At Capcom Vancouver we’re proud of the games that we make and even more proud about the people we get to make them with. Today we’re taking a look at one of those people behind the games as we sit down with one of the studio’s software engineers Daniel Lavin.
What does an Software Engineer do?
This is a very simple question with a very complicated and broad answer! It can typically range from building features and tools we use to build the game world to going around fixing bugs and optimizing the code base. The programming language we use in here is mostly C++, though some areas require knowledge in other languages (for example Python is great for systems). An engineer could also be helping debugging and problem solving for other areas which could range from animation, audio, narrative… There are many areas that engineers contribute to in game development!
What’s your typical work week look like?
As a Missions engineer, a typical work week includes ensuring that existing mission progression logic is working as intended and creating bits of reusable mission pieces that level designers put together into in-game missions. I also spend a lot of time helping other teams (such as level design, cinematics, metagame, etc.) to build or debug tools they need. Most of these new features are enabled through C++.
Sometimes I’m also improving/fixing prototypes that those teams are building, and help review their Blueprint code to point out possible problems that might happen with their implementation, or suggest alternate ways to achieve what they need. We also commonly have meetings where we’ll let other people know what we’re working on and what possible things might be blocking our progress.
How did you get into the gaming industry?
My first step into the gaming industry was here in Capcom Vancouver! Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamt of working as a game programmer. After studying my undergraduate degree in Mexico, I came to Canada to study my masters degree in Computer Science. I studied in Canada specifically to find a job in the game industry in Vancouver. Fun fact: I’ve always wanted to work at Capcom – so just in case I couldn’t get into Capcom Vancouver, I also took a couple of years Japanese classes so I could apply to Capcom Japan as well.
What part of your job gets you most excited?
I love seeing other developer’s reactions to the tools I create. There’s a lot of happy people around me throwing high fives when the tool I made is setup easily and works as expected. My personal favorite happened when I pre-emptively added some code I thought would be useful before I was asked to, so when the designer asked me about adding that feature and I answered it’s already in he just high fived me immediately.
What about Capcom Vancouver gets you most excited?
The future of it! We’re slowly building many projects simultaneously, and all are looking incredibly cool and diverse. We have a weekly studio meeting where we get to see each team’s progress which is really awesome. As the Capcom fanboy that I am gets me super excited about the things I see here every day.
What’s your favourite place in Vancouver?
I’ve been in Vancouver for a year only, so I haven’t really explored the city. I haven’t found any place I could call my favorite spot. There’s a couple of events happening this year I’m interested in checking out though so that might change soon! As a fighting game fan though, I really have a lot of fun when I visit VSB (Vancouver Street Battle) where people gather many times a week to play fighting games. Sadly, I haven’t been able to go there in a while.
What is your favourite video game?
It’s easier to say my favourites for each genre! In general, Mega Man X without a doubt. Fighting games, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax . RPG, probably Digital Devil Saga , or Persona 3 FEs. Zombie game, Dead Rising and Resident Evil 0 are tied for me! FPS would go to TimeSplitters 3: Future Perfect … I could keep going all day long.
What do you do outside of games?
I usually make videos/tutorials on how to play fighting games (which you can totally find if you just look up my online tag “Barzorx” *wink*), go to tournaments (for fighting games…), and I also really like to learn new languages (half way through learning Japanese right now), and play/listen to music. I’m a terrible bassist and drummer, but I have a lot of fun playing them!