Post by Anthony Ortiz
Wow, I can't believe you passed up origin for EA... I would have given my left and right testicles, and any junk in between, for the chance to work with Lord British himself!
I _completely_ hear you! Trust me it was a _very_ tough decision !!!
Let me share a few factors that went into my decision so you have a little different perspective:
1. EA (Canada) was located in Burnaby, BC and was about a 35 min drive from home (in Surrey, BC.) so that was +2 points for EA.
2. I was still going to university, SFU, at the time and I was still debating between finishing my Comp. Sci. degree vs going into game dev full time. I punted on this decision for 8 months -- EA asked me to stay on full time, but I thought about it, realized that work would always be there, and instead decided to return to school to complete my degree -- taking the job at Origin means I may never have completed my degree. So +1 for EA.
3. I would have had to move from Canada to the USA -- and at that stage of my life I wasn't quite ready to make that move -- plus I didn't know how. (I eventually did end up in the US but that is another story.) So EA was another +1 for convenience.
4. EA was my first "real job" -- I'm not sure I would have been hired by Origin due to my young age and lack of experience. I was only ~22 when I wrote "u7shapes". I (partially) lacked the confidence in my abilities to work for an "experienced" epic game developer such as Origin. Years later I found out this was called "Imposter Syndrome." So -1 to Origin due to me not being confident.
5. My favorite Ultima games had been 4, 6, and 7, along with Savage Empire and Martian Dreams. Those were the ones I would have _loved_ to work on. Since they were always rapidly pushing the technology I'm not sure I would liked the "next gen" tech. At E A I got to work on a driving game. Score: Tied
6. I had a portfolio of demos -- at the time (1995) this was _completely_ unheard for a _programmer_ to do! The demos included:
* Can't remember the fist one ...
* An U4 map viewer with (torus) wrap-around
* My 320x200 sprite blitter (that supported transparency)
* An 4x faster optimized 3D texture mapper
All of these were written in Watcom C++ 32-bit mode.
The interview at EA when _extremely_ well. So another +2 points for EA.
7. Working at Origin with the chance to work with R.G. definitely would have been cool. +5 to Origin. Their philosophy of "We create worlds" definitely had an impact on me.
But when I looked at all the pros/cons, I decided to play it "safe".
EA: 6, Didn't have to move
Origin: +5, Had to move to a different country
Years later considering that EA had the "kiss of death" for almost every independent studio they bought and then later closed down, the job at Origin probably wouldn't have lasted -- but yeah, I probably should have taken that chance to work with R.G. The (potential) chance to work on Ultima Online definitely would have dam cool.
In hindsight, everything "worked out" and I have no regrets.
I guess that is the take away:
* "Follow your passion, but use your common sense."
* "Don't be afraid to take risks"
Thanks for the opportunity to "reminisce."