If this hasn´t been posted before then it will answer a lot of peoples question I might think.
it came from www.playsave.net
Interview with Rob Cooper of Osiris Games & Sports Interactive
At what age were you when you first took an interest in computers?
I’ve always been pretty computer literate, I wrote my first computer program when I was about 8 on my family’s Vic 20
) - only copied out of a book and all it did was randomise the colour of the pixels on the screen to create a kind of colourful snow, but I guess it got me hooked! I didn’t really do any serious programming until I went to college when I was 16, then of course during my degree at university, but it has been an interest for as long as I can remember.
I’ve always been an avid gamer as well, starting out with a SEGA Megadrive, before I moved onto a PC as I grew older – it was really games like Civilization, Championship Manager, Fallout, Sim City etc that inspired me to pursue a career in the games industry and it is those sorts of titles that have influenced my work the most.
When did you decide to make the step into programming and what caused this?
As I mentioned above I first got my introduction to programming at a very young age but it wasn’t until I got to college that I really started to stretch my legs and get into it. The original Chart Wars was the first serious program I ever wrote and luckily, my college tutor John Stout, encouraged me to work on it as my main project for the course. That meant I could spend much more time on it than would have been the case if it was just a hobby project. Without that step Chart Wars may never have been finished and I may never have caught the freeware bug!
When you first started programming did you think you would end up working in this industry?
I’ve always been interested in games and I have always found myself deconstructing them to some degree whilst playing them in order to try and figure out how they work. I also ran a pen and paper based football management game when I was at high school as well so I guess I’ve always been interested in making games. It wasn’t until I got to college though that I realised quite how much I enjoyed the development process and also how much of an aptitude I had for making games that other people thought were fun. After that point everything I worked on was pretty much geared towards getting a job in the industry, and luckily enough, here I am!
When you first wrote chart wars did you expect the success you achieved from it?
No I didn’t, to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. As I was writing the game I naturally spent time looking around and seeing what other freeware sim developers were doing and I became a big fan of the Extreme Warfare series, with Extreme Warfare 9000 being the most recent game released at that point. I could see that the game was written in Pascal, the same as Chart Wars so once I had finished CW I sent it to Adam Ryland to ask him what he thought. He gave me some extremely positive feedback and offered to plug the game on his website. That was an enormous help to me when the game was released, 50 people downloaded the game straight from his forums on the first day, then it was 300, and it kept growing from there. I owe Adam a lot for that.
What other activities do you enjoy other than programming?
I am a pretty big football fan, as you would expect from someone who works at Sports Interactive, so I enjoy watching and playing football. I also spend a fair bit of time playing games rather than just writing them and recently me and my girlfriend have taken up salsa dancing
) which is good to relax. Of course, there’s also the usual going to gigs, going out and getting drunk and all that other good stuff too
If you stopped enjoying programming would you move into another area other than games?
I can’t really see myself doing anything other than programming now to be honest but if I was to get bored and want a new challenge the other area I would be interested in working in would have to be (no surprises) the music industry, probably in A&R, how successful I would be is anyone’s guess however! The only other area that would interest me would be some form of teaching, maybe I could lecture on game design at a University like MMO guru Richard Bartle - http://www.essex.ac.uk/dces/people/profile.aspx?id=5
– I had a limited experience of this recently when I did a careers talk at my old college – it was a really rewarding experience, the youth of today never cease to impress me with their vision and dedication and being a part in encouraging that further at some point in the future is definitely something that would interest me.
Did you always want a job programming games or would you have been interested in another area? Did you have any other careers in mind apart from programming?
Ever since college it is what I have wanted to do with my life and even before then it is something I have been interested in I suppose, but before I started at college I toyed with the idea of being a high school teacher, probably because that is what both my sister and my Mum do. Thankfully I veered away from that path before it was too late!
Do you see yourself leaving the Osiris Games community due to work commitments?
I will never *leave* the OG community as such I don’t think. Work commitments have meant that I have had far less time to spend on the CW series than I did when I was at uni, however as I am learning so much in my current role I feel that whilst the CW games may take longer to complete they will be much better games simply because of the professional industry experience I have now.
What is SI’s stance on the Osiris Games label? (not there stance on your work on freeware game chart wars RTS) do you ever see them forcing you to take a step back due to a conflict of interest?
This is a tricky issue as technically anything I write when at SI is their property, however I never work on CW on SI machines, and there is no SI code in the CW:RTS games (they are written in entirely different languages) and, knowing that the guys at SI are a reasonable bunch I don’t anticipate there being too many problems. The only major issue I would foresee is that possibly anything that could potentially infringe copyright may have to be removed (for example artist names, pictures etc) – however, if I was to do that you could be 99% sure that someone would have added real artists by the time the game was downloaded!
Do you find yourself making games about things you are interested in or things other people suggest?
I think it is important, particularly when making a simulation game, that you tackle a topic you are interested in. I have been very lucky really as my main interests are football and music. I made a very conscious decision when starting on CW to make a game tackling one of these topics – since CM/FM was out there I knew I could never make a game that could challenge that in terms of gameplay and so I went for music, as there were very few similar games out there and I felt I could achieve a lot more in that area.
I spend a lot of time researching my games before I begin work, I don’t think I could generate the enthusiasm necessary to get a really good overview of the subject matter unless it was something I was really interested in.
Do you think that games made by SI will be judged as made by yourself in the OG forum?
I don’t think so, although it would be a huge compliment if they were!
What is a typical day in the life of Rob Cooper?
Well, my girlfriend gets up early for her job so I tend to get up around 6:30-7:00, just as she is leaving the house! Then I usually sit down and get on with some admin type work tasks – catching up with emails, crunching data from the previous night’s activity in FML etc. Then I might spend an hour or so on OG work, either research or coding. Then I’ll have a shower, do the washing up, throw on some clothes and head for the tube around 9:30.
I’ll arrive at work around 10, nose to the grindstone (stopping for a couple of games of pool) until 18:30 or so. Then get the tube back home, where Amy will normally have cooked up a storm which we’ll eat together.
After that depending on how busy things have been that day I might put in a couple more hours work, or, failing that I might play games for an hour or so before spending quality time with the missus! In bed around 11:30 or so.
In terms of what I do when I am work – we have mercifully few meetings and stuff so I tend to just code from the minute I get there to when I get home, which is what I like to do! I work on the gameplay side on FML – so player progression, injuries, suspensions, morale, retirements etc, in a nutshell I try and give virtual footballers personality!