Hello there fellow Citizens! Check here for the latest episode of Meet the Devs featuring John Pritchett, Physics Programmer, being interviewed by James Pugh.
jp – Did you know that your shirt has three of the new fantastic four?
JP – I did not know that.
jp – There was a time for comic book reasons, the fantastic four were gone, and it was those three, plus…
Hennessy? – Ghost Rider
jp – Ghost Rider. So, there you go!
Meet the Devs, with James Pugh (jp) – John Pritchett. (JP)
jp – Hey guys, thanks for joining us on meet the devs. I’m here with Physics programmer John Pritchett. How you doing buddy?
JP – Doing great.
jp – Thanks again for coming on. So, when’d you get started with the project?
JP – Well, I guess it’s been about a year and a half, I think…November 2013 actually, if I put a date on it.
jp – How did you get into the industry?
JP – Well, lets see. Right out of college, I took a job writing fuel credit card systems, for a company in Kansas city. It was boring as heck.
jp – That does sound pretty boring.
JP – I always wanted to do video games, but I decided I needed to get a real job, right? And, one day when I was driving into work, I rear-ended some guys minivan at a stoplight, and turned out he was a co worker. I’d never met him before, but we started talking, turned out he ran a bulletin board system out of the basement of this business, and it was called Metropolis BBS, and he was the author of a game called TradeWars 2002, and after a while working with him, he gave me the opportunity to take over the game, and I became co-author of Trade Wars, and actually left that job a few months after that, and moved back in with my mom, to write the new version of Trade Wars.
jp – That seems like a pretty rash decision.
JP – Yeah, well, I never regretted it.
jp – seems to have paid off. So how did you get from there to SC?
JP – Well, a lot of time in between I guess. In, just before I came to work here, I was working on a project, actually a remake of tradewars with another company i’d worked for in the past, and I got an e-mail from someone in the TradeWars community saying that Pete Mackay, who’s a designer here, had mentioned the game as an influence for him in the development of the economy, so, I’d never heard of the game, I didn’t know anything about Star Citizen, so I went out and started looking into it, and found out hey, this is a Chris Roberts game, this is amazing. I actually got in contact with Pete, started talking with him a bit, and heard they were looking for a physics programmer, so I thought I’d apply, see what happens.
jp – So you played Chris’ older games?
JP – I did. College, about 1991-ish, right after Wing Commander came out, sitting there playing that game, I played the heck out of that game, just dreaming about what it’d be like to work on a game like this. And I actually thought about possibly applying at Origin, cause this was something I really wanted to do, but it never occurred to me that one day I might have that opportunity.
jp – Second chance, and you took it! So what, besides the CR effect, what drew you to SC?
JP – Well, mostly I think it was the opportunity to work with Mark Abent
jp – are you being facetious?
JP – Yes, of course.
jp – Good. I mean, Mark’s alright, but… he’s no John Pritchett
JP – No, he’s a great programmer. No, for me the challenge and the opportunity to create the next generation of space simulator, that’s an amazing opportunity.
jp – So, you’ve been here a little over a year and a half. From when you started to now, what’s been the biggest change?
JP – Well, the size of the company, definitely. When I first came here, I think there were 20 people in this office, and I think 40 in the entire company. And I don’t even know what we’re up to now, it’s just insane. In terms of the project, those early days were nuts. We had insane deadlines to meet to try to get the original dogfighter demo out, you know? and, the crunch times were crazy. Bad now, but not like that.
jp – Yeah, we’re pretty big now. We even hired Disco, so we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Alright, before we get you out of here, let’s get you some rapid-fire questions. Ready?
JP – Sure
jp – This is the important one. Favourite movie?
JP – Star Wars.
jp – Have seen it, have seen it. Favourite video-game?
JP – CyberSled
jp – Never played that. Whats…
JP – It’s an arcade game.
jp – Ah, that explains it. I don’t remember…I remember going to Chuck E Cheese when I was a kid, but that’s as close as I ever got to arcades. Favourite ship in Star Citizen?
JP – Constellation.
jp – Why Constellation?
JP – Well, it was the first big ship we did, and I think it was Ryan Church who did the design for it, and it was really impressive to me, that we got to work with him on it, and I was the first person who got to fly the ship, so that was exciting.
jp – When’d you get to fly it? I think you just heard thousands of fans really upset, or jealous, that you got to fly it first.
JP – Well, the constellation was in the game, and Dan Tracy was trying to tune it up and get the thrusters ready to go, and there was a bug where the mass, or I think it was the moment of inertia, was just too large for the ship. So, I was asked to debug that, and he ran out to get a burger, and while he was out I fixed it and just started tooling around in the ship.
jp – That’s awesome. Well, thank you again for coming on, once again, I’m James Pugh, this is John Pritchett, and the Dev’s been met. Point at the camera.
Hennessy – That’s bad. That’s bad.
jp – What’re you talking about? That’s the best one we’ve done so far. Credits.