Double Eleven wins NE Business Awards Company of the Year for Teesside.
DEVELOPER DIARY - MOCAP
Frozen Synapse: Tactics to use motion capture.
NEW GAME ANNOUNCED
D11 working with Mode 7 on a console version of Frozen Synapse for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
DOUBLE ELEVEN PUBLISHING
Double Eleven launch venture into publishing; both our own and other indie titles.
DOUBLE 1-TO-1s - IAN THOMASDouble Eleven have decided to give you an insight into what we do and who does the behind-the-scenes work to produce the amazing games that you play. We have conducted interviews with some of our awesome team members so that you can find out more about them, their hobbies and personal interests and the path that led them to Double Eleven.
Check out Ian, the first of our interviews below and keep an eye out for the upcoming interviews on this blog in our new set of 'Double 1-to-1s'. Happy reading and who knows, when you see how cool our people are and some of the amazing stuff that they are involved with, maybe it will inspire you to come and add your talents to the team!
Name: Ian Thomas
So, first of all, could you tell everyone what you do at Double Eleven?
I'm primarily a gameplay coder, but also dabble in narrative design, and some story-related R&D.
And how long have you been with the company?
Err... two years, give or take.
So you were here for the whole of LittleBigPlanet. What was that like to work on, what was your involvement in it?
LittleBigPlanet was daunting, to start with, due to the complexity of the codebase - we had to dive in and decode it all. There's a great job title that's appeared over the last few years (originally on the reworked Monkey Island): "Code Archaeologist". It felt a bit like that.
I was mostly on the gameplay side for LBP Vita, on the team that dealt with integrating the new touch elements and adapting the editor controls for the Vita. But like most of the team, I jumped back and forth a bit, depending on what was needed.
So how many years have you worked in the games industry?
The mainstream industry, only a few years... I've been hanging around on its borders for about 15 years or more, now, in related fields, but only made the decision to go mainstream five years ago, having passed through interactive television, online fantasy sports systems, educational games for kids, board games, and mask-and-puppet-making on the way.
That's quite an interesting range of jobs. What made you get into the games industry from those experiences?
It's something I've always wanted to do. I started coding as a kid on various home computers, making up my own games, and kinda got diverted – after Uni I moved to the middle of nowhere and had no-one to go and write games for. So I was sidetracked on to other things. Eventually, growing bored of what I was doing, I thought 'hey, if I don't get around to this now, I'll never do it' and made the jump.
And was Double Eleven your first games company after that "jump", or have you worked for a few other companies beforehand?
The only other AAA company was Traveller's Tales, where I worked on a bunch of LEGO games. Five, I think, from memory.
Since moving to Double Eleven, what would you say you like the most about working here?
I guess it's a good balance. I've always been happiest working in smaller teams – I enjoy getting involved in all sorts of aspects of a project. When you're in a place the size of TT, you get a bit lost in the woodwork, only seeing a small part of what everyone's working to create. D11 strikes a nice balance, where the teams are small enough that you get the bigger picture and get a chance to work on a nice variety of things, but where there's also plenty of support, so you don't feel you're out there on your own.
You mentioned above that you have worked in a lot of other areas broadly related to video games and game themes; do you still follow or take part in any of these? Do they inform your hobbies or permeate into them?
Crikey – where to start? Okay... yes, all sorts of extra-curricular activities.
I'm involved in making low-budget films. My brother is a director and model maker as his day job (having worked on many of the big British-made effects movies – all the Harry Potters, Hugo, Nolan's Batman, all of that), and along with a bunch of like-minded people we build sets and blow actors up at the weekends. I do all sorts for that – the scripts, and get involved in the technical side and the directing.
I also write, on the side; I had a kids' book out last year from a graphic novel publisher, and have a bunch of other manuscripts kicking around in various media, a couple of optioned film scripts, that sort of thing.
I'm reasonably heavily involved in local games activism – kicking the local government and media around down here until they realise that there is a games industry, and bringing together games developers. We run lectures and social meetups, and I sit on the BAFTA strategy panel for games here.
What else... I'm currently developing a couple of boardgames for a publisher... oh, and leading a writing team for a large-scale live-roleplaying system.
That's quite the list! Do you still find time to play video games at all? What would you say was your most recently enjoyed game if so?
Yes, I play games a lot - one of the nice BAFTA perks is that you get copies sent out to play on the run-up to the awards voting.
I think my favourite over the last year or so has to be Telltale's "The Walking Dead". Totally unexpected - managed to hit all the right story and pacing notes. Just a superb piece of work, which even dragged in my other half as an observer; she was so caught up in how the story would end. And she doesn't play games.
Honourable mentions this year - probably Journey, Dishonored and the re-release of Baldur's Gate, for nostalgia's sake.
Thanks for the interview. Any closing comments?
The other nice thing about working for D11 is that, shortly after joining as a coder, I was able to say 'Hey – I do this writing stuff. Can I work that into my day job too?' And within a few months, that's what I'm doing, a mix of coding and narrative. It's great to find a company that's open to that sort of ambition.
Well, short of sounding totally self-promoting here, that’s the kind of skills and strengths in our team that we aim to support. Thanks again Ian.