Bungie.net can reach you wherever life finds you. There is no escaping our charms! Which device is it that’s enabling us to share a small piece of our world with you? You could be nestled into a comfy chair in front of your favorite computer, or propped up work pretending to look busy. If you find yourself on the go, sampling some Bungie culture right from the palm of your hand, you can thank gentlemen like this…
Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?
My name is Adam Brown and I do mobile development at Bungie (that means iOS and Android). I’m looking forward to getting some awesome apps out there for everyone to better communicate through Bungie.net!
It would be very hard to sustain a community without the means for communication, so we appreciate your work. What do you do with your life when you’re not building bridges between the passionate players of our games?
I love hacking on all sorts of quirky projects outside of work: hardware, software, Arduino, whatever comes to mind. When I do manage to get away from the digital world, I love backpacking, camping, sailing, whatever outdoor adventure I can think of.
It’s great that you take a break from all that serious coding to channel your inner-child. Speaking of childhood, when outdoor adventures were your only responsibility, what did you foresee as your grown-up occupation?
Train Conductor. Not Superman, or an astronaut, but a Train Conductor. I was really shooting for the stars. After that, it was always a Software Engineer. I started modding games and making maps for Half-Life, and began to get the idea that I might like making games.
Someone needs to make sure the trains run on time! Once you had found the right track for you, how did you prepare yourself to steam into the station?
I got a Computer Science degree, and I get to use it every day! The theory matters too, kiddos!
What were some of the experiments that you conducted as a Computer Scientist before you joined us in the Bungie lab?
I actually had a pretty wide range of programing jobs before this. For my first job out of college, I worked at a tiny game company where I was the main programmer. I wrote the engine and game code. It was a huge learning experience, but the company went out of business after shipping our first game. I went on to do front-end web programming for monster.com. It turns out I’m not a fan of big corporate environments. Who knew? Later, I did low-level programming for DirecTV set top boxes. Finally, I began doing some consulting making Android apps for companies. That is ultimately what brought me to Bungie, so I guess it all worked out!
Slow down, now. You make it sound like joining the Bungie team is easy. Let’s back up and relive your interview loop to appropriately strike terror into the hearts of would-be applicants.
There was a phone screen first, so I guess said something right. The final interview is fairly long and intensive, and you keep having these minor freak outs in your head: “Holy crap, I’m sitting in Bungie’s office and the guy talking to me worked on Halo. Crap what did he say while I was thinking this?” It still seems a bit surreal that I work here.
You’re here alright. This is not a dream. What’s the most rewarding thing about this surreal existence?
It’s honestly hard to pick. As a Software Engineer, I have to say Bungie’s dedication to software quality, the fact that they really care and want to take the time to do things right, is a breath of fresh air after coming from other development houses where the software is just a means to an end.
We do a lot of other things to keep you content and banging out quality code at Bungie that have nothing to do with software. Which of those perks make you the happiest?
There is a cabinet in the kitchen just labeled: Meat.
We keep it stocked just for jerks like you (pun intended). How does a delicious dose of salted meat factor into your daily routine?
I stroll in around 9AM. Never did I think that getting in just after 9 would make me the “early guy” on the team, but here it does. I scan over reddit quickly (you know, just to check and see if there’s Bungie news). Then I get down to business! My team leader does a pretty great job of keeping distractions and bureaucracy away from us, so I probably get more actual programming done at this job than anywhere I’ve worked before. When lunchtime comes around, we usually go grab some take-out and come back to the studio to eat and play Magic: The Gathering. Post lunch is a medley of programming and deciding which beef jerky to try from the Meat cabinet. It’s a veritable nerd paradise.
Oh, man, you’re one of those Magic geeks? In that case, tell us about the time you cast your favorite spell at Bungie.
I was prototyping some features in an app and testing them on a tablet. A producer who was looking over my shoulder cut in with “You have a cool job, that looks awesome.” I thought to myself, “Yes I do.”
Having a cool job isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Getting better and better at doing that cool job all the time. How do you make that happen?
It helps that I love what I do. I’m always reading articles about new things in software development and working on little side projects to try out new ideas.
Imagine if you will that your tale of programming and magic has inspired someone to become your apprentice. What wisdom would you share with them?
Play games, work hard! Playing games is as much about keeping up with the state of the industry as it is a cultural fit. And work hard, because making games is hard work!
And you have some hard work that demands your attention, so we’ll wrap up this chat and return you to the trenches. Before you go, please stack this deck in order of importance to your role: Experience, Work Ethic, and Talent.
Hard to rank ‘em, but: Experience, Work Ethic, Talent. Experience because Mobile development is still the Wild West, so there are some really strange bugs that you can only solve from having seen them before. Work Ethic, because Bungie is ambitious! And of course, Talent is always an important base to build your experience.
Mobile development is just one frontier that we’re exploring at Bungie. Prospectors of every variety are being lured west on our careers page
. To learn more about the different types of precious metals in our hills, you can check out the Breaking In