Hey Rich, I'm a long-time gamer and particular Age of Empires fan, so I'm super pumped about this AMA :)
Do you have any fun "war stories" related to your time in game development? I recall reading fun recounts such as Dave Baggett's "Hardest Bug Ever," and I was wondering whether you had anything similar.
Hmm - war stories. One random memory: I remember working on DotA 2, shortly after I joined the team. I had just checked in a bunch of improvements to the directional light shadow system and shaders. I supported two modes, a "safe" mode with good shadow quality, and an experimental mode that tried even harder to focus the shadow map on the viewable area of the map for higher shadow quality.
I checked in the new shadow code, and I defaulted it to the experimental mode. The artists in the next cabal room had just finished up a playtest at their desks, and were really pumped up. I remember them getting latest and almost immediately finding a flaw in my new code which I didn't expect. Their response was weird to me: they were almost happy to have found a bug in my code, it was like I had made a key misstep in a DoTA 2 game and caused the team to lose or something. I fixed the problem and realized that working on dota2 was unlike games I had worked on previously.
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