FARE THEE WELL, SHEF!

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Last week we said goodbye to our coding intern Brian "SHEF" Shef. It was great having him on the team for the past year, and I personally enjoyed dropping into his office for geek chats every day. Shef will still hopefully drop by to visit, and we're hopeful he'll be able to keep running our weekly D&D sessions. Smell ya later, Shef! We'll miss you.

"My dear Players, Rats, OT-ers – farewell.

When I was about four years old, my dad brought home our first computer. My parents had a hard time peeling me away from it; I was enthralled. I was particularly obsessed over a children's game (for DOS) in which I drove a big, blocky tractor and moved big, blocky shapes around the screen. It wasn't long before I grew curious, and asked my father, “How is this made?” When he told me that people wrote in a special language on the computer to create whatever they want, I envisioned a sort of wizard, entering in ancient arcane runes to the computer and seeing a game come to life. As I grew older, I learned that writing software was far more complex than that – but to me, it was just as magical.

And through fiddling around with programming, I came to find I had a special interest in designing the software I was writing. When the time came to pick a major and enroll in a university, I chose software engineering. I joined, and was quickly elected to be the president of the Game Developers Club at the university. We worked on all sorts of side projects while still putting in hard work in our classes, and it was very clear to me now that game development was my real passion in life. How cool is it to take some gibberish computer code, and build a whole new universe for people the world over to enjoy? The only problem with game development is, it's a tough field to get into. While my software engineering peers were dressing up in suits and ties and getting internships with Bell Helicopter, I stuck around in odd jobs, waiting to get my foot in the door.

That door happened to be wide open at Playnet Inc. I had found an online map of local game developers, and I noticed that Playnet was just five minutes away from where I was living, and they had a pretty rad product, to boot! I emailed them about an internship in late 2010, and I started in January 2011. I had never worked with a large code base before, or a Coders-Producers-Artists type team before. I quickly learned tools, techniques, tricks... and worked with some of the sharpest, most creative people I have ever met in my life. It was the sort of job you'd do for free, which makes it incredibly hard to say 'farewell.'

Everyone was so welcoming, and helpful. Despite the mountain of work to be done, nobody ever balked at helping me catch up when I got stuck. And most importantly, everyone made it fun as hell to come to work! So, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you. And keep in mind, I might not be working directly on WWII Online anymore, but I'll be right next door at NCR. So I'll probably get nostalgic and pop by for NERF fights and Dungeons & Dragons. Because while it was an incredible experience, and an honor working with each and every one of you, and a total blast to campaign with the players, I'd still consider it an honor to come bug you all every now and then.

Love (yes, love)

Brian “SHEF” Shef"