Ladies and Gentlemen, your applause, please… Mr. Schöner has entered the building! Armed with an impressive set of formulaic, analytical and discursive abilities, he is the newest addition to our team. To balance these rather head-focused skills a little bit, his private pleasures include a strong attraction to, well, unusual kinds of heavy metal music (which leads to another head-focused ability). So beware of his mosh and get to know him a little bit more:
Who are you and what do you do at Chasing Carrots?
Hi there! My name is Sebastian and I am working as a software engineer for Chasing Carrots. Naturally, my tasks here include programming, software design, and having long discussions with my developer colleagues about why I disagree with their design choices. It’s about firmly believing in your bold software design ideas — and then admitting that they are mostly wrong when you have actually finished implementing them 😉
What did you do before Chasing Carrots?
I obtained degrees in Cognitive Science and Computer Science, dabbled in mathematics for some time, programmed and published some games of and on my own, thought long and hard about profinite monoids and categories, and worked on computer vision systems for autonomous vehicles using deep learning.
How and why did you become a game developer?
Whenever I hear this “How do I become a game developer?”-question, I feel a bit irritated: The defining feature of a game developer is to develop games. So I guess I just started being a game developer by developing games, right? Before that, I was involved in the modding scenes of plenty of games, especially those developed by Relic Entertainment. I have contributed to Company of Heroes: Eastern Front as a programmer, wrote multiple modding tools for Dawn of War 2, and created fixes, patches, tools, and mods for many games, including Act of War, Cities: Skylines, and The Patrician 4 (this is more of a random sampling).
What kind of games do you like?
Funnily enough, I do not actually spend a lot of time playing games. Personally, I am a huge fan of rhythm and music games (the only game I regularly play is Yousician, which for most people probably won’t classify as a game!). Besides music games, I also enjoy strategy games in all of their flavors (Grand Strategy, Real Time, Turn Based, 4X, etc.) and incremental games. In the non-digital realm I am very fond of German-style board games, cooperative board games, and deck building games.
What are your all-time favorite games?
There are a couple of titles that I keep returning to. In no particular order: Yousician (guitar), Europa Universalis 4, Stellaris, Populous 3 – The Beginning, Rocksmith, Company of Heroes, Trine 2, Ori and the Blind Forest, Saints Row 3/4. I should also mention my own game, Patterna.
What’s your craziest hobby?
I develop games in my free time: I come home after a day of programming for some more programming. Not crazy enough? Try this: I read math textbooks; not because I have to, but because I draw enjoyment from understanding difficult ideas. I also spend my freetime reverse engineering computer games: assembler is love. 🙂
Who or what is your favorite band/music?
I am generally offended by the notion that people believe my taste in music to be so one-dimensional that I could just pick a best act. According to my statistics, I have been listening to an unhealthy dose of Mandowar (sic!) in the last 1.5 years, far more than I have listened to anything else. Go checkout their version of Nothing Else Matters, marvel at their perfect cover of Sweet Child of Mine, and should you ever have the chance to see them live (which is unlikely outside of Germany), just go for it. You won’t regret it. Other than that, I also enjoy Shining (NOR), Perturbator, Igorrr, Troldhaugen, Graveyard, Major Parkinson, Osaka Punch, Bon Jovi (yep, that band), Beethoven (I even own a Beethoven “band” shirt) and generally anything that all the other people out there consider to be bloody irritating. Music is one of the topics that I can go on and on for hours on end, so feel free to ask me for any recommendations 🙂
If you could be a game character, you would be…?
Not sure about that one. To me, games are not primarily about stories or characters. Sure, there are games that tell powerful stories (Brothers, anyone?), but my interpretation of what a game is is rather different: On the one hand, a game is first and foremost a formal system; playing a game is the act of exploring the expressive capabilities of said system by toying around with its rules. This is especially true for strategy and puzzle games: No characters required! I want to learn about that formal system, not about its packaging in a “story” or “world” or “characters”! On the other hand, a game can be a pure experience of moment-to-moment interaction, like a rhythm game. For me, characters add very little to this experience, because if anything they make the experience of playing the game less immediate. … … … Well, or maybe I just do not care too much about story and characters. To each their own, I guess.