studios?

Like many at the moment, the studio is working remotely so many of us haven’t seen the office in nearly a year. This hasn’t been without its challenges but the transition to remote working has generally been very smooth. Payload has many clubs for people to join which most of which have moved successfully online and if there’s not something for you you can always form a new club with the support of the company.

The office itself is an interesting place to work (when we transition back to it) as we have an area for Payload Studios employees but the rest of the building is the Tentacle zone. This means that there are other games companies that have office space in the building so you run into all kinds of people in the common areas which leads to interesting conversation and knowledge sharing.The is also a good food market close by where you could pick up various different tasty lunches and an arcade machine and table football for relaxing.

5. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy getting to work on new technology and being able to constantly learn new things and apply them in my day to day work.There are always interesting challenges to overcome in my role due to the complex nature of the project. I find myself getting bored in roles where I am not pushing my skills forward so this role is great for me to continue learning and continue to be challenged.
Being involved in gameplay development also allows me to have a meaningful impact on the design of the game which is important for me as I am quite creative for a programmer. The whole company has the option to participate in regular playtests which encourage us to give feedback including any ideas for the game going forward. I like that the company is very open in this way as it means that any one person can have a real impact on the game and it’s future.

We have open vacancies at Payload Studios. Check out our Jobs page to see all our open positions – https://payloadstudios.com/jobs/

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