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Desc:A game studio I briefly worked at is still in business.
Category:Video Games, Military
Tags:Police, SWAT, military training, Dynamic Animation Systems, combat training
Submitted:fluffy
Date:09/08/14
Views:1317
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Comment count is 11
Cube - 2014-09-08
There's this other VICE program too! It allows you to train to be a Commando, an Airborne Ranger, a Defender of the Crown or even the Last Ninja!
Old_Zircon - 2014-09-08
The music is amazing.
fluffy - 2014-09-08
This whole company is amazing.

Or at least, 15 years ago when I (briefly, for about three months) worked there, they were a games studio that did government subcontracting to pay the bills. Only because of their setup, they structured it like: you worked 40 hours per week on subcontract work, and then you were expected to work another 40 hours per week, at home, on your personal equipment, on game stuff. (I "still haven't gotten my setup going" the whole time, and they kept on admonishing me, saying that I wouldn't get the AMAZING stock options if I didn't. They still haven't ever actually been listed on the SEC.)

They hired me as an engine programmer, and insisted that their next-generation graphics engine was "almost done" and just needed a little work to be finished, but the previous programmer left unexpectedly. So, during a couple of hours of downtime during the subcontracting work (which mostly involved writing a little bit of glue code to go between established, expensive pieces of software and claiming them both as our own) I finally looked at the purported engine. The dude had just imported the entirety of the Microsoft DirectX SDK examples into their source control and pointed people at a couple of key trivial-but-neat-looking samples and said "Look at what the engine can do!"

The other fun thing was they kept on bringing in investors to show off their games in development (which were mostly along the lines of combat-training stuff, the idea being that they could always parlay their military expertise into gaming and vice-versa). One of these games was an attempt at making an RTS, only the "game" was just a bunch of scripted events built in an existing third-party engine that was basically a 3D version of PowerPoint (you could trigger animations and sound and some very simple interactivity but you certainly couldn't build a real game out of it), and most of the assets were, let's say "borrowed" from commercial games (mostly Half-Life). All that was built was a single scene where you could click the mouse and make the dudes walk forward, throw a grenade, and have the grenade explode.

Whenever investors came by, they showed off this demo, and talked about how amazing the game engine is and how great the graphics are.

At one point (when I was getting ready to quit) I asked one of the highers-up, "So why do we demonstrate this game based on our engine when it's just [other engine]?" and the answer was "No, we're showing off the concept and assets."

I asked another higher-up, "SO why do we demonstrate this game based on the concept and assets when the concept is just Command and Conquer and the assets aren't ours?" and the answer was "No, we're showing off the game engine."

When I put in my two weeks' notice they convinced me to stay "until the project you've been working on ships, in case we need your support." I agreed. Then as soon as the project was delivered and paid for, without any warning they said "Okay you're done" and escorted me out, never giving me a chance to even say goodbye to the couple of coworkers I liked. Oh, and that day happened to be the last day of the insurance cycle, and due to COBRA rules at the time I was ineligible to continue it, so this meant I was suddenly uninsured with a bunch of expensive preexisting conditions. HOORAY.

Anyway somehow they're still around.

fluffy - 2014-09-08
I should add this was my first job out of college, so I didn't know about any of the many, many red flags I should have watched out for. They had some pretty peculiar attitudes towards a lot of things, including the entire interview process in which they offered me the job, sight unseen, without an on-site interview, and I had to pay my own moving expenses all the way across the country.

Oh, also even though I was fresh out of college they hired me as a "senior software engineer" but the pay wasn't all that great for the industry or area (but I didn't know any better).

oddeye - 2014-09-08
Tell us more, dude. Are you that furry guy btw?

fluffy - 2014-09-08
Define "furry" and define "guy." I'm the same fluffy who was on PoE, what with this site having the same user database and whatever.

There's not a whole lot more to tell about DAS since my time there was pretty short. The owners of the company often bragged about some of the unethical things they did to get priority on bids and so on but that isn't out of the ordinary for small tech companies.

Really, the 9 months I spent at an Ubisoft subsidiary (where I worked on Sprung and a couple of bullshit cellphone games back before anyone had even heard of smartphones) were way the hell worse in pretty much every possible way.

oddeye - 2014-09-08
Tell me dude, tell me everything. What kind of car, if any, did you drive at the time? Anything and everything.

Kid Fenris - 2014-09-08
I'd like to hear about the Ubisoft subsidiary.

fluffy - 2014-09-08
I'll try to find a video of one of the games I worked on.

Oscar Wildcat - 2014-09-09
That's fucking amazing, Fluffy. DAS is like America itself in microform. I'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE!

That guy - 2014-09-09
"defense, training systems, entertainment, and commercial applications"

That's 2 things not 4, you can't fool me.
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