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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/20/08)  | Pub:Eidos Interactive
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Age of Conan: Developer Profile Q&A

Today, we continue our series of Developer Profile Q&As where we take a more in-depth look at one of the people working on Funcom's Age of Conan. This week, we're talking to Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt, the Service & Quality Assurance Senior Manager for AoC.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us a little about your childhood. How did school and where you live influence your choice to join the video game community?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

School had probably very little to do with me choosing to become a part of the video game community. I come from a small city on the west coast of Norway called Bergen. At least its small compared to cities you find in countries such as England, France or USA. It was a very good gaming community in this city and I got a job in one of the internet stores. We had some high profiled Quake and Star Craft players coming from this store and it was during the days of Everquest that I got my job in Funcom. While playing Everquest I decided to give the gaming industry a try.

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MMORPG.com:

Can you remember your first video game? How often did you play, what other games had an influence on you?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

I've been playing a lot of different games and it all started on the Atari. My uncle bought one of the first Atari's so I was camping my cousin's house when I was a kid. However, one of the games that truly caught my attention was Gauntlet. I spent many hours playing that game together with my friends. I also remember when I did this deal with my neighbor friend. Think I was around 11 years old when I traded all my Star Wars and GI Joe action figures away and got his C64 and all his games. Best bargain ever if you ask me!

In general I guess I've been a hardcore gamer. Always playing the new games and being active in clan matches such as Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 2 and so on. Matter of fact, our Funcom BF1942 team came on second place in a Business tournament. Only team beating us were Komplett.no. Though, these days I'm playing more on my Xbox360 than on PC. It's a nice break when you work with PC's everyday at the office.

MMORPG.com:

Besides games what other influences brought you into your career? Whether it is books, movies, or artwork everyone has different tastes, tell us about yours.

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

I believe my passion for pen and paper roleplaying games had a major influence. I've been playing for many years and still am. It started with some Norwegian version of Dungeon and Dragons but we moved quickly over to AD&D. Fantasy has always been a part of my childhood and while growing up. It was almost natural for me to then find an industry which is somewhat connected and since I'm already talking about roleplaying games. Call of Cthulhu, based on novels written by H.P. Lovecraft is among my favorite game systems that are made for pen and paper roleplaying games.


MMORPG.com:

What was your first job in games? What other games have you worked on?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

It all started with me joining Everquest's volunteer program. From there I decided that I wanted to try doing this for a living. After almost a year in the volunteer program I became one of the first Game Masters at Funcom. Here at Funcom I've been working on titles such as No Escape, The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Anarchy Online, Notum Wars, Shadowlands, Alien Invasion, Lost Eden and now Age of Conan. Some of the titles listed above are expansion packs for Anarchy Online.

MMORPG.com:

What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

I'm currently working here as Customer Service & Quality Assurance Senior Manager. Basically I'm responsible for two departments in the company. Of course, this is not a one man job. I have many good team members and leads making sure things run smoothly.

MMORPG.com:

Take us through a typical day of work at Funcom while working on Age of Conan, what is it like when you show up at the office?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

This is more like a 24/7 job. Especially since we have the teams located in both US and Norway. First thing I do is to catch up on my e-mail to make sure we don't have anything critical at hand. Either our live products such as Anarchy Online or projects in production such as Age of Conan. I'm looking at typical showstoppers that need productions attention as soon as possible. Next thing is to attend to different meetings where we make action plans for the day and so on. From there the leads and I are making sure the teams get what they need in order to complete as many tests as possible for the production team. Organizing external and internal tests on different environments is also something that takes up work hours during a typical day at Funcom.

MMORPG.com:

Are there any friends or family who had a major impact on your career or chasing dreams that you'd like to talk about, do they play games?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

I would say that my friends and the gaming community where I worked made a major impact on my career. There was no such thing as education with focus on game development so everything comes from self learning. Funcom and many of the veterans here in the company has been my mentors. Even after almost 8 years I feel there is more to learn. Most of my friends still play games and so does my brother. We've always had a big interest in games. One of the changes we've seen from back in the old days is multiplayer game experience. The gaming industry has evolved and given multiplayer gaming experience a much higher focus. This make it a lot easier for people around the globe to hook up with PC or gaming console so they can play with their friends no matter where they are located.


MMORPG.com:

The video game industry continues to grow very quickly. What are your hopes for games in the future?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

Good question. I hope that there will always be room for small independent game companies to create their own games. Competition is needed to ensure a good variation of games available for the players. I think that people are getting a bit tired of seeing titles being pushed to the market just to see some companies trying to milk the cash cow as much as possible. The community wants to see something new, and not just the "same" game with a new wrapping.

MMORPG.com:

How have things been progressing with Age of Conan? Have you enjoyed working on such a strong IP as Conan?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

The progress with Age of Conan is great. So far I've enjoyed the ride quite a lot. I'm really looking forward to the weeks and months to come. This is a title that looks very promising and I think the community will like the fact that it's a mature MMO and not so much like the others currently out on the market.

MMORPG.com:

Is there anything you would like to write to the readers of MMORPG.com that we have not spoken about?

Orjan "Mathis" Tvedt:

I've met a lot of good people while talking to members of different volunteer programs or members from different gaming communities. Many of these have a dream about making games for a living. Follow that dream and never give up. It takes a lot of hard work but it's truly a big reward when you get the opportunity.

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