Rebecca Fernandez is a junior programmer at Weird Beard Games in Amsterdam. Prior to this, Rebecca taught programming at a tertiary level in Australia. Outside of work, Rebecca helps to run Global Game Jam as one of the executive committee members, and she also helps out with the IGDA scholars program and the IGDA WIG SIG.
Name: Rebecca Fernandez
Years of experience: 1 year/programmer, 5 years/teacher
Shipped Game Titles:
Armello (2015) – programmer
1. What are you currently reading and/or playing?
Currently reading The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F Hamilton. Also Write Great Code by Randall Hyde since I want to learn more about engine development.
I’m currently playing a number of things (depending on my mood when I get home) – The Witcher 3, Story of Seasons, and recently Banished. And I also do still go back to The Sims 3 quite regularly – it’s my favourite game to play when I’m a bit tired or I want to calm my thoughts.
2. First time you knew you wanted to work in games was…?
Hmm – I think it was a slow realisation (it took a long time for me to believe that it actually was a job). But I do remember once playing Call of Duty 4 when I was hiding in cover behind another soldier, and I realised I could see the weave of the soldier’s fabric highlighted by the moonlight. I was so impressed by this detail that I immediately wanted to learn more about how it was done – and from then I’ve been completely hooked.
3. What was your favorite mistake?
I think my favourite mistake was definitely trying to start an indie studio with friends when I was straight out of university. For my career in terms of programming skill it was a terrible move – I really should have tried to get a job working for someone else. But through this endeavour I met the game development community both in Australia and overseas. I became involved with IGDA, the Global Game Jam and I met my current boyfriend. So I really wouldn’t change a thing!
4. What was your favorite success?
This question has taken me a long time to answer. I think I tie success to learning – so whenever I discover a leap in my knowledge, I feel successful. This last year has been great – I’ve learned a lot about structuring my code, and I feel a lot more confident when coming up with architectural solutions. Each time I go to GDC and feel I understand a larger portion of the coding talks, then I also feel successful.
5. What’s the best advice you ever got?
This isn’t exactly advice I’ve been given, but it’s a moment in a book that has really shaped my approach to tasks. In the third Harry Potter book, Harry has been trying to learn how to cast a Patronus (a rather difficult spell that must be performed under stressful circumstances) and failing rather miserably. Toward the end of the book he is saved by a figure who casts a powerful Patronus at the last minute. After this, Harry travels back in time and realises that the figure was actually himself. This means that Harry *knows* he can do this spell, since he’s already seen himself do it (sorry if I lost anyone with this description). Also, between the point Harry was saved and the point he casts the Patronus, he doesn’t gain any knowledge, just confidence.
When I find myself faced with a difficulty (like public speaking) I try and imagine my future self who has already done the difficult thing (successfully). If I imagine that I’ve already done it, then it means I definitely have the ability to do it – and then I can relax a bit and do my best. And I think about Harry – he was capable of that spell all along, he just needed the confidence. I’m sure there are many things I’m capable of as long as I have the confidence – so I try to trick myself into having the confidence. It seems to work most of the time!
6. Share one thing few know about you.
I really enjoy listening to bagpipes – but in particular the Spanish bagpipe music traditional to the area where my father was born.
7. What’s one thing or trend you’re most excited about in the industry?
As a gamer I’m quite excited about all the focus on branching narrative lately. I love being able to make meaningful choices in a game and I’d love for that experience to feel more and more immersive as developers improve.
As a developer I’m interested by the technical challenges that VR introduces.
8. Anything else you want to add?
I’m glad I’ve ended up in the games industry for many reasons, but lately I’ve realised how well the industry has been scratching my travel itch. I love travelling, and I’m so glad I get the opportunity to live and work in different countries, continents and hemispheres.
Feel free to reblog with a link to http://women.igda.org/wouldnt-change-a-thing-wig-sig-profi…/. If you are a lady dev who’d like to be profiled or would like to nominate one, please contact Anne [at] igda [dot] org.