General Discussions

Interview with SSquared – CPUFreak91



Posts: 2337
Registered: 02-01-2005
I had an idea sometime last week: What think about interviewing active members of the CCN community? After a bit of thought I contacted SSquared who graciously spent some of his time answering my questions. I plan to interview people on a fortnightly basis.

I'm planning to do a series of interviews with many people from
CCN and you're the first. What do you think about the whole idea?

I think it's a terrific idea! I really enjoy getting to know everyone and
interviews like this can reveal new things you never knew about someone.

I'm interested in a bit of your past. How did you find CCN?

In 2000 or 2001 I was searching for Christian sites related to computer
games. I stumbled on Christian Computer Game Reviews (CCGR) and CCN. I
bookmarked CCN but only visited maybe once a year.

Was there any particular reason why you joined?

Well, after lurking for a few years, I started stopping by more often. I
was still hesitant to join as most of the threads seemed geared towards
developing games. I had really hoped for more general programming threads
as I am not a game programmer.

I was keeping tabs on things and noticed more general programming questions
beginning to creep up. I eventually decided to sign up and have become
more active in the last few months or year.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against game programming. It's just
not my focus, so I was not sure if this was the right place for me.

When did you first start programming?

I started programming on a Sharp calculator/computer in 1978. It had a
single line of LCD. Due to the one line, I was essentially required to
write out everything by hand first. Then type it all in.

My brother, who was already programming taught me BASIC and gave me all
sorts of programming tasks.

What language did you learn?

For several years I just did BASIC. My senior year in high school I took
the computer class. The first semester was BASIC. Second semester was
Pascal. I really enjoyed it and felt very comfortable with it.

College was mostly Pascal, although there were a smattering of other
languages, depending on the class. 'C' was added as an elective course
and I took it.

For my Senior Project, I used Pascal on my Mac Plus (still have it in
storage) and taught myself event-driven programming. After college I
taught myself Smalltalk as a prompting from my brother.

My first development job was in C developing Win16 apps. I jumped to
C++ a few years later, involved in some Java stuff, and now using all
sorts of languages (C, C++, Java, and C#).

What kind of programming do you mainly do?

I am mainly a Windows application developer. I have done quite a lot of
the user interface code, business logic, and some of the back end work
(database connectivity, networking, etc.). A lot of my projects have been
client/server based.

What kind of programming do you enjoy?

I really enjoy what I mentioned above. My favorite things are programming
database-driven, client/server-based user interface applications.

I am most at home with object oriented languages and really enjoy thinking
through problems in an OO way. I am always looking at ways to refactor
code and make it cleaner and follow OO concepts and patterns.

What languages do you know?

C, C++, C#, Java

I see that you created a game for the CCN Game Programming Competition. What do you think of the competition? Was is fun? Did you like the idea of sponsors? Would you do it again?

The competition was a total blast and really helped me to begin feeling a
part of the community here on CCN. I had no game development experience,
so it was a really big learning project for me. I was stretched in my
knowledge and abilities and I see that as a really big positive. In the
end, I am really pleased with my result. I even continued making updates
after the competition so I now have a much better computer AI. This
update has never been released, though.

I think the competition is a terrific idea and it would be nice to have
them at some regularity. The sponsors are a neat idea, but did not really
play a part, personally, in why I participated.

I hope to do it again, but it will require me to become more familiar with
some type of gaming API. XNA? SDL.NET? I don't know what I'll use next
time, but I sure hope to be more knowledgable about the API set. My
hope/plan is to have enough background knowledge, I will be able to focus
my time on creating a game rather than learning new concepts/ideas/etc.
Last time, I used XNA which had only been released a week earlier. This
meant not only was I learning something brand new, but the rest of the
world was too. I ended up spening too much time learning and ended up not
getting to my real gameplay until later in the competition. I ended up
with a really weak computer AI.

If you felt competent enough, would you create a 2D or a 3D game for the next (if any) competition?

I would continue to stick with 2D. I don't have any 3D knowledge, so I
would not want the 3D aspect to get in the way of developing the gameplay.
In other words, I wouldn't want to spend most of my time learning 3D
concepts and losing out on actually implementing a game.

