Interview with Francis Irving Games Malkin | 5/6/2013
An interview with Francis Irving by HomeCreatures.
Francis Adrian Irving
Full Name: Francis Adrian Irving
Personal Quote: Be surprised that you exist.
Worked on Creatures 2 and is currently working on new Creatures products.
HC: What did you do before CyberLife?
Francis: Worked on a program to make a drill cut arbitrary shapes out of chunks of metal (CAM software). Sort of like a printer driver, only in 3D and much harder.
HC: How did you get involved with them?
Francis: I'd known about CyberLife for years because I'd taken an interest in Alife. I wanted to change job anyway, and the recruitment agent offered me an interview with CyberLife, so I was pleased!
HC: Had you heard of or played Creatures or other A-Life game before you joined, thoughts?
Francis: When I was at school I played with Tom Ray's Tierra (http://www.hip.atr.co.jp/~ray/tierra/tierra.html) a lot, plotting exciting graphs on my Amiga of the populations changing. Then I'd unsuccessfully tried to evolve Corewars (http://www.koth.org/pmars/) like programs duelling with each other. Then I was hooked, and snooped on the alife field ever since. I knew about Creatures, but hadn't played it. When I got my job interview with CyberLife, it was too good an excuse to miss, so I went out and bought Creatures 2. Never had such a good excuse to buy a game before!
HC: What was your first day at CyberLife like?
Francis: Bizarrely, I arrived on the same day as an induction course for new people, so lots of complex stuff about the business structure was immediately thrown at me. It was exciting, and everywhere felt busy, and the people are great.
HC: Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Francis: No. Best to avoid making them typical if you can.
HC: Where do you see yourself in three years time, and where do you see CyberLife?
Francis: More people will have spotted how important CyberLife's technology is for the games of the future, and for computers of the future. So things will be busy, and we'll be even more important. Myself, part of it.
HC: Using one sentence describe the team you work with.
Francis: Marvellous. (Will one word do?).
HC: Is there a member of the team who has a habit that really annoys you that you would like to get of your chest?
Francis: Well, Toby and Barny ate my crisps while I was on holiday last week, but I don't mind too much.
HC: What is your life ambition and why?
Francis: Two things - to find out how people work and why we're here and what we are (and act accordingly). Existence is so surprising we should find out more about it. - to eliminate world poverty (I'm not being frivolous - it is an unnecessary, man-made problem which can be solved). To not do so is to miss the point that you could have been somebody who is suffering, and to not realise that their pain is actually felt by them. Neither of these will happen in my life time, but I want to move things along as much as possible.
HC: Using one sentence can you describe yourself?
HC: Do you have any interesting Norn stories?
Francis: Well, one from the development of Creatures 3. The engine had been torn apart and rewritten, and we were just coming to the stage where the Norns started to work again. Mark had a bug with the lifts (the Norns were going on top of them, rather than inside), and was trying to show us. After much tempting, he lured one of the Norns over to the lift and was just ready to press the button. When, ping!, the other blasted Norn pushes the downwards call button just before the first Norn reached the lift, so outfoxing us. We knew then that the Norn's were working again :-) I'm sure the creatures _want_ to stay buggy sometimes...
HC: If there was anywhere in the Creatures universe (Albia & Ark) you could go where would it be, and why?
Francis: Got to be the desert island :-)
HC: If you had to be a breed of Norn, Grendel or an Ettin which would you be and why?
Francis: Mernorn, because they look cool.
HC: FRANCIS JUSTIFY YOUR EXISTENCE!
Francis: Nobody need justify their existence. Instead they should strive to be correct, to improve.
HC: And your final say to the community....?
Francis: Have fun!
An interview by HomeCreatures.