Tuesday, November 30, 2004

6:12 PM// I start my new job!

Several people will probably ask me for details regarding my new job, so I'm going to write this down once to avoid telling the same story a dozen times:

My job:

My official title is "Project Manager" for a an extremely small video game company named do2learn (www.do2learn.com). Do2learn specializes in educational video game technology for autism and other learning disabilities. Examples are games that teach children how to cross the street despite distractions, exiting a home in the event of a fire, and appropriate playground behavior (i.e. not walking in front of a swing).

We have a 3D animator & character modeler, an artist, and a professional UnrealScipter (we are using the Unreal Tournament Game Engine) to control the character behavior. My job is to bring all the elements together and make sure everything works the way it should. For my first job, I expected to be on the lower echelon of the totem pole, chained to a desk writing low level code all day; so the position of Project Manager may sound unusual for an entry-level position. However, my lack of experience combined with my understanding of game technology, source code, scripting, and 3D animation makes me an ideal andidate for testing and bringing these elements together, while my relative newness to the professional world makes me an undesirable candidate for something as highly specialized as Unreal Script coding. At the same time, while overseeing the project I will undoubtedly obtain this knowledge/experience, thus giving an enormous boost to my resume.

I've usually concentrated my interests in particular areas of gaming technology (i.e. source code, character models, etc) but I've never overseen an entire project from start to finish, so the job is both exciting and a bit scary. I'll be taking on a lot of new responsibilities. I start as soon after Thanksgiving as possible (i.e. Monday). I may only start off part-time for the first 2 weeks due to my current job at NC State officially ending on Dec. 15. My boss at NC State hired me knowing I was searching for a "real job" and was prepared to loose me at any time. However, she left for Thanksgiving holiday last week, so I haven't seen her since the new job offer. Thus, I'm sure there will be a couple of days she'd like to spend getting everything I've done together and making sure she understands it.


Currently there are only about 4 or 5 people in the company, owned by Dorothy Strickland. The company operates off federal grant money unlike other commercial video game operations. The good news is we have a ton of money sitting around in a bank account sufficient to sustain us for at least a year. The bad news is the current administration likes to cut funding for programs not directly related to petroleum products.

Currently, our "office" is a few desks and high power computers in Dorothy's home, but she is looking to lease "real" office space soon. This does mean that I will actually go from my home to a place of business, working with other human beings in a relaxed office atmosphere. Her home is in Raleigh only a few miles from my condo, so I don't need to drive to Durham or Chapel Hill every morning in rush hour traffic.


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