Today we’re happy to introduce you to Star Citizen network and server programmer Tom Sawyer (and yes, that is his real name.) Tom is responsible for building much of the ‘behind the screens’ technology that will allow the Star Citizen universe to come together correctly. You can learn more about Tom this Friday on Wingman’s Hangar, where he’ll answer live questions!
How did you get started in the game industry?
My first job out of college was working on 3D Software for Nuclear Power Plant Design with a C++ version of OpenGL called OpenInventor. It was a wonderful learning experience, but the project was a 16 year project (and I didn’t want any nuclear meltdowns many decades later to be traced to any code that I may of inadvertently written) – so I started working on OpenGL/Direct3D games in my spare time – in the hopes of joining the computer game development community someday.
Luckily, Sony took interest in one of my 3D game demos (specifically one that was a four player networked smash up called “Chillz vs. the Abominable Snowmen” that was complete with motion capture and 3D models depicting cute penguins and scary looking wooden art mannequins) and said, “Tom, would you like to do graphics in Foster City or network code in San Diego” — this was an easy choice for me to make, as the weather in San Diego is absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to learn how to surf. And the rest is history!
What projects have you worked on?
My most recent projects have been “Starhawk” and “Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale”. The full list of projects that I have worked on while with Sony Computer Entertainment America is here. The SOCOM US Navy Seals franchise is one of my favorite of all time.
What will you be doing for Cloud Imperium?
Responsible for architecting the initial server-backend “Universe Cluster” that interfaces with CryEngine’s dedicated servers for instancing worlds, server-to-server communication, and web services.
Responsible for the CryNetwork, ensuring optimal bandwidth utilization between each PC client and the CryEngine dedicated servers – and working with the Physics programmer ensuring that distributed physics in a network environment is working as smoothly as possible with variable player counts from only a few to a few hundred.
What are you most excited to see in Star Citizen/Squadron 42?
A living breathing universe with a global economy and with epically awesome ship customizations – and most importantly “the ability to player with friends” – and man their ship’s turrets if need be. Doing everything I can to help Chris Robert’s vision come to life.
What are you playing right now?
After getting Platinum Trophies in Demon Souls and Dark Souls, I played DayZ/WarZ (Zombie Apocalypse MMO) for a while. I now find myself playing the Neverwinter Beta with my brothers spending countless hours doing PvP. And yes, I play BlackOps2 every now and then – the Multiplayer is second to none; except perhaps, Starhawk