Ryan Buxton, programmer at d3t, talks about his first big break in the industry, taking inspiration from his dad and the horrors of waking up after the office Christmas party
How did you break into games?
d3t gave me my big break just as I was graduating from a Computer Games Programming course at Staffordshire University in 2018, but the desire to be a part of this world stemmed from a conversation I recall having with my dad in my early teens. He is a software engineer, and he described his work to me to help me realise what I want to do with my life. He mentioned that games were also created this way and being glued to games since childhood, I decided that pursuing this line of work was a no-brainer.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Without a doubt, working on Mafia II: Definitive Edition. My Dad and I played the original many times and absolutely loved it. I hardly expected to be working on games I had already played when thinking about games I might be working on and doing so, let alone taking ownership of a platform port for the game, was nothing short of amazing!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
While yes, it was also my proudest achievement, Mafia II: Definitive Edition was also my biggest challenge. It was my first experience in remastering a game based on a proprietary engine and I was charged with managing the Xbox One port. Porting from ex-gen to next-gen hardware can have significant challenges exacerbated by limitations of proprietary engines optimised for those targets. Thankfully, I was working closely with other programmers familiar with the porting process and learned lots which I will be applying to future projects.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The best thing about my job is that it is hardly work. I never struggle to get up and get going, except maybe the morning after my first d3t Christmas Party, for obvious reasons (haha). I often joke that it is basically a hobby I am paid to pursue and what is more is I get to do this with people who are just as invested in their jobs and the d3team.
What’s your biggest ambition in games?
I find it hard to believe that as game developers, we are simply here, just to make games. We are here to make games better. As my programming experience grows, I will be thinking about how I can be involved in some R&D work within games. I also have a personal research idea, but I have a lot of groundwork to get done before I even think about pursuing that.
What advice would you give to an aspiring programmer?
To aspiring programmers looking for their first studio, I would totally recommend joining a co-development studio. When I was ready to join a studio, I did not know which area of programming I wanted to work in or what kind of games I wanted to work on and working at a co-development studio opened up many new opportunities to explore different disciplines, technologies and games.