Lead Engineer on LifeSpark Arena – Kaleb Williams
The making of LifeSpark is meant to highlight the team working hard to make this game every day, and get to know about their back story, development practices, interests, and hobbies.
Hey Kaleb, so why don’t we start by letting everyone know what you do on LifeSpark?
I am the Engineering Lead for LifeSpark, so I coordinate everything with the engineers, coordinate with other branches, and also of course solve crises whenever they come up.
You mentioned branches – for those who might not be aware, what kind of branches can there be for an engineering team in a game like LifeSpark?
So, in one way when I’m referring to branches I am referring to our different branches of development with our engineers. We have the smaller groups of engineers, say 2-4, and then I was also referring to coordinating with art and design to make sure what we were doing was clicking with them.
What are some of the responsibilities that engineers have on LifeSpark Arena?
Any time there is a feature that needs to be implemented or a bug that needs to be smashed – that’s us.
What have you found to be helpful during your time on LifeSpark in managing all of these engineers?
This is the first time I have managed so large of a team, so the overall experience of coming to understand that the skill sets are different, both on my part and from my engineers, and using those effectively has been a challenge turned into a strength. Recognizing when there is an area that one of my engineers knows more about than I do personally and trusting them to make the right decision for it has also been very helpful.
You mentioned that it is your first time running so large a team. What was your experience like before coming onboard for LifeSpark Arena?
I worked on small projects, sometimes taking on leadership roles but never for more than 2-4 people. I have a background in general computer science, as well as web development work to make money while going through college. General programming with a higher focus on games, ever since I started my Masters degree here at USC. During my time in undergrad I worked on a lot of small game projects, little things to help me learn and improve.
What do you like about working on game teams versus working on those other types of projects?
Other types of projects have a lot of trouble holding my interest. The great thing about games is that you have to be able to do everything, all kinds of programming, and games really pulls that all together. All of these skill sets from other disciplines as well. If you are doing an online game then you have to know about networking, graphics programming, general data structures, etc. If you are working on a typical, general software program then you might be using Microsoft’s built in tools – the point being it is more isolated, while games really bring it all together. It’s just a lot you need to know, making it an intriguing and difficult process that you can be proud of, once it’s over.
Awesome, well Kaleb, to everyone that will eventually play LifeSpark, what would you like to say to them.
There will be team updates coming every week, with interviews from team members coming up as well. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle to follow LifeSpark Arena and not miss any of the content.