Staff Introduction: Eric Hughes, Magister Corporis Programmati

Eric Hughes(Or “Lead Programmer” to you and me.)

My name is Eric, and I write the grimoire of spells that brings Grumpy Witch to life.

Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, I’m largely relying on a collection of arcane artifacts built by wizards greater than I, and I merely provide the incantations to activate them, bind them together and bend them to our collective will.

In more mundane terms, I’m the Lead Programmer on Grumpy Witch, and those “arcane artifacts” are the wonderful components of the Unity game engine. Having tried (and failed) to build video games from the ground up by writing my own routines to load models and textures, render, handle physics, etc., it’s great having Unity managing all that so we can focus on things like getting Emilia to fly, teaching goblins how to aim and throw spears, and making sure that the physics engine doesn’t get in the way of fun and interesting gameplay.

On top of that, I work directly with all of Team Emilia’s talented asset creators (artists, animators, composers, sound designers, etc.), to bring their content into the game and give them the tools they need to push boundaries and explore new, engaging ways of delivering that content.

 

emilia-fortress-unity
This is how the (grumpy) magic is made: Unity, and lots of patience.

 

Oh, maybe I should tell you how I got to where I am. You don’t have to read on; I won’t be offended (and probably won’t ever know). I’m probably a bit like Hari Seldon‘s hologram to you right now, except that I haven’t been dead for a thousand years (maybe; I expect the number of people reading this in a thousand years to be very near 0), and I’m not a psychohistorian (yet).

But if you’re still reading, you might be interested to know that I started programming in about 6th grade, when I discovered QBASIC and the games Nibbles and Gorillas. It didn’t take terribly long before I had the Nibbles snakes warping around the screen and doing various other strange things, and the Gorillas tossing nuclear bananas at each other that obliterated the whole skyline. My high school magnum opus was a text adventure engine built on my graphing calculator that allowed me to store game data in matrices so they could be edited independently of the engine itself. In my college years, in addition to earning a degree in computer science, I got to learn 3D modelling and animation, and worked on a student film project that was screened at a handful of festivals.

Fast forward several years: my friend Michael tells me he is creating a video game, a dark, dystopian sci-fi RPG called Poison Moon. So I strong-arm him into letting me write custom code for things like a crafting system while he puts up with my whining about the engine he is using.  A short time later, he comes to the realization that he wants to be writing something different, and asks if I want to help him create a new game, which tells the story of this cute, grumpy witch who has her hat stolen.

 

Here she is, in fact, ready to dispense justice and all.
Here she is, in fact, ready to dispense justice and all.

 

That’s how Grumpy Witch (and the saga of LPC) began. And like the rest of the team, I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds!

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