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Thread: Gazz's Bio

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    Fun Pimps Staff Gazz's Avatar
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    Post Gazz's Bio

    If you were wondering "Who is that guy and why does he have a FFA500 name now?", maybe I can explain.
    I'm bavarian and I don't own Lederhosn and don't like 95% of bavarian beers. (think rum)
    Most of the preconcptions about people from certain countries and areas are just plain made-up and if you go to a third country the preconceptions about the second country can be completely different ones. Are people wrong or stupid? Ah, maybe so but mostly they are different so they see different things in other people. I think that's funny and someone should list it in a table.

    When I was 10 I got my first computer - a C64. Yikes! These things were expensive! And that marvellous/cursed tape drive which literally had a hole for a screwdriver to adjust the read head for reading tapes recorded with other devices.
    If you're now expecting a story about me clawing my way up the game development food chain then you'll be disappointed. For the next 30 years gaming remains a hobby.
    In the real world I'm a potter. Not what you're thinking. Clay and flowerpots. Now there's a proper education for becoming a game developer!

    Over the years I learned English from computer games and game forums. I may occasionally be guessing when ordering lunch but I sure know my way around medieval and modern weapon terminology or why a ZSU-23-4 is bad news for your helicopter.

    When Daggerfall came out I loved the idea of procedurally generated uhh... just about everything. Turns out Bethesda had bitten off too much and it was horribly buggy. Still enjoyable to me, though. Back then I was on Compuserve:GAMERS (which is history now) and was mingling with a bunch of hardcore CRPG fans, some of whom were also DF testers. Mara and MoJo DiBella, for instance. The names of those goddesses were not made up.
    Now one of the big issues with DF was that the map was Big and it had turned into a traveling simulator and that sometimes the generated dungeons were just plain buggy and you simply couldn't get to the target... or back out. So I wrote a tool to read your position from a savegame, keep a list of bookmarks, and write those back into the savegame. A crude teleporter that could also set you a few steps into a direction so that you could get through bugged walls and doors.
    At the same time another guy had the same idea and did it technically even better and even though we did the exact same thing, he was outed by the officials as the Bad Hacker while no one minded me.
    In the real world what you do is one thing. How much and what kind of credit you get for it is something entirely different. That's a matter of communication and how you present what you do. I sure am no expert in that area but I got the basics down for Telling People What They Think They Want To Hear. ;)

    When Battlecruiser 3000AD came out I was entralled! Such freedom to do things every which way and even operate all the vehicles yourself! Such...bugs? After reporting lots of them on some forum (?) I volunteered my way into the testers' roster and by virtue of finding several times as many bugs as everyone else was awarded the lofty title of "Lead Tester". We all got signed copies when 2.0 (or what it was called) came out and were mentioned in a real game's credits. Those were the times.
    It also showed me that stub... tenacity can be a good trait. Getting Mister DS to accept a bug in his lofty AI system (which you're not even supposed to be able to test) takes some doing.

    Egosoft's X series also had me helplessly hooked - for much the same reasons. Just fewer bugs.
    But this bad boy had a script editor. You could... alter the deal. Make those ships smarter, bring the universe alive!
    So I tinkered, wrote a few scripts, some of which are probably still used to this day, became S&M moderator (that's scripting and modding, you pervs)... and kinda quit the series when X-Rebirth came out and all these promises about the game being easier to mod turned out to be so much hot air. I lost track but if it's by now possible to really fly capital ships and switch between them, I may take a look.

    Insert some MMO interludes here and there. Start a new one, figure out that it's the same as all the others, repeat, expecting the next one to be totally different.
    Moderator on this or that gaming forum. It tends to happen when you're very active without throwing tantrums.

    Fast forward to 7DTD. Either the Kickstarter went below my RADAR or I was like "Meh. Another zombie game.". Somehow I ended up buying it later... and racking up MMO-like play hours. Somehow this bunch of first-time indie game devs got the magic sauce right and it was sooo moddable without jumping through any hoops. You edit some text in a text file. That's the absolute minimum bar height for entry-level modding and that's how you can get more people hooked on it. And that's not even "mod support"! That is coming later.

    So how did I end up with a colour change for that name?
    Sometime early 2016, between A13 and 14, players started accumulating "Unofficial XML Fixes" and were asking for more recipes for... things. Apparently Madmole felt that I was being a pest about it so he was like "buggerit, you do it". (not an exact quote)
    Initially this was a bit rocky with me sending him files that he merged into the game files and he wasn't even using a good merge tool... at the time.
    A lot of those chats also turned into design talk because for many fiddly bits there was no design and everyone used their own judgement when putting in new features. Not their fault but you saw the result in the game files, especially blocks, where about 3 people were defining blocks in 4 different ways with 5 different naming conventions. That made it hard to find what you were looking for and even harder to fix bugs because every entry was a unique snowflake.

    Eventually I got more and more access and worked with more people on the team and kinda went UNODIR with re-organising the game data. In the end I had tossed out about 40% of the entire blocks file for being old, bogus or plain redundant data.
    Somehow I ended up "owning" data-related issues. Like this one.
    The idea for the feature was great but I don't think anyone had planned for how to come up with all the data... in a way that can still be adjusted and expanded by new zombie types as they come online.
    Writing that output by hand? Every time? Suuure. I quit after 5 minutes and started working on the procedural approach. MM used to be the one "doing XML" and his love for numbers and data is more on the "eating live spiders" level. One of the reasons why I ended up being a good fit, I suspect.

