Pulse #4, Mar 2 2944 - Page 9

the standard PR barrier and going directly to fans to disseminate important information was valuable. Origin invited me to come attend the Austin premiere of the movie, and that was the first time I met Chris in real life. I worked up the courage to ask a question during the Q&A session (“what happened to the traitor plot?”) and then at the after party he invited me to come tour his studio the next day. I can’t say what gets average people into the games industry—I think it’s a lot of sheer luck and willingness to work for almost nothing—but I can say that the truly extraordinary developers I’ve met have frequently been people who brought more than purely technical knowledge to the table… English majors and physicists and painters and the like who bring something of themselves into game development rather than following a script. PULSE: When you did start working for Cloud Imperium, you also had another full time job. Were you expecting Star Citizen to grow as much as it has? At what point did you decide to jump in and work on it full time? BEN: I don’t think anyone expected Star Citizen to get to where it is now. I signed up with no expectations, to help Chris Roberts. I knew that the world would be a better place with Chris back developing games again and I was happy to do that with no paycheck attached. I had plenty of big fears going in, especially that crowd funding wasn’t going to pay for such a massive game and that gamers would have forgotten who Chris was and why he mattered. Luckily, neither of those were borne out! PULSE: I’m sure most of the fans know your work on Wingman’s Hangar, the forums, and Jump Point for the subscribers amongst us. What other things do you do at Cloud Imperium? Could you talk a little bit about the initial game design you did for Star Citizen, for example? BEN: A little bit of everything! I am in no way a technical designer, but I continue to do a lot of work with the concept stuff… with the exception of the ships from the prototype, I’ve had some involvement in coming up with everything in your Hangar! I work quite a bit with our marketing and event planning, I help out with our fiction when I can. But the most important thing is managing a 300,000+ person worldwide community and trying to make sure we live up to our commitment to keep everyone informed about Star Citizen’s development (while not spoiling everything… it’s a tight balance!) PULSE: Speaking of Wingman’s Hangar, there are regular cries on the forums to bring you back to it – can the fans expect to see you on the show again any time soon? BEN: Absolutely! We will be shooting MVP and other segments as often as we possibly can at the Santa Monica office, going forward. PULSE: What’s a day at the Cloud Imperium offices like – either Santa Monica or Austin? BEN: On the surface, it’s a lot like any other office job. Lots of staring at monitors and typing intently, hours and hours of conference room meetings to discuss design and sales and web growth and the like. But it’s also a really incredible environment, full of like-minded and creative people who are just plain fun to be around. It doesn’t feel like you’re going to work in the morning, and you are always a little sad to leave at the end of the day. PULSE: We did a little research for this interview, and there are a couple of questions I just have to ask. Will we finally be able to visit the Lesnick System in the Persistent Universe? And did you ever end up making the funbox with Trelane and TC^? BEN: I think the Lesnick System belongs to Electronic Arts, but I have snuck a few names around the ‘verse. The planet Xis, for instance, is named after my wife AleXIS! And the greycat buggy is from my parents’ cat, Grey Cat. I don’t think I actually got very far on the funbox. But Trelane is still one of my closest friends (and I hope to see him in April during PAX East!) (Actually, Trelane and I were recently shocked to see a video from ComicCon of the writers from The Big Bang Theory on a panel talking about having come across another one of our jokes from those days… an ugly web page full of pretend facts about spiders. Look it up, Citizens!) PULSE: Can you tell us a little bit about your gaming history? First game? First gaming device? BEN: The earliest game I remember playing was an Apple ][ title called Space Vikings, which was actually pretty similar to Star Citizen. You’d have to travel from planet t œ[