Backend Engineers are not often talked about members of any game development team. With this spotlight, we intend to change that, and that’s why we are now introducing to you Jiawei Lin – CCP Alpaca – the man behind the brains of DUST 514 and how it all comes together on your screen like magic.
What is your official job title with CCP? Backend Engineer. What does the job actually entail? I’m working for DUST 514 on the backend side. It’s mainly about creating new systems for all kinds of new features (Warbarge, Daily Missions, etc), and bug fixing the existing ones. Once the DUST live team notifies me, I will also spend time on live issues. My ultimate goal is to make all interesting ideas from designers come true. What were you up to before you got the job with CCP? As I’m very interested in PC and video games, I joined a game company (PlayCool) in Shanghai when I graduated from college in 2007. I worked as a backend programmer on a car racing game (released in 2009) and a web game about the famous Three Kingdoms (released in 2010). After that, some of my friends and I set up our own company, trying to make an interesting game by ourselves. I was responsible for the backend and successfully released another web game in Taiwan in 2011. Later on, my old friend invited me back to PlayCool (at that time, it was acquired by Sohu), I agreed and joined him. From 2012 to 2013, I was working on a live MMORPG. My work was about developing new features and fixing live bugs. In the beginning of 2014, the parent company decided to make some changes. They gradually gave up PC games and paid much more attention to mobile games. Lots of people didn’t like it and chose to quit including quite a lot of my friends. How did you get a job with CCP? Can you talk about the process? I played EVE for some time and I knew it’s an amazing sandbox game. So when a friend of mine recommended me to CCP, I was very excited. I first finished a test online and then attended the interview. Both the test and the questions in the interview are quite challenging. I realized there are lots of geeks in CCP, it’s quite interesting. Lucky enough, I got the job! J What’s your favorite part about working at CCP? People here are very open and willing to help others. When I was working in CCP for the first several weeks, things for me are very strange and I had many questions and made some mistakes. Some of them were even very stupid; however, rather than getting blamed, everyone told me it was more important to learn from mistakes (and don’t fall for the same mistakes again). If you keep evolving, you will get your chances. What’s the biggest misconception players have about what you do that you’d like to clear up? As backend work is behind scenes, it’s hard for players to know the complexity at first glance. Some features seem very simple but you have to consider many edge cases which players rarely experience. And now the personal stuff - if there was one thing you’d be doing outside of your current job, what would it be? Aha, for me, I love to sit in the bed, have snacks by my side, and play games alone or with my family. When you’re not on the job, what do you enjoy doing? Doing aerobics or fitness exercises, playing games, watching horror/suspense movies. What are some of your favorite games, both past and present? As a member of CCP, I love CCP games, of course J
I have a lot of friends who are sports fans, so I often play NBA 2K, FIFA with them as well. I’m also a big fan of Street Fighter games. When I feel a little bit tired, I would play some ACT games to make me excited such as Dynasty Warriors and Prototype. Regarding sandbox games, I played GTA and Fallout quite a lot. For very old games, 2 games impressed me very much. They are Final Fantasy Tactics and Chrono Trigger that I feel the best traditional SLG and RPG I have ever played. Recently, I play a lot of Heroes of the Storm with my coworkers, actually. What’s something that people don’t know about you? Though I manage my diet every day and have regular aerobics/fitness exercises, I like buffet very much! If you don’t believe me, please treat me, I’ll show you. If you could use any weapon in DUST 514 to make a sandwich, what would it be and why? The first thing comes into my mind is Nova Knife that can cut any materials easily with super cool effect. Then I find something interesting. What about the Nanite Injector? As it can save dying soldiers, maybe it is possible to restore a half-eaten sandwich back to a brand new one?

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