WHO WORKS HERE
People Staff Interview
Internal Tool Development Engineer
After having spent time in a CG production company, he joined Sony Interactive Entertainment, where he became involved in the development of "Motor Toon Grand Prix" and "Gran Turismo". One of the founding members of Polyphony Digital.
Wanting to see and make something cool
I loved games from when I was a kid, and my first discovery of a PC was through the X1 my parents bought me when I entered high school, sort of an extension of the Famicon. (Nintendo). I'm was born in the "Gundam" generation, and their plastic models back then were not produced as precisely as they are today, so I used to do a lot of filing and putty work to make them look better.
But there was a limit to what you can do with that, and my motivation for starting programming was that "you could probably make a better looking Gundam easier using 3DCG". Of course that isn't the case and that's where my struggle began, but I think always wanting to see and make something cool, was at the root of it all.
An era where it was normal for designers to make their own tools
While employed at a CG production company, I received word from my teacher from my trade school days, and I heard that a company called Sony Interactive Entertainment was being founded. So I changed jobs. I was placed in a department called the CG team, and we mainly made opening movies for games.
At the time MAYA didn't exist, so if you want to draw something, it was normal for a designer to make their own tools. It was fun, making tools and running them, and I think the movies reflect that. Some of the more memorable products I was involved in includes "Motor Toon Grand Prix", "I.Q.", and "Omega Boost".
As more and more people joined the department, work became more divided between designers and tool developers, and I was responsible for developing tools like the material editor. This involves putting color to the peaks of polygons, and applying textures. I was also involved in the first "Gran Turismo", and when its development team became independent as Polyphony Digital, I was invited to join, and I am still with Polyphony today.
Internal Chat Tool and tools for running development code on the PlayStation®
When I first joined the company I was also developing modeling tools, but eventually I was involved in converters, a CMS for text DB's, and other development tools rather than graphics tools.
Now I work on the internal chat system and tools for running code under development on the PlayStation®.
The introduction of the internal chat tool was initiated to fill the communications gap arising from dividing the office into two locations, after the great earthquake of 2011. But now the tool has become an important infrastructure vital to Polyphony. It's developed completely in-house so there is no effect from external factors, but at the same time it's a lot of responsibility, as it must not come to a grinding halt with bugs since it's so vital to our operations now.
The character of Polyphony Digital
Relating to internal tools, I receive minor to major requests from many staff every day. It would be great to be able to accommodate everyone right away, but there's not enough hands and feet, so I come face to face with issues like "if I start this, it's going to stop this, is that OK?".
On hiring an internal tool development engineer
I suppose a Superman that can handle anything, anytime, in any quantity, would be ideal for the position but realistically I think it's more important for it to be someone who is constantly dedicated and actively involved in tool development; because development support tools need to be done and complete, way before the peak of game development.
Gran Turismo will be at its 20th anniversary soon, but I'm hoping we find an engineer who could support the next 20 years.