What operating system do you use at home?
Windows XP Home

What operating system do you use at work?
Windows XP Professional and Vista Business

If you use a different operating system at home and at work, which one do you prefer?

I have only used Vista for a week, but I much prefer Windows XP at this

Do you believe in freedom the way the FSF believes in it?
I am not all too familiar with their philosophy.

If you had the option, would you program more open source software or more proprietary software?

Probably proprietary, but I haven't done any open source software, so I
don't really know what it would be like. I personally do not spend time
in the open source community, although I do download projects from
SourceForge. Personally, I am actually more interested in and spend more
time looking for code examples. I really like CodeProject. That's the
type of free software I like promoting.

Are you good at graphics?

I am unfamiliar with drawing 2D and 3D images. My personal philosophy as a software developer is: "I'll do the coding and let someone familiar with graphics design and create the graphics."

Coding-wise, I am ok with 2D graphics: drawing polygons, lines, fonts,
etc. My last job had quite a bit of my time working with 2D Graphics.

Do you enjoy making graphics?
Not really. I do enjoy photography and editing photos, but I have no
experience creating/designing grahpics from scratch.

What are the specs of the computer you work on at home or work?

P4 1.8 GHz and 512 MB RAM
GeForce 4200Ti with 64 MB RAM
80 GB internal and 160 GB external

At some point this year, I plan to upgrade to a laptop.

Core 2 Duo 1.6 with 1 MB RAM
ATI x1400 with 256 MB RAM

What are your opinions on net neutrality?
I had to look this up on [Wikipedia]. I didn't really know what this was, so I don't think I can give an answer at this time.

Do you have any thoughts on RFID chip implants?
I haven't really thought about it. The concept is nice. I mean, imagine not having to fumble through your pockets for different cards. But it's not something I have really spent time pondering, so I can't really give an accurate answer.

Do you prefer movies in Blue-ray or HD-DVD format?
I haven't actually seen movies in either format, but I will probably use
HD-DVD when the time comes.

What do you think about Microsoft's Windows Vista? Would you buy it to install on your current computer(s)? Would you buy a new computer with Vista installed?

I have used Vista for a week and have been more frustrated than happy. I
really do not see what it offers over XP other than a fluffy interface.
My home computer is too old to run Vista, so I do no plan on upgrading. I
will most likely buy a new computer with Vista, but based on my current
experience with my work laptop, I will wait a few months for things to
settle down. I do plan on getting a new laptop this year, and will
probably wait until April when the next set of new laptop chips are
released. Hopefully most compatibility issues will be resolved by then.

If you own a game console, what is it and what was your first?
I do not have a game console.

Do you prefer playing games on a computer or a game console?
I have only played on a computer.

What do you do for entertainment on the computer?
Hmmm, I don't think I use my computer for entertainment. I use it mainly
for productivity. I read a few forums. Read daily devotional. Finances.
Photography. Programming. Write newsletters for church.

I assume that you manage CCGR. Would you care to give us some details on what the site is about?

I am one of the Admins on CCGR. The site offers game reviews with a
Christian perspective on the games. We recognize not every Christian
finds the same things offensive, but we are there to provide some extra
context and descriptions of what you may find in a particular game. We
then leave it up to the reader to decide if they will feel comfortable
with such a game. Examples include: bad language, amount of violence, and
the supernatual.

We cover Windows, consoles, and handhelds. There may even be some Mac

Our forums are extremely active and contain a generally younger (teens)
crowd. We discuss everything from games, music, movies, as well as more
serious discussions covering Christian themes and mature topics.

I used to be fairly active and contributed several reviews, but have moved
away from playing games, so I no longer contribute reviews. I now
semi-monitor the site, implement some bug fixes and site updates, and help
edit reviews. I also try to promote the site whenever possible, so thanks
for asking about it.

I think I have been a member now for 5 or 6 years. The old version of the
site is no longer around, so I don't really remember when I first joined.
The site has seen several versions, going from static pages, to ASP, and
now to PHP.

Is there anything about this interview you think should be changed?

