The Office Life
I get asked a lot of questions about what it’s like here at the office. A lot of Flash developers work from their bedrooms toiling late into the night, and the idea of working at an actual office is interesting to some. I decided to answer the most popular questions, or at least the questions I tend to get the most.
Q: Where’s the office located?
We are in warm sunny Southern California. When I say warm and sunny, I seriously mean it. SoCal doesn’t seem to get colder than 40-50 degrees F in the Winter, and it rarely rains here… the weather always seems nice. I miss the rain a bit from Northern California, but the sunshine and actual Spring-like weather is a nice change. We are nearby a shopping center with good food. Disneyland is 15 minutes away. There are a ton of palm trees here and they plant them here as if they are the only thing that will save humanity. The office is in Orange County, or as some people like to call it “the OC.”
Q: Isn’t it hard doing Flash the entire day?
It was at the beginning. What was good was that my first few days at work were shorter days, which allowed the work day to ease from a few hours to the normal eight hours a day. Now it’s no big deal… I rarely feel burned out and there is plenty to do. If I do get burned out by a code that isn’t getting fixed I’ll go play video games for a while, surf the web, or play some Flash games online. It’s definitely different from casual home programming though, but luckily the transition only takes a few days. And no, Luka didn’t program on the XO laptop, as much as I would have liked to imagined that happened.
Q: Do you have a cubicle or a small office?
I don’t really have either. I have a large work area out in the main office area. The main work area is made up of large desks, but there are no big obtrusive walls separating the different work spaces. We have two main office areas… the administrative office / entertainment center, and what I have nicknamed “the bullpen” which is where the Flash devs work. I like my desk because it has a great big window next to it where I can watch the UPS trucks try to back up and turn around in a 20-foot radius.
Q: What do you do there?
Haha, good question. I have a few different responsibilities. I am the head of game development here, so my job includes running local game development here, managing site integration with other sites (for example, Shockwave’s high score system), and making my own games. I also am in charge of making sure the food still tastes good and that the internet still works for all my favorite websites.
Q: What’s the office environment like?
We have a relaxed work environment. I play music at my workspace from my IPod and do my work. If I get hungry or thirsty we have a snack table with good food (I am extremely partial to the rice crackers and Diet Dr. Pepper). We have a great couch that I love sitting on when doing paperwork or when needing a break to play a game or two. We have several consoles, including a Wii, XBox 360, NES, and others. We take trips too, like we have played golf and gone snowboarding on different occasions. We also go to lunch together when microwave soup or sandwiches are not cutting it for the day.
Q: Do you have to wear a shirt and tie?
Nope! We have a casual dress code of slightly less than work-casual. I come in a pair of skate shoes and a button-up shirt or t-shirt. If we go out to some big company dinner we’ll all dress up for the occasion. It’s nice to feel comfortable at work without having some stiff collar to program in. Very much unlike Office Space garb, which came to mind suddenly, and it was the only appropriate picture… I think.
Q: Any downsides to the office?
I can’t really think of any. If I really had to nitpick, rolling out of bed and being at the keyboard already was convenient when I worked from home. I also was a bit frustrated if I accidentally left a file at the office that I needed, but I recently fixed that problem by getting remote desktop working. But really, just having an open area dedicated to work is completely awesome and outweighs all that. To the left is a picture of my old workspace at home. To get into my chair I had to swivel because my chair was backed up into my bed and did not let me roll backwards.
Q: Mac or PC?
We are mixed. I am growing partial to Macs because they just seem to work when you need them to, but I am running Vista at my desk. And while I am at it, I am running a computer that is 2.4 Ghz Dual Core with 2 GB of RAM and Dual 512’s. If you have a preference most likely it can be fulfilled. If I could program an awesome Flash game in MS-DOS then that would probably be okay too.
Q: Do you work with Dan? He’s in the office right?
Yes, he is in the admin office. Yes, he is a real person. No, he does not wear armor to work. He beats me at golf but I beat him at Worms… it all balances out. He’s the boss around here and runs the whole operation of Armor Games. We have been working together since about 2004 when he sponsored my first title, and it’s great to finally have an office where we don’t have to email back and forth and can just walk into the other room to talk. If Dan has an idea it’s also a lot easier to draw out the ideas on a whiteboard then trying to describe it in an email.
Q: Do you really have biometric fingerprint scanners at your office doors?
Yes, we are from the future. You just put your finger on the little piece of glass and it happily chirps at you and lets you in. I once had a blister on my scan finger and it made it hard to get in but overall the system works. For all the times I have locked myself out of a building or car it is truly a lifesaver.
Q: Pics or it didn’t happen.
We have a ton of pictures from our recent job posting if you want to see more!
I think that is about it… if you have any more questions we’ll try to answer them in thread!