Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Brennecke-Räther, the CRYENGINE Customer Service Manager. He stopped by to tell us about his favorite CRYENGINE features, working on the CE team, and breaking into the games industry.
CE: So what are your favorite CRYENGINE features?
Christian: I love the tools for level design. There was actually a point in my career when I thought about becoming a level designer. Back on Ryse I spent almost all my free time building my own levels with the Ryse assets in the Ryse editor. So I did a lot of level logic and setting up AI in the game, especially with Flow Graph. I really love Flow Graph. It’s really, really amazing what you can do with it.
How did you get started in the games industry?
I worked on Command and Conquer at EA for four months for an internship. That was four years ago.
Then I worked in QA at Crytek on Crysis 3 and on Ryse. I wanted to go into project management, but ended up here taking care of the licensee technical support, a year ago. Because it had to be done. That’s pretty much it. It happened organically. And quickly.
So what does the CRYENGINE Customer Service Manager do all day?
I’m responsible overall for CRYENGINE support services. So training, technical support, community support, and everything that comes with it. My main focus before the CRYENGINE V release was getting new services up and running. For example, CRYENGINE Answers.
Half of my time right now goes into recruiting, looking through CVs, doing interviews. We have a lot of open positions right now for engineers, designers, and artists.
Then there are lots of meetings about long-term strategic plans as well because we have a lot of awesome ideas for additional services for the community. The other side is sometimes answering support requests. For example, going through CRYENGINE Answers or going through the forums answering questions. That’s the essence of it.
Did the introduction of the Pay What You Want business model change your job at all?
Yes. The focus of support changed when we started self publishing, though less so due to the Pay What You Want model itself. Before you could just download the engine via Steam, but because we publish CRYENGINE ourselves now, we need to address issues with accounts, payments, and that kind of stuff. We didn’t have to deal with that when the users were just registered on Steam.
The Marketplace was also a completely new experience for us. With the Marketplace we provide a platform where third parties are interacting with each other, and we have to mediate between them. This makes for completely new support cases that we didn’t have before.
What advice would you give someone looking to get a job like yours?
If you’re in the engine business, you will need to have an understanding of the game development process. So my QA experience helps me a lot because there you get a lot of experience working with different departments, teams, and project managers. In customer service, you also need to interact a lot with various teams and have an understanding for their problems so you can work with them on a professional level.
When it comes to things you should study, it would be most sensible to do something like Business Information Technology, to have a business and informatics background. Me personally, I studied something completely different. I studied Digital Film and Animation, but that also helps at times because our customers are not just engineers, they are designers and artists, so it still helps.
Thanks for stopping by, Christian!