As Boss Key’s new Community Coordinator intern, it falls to me, Tyler Lopes, to introduce my fellow battle brothers. They came across the country to join the studio for the summer: Chris Morris hails from Seattle, Anthony the Windy City and Forest from Chattanooga Tennessee. Me? I got lucky. I’m local. They can tell you more, so let’s dive in (and you can see us debuted in the latest Boss Room stream below too!).
Tyler: What do you do here?
Chris: I am the Game Design intern! I will be assisting Dan Nanni (@lupo_affamato) with a variety of design work, but right now I am fleshing out some (hopefully cool) metagame stuff. I’m actually not sure that I can go into much detail here, but in a nutshell it’s essentially systems design. For the past couple days, I have been splitting my time between reading (and re-reading) internal documents, playtesting the project, playing and taking notes on a variety of different games, reading various design related papers and articles related to my current tasks, and last but not least, actually designing and expanding upon stuff that I am putting into internal docs. I’ve really been scrambling to get up to speed on everything so that I can keep my head above water, but fortunately, being way outside of your comfort zone is probably the best time to grow as a designer!
Anthony: Right now I am doing rapid prototyping. I am creating ideas for characters in the game: a member of TASC called the Enforcer. Creating alternative designs for him really. I am given an idea for what the character SHOULD look like and what I should strive for. Then I start sketching in 3D coming up with different ideas for what he could look like. Then, I send that to Tramell, our Art Director, and he gives me feedback on what’s working and what is not working and we go from there. It’s not anything final but it CAN lead to final if it’s successful. It’s really awesome actually to be doing concept art at my first professional gig.
Forest: So as far as the four interns go, I’m the one that is working with the code and programming. Honestly this first week has been a lot of just learning the code. I actually committed my first code yesterday but for the most part it’s been just a lot of learning and seeing how Boss Key does things. We are using Unreal Engine 4 and that uses C++. That coding language is my background so it’s nice to work with what I’m comfortable with.
Me: My job is to coordinate a community and that requires a few things: I have to be good at communicating effectively in many different formats and I also have to be good at making things interesting to everyone. Some of the things I do for Boss Key are reading and updating our Reddit page, uploading videos to YouTube after shooting/editing the videos, technical directing our bi-weekly Twitch live stream the Boss Room and writing blog posts like the one you are reading right now. All the while making sure Rohan does not kill me for asking him stupid questions like “can get Morgan Freeman in our game?” Also I am going to be doing stuff down the line that I can’t talk about yet but I can’t wait for you guys to see!
T: How did you expect Boss Key to be before you started? Has working your first day(s) changed that perception?
C: Hmm… I can’t say that I had any specific expectations going in, other than everyone being waaaaay more experienced than me. There is some serious effing talent. I will admit that I was (still am) sort of terrified, which I think may just be a default state of being for game designers anyway. They did run me through a mock interview on my second day, which had me pretty much dying. In just a few short days though, I have already learned a ton from being around here and already feel like a part of the team. Everyone has been really nice and the studio has a very tight-knit vibe. It feels like there is genuine interest in having us here to learn and to produce valuable work for the project, I’m glad we aren’t just on coffee duty! It’s tough to express via text how excited I am to be here, but I consider myself very lucky to have been given such an awesome opportunity and am looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store.
A: I had actually checked out Boss Key before I had applied for the internship. So I got the gist of how they worked and what they made. I really didn’t expect it to be so laid back, cool and friendly. I expected it to be to the point and everyone would be working all the time, not talking but it’s like a family here. I didn’t expect it to be so fun. I mean people go in and they know what they have to do but at the same time people are talking about what they want to see at E3 and laser cannons and they have toy guns everywhere. It’s like big kids you know? Like a room full of big kids doing what they love and making what they love. I was like “wow this is the game industry, this is where I work everyday and these are the people I work with”. It was surprising.
F: My expectation hasn’t changed much. I mean everyone knows Cliff right? I read a article in the New Yorker about how Cliff is very team oriented and family oriented. That’s how I feel about boss key, it’s like a big family. This hasn’t really changed but you hear about how the game industry is so fast paced and it’s sorta hard to understand unless you experience it. It was a surprise, a pleasant surprise because it’s fun work and everyone enjoys it. That’s nice, really nice.
