Developer Profile Q&As
10 Years of Everquest: The Old Guy & the n00b

Suzie Ford | 22 Mar 2009 03:05
Developer Profile Q&As - RSS 2.0

Continuing our celebration of Everquest's tenth anniversary, WarCry is pleased to present "The Old Guy and the n00b", a paired interview with environment artist Kevin Burns and senior programmer Jennifer Chan. Today's installment features general questions aimed at both Chan and Burns. Monday will feature questions specifically for Burns, the "old guy" and Wednesday's installment will feature Chan, the 'n00b'.

Please introduce yourself and give readers a bit of your background in game development and with SOE/EverQuest.

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Burns: Hello, I'm Kevin Burns, an Environment Artist on EverQuest. As an Environment Artist I create outdoor zones, dungeons, objects, and decor, as well as weapons and items for players. I mainly work with 3DSMax, for modeling zones or objects, as well as Photoshop to create textures or rough out some concept ideas, and finally I use some custom in-house tools to place the objects, particle effects, and sounds into the game zones.

Chan: I'm Jennifer Chan, a senior programmer on EverQuest. Before joining SOE, I wasn't working in the gaming industry. Right before, I was actually working on analytic and reporting systems.

How long have you worked at SOE and on EverQuest?

Burns: I've been with SOE since the very beginning. I originally got my foot in the door at SCEA/989 Studios as a Lead QA on 2Xtreme and NHL Faceoff '97, both for the original PlayStation. Then I jumped onto EQ when it started up, and I've been with SOE ever since. I worked on the original EQ as well as the first two expansions (Ruins of Kunark and Scars of Velious). After that, I worked on EverQuest Online Adventures and EQOA: Frontiers (both for the PlayStation 2), followed by Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade and UL: The Warrior's Code (both for the PSP), then UL: Dark Kingdom (PS3), and most recently, back home to EQ again for the latest expansions of Secrets of Faydwer and Seeds of Destruction.

Chan: I started with SOE on EverQuest in May of 2008.

What is the best part about working at SOE generally and on EverQuest specifically?

Burns: The best part about working at SOE is that I get to do something I love for a living. I get to be creative and artistic. The best part about working with the EQ team is the team itself. They're a great bunch of people to work with. It's a focused and friendly environment of artists, designers, and programmers who mesh really well together.

Chan: SOE's a great company to work for so it pretty hard to pick just one. The food's great, the people are fun to work with, and we're all dedicated to putting out a great and fun to play product. On EverQuest specifically, the best part has to be working on a game that has brought joy to so many players. There's definitely a pride point when I see someone playing EQ and I can say, "I was a part of that."

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What is your favorite class and race? Why?

Burns: Dwarven Warrior was my favorite race/class to play. How can you not love the Irontoe way of life? Slaying monsters and ales, pints and barrels... if it all goes wrong, which it often does, at least you'll have a good story and a handsome corpse.

Chan: I haven't gotten a chance to play all of them yet, but if I were to pick, it'd have to be one of the classes that can solo but also play a part in grouping.

What is your favorite in-game area? Why?

Burns: Really? Pick one out of 375+ zones? I would say my favorite zones that I've played in, were the ones I've had the most memorable experiences with friends. I had the most fun playing with small groups of coworkers after the launch of the original EQ. Playing with some of the original dev team, actually playing the game that we all had created, was a fantastic experience. Some of my personal favorites were assaulting Crushbone from Kaladim, hanging around Freeport and showing friends around Befallen, and of course making several corpse runs to the bottom of Blackburrow.

Chan: Hands down, the Plane of Knowledge because of the portals and being able to meet such interesting people passing through as a result.

What is your favorite expansion? Why?

Burns: My favorite expansion was Ruins of Kunark. Straight off the success of launching EQ, it was a very exciting project to work on. I really enjoyed the theme of the expansion, especially the jungles and the addition of the lizardmen, the Iksar.

Chan: Seeds of Destruction. The mercenaries feature that was introduced in that expansion really made the solo game possible. When I don't have time to get a full group going I can just pop out my merc and I'm ready to go!

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