How did you land this internship with the VR Studio?
At the end of each fall semester, Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) hosts a BVW Show, which showcases the best student projects from the Building Virtual Worlds class offered at the ETC. Every year recruiters from several companies in the entertainment industry come seeking new talent. There were representatives from the VR Studio there, and a couple of days following the show I had a phone interview with the company. Interestingly enough, the phone interview took place while I was enjoying the holidays in my home country, Poland. A month later, I had another interview in the Los Angeles studio, which luckily followed with an internship offer.
How long have you been playing games? What are your favorite games?
I have been playing games for as long as I can remember, initially on my brother's first computer – the Commodore 64. I was always infatuated with this form of entertainment and one day hoped to be involved in developing games people can enjoy. I am a huge fan of old school adventure games, but spend most of my time playing strategy games – my all–time favorite is the Civilization series.
Describe a typical day working as an intern in the VR Studio.
One of the great things about interning here is that there are a lot of choices of what you can do. Because of that, I am able to learn something new every day and find out what I am most comfortable doing. Each day I look at the task list and choose the most suitable thing to work on for the day. After that, I consult with our lead on the details and get to work. Of course, some of the tasks take much more than a day to finish, but in case you get stuck, there are plenty of helpful teammates willing to help you if needed. Additionally, there are a number of interesting meetings they let interns participate in, as well as special intern activities, like the behind–the–scenes Disneyland tour. Therefore, not only do we have a great opportunity to learn, but we also have lots of fun here.
What's your favorite thing about being an intern in the VR Studio?
It is incredible to work in an environment full of so many talented people and learn from their rich experience. Not to mention, I also have the opportunity to work on a great game based on such a successful franchise as the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Describe your ideal job.
Being able to do what you love and enjoy for a living is really important, and should already be considered a great success. This way, every moment of work can give you a lot of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. On top of that, if you are given a lot of creative freedom, it is just perfect.
What's the most challenging task you've faced since you began interning here?
I have never had the chance to work on such a complex project before. The fact that Pirates of the Caribbean Online is a network based game makes it much more difficult to develop. Therefore, it was a challenging task, in the beginning of an internship, to jump right into development and overcome the complexity of the code base.
How often do you get to play Pirates Online? What's your favorite thing about the game?
I play the game every day, either for testing new features and tasks I am working on, or just for fun. My favorite feature of the game is being able to cruise the Caribbean seas on my pirate ship with my crew, and sinking all the sea scum out there.
Who is your favorite character from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Why?
Captain Davy Jones. He is truly unique and the history of this character dates back to even before the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Although he is portrayed as a merciless antagonist, the story of his life reveals his complex and passionate nature. Additionally, his incredible appearance in the movie makes him a very strong and memorable character.
What is the most fun project you've gotten to work on for Pirates Online?
As a technical artist, I greatly enjoy working on visual effects for the game. It lets me combine my technical abilities with an artistic touch, which feels very rewarding.
What makes someone a legend? Are you a legend?
For me, a legend is someone whose actions and/or creations inspire and influence people for generations to come. I still have a long way to go before anyone will be able to proclaim me a legend.