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 Meet the team Interview with RV_Jogl


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Interview with RV_Jogl

Hey RenegadeLine Community,
This time I sat down with RV_Jogl, who is our IT team leader. He is directly working with the game engine behind RenegadeLine and is responsible for everything that gets added to the game, whether it be new clothes, animations or completely new abilities. Like many other members of the team he is also an active user of the forum, even though he tends to be more of a lurker and a reader than a poster.

Do you have ideas, questions or feedback? Feel free to share everything with us HERE

General Information about RV_Jogl:

Name: Johannes

Age: 25

Nationality: Germany

Joined RV: September 2014

Position: IT Team Leader

The Interview

How did you join RV?
Uhm, a former team member I knew from the Blender community told me about this project. He was a member of Raw Vengeance and heard that they were looking for a coder and that’s when I contacted Chris and talked with him about the position. But the person who introduced me is long gone and not part of Raw Vengeance anymore.

As an IT Team Leader, what exactly is your job?
Well, all in all I do a lot of different things. The first thing, which is part of the title “Team leader”, is assigning tasks to the different coders, who all have their own style of coding, and in order to standardize everything, I assign tasks like “ok, what are input varibales and what are output variables” and “what is the function supposed to do and how should it be done”.
That’s the management part of my job. The other part is that I implement and import everything from the other areas of development of the game into the game itself. So, if Jake has made new animations, I will put them into the animation blueprint and make sure that they are working, or if Kieran has made new sounds, or Leander has made any kind of art designs for the UI or HUD, I make sure they get generated in the game. Also, if there are new models, importing them into the project and putting them into the correct folder and eventually generating a blueprint.
Other than that I am mostly responsible for coding anything that has something to do with in-game content.

What part of your job is the most fun for you?
Definitely the most fun for me is that programming challenges you with new problems again and again and you somehow have to find a solution like another way or a new idea, which solves the problem. Thereby no task is the same.

Do you really need to change code using a programming language?
“Real” coding is done using C++. This is done by Nils and Dominik, who are writing functions which don't exist. The Unreal Engine offers a Blueprint-system, which is some kind of node-based coding, where you can combine different functions with each other.
Ultimately it is like coding on a visual level, which is called Blueprints in the Unreal Engine, and that’s what I do. Everything else, like when new things need to get implemented (sounds, graphics, etc.), is of course not based on code, but instead an interface is used, which the Unreal Engine offers for these kinds of things.

Could you give me a short run-down on how you implement something in the game?
Ok, let’s say I want to put in a new ability: First I'd need an icon for the ability from Leander, which I will add to the project. After that I would import the VFX effects from Paul. Then I would go to the Blueprint, which is responsible for the whole in-game mechanic, and program the logic behind the ability. So when the ability gets activated:
  • the sound gets played
  • the VFX effect starts
  • the HUD shows that the ability is active

When I’m done coding this, the great testing begins to make sure everything is working as intended. Especially when it comes to abilities that affect enemies or allies, I have to test basically two things and make sure it’s working. I also test whether or not it is shown correctly in the client and the server, since it also needs to be defined where and how things are being performed.

Do we so far have any funny bugs, or any bugs at all for that matter?
There are a few bugs. For example, some things aren’t displayed properly or the reload function wasn’t working in some cases or the flag capture system wasn’t working properly at the beginning. It worked well in singleplayer, but as soon as you played in multiplayer it stopped working for some reason. But these are all things we have already fixed and have made to function as of now. 

Ok, but we didn’t have any funny bugs?
The only kind of funny thing is: We use a ragdoll for the character when it dies and this isn’t working as intended right now. It tends to tear the whole character apart. The character then bursts into pieces.

Haha, really? How would you describe that? The character just explodes?
Well yeah, it disassembles the character, so that his arms are like 5 kilometers away from the legs. That’s a thing we really need to find a solution for.

What skills are needed to work with the Unreal Engine 4?
Overall it surely doesn’t hurt if you have worked with a game engine before, or if you have already learned the basics of the interface of the game engine. Then of course for the Unreal Engine you need to be good at English, since all explanations, the whole API and documentation are in English. Other than that, well, everything you can’t do can be learned.

Would you say the Unreal Engine is good for beginners?
I wouldn’t say that. I come from the Unity Engine and find that one way more beginner friendly then the Unreal Engine, because it was built up more logically. The Unreal Engine, especially when it comes to programming, requires you to know a lot. It offers a lot of basics, which also restricts you in some way. So, when you plan on using the basic, it sort of restricts you. In Unity for example you have no guidelines and have to do everything yourself. But on the other hand you have complete freedom then. Learning the ropes of the Unreal Engine took me a couple of months back then until I was truly able to work efficiently with it.

So there are huge differences in video game engines?
Yes, there are massive differences in the systems. But from what I've seen Unity has come closer to the Unreal Engine now. I guess it’s probably easier when you go into the Unreal Engine without any knowledge than when you are already used to a different engine and basically always fall back into the old schemes, but the Unreal Engine builds up on a different structure.

What are you looking forward to work on the most?
Once we introduce AI into the game, that’s what I am really looking forward to do. This is something I’m really interested in, because I often see, mostly in indie games, that the AI is made quite basic. Simply spotting, then shooting and maybe walking towards the target, that’s it. But you actually have so many opportunities as far as what you can do with the AI and I would really like to work on a complex AI.

Didn’t know we planned AI for our game, since we don’t really need it.
Well, primarily not, but maybe later for new game modes, if something like that is wanted. Eventually we will be doing something like this.

Are you currently working somewhere or in the middle of education?
I’m currently studying, though I’m working in that respect as I’m right now writing my master's thesis and thus I'm working at the institute. 

Nice, what are you studying?
I’m studying in the field of radiation physics.

Ah ok, I actually thought you study something like computer science.
Uhm no, actually not. But I have to say that physics also has advantages, since there is a lot of mathematics involved and there are many areas, also in our project, where I can put that math to good use. 

Do you play games in your free time?
I used to play a lot of PC games quite some time ago, but lately I don't play games much due to to working atthe university and on RenegadeLine I simply don't have the time anymore. 

What is your all time favorite game?
Ehm, to be quite honest I don’t actually have a favorite game. I really liked to play different sorts of strategic games and survival games and also open world games. In that field I liked GTA the most.

How did you get into gaming?
Classmates got me into gaming back then. They have been playing an MMORPG and said “Hey, if you want, you can create an account and play with us” and that’s when I got into gaming.

What is your favorite ability in RenegadeLine?
Oh, that’s quite difficult to answer [laughs]. But it’s probably Shadow Step.

We have now reached the end of the interview, do you have anything you want to add?
Well, what can I say. Generally I can only say something about the team really quick: It’s always great fun working together with them. You can work really well together with everyone on the team and the communication, especially here on the TeamSpeak and essentially with Chris, Leander and Paul, is always a lot of fun and very interesting and always very productive.

That wraps up this interview. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed it. If you have anything to add, whether that be ideas, questions or feeback, feel free to leave us a comment HERE
I'm sure RV_Jogl is really interested to know what you thought about his interview and also likes to answer any additional questions you might have. :)

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