Dev Profile: Software Engineer Andrew Geiger
At Capcom Vancouver we’re proud of the games that we make and even more proud about the people we get to make them with. Today we’re taking a look at one of those people behind the games as we sit down with one of the studio's software engineers Andrew Geiger who worked on our latest game Dead Rising 4.
What does an Software Engineer do? To put it simply, software engineers are responsible designing, implementing, and maintaining the code that makes up our games, engines, and tools. However, software engineers in the game development industry come in many different flavours. We typically specialize in a specific aspect of games, such as rendering, animation, gameplay, physics, audio, online, or User Interface (UI), and each specialization requires a unique skill set. For a software engineer, writing code is usually the easy part. The challenge is to apply the knowledge of our respective fields to design and create cutting-edge systems fit for modern games.
What’s your typical work week look like? As a Gameplay Software Engineer I spend a lot of my time collaborating with designers, animators, and other software engineers. Together, we work to plan and develop new gameplay features from concept to completion. We gameplay engineers are responsible for creating the back-end, data-driven systems that allow technical designers and animators to quickly create in-game content. Every week is a little different for me because I get to work on and contribute to such a wide range of gameplay features. In the two years that I’ve been at Capcom, I’ve been able to work on player animation, combat, photography, exploration/collectibles, achievements, and much more!
How did you get into the gaming industry? It has always been my dream to work in the gaming industry, and that is what led me to pursue and complete a master's degree in Computer Science. My Master's thesis research was oriented towards the 3D simulation of sands and soils for interactive training simulators, which was close enough to video games for me! During my time as a student, I also spent a large portion of my time working on a custom, from-scratch game engine, which I named the Arachnid II Game Engine. I learned a lot about graphics and game programming while working on that engine, and I believe the experience I gained from its development was crucial for me landing a job at Capcom when I applied straight out of school.
If you are interested, you can find out more about the Arachnid II Game Engine and my master’s thesis research here.
What part of your job gets you most excited? Developing a modern AAA game is a massive undertaking that requires an extraordinary amount of time, talent, and technology. It requires a large team of highly-skilled individuals from all sorts of backgrounds (programmers, animators, artists, designers, project managers, audio composers, writers, testers, and more). The inherent challenge of making such a game is what I enjoy the most about working in this industry. It is incredibly rewarding to complete a large project, release it to the world, and see the reactions of the fans.
What about Capcom Vancouver gets you most excited? The people and the projects! We have an incredibly fun and talented team here at Capcom Vancouver and I am so proud to be a part of it. The team is very passionate about games and the work that they do. Everyone is committed to producing top-quality games that we can all be proud of. We also have a lot of fun around the studio and on the development floors. It is never a dull moment!
What’s your favourite place in Vancouver? Hands down, my favourite place would have to be the Stanley Park and False Creek Seawall. There’s nothing better than an early morning run on an uninterrupted, thirteen mile path along Vancouver’s waterfront. You gotta go in the morning though, because it can get pretty crowded during the day!
What is your favourite video game? I don’t think I’ve ever been able to answer this question without listing off multiple games, so here’s my list (in no particular order):
- Portal 2
- TimeSplitters 2
- The Witcher 3
- Metal Gear Solid
- Commandos 2
What do you do outside of games? If there’s two things in this world that I’m passionate about, it’s games and running. I run almost every day and typically average between 100 and 150 miles per month. I am currently training to run a sub-3 hour marathon (26 mi, 42 km), which is the qualifying standard for my age group in the Boston Marathon. It may sound cheesy to some, but I like to think that programming and distance running are perfect complements of one another. Running is a mental sport as much as it is physical, and I believe that my work as a software engineer benefits my running ability, and vice-versa.