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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: Tomasz Przechodzki

Every month, we feature a new member of FUncom's Age of Conan team in the form of a Developer Profile. This month, it's Tomaz Przechodzki, a rendering programmer on the project.

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?

Tomasz Przechodzki:

I grow up in a small town in Poland. When I was 7 or 8 my grandmother gave me money for my first computer. It was Atari 65XE with cassette player. In that time in Poland it was not possible to go to shop and just buy a computer, so my father had to go to Warsaw and buy it in a special shop which was selling goods from “western world”. I remember that I was very happy and excited by having my first computer. I do not remember what my favorite game was in that time but I really loved to play in “Space Invaders”, “Frogger”, “Montezuma's revenge” etc.

My elementary and high schools had a minor influence on my choice to join the video game industry and I believe that the most significant impact on my adventure with computers was made by demoscene.

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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.

Tomasz Przechodzki:

As I mentioned earlier, I think the demo scene was very important in my career. In 90’s the demo scene was very strong and I remember that I was under a big impression of what people have been creating on theirs computers. In that time I discovered that computer can be used for something more than only for playing video games.

Pen and paper games had also a big influence on my life and career. I used to play with my friends from school. Our favorite systems were “Call of Cthulhu” and “Warhammer”. I am also a big fan of fantasy and horror books and movies. Among my favorite writers are H.P. Lovecraft and A. Sapkowski (author of “The Witcher” sage). I was also inspired by Z. Beksinski (polish artist) and H.R. Giger paintings.

MMORPG.com:

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

Tomasz Przechodzki:

Hmm… I think I don’t remember what my first video game was, but my real adventure with games started when I got my first PC. I was a big fan of strategy games SimCity, Dune 2. A bit later I started playing in FPS games like Wolfenstein, Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake etc. and I have been playing almost every day.

MMORPG.com:

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

Tomasz Przechodzki:

I am rendering and tools programmer. I am responsible for our whole dungeon, environment and weather systems. I also made technologies for creating foliage, rivers, lava etc. Besides rendering I am working on our world build tool called Genesis, which is use to make our playfields. I really enjoy my work. It is a big pleasure to have a job which is giving you such a big satisfaction. I can’t imagine myself creating programs for banks or writing SQL queries. For me working in the video game industry is something more than just a job.

Funcom is not my first company. I have been working for two developers in Poland. I was also physics programmer for “The Witcher” RPG game which has been released recently.

I really like Norway, I am a big fan of Norwegian landscape and Vikings history, so when I saw job offer from Funcom (which is located in Oslo) then I knew that I have to send them my resume. Two weeks later I was informed that Funcom would like to hire me and that is how I got my foot in the door.

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?

Tomasz Przechodzki:

I have been programming since I was 15 and I learned a lot by myself, but getting degree in computer science was very important for me, so big impact on my career was made by professors from my university. All my friends from the demo scene community had also very big influence on what I am doing now, but the most important person for chasing my dreams is my wife. I am really thankful for all her patient and support which she is giving to me.

MMORPG.com:

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

Tomasz Przechodzki:

I am rendering programmer, so my hopes are mostly connected with GPUs (graphics processors). Few years ago hardware industry gave as fully programmable graphics processors, so we could start writing special programs called shaders. This made significant impact on visual quality of video games. Progress in real time graphics in last several years was really huge. We can look at a screenshot from average game which was released 10 years ago and then look at screenshot from a game from this year. You will see gigantic different and I can’t imagine how the games will be in 10 years from now.

In my opinion we are in the middle of a big revolution in games. The boundaries between different types of games (racing, strategy, RPG, FPS etc.) are disappearing. Physics simulations become more important in games with every year. All modern games are providing more and more freedom to players. All of this is strongly connected with rapid development of Internet. In my opinion future belongs to MMO games which will give us big and very realistic worlds, where we will be able interact with everything.

MMORPG.com:

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

Tomasz Przechodzki:

We are making a huge progress and I am sure that Conan will be a successful game. The world of Hyboria is very reach and full of places which are waiting to be discovered by the players. We are having a lot of playfields, monsters, quests, etc. From visual point of view our game looks very good and is making new standards for MMO games which used to have very simple graphics with cartoonish style.

MMORPG.com:

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

Tomasz Przechodzki:

Believe in your dreams, never give up. Remember that you can also create games – not only play in games. With a bit of effort you can become game developer. Help us to make even better games!

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