    Did some work on the localisation and English-English translation (a lot of those entries were still temporary and I'm still convinced that pirates should say "Arrr", not "Argh") and figuring out how to merge PC and console localisations which have different features which require different descriptions.
    Nowadays if it's game data related it usually ends up on my desk. That includes a good bit of balancing where I haggle with Joel and Rick over how it's supposed to be working and end up translating that concept into data.

    If asked what my official position on the team was I couldn't even tell you. That never came up. I don't code (except when I do), I don't deal with art (except when I do) and I don't design (except when I do).
    I am a Gazz. That's what I do.

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    Raving Looney razor1612's Avatar
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    Gray Thematic Gipothegip's Avatar
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    Pics, or it didn't happen!

    All joking aside, I wasn't sure if you were actually German. I also would've never guessed your English was self taught either, you speak good English, at least good enough for it to be indistinguishable as a second language.

    Also, aren't the Lederhosen more of a traditional thing? I remember learning about some sort of festival and that's like the only time anybody where's them.

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    Reconstructionist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gipothegip View Post
    Pics, or it didn't happen!

    All joking aside, I wasn't sure if you were actually German. I also would've never guessed your English was self taught either, you speak good English, at least good enough for it to be indistinguishable as a second language.

    Also, aren't the Lederhosen more of a traditional thing? I remember learning about some sort of festival and that's like the only time anybody where's them.
    I believe that would be Oktoberfest.
    @Gazz

    Thank you for writing this up. You have quite an interesting story and i loved reading it. It sounds like it is a good thing that you found your way to be "in that position" at 7DTD. You seem to do an amazing job and i bet it isn`t easy haggeling with Joel and Rick.
    Same as Gip i do have to congratulate you on being self taught in English, you speak very well and if it were not for you pic i wouldn`t even thing that it was your second language.

    P.S. Meine Muttersprache ist auch Deutsch XD.

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    Gray Thematic Gipothegip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emarat View Post
    I believe that would be Oktoberfest.
    Is it Oktoberfest I'm thinking of?

    Wasn't there like a traditional music festival or something that's also in Bavaria?
    Last edited by Gipothegip; 01-23-2017 at 10:58 PM.

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    Fun Pimps Staff Gazz's Avatar
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    There are actually multiple Oktoberfests in North and South America. The original is in Munich, Bavaria, though.

    And in the real world having the correct degrees and papers only gets you so far. As long as you're willing to talk to people (and not easily discouraged =) you can get into many things.

    X3 being one of my favourite games I had been wiggling my way into Egosoft, too. Fixed their OOS combat resolution code/design way back. It never got to be perfect but the version in X3:AP was at least 85% close to what you'd get in sector with actual 3D combat.
    I'm sure they had and have much better coders than me but "balancing combat" with some 500 ship types and 1-5 of 30 weapons each, with all values going across like 4 orders of magnitude and multi-ship engagements...
    Abstracting that kind of over-complex monster into a manageable ruleset takes a certain approach and you can't be afraid of evaluating hundreds of MB of log data.

    Balancing 7DTD is unicorns and cupcakes in comparison. It's just a moving target until all the features are in so occasionally it just has to be "good enough for now". =)

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    Colony Founder DUST2DEATH's Avatar
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    Good Read.
    Always interesting to learn the path travelled.

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    Colony Founder Glimpse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazz View Post
    There are actually multiple Oktoberfests in North and South America. The original is in Munich, Bavaria, though.
    Near where I live is a small town called Helen, Georgia. It was settled by German immigrants, and every year there is a huge Oktoberfest crowd.
    Last edited by Glimpse; 01-24-2017 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Spelling. I'm bad at it.

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    Super Moderator Roland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emarat View Post
    It sounds like it is a good thing that you found your way to be "in that position" at 7DTD.
    There were quite a few of us at the time begging Joel to look at the fixes Gazz had already done unofficially and also (if I remember right) there was Gazz's analysis of the...ahem...fuzzy math employed for the early versions of character progression. I remember Joel was very skeptical and at first was going over Gazz's code line by line before making the changes himself manually. He refused to just copy and paste...lol.

    Thankfully, he came to trust and then rely upon...

    Nice read Gazz and congratulations.

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    What is sick is that Gazz's history on games overlaps mine like it does. Battlecruiser 3000AD... have never met anyone else who had played that and would admit it before.

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    Guppycurian Forum Whore Guppycur's Avatar
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    Hm, actually looks kind of fun...

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    Awwww, a fellow Bavarian.

    A Lederhosn might look awkward, but they are actually pretty comfy (sau gemütlich)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrdrinc View Post
    What is sick is that Gazz's history on games overlaps mine like it does. Battlecruiser 3000AD... have never met anyone else who had played that and would admit it before.
    Yeah! Disgusting!

    Battlecruiser 3000AD never heard of it. That DS (and don't ever say his full name, it's like saying Beetlejuice or Biggie Smalls 3 times) guy. Legendary jerk. Never heard of him either.

    Now Daggerfall! Ahhh what wonderful memories, even as bug-ridden and broken as it was I still have nothing but fond memories of it. I don't know if it is just because it was so ahead of it's time or if Bethesda and all the other clones just couldn't recapture the magic, but it'll always be special to me.

    So a many years overdue thank you for those tools that I probably used Gazz.

    Oh FFS, now I see why I never post here....a ♥♥♥♥ing captcha? for real? is it not enough that we have to register with our steam accounts?

  14. #14
    Colony Founder xXC.H.U.DXx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razor1612 View Post


    oldschool gamers

    i had C64 also

  15. #15
    Guppycurian Forum Whore Guppycur's Avatar
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    @Gazz: What's this about your day job?

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