Meet the Intern: Alex

Hey everyone! I’m Alex, the new intern at Off The Beaten Track, and I live in Kiel. I joined the team to learn a bit more about how to make a game in a real company and I wasn’t disappointed. I love games that are a bit different and make you think, so Off The Beaten Track was my first choice and luckily I got my internship. I’m really just a programmer, although I also study musicology.

Dragon Age Origins

Favorite Game

Even though I try to have fun with all genres, I really love Strategy or Tactic-games with a good story. Using your units or heroes to save a village from raiders or helping them improve by building up infrastructure and so on really gets my strategic motor running.

Nonetheless, I really appreciate good and deep plots in any genre. I loved Final Fantasy, as well as Zelda games. Also the Witcher? What a great series! Took me about a year to finish Witcher 1, but it was worth it! If you know games that make you (or your characters) work together with friendly AI to overcome a foe, send me a message! I love that! My favorite Games in that regard are DA:O, Halo, Spartan: Total Warrior, Spellforce 1-3. Give me more!

Background

Like a lot of people around my age, I started gaming quite early. I have a big family so I had to share every console and every TV we had with my brothers. I can’t really remember what the first game I ever played was, but the games that really defined me were Age of Empires, Halo 1, and Zelda Ocarina of Time. I also liked to watch my brother play Resident Evil and although it really scared me, I was always so fascinated by what would come next.. *sigh*… When I was 12 my family got DSL and I used all my PC-time playing browser-games and Warcraft 3 with my friends. At 14 I got my first own PC and I immediately started learning how to configure it. After finishing school, I swore myself that I would never want to program, but then started an apprenticeship as an IT Specialist in system integration, which is something between the guy who builds PCs and Tech-support in general. I always wanted to do something with games, but I couldn’t do anything that was needed for making games, so I thought I would stay with my artistic side and study musicology and sociology to become something actor-ish. Maybe to become a Voice-Actor for games? Marketing? YouTuber?

That’s when I switched to computer science and everything changed. I learned how to program and even tried programming simple games. I was hooked and I saw a very tiny chance of actually becoming a gamedeveloper. When I saw that my university offered a class for game-development in my second year of CS, I had to take it. I learned the basics of game-programming and even got in contact with some other game-enthusiasts – like Jens, who held the sessions.

Game Jams? What’s that? Well, I didn’t know back then, but now I try to partake in every jam that fits my schedule! I love them! I can really try myself and let others worry about the parts that I just can’t do well like modeling or sound-mastering. Through joining the Game Jams and the monthly if(game)sh-meetings, as well as volunteering for the great Baltic Dev Days, I got in good contact with Jens. Fast forward two years: I am interning here!

What I do

As a musicologist, I had to do something with music. As a programmer, I had to program. So what other choice did I have than to work on the music-programming in the upcoming game? That’s what I did and I enjoyed it every hour of the day.
The team’s music composer Felix gave me some dummy-music and off I went creating a useable music-system in Unity. Something I never thought would be my task at an internship, but Jens and the team trusted and helped me quite a lot. And there it was, my first real contribution to a real game. Something I can point at in the future and say “That music! You hear that? Well I didn’t write the music, nor did I record or master it, but I made it play!”.

I also learned how to program a Gif resizing-tool using Windows forms and FFMPEG. Something I had never done before and that is already being used by the team. What a feeling! Although there was quite some documentation-hopping involved, I managed to get it done and with the help of Jens, it even works kinda good!

The tasks and feedback given by the team were very helpful and I can say that I really learned a lot over these 4 weeks. Not only was I respected as a full part of the team, I even got to give my own talk about Serious Games, which were part of my bachelors-thesis. Serious Games are not all boring!

After these very few weeks I finally know what I might be getting myself into when starting a career in the gaming industry and I must say: I’m all aboard! Working on creative visions and transmuting them into logic and patterns really made my days. Being able to see your own creations being tested and played by others is so rewarding.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Phrynette Married
(Although I first heard it in Fallout: New Vegas from Beatrix Russell)

If you’re looking for a programmer for your team or just someone to chat with about programming or games, check out my works on GitHub and itch or check out my very very funny Twitter @WtfDarky.

Thank you, dear OTBT-Team, for making this such a happy ride! As a little bonus: This is Dr. Knubbel (His friend Daisy is too shy for pictures..)

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