Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Interview questions from herooftheage

I currently owe questions to antoniseb, cellio, jdulac, asim, metahacker, mindways, hfcougar, siderea, patsmor, tpau, alienor and ladyariadne. Yes, I'm working on all of them. I'm not going to bother repeating the rules again -- y'all know the drill, if you want to get onto the end of this preposterously long list.

1) What caused you to fall in love with Jane?

Hmm. I don't think of it in terms of "cause". Really, for the most part it was simply *right*.

She and I have been comfortable with each other almost from the moment we met. At that first demo, we spent an hour simply talking, and we really never stopped. I can't really put my finger on any specific time when I fell in love with her -- I just gradually realized I had been for a while.

I've intellectualized my tastes enormously, of course. I can describe a variety of reasons why I'm attracted to her: beauty, brains, sexiness. But the fact is that that simple comfort is at the core of it -- a feeling that we fit well...

2) What's the best game, if you have such a thing, that you've ever played?

Poker. There are zillions of games I've played, of practically every sort. But dealer's choice poker is the one that speaks to me the most. A little tactics, a bit of psychology, a tiny dash of risk, enough depth of play to make it interesting, but enough silly chaos to make it fun.

3) Is there a game that you'd love to build, if only someone would pay you to?

Hmm. I don't know if there really is. There are several I'd like to build. A couple come particularly to mind. CyWar is a game I designed back at Intermetrics, and is an idea I still mess with from time to time -- basically a realtime strategy game where the units are AIs you design using fuzzy logic controls and training. And then there's Power, a politics sim that alexx_kay designed some years ago, which has long fascinated me as a remarkably cool engineering problem.

But at the heart, that gets down to why I'm not in the games biz any more. I like games a lot, but my passion for them is broad and a tad shallow. What turns me on about game programming isn't the games -- it's the programming. I'm attracted to the business mainly because it affords so many cool software engineering problems, and those problems are what attract me. But the companies really only want people who are utterly passionate about games, and specifically about computer games. And when I'm completely honest, I have to admit that that my passion isn't about creating games -- it's about creating insanely cool software. Playing isn't the good part for me: the act of creation is what turns me on...

4) You've occasionally claimed that your strategic sense is much better than your tactical expertise. What do you like about the one and dislike about the other?

No -- strike that, reverse it. I'm a reasonably adequate tactician, and a *dreadful* strategist.

I'm not entirely certain why, although I have a couple of guesses. On the one hand, it's a level of abstraction thing -- I don't think in quite such high-level patterns, at least where games are concerned. Probably more than that, it's a matter of indiscipline. Good strategy requires a fair amount of discipline: constructing a plan, and not getting distracted from it. (Flexibility is good, but distraction generally not.) Indeed, it may simply be a matter of my own dilletantishness -- I tend to learn lots of things shallowly, and being decent at strategy tends to require more depth of understanding.

Regardless of the reasons, the observation is consistent and clear: I'm reasonably decent at more tactically-oriented games (like Poker), and less skilled at those that focus on strategy (like Chess). Truth to tell, that doesn't bother me overmuch -- I rather enjoy being a dilletante...

5) When given the choice between something new and interesting vs. delving deeper into something you've already touched, what are your criteria for choosing which to do?

Interesting question. It's not a choice I often make consciously -- frankly, it's often a matter of whim.

The two answers scratch different itches. Learning or doing something new feeds my insatiable curiosity, and provides a hit of instant gratification. Doing something more in depth gives me the opportunity to make a difference -- far harder, but occasionally far more satisfying...

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