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We speak to our latest recruit from the CRYENGINE community, Systems Programmer Phillip Gehring, aka Sunnlok, about his game dev journey so far.
We’re proud of the talent in our CRYENGINE community, and when the opportunity arises, we love members to join us full time at Crytek. Many of you will know the name Sunnlok, Phillip Gehring’s handle, from our various CRYENGINE channels, and we’re delighted that he’s now joined Crytek as a Systems Programmer. Of course, we’re hiring across all kinds of disciplines, so take a look at our careers page, and you too could follow in Phillip’s footsteps. But first, check out our interview with Phillip to find out more about his history with our engine and learn about his journey to joining us.
Hey Phillip! Or should we say Sunnlok? Welcome aboard! How did you get into gaming and game-making?
I started out playing Super Mario and Pokemon on the old Nintendo, primarily when we went on vacation. My “proper” gaming career started when I got my first PC with good old games like Stronghold and Gothic 1 and 2. My first contact with game-making was the release of Halo Custom Edition for PC. It was my first time interacting with any game-making tools at all, and doing it with relatively archaic tools and a seven kb/s internet connection wasn’t all that easy!
Can you tell us about how you first came to use our engine?
I got my first taste of what a flexible game development tool can look like with Crysis and the Sandbox, and I stayed with it ever since. The availability of C++ source code is also what excited me and helped me learn the language. Modding tools were what made me consider getting into game development, and Crysis provided extremely good ones.
I have a couple of favorite personal projects with CRYENGINE. One is a foundation for the easy integration of UI middleware into CRYENGINE, for example, NoesisGUI or ImGui. The second is integrating ECS, in the form of EnTT, into the engine. An ECS allows data-driven design principles to be followed more effectively and usually results in code that is easier to maintain, more flexible to expand, and also quite a lot easier to make faster.
This approach differs from CRYENGINE’S existing entity framework, but the engine's modularity allows for features like this to be added on top easily with quite impressive results!
You also worked with the Campfire team on the incredibly impressive War of Rights. What was your role there?
I was an independent contractor. With just two or three programmers there at the time, I helped with everything from working on the game modes to the complete replacement of the CryLobby system. I am most proud of the latter since I could employ many of the data-driven design principles I talked about earlier.
You’ve been a really active member of the CRYENGINE community for some time. What drew you to the community?
The interactions in the community chat channels have been very useful in solving problems! I will, of course, stay active on the CRYENGINE Discord channel to help out wherever I can and will try to keep my personal projects going as well!
How did the opportunity to join Crytek come about?
With my history with the engine, I got talking with CRYENGINE Brand Manager Gabriel, and here I am! At Crytek, my title is Systems Programmer. My main focus, and one of the reasons for joining Crytek, is to create new systems and improving existing systems to create a better experience for the end-user. I can’t talk too much about in-development stuff right now but watch this space!
What are you playing at the moment?
At the moment, I am finishing up the excellent Enderal mod for Skyrim. Other than that, the occasional round of Overwatch or a bit of Space Engineers with friends.
We love it when members of the community join our team, as it brings a really valuable perspective to what we do and helps us make the engine better for everyone using it. We encourage people from all kinds of backgrounds and experience levels to apply to our open positions, so join us over at LinkedIn and check out our careers page to check them out.
You can ask questions, pick up tips and tricks, and more by joining our community and the CRYENGINE development team, including Phillip, over on our official CRYENGINE Discord channel.
If you find a bug in the engine, please report it directly on GitHub, which helps us to process the issue quickly and efficiently. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we host a range of content, including tutorials covering all aspects of the engine and game design. As ever, we look forward to your feedback on the engine in the comments, on the forum, or via Facebook and Twitter.