[Prime] Uncomfortably Personal: Luke Gravitt

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Prime, Uncomfortably Personal

I’ve been wondering just makes a dev tick. Is it Candy Apple Jolly Ranchers? Zimas with said Jolly Ranchers? Watching Youtube instead of reading email? All of the above? I figured the best place to find out is to actually go to the dev themselves. I slapped together a dozen questions and sent them off to Pitch Black Games and said “Fill in the Blanks.” I may have said “Please”, but I’m not sure. At any rate, I’m hoping to put up a new developer’s responses every week. I’ll be tagging them into the same category, so they’ll be in one place. Hope this helps you get a good view of what makes these developers tick. And now, Luke Gravitt!

Going Rancid: Who are you and what do you do at Pitch Black Games?

Luke Gravitt: My name is Luke Gravitt. I am one of the gameplay programmers at Pitchblack. I mostly work on the interface systems such as the vendors, friends list, guilds, and auction house.

GR: What class will you be rolling at release, and what is your favorite archetype?

LG: I will probably roll a Salent. I typically roll healers in most MMOs so I may try out the Revenant.

GR: What other MMOs are you playing right now, or what was the last one you played (and what made you leave, if you can say)?

LG: I have a very well-played World of Warcraft account. I haven’t played in a few months though. My guild essentially broke up and we all moved to other games. I will probably get Star Wars: The Old Republic when it releases and play that for a while. I am in the beta for it right now, but I rarely have time to play it.

GR: Do you do any console gaming? If so, what genre soaks up most of your time? FPS? Music? Racing games? RPG?

LG: I own an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii. I haven’t played either in months. Most of my console games are still shrink-wrapped. The most recent game I played on the Xbox was Mass Effect 2. I am currently playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and enjoying it thoroughly. I also just got a 3DS and am extremely excited about revisiting Ocarina of Time. Genre-wise, I generally stick to RPG, Action/Adventure, and the occasional shooter.

GR: Fondly recall your first MMO experience. What game was it and what happened?

LG: My first MMO was Star Wars Galaxy during one summer while I was in high school. I was playing a Wookiee and foolishly decided to level weaponsmith as my first profession. It took so long that I ended up writing macros and building a device out of K’nex that spun around and clicked the mouse button for me. Then I just let the game run while I watched TV in the other room.

GR: Tell us about your most memorable or epic gaming experience, MMO or not, and why it was so memorable.

LG: Beating Through the Fire and Flames in Guitar Hero on Expert was about as epic as it can get. I don’t think I’d get through the opening riffs anymore though.

GR: Tell us about your most memorable experience of being an utter noobie. What did you learn?

LG: I haven’t been a noobie since getting hacked to bits by the Butcher in the original Diablo demo I got with a copy of PC Gamer. Been gaming hardcore all my life.

GR: How did you get into the game industry, and when did you know you wanted to actually stay and do this for a living?

LG: I was a huge gamer as a kid. I played everything from King’s Quest to Zork to Diablo to Goldeneye to Mario. I loved them. My brother went to school for Computer Science and he would come home and show me the things he was working on (he is about 7 years older than me). I started programming when I was about 12 or 13 years old, and I have been doing it ever since. I have known I wanted to work on games my entire life.

GR: What is your favorite part of working in the game industry?

LG: There are really two things I love about the games industry that you don’t get anywhere else. First, I love working with the fans: talking to them, how invested they get in the games themselves, and just working on something that people love. I also really love that the games industry has a different definition of success from other technical industries. Games have to be fun to succeed. You can’t just take a programming specification and build what is given.

GR: In regards to your position, and comparing the current landscape of gamers to the ones of the past ten years, what trends do you hope to turn around/accelerate?

LG: The worst trend in gaming is the proliferation of sequels and recycled game-play. I am incredibly frustrated that we keep seeing franchise after franchise getting ruined by over saturation and lack of creativity. If you look at the games featured at E3 this past year, every single game featured had a 2 or a 3 behind it. Sometimes sequels stand out from their predecessors: Diablo 2/3, Assassin’s Creed 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Team Fortress 2, but this seems more like the exception than the rule.

GR: When you’re not making games, what do you spend your time on?

LG: I honestly play a ton of video games. I also love reading (sci-fi especially), watching TV and movies, and playing soccer and swimming. I would love for the temperature to drop a bit so I can ride my bike again.

[Rancid: Special thanks to Luke for taking the time and Sanya for poking him with a cattle prod! RAWR. ]

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