How did you start at London Studio?
I joined the EyeToy team as a Senior Graphics Programmer in 2003, just after they had released the very first title in the series EyeToy Play. London Studio was a dream place to work. Not only had they released the multi-platinum selling EyeToy Play, but they had also just released the very first SingStar as well as The Getaway 2 Black Monday, This Is Football and won MCV studio of the year.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to ship over 25 titles across a wide range of PlayStation consoles and peripherals.
What does your role entail?
Primarily, I manage engineering teams developing our proprietary technology used to make our PSVR titles like VR Worlds and Blood and Truth. I oversee our general software architecture making sure the engineering effort across the studio is consistent and delivered to an acceptable level of quality. I often review new engineering proposals and am always on the lookout for technical risk, as wells as opportunities where new technology can improve the quality of our products or the efficiency of production. I like to understand every piece of technology we work with so I get to collaborate with pretty much all teams across every discipline.
Most of my day is all about communication, working with the very talented people that make our games. I have a fairly long commute to the South East coast of Kent so I use this time to ensure I keep my hand in the actual engineering work. Not only is it what I got into the industry to do in the first place, but I also feel it is still a very important part of working with the rest of team today.
What do you find most exciting about your work here?
Being a first party PlayStation studio means we get to influence the future of all new PlayStation hardware. The company believes in joining the hardware, system software and game development teams together early on in their design phase so that new technology is well aligned with games that will ultimately use it. In every generation our teams have been lucky enough to not only receive new prototypes very early, but have had the opportunity to feedback and influence them until they make it into the consumer’s hands. This is a privilege that you rarely get outside of a first party studio.
I really enjoy working with VR and am super excited by all the new games and technology being developed. It’s not an easy thing to develop for, but this is part of the attraction for me. It has already posed a lot of technical challenges to overcome.
Like any video game development journey, Blood and Truth had its ups and downs but it was one of those products where I had a feeling it was going to be special – simply because I quite often played it just for fun during development!
What has your career path looked like over the years?
The long and short is I’ve been
helping teams build iterations of our proprietary studio engine for each new
I started out as graphics programmer but then found myself looking after all aspects of an entire engine within the first year of being here. This engine was used on all of the EyeToy products and grew in size and complexity very fast. I also had so many ideas about where I wanted to take the engine. Fortunately I’ve always found the studio really supportive of pragmatic and enthusiastic developers like me. I also realised that I couldn’t realistically achieve this on my own. I found the solution was to start managing teams to cover more ground and since then, have never looked back. With that I was promoted to Head of EyeToy Technology and continued to develop more PS2 EyeToy titles.
With the advent of PS3 I led the engineering effort to develop a new engine that supported the PlayStation Eye and ultimately the PlayStation Move. We used this technology to produce several AR based titles such as EyePet and Wonderbook. During this time I became a Technical Manager and finally promoted to Technical Director.
For the last 6 years I have been working with teams to develop our PS4 engine. This was specifically designed from the ground up to deliver cutting edge PlayStation VR titles. It was used to develop the PSVR launch title PlayStation VR Worlds and more recently our #1 bestselling title Blood and Truth.
What is is it like to work in the heart of central London?
Our studio is bang in the middle of Soho, so there’s loads of nice places to eat as well as bars and coffee shops to socialise in. We are 100m from both Oxford street and Regents street so this is super useful if you need to nip out for something during the day. Getting in is fairly straight forward from most major rail stations so it’s quite well connected.
If you could describe London Studio in a few words, what would they be?
A great place to work and a world leader in VR development.