No, but maybe ask "What hobbies do you have outside of computers?" :-)

I have been involved in music for close to 30 years. I originally played
trumpet. Then I got interested in the physics of sound and moved to
synthesizers. I spent a lot of time creating sounds and writing music,
mainly electronic and space music. I have now been involved with worship
teams at church for 15 years.

I also have a huge interest in photography. This has really been a big
hobby of mine in the last five years.

And ask "What are your favorite games?"

My favorite games are:

Knights of the Old Republic, Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces,
Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, Half-Life/Opposing Force/Blue Shift,
Freelancer, Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, and...amazingly Tron 2.0 is
probably on the favorite list as well. I really like single player games
with good action.

Thank you for your time.

Sure. I really enjoy answering questions like this. It's fun, although I
can be a bit wordy I think.

This interview is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Previous Interviews:

All Your Base Are Belong To Us!!! chown -r us ./base
"After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless.'' -- Tao of Programming Book 2

My Programming and Hacker/Geek related Blog

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited February 20, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited May 31, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by CPUFreak91 (edited September 25, 2007).]



Posts: 1398
From: Fort Wayne, IN, USA
Registered: 10-23-2006
Cool! I'd definetly sign-up.

MM out-
Thought travels much faster than sound, it is better to think something twice, and say it once, than to think something once, and have to say it twice.
"Frogs and Fauns! The tournament!" - Professor Winneynoodle/HanClinto
I reserve the full right to change my views/theories at any time.



Posts: 1668
From: USA
Registered: 06-06-2006
You make a good interviewer, CPU. (I think I remember you saying you take Journalism classes?)

Mene, I look forward to an interview of yourself.



Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Excellent interview to read -- thanks Joe and Steve!

Posts: 1905
Registered: 01-26-2005
Sign me up!




Posts: 1685
Registered: 08-25-2004
Interesting read.


"The CIA must operate within the law.." - Former President Jimmy Carter, trying to solve an old problem. ;)



Posts: 536
From: Eugene, OR, USA
Registered: 08-10-2005
I look forward to reading more interviews fortnightly.




Posts: 2779
Registered: 01-20-2001
SSquared, also know as Rick Moranis, rocks. Great idea for the interviews, I look forward to reading more!



Posts: 311
From: I use your computer as my second Linux box
Registered: 10-30-2005
Sounds interesting, If I notice your pm in my mail box, I'll be more than happy to answer.

Btw, yes I still do lurk here...

If you can see Chuck Norris, He can see You.
If you Can't see Chuck Norris, you may be seconds away from death.



Posts: 2337
Registered: 02-01-2005
Glad you like these. I had a lot of fun thinking up the questions. I've put those of you who "signed up" and weren't on my list as candidates for future interviews.

Originally posted by Lazarus:
You make a good interviewer, CPU. (I think I remember you saying you take Journalism classes?)

Thanks. I haven't taken Journalism classes yet (which is one reason why I'm doing interviews; I'm trying to practice ) but I plan to in a year or two.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us!!! chown -r us ./base
"After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless.'' -- Tao of Programming Book 2

My Programming and Hacker/Geek related Blog



Posts: 1225
From: kentucky,usa
Registered: 12-13-2003
good read. off-topic...freelancer rocks, i like the tng, discovery, and total war(very difficult) mods.

proverbs 17:28
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

proverbs 25:7
open rebuke is better than secret love. - Gospel for Asia - Voice of the Martyrs



Posts: 2220
From: New Albany, Indiana, U.S.
Registered: 10-08-2004
that is pretty cool.

am I next?


that post was really cool ^
[|=D) <---|| me



Posts: 2337
Registered: 02-01-2005
To keep the element of surprise I won't be announcing the next person to be interviewed... yet. I plan to change this after a few weeks.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us!!! chown -r us ./base
"After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless.'' -- Tao of Programming Book 2

My Programming and Hacker/Geek related Blog



Posts: 654
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 03-22-2005
Hey! It's great to hear everyone's enthusiasm. It will be really neat to have some extra background on everyone. CPU did a great job on this.

Benny, I have not played any of the Freelancer mods, but I do read Lancers Reactor every once in awhile just to catch up on the community happenings.