Dev Box Interview: Jumpgate Evolution’s Programmer Ohm Unmongkolthavong

It usually takes a small army to create the video games that we play, and, most of the time, all of the focus gets put on the game itself, and not on the people that came together to make it. Our Dev Box interview feature takes a look at some of the unsung heroes that have committed their lives to entertaining all of us. This week we are giving NetDevil’s Ohm Unmongkolthavong a chance to answer some of our burning questions.

Name: Ohm Unmongkolthavong
Title: Programmer
What you do: Implement/Fix game features in regards to programming.
Most recent game worked on: Jumpgate Evolution

1. What game has most influenced you, and why?
“Halo”: This is the first game I ever saw bring together a group of strangers and turn them into friends. While more recent games do a better job of bringing together more people at once, this was the first title that made me want to work on multiplayer games due to its ease of play and subtle requirement of teamwork.

“Jumpgate Evolution” seems to accomplish this sense of camaraderie as seen from our developer playtests. It’s usually quiet in the office during development times, but once the playtest starts, the entire teams starts to chat and work together to destroy the larger enemies in the game. I’m really excited to see how this translates into the MMO scene once we start doing playtests with many more people at once.

2. What are you playing right now?
“Left 4 Dead.” I simply had to try out a 4-player co-op zombie survival horror shooter.

3. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about game development?
While there are many ways to schedule a project, there are many more ways to get off track from that schedule. What I learned at my time at Full Sail University and now at NetDevil is that while you can try to gauge how long a task will take, you will rarely guess it accurately. Even with experience on how long a similar task took before probably won’t help, unless you’re doing the exact same task again.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Make the most of each project you work on, since you don’t get to work on very many AAA titles in your lifetime. NetDevil has made it easy to have fun and feel productive while working on an awesome game. Also, don’t we perform better when we enjoy what we’re doing?

5. What do you think is the biggest problem current games suffer from?
Rushed development times leading to unpolished games (and developers!). Back in school, our Senior Project game had to take many feature cuts in order to focus more on polish. I think companies are promising too much early on in terms of release date AND promised features. I think that while it does generate a lot of excitement early on, it seriously disappoints us when we don’t get what we expected after paying over 50 dollars for the game.

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