Welcome to Inside Crytek! In this revamp of the series, we'll be talking to several Crytek developers about their work, life at Crytek and the industry at large. All of the developers in this series were recruited straight from this website, and we hope you find the insight they provide into game development as both a hobby and career useful. For this feature in the series, we'll be talking to Sean Tracy, otherwise known on the forums as Cry-Criminal, who is now a Senior Field Applications Engineer at Crytek.
Name: Sean Patrick Tracy
Crymod Username: Cry-Criminal
Position: Senior Field Applications Engineer
Time at Crytek: 3 years
Previous Mod Teams / Work: MechWarrior: Living Legends team lead, Canadian Military.
Apart from the professionalism, what is the biggest difference for you going from modder to Crytek employee?
The largest difference going from modder to developer that I found was really the type of people that you find yourself surrounded by! In the modding scene, if you spend more than a few months, you tend to meet an enormous amount of people that talk a lot of talk but might not produce. Being part of Crytek has shown me that a company culture can indeed succeed when there are tons of like minded people who don't simply wait on an established structure to back and fund their visions but rather, dig in and work towards those goals they believe in. Crytek supports this through enabling and encouraging these kinds of activities and I am grateful for it.
As a Senior Field Applications Engineer what is your main role and responsibility?
I work in Engine Licensing as a Senior Field Applications Engineer which can be a mouthful! Basically the purpose of my job is to help developers and licensee's of the engine compare, contrast and understand the cutting edge technology we develop. It is also typical for me to compare it up against other technology available to these developers as there are other middleware engines available on the market. A typical day of mine is spent troubleshooting problems and designing new workflows for developers on the CryENGINE and finding creative solutions to some very difficult problems. One of the most exciting parts of my job, however, is in traveling to the various tradeshows that Crytek attends to present and demonstrate our technology to the public!
How was your first week, month and year at Crytek?
My first week a Crytek was a breeze! Luckily I had a lot of experience with the technology already and diving right into the team was quite easy. My director accepted my talents and skills as an important part of the team which made starting quite easy.
What skills do you think attributed most to your employment at Crytek?
I was quite fortunate to have received some technical schooling before leaving the military. I received an important Technician's certification that taught me some extremely important skills and systems that I use every day now. Beyond that what makes me really good at my job is the countless hours spent trying to accomplish whatever crazy idea I had come up with for that day in the CryENGINE Sandbox. I even found myself lying awake at night with ideas flowing through my brain and it even got so bad as spending those nights working directly with Sandbox and just making things work!
Did you always want to get into the games industry?
I had always had a deep interest and passion for games. Never did I realize how deep this passion ran though until my brother and I started the MechWarrior: Living Legends mod. I knew this was my calling when I would spend hours upon hours solving a seemingly complex problem only to find out that it would have been easier had a I broader understanding. That motivation drove me to soak up every article, every presentation and any information I could find about game development and before long it felt as though my job was interfering with my hobby, so I decided it was best to just turn the hobby into a job.
Do you think that modding is the best way into the industry? If so, why? If no, why not?
YES! This is the fast track ticket into a development studio. I have seen tons of resumes come in and be discussed but in the end it's the modders that stand apart. It is well known throughout the industry that modders are quite adept at creatively solving problems. Not only that but they save the companies they work for enormous amounts of money as they are recyclers