Me: I thought Boss Key would be like Anthony said: more structured. Not that saying it has no structure just less then I thought (looks nervously behind him for Cliff with a cattle prod). In my mind us interns would be in a corner of the room, given some stuff to work on and that would be it. I am happy to report it is more free then that. Boss Key was really cool to us or at least to me. A lot of the other interns are saying it is like a family and while I see that, I don’t want to use a family comparison. I’d say it’s like a group of friends that all kinda grew up together. It’s like when I first went to a gaming convention and I talked to people in line and we all had something in common right away. Now if you take that experience and you make it 8 hours long and give everyone a common goal then you have Boss Key. To help give you a idea of what I am talking about, all the interns were invited to a company get together this weekend. If you are at another company that only happens for like team building exercises and or unofficial office parties where only have the company is invited because the other half would never show up. At Boss Key on the other hand I’ve only been working here for 4 days and my lead, CEO and just random people in the office have invited me out to lunch. I really like that.
T: What do you think about Raleigh?
C: I’ve honestly not had much time to explore Raleigh (or sleep for that matter), since I got here. People are way nicer than I’m used to though. On my first night here, I bumped into a guy in my new apartment that offered to help me move a bunch of stuff into my place. That was pretty rad. I wouldn’t recommend going by the downtown bus stop or the park late at night though, they seem pretty sketchy. I am completely in love with the food here, there are so many fantastic vegetarian options and all within walking distance of both Boss Key and my apartment. The weather definitely needs to make up its mind, but at least it’s a change of pace from the constant rain in Seattle. My priority right now is to work my ass off, but I’m looking forward to taking some time on the weekends to explore Raleigh a bit more. I’m definitely interested in checking out some museums, (gasp) nature, and other touristy type things while I’m out here though, as I’ve never been to this side of the country before.
A: Well I’ve only been here a few days and it’s similar to Atlanta for me. It’s a lot smaller but it seems like it’s a really nice place to live. Raise a family you know? I’m young so a lot of people would think that I’m into the party scene and I’m not. It’s quite and that is perfect for me. It allows me to focus. I can go out relax and focus on what I need to do. After work I’m just tired, so I’m not really trying to do the most. I’m still new so down the line my opinion might change but right now I think it’s great.
F: I like Raleigh, it reminds me of home. I didn’t know to much about Raleigh but it feels like it is the perfect size. Not to big not too small. Not exactly sure what’s around yet. I guess I will have to ask you about that sometime.
Me: Well I’ve lived here my whole life and I love it. I know some people have that whole “escape my boring hometown” attitude but for me I really want to stick around in this area for a while. I really like all the green of the city and I know some of the other interns and people working here have said the same thing. It keeps down that dirty smelly city stuff that other cities sometimes deal with. Also the people are nice!
T: Everyone at Boss Key is a gamer, what have you been playing lately?
C: Bloodborne, more Bloodborne, Cities: Skylines, Tropico 5, and a TON of board games. Kind of an odd mix, haha.
A: This is the question that people are going to be like “really dude?” I’m late, everyone is on the PS4 now and the Xbox One and I’m still on PS3. I haven’t even played the new Bioshock. I have been playing Dragon Dogma on PS3, I love that game. You get to run around you know and Devil May Cry stuff, it’s a lot of fun. I really want to get into Bloodborne. I loved the souls games I destroyed Demon Souls and Dark Souls so I’m looking to upgrade and get into Bloodborne. Also MKX, I want to get into that too.
C: I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle. I just finished the 20th Drizzt Saga Novel, The Ghost King. I’ve also been reading some comics, just finished Batman vol. 3, Death of the Family, which was ridiculously good. I like finding new places to eat, but honestly, who doesn’t like food? Finally, I’m just starting to get into building Gundam models – we’ll see how long that lasts.
A: To be honest I’m a pretty chill dude. I’m a big movie guy, real big movie guy. I just watched the new Mad Max and Avengers. Loved them both. Just watching movies, riding my bike and reading. Basic stuff man, that’s what I like. I’m kinda a introvert so I don’t really like hanging out. Reading a good book and watching a movie before I go to sleep is my type of night.
F: I’m a big tennis player. I’ve played tennis since high school. I also like to make electronic music on my computer in my spare time. Not so much lately but I still have a few synthesizers.
Me: I like board games, comics and cooking. I’m not a good cook by any means but I want to get better! That is one skill that it’s really nice to have. Everyone likes a good cook! Also in the next week or so i’m going to start really getting into shape now that I have a full time schedule I can plan around that. Now that I think about it, I might do that in a month…