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Interview Series - Meet the Sprites: Ian

Category: careers

2 December 2020 2:08 PM
Meet the Sprites Ian

We speak to Senior Programmer, Ian France, about life at Firesprite

In this interview series, we speak to some of the staff here to provide an insight into life at Firesprite from a variety of disciplines within the studio.

Today we chat with Senior Programmer, Ian!

Ian France

Hi Ian! Can you tell us what has your journey through the games industry been like?
My journey started 25 years ago, spreading over 5 companies and 20 games, the major milestones were starting with Virtuality, working with arcade VR machines; I was even doing some modelling and texture stuff back then! Then headed to Perfect Entertainment, working across PC, Saturn, PS1, Dreamcast on the likes of FIFA, Discworld, and racing games, I also spent some time out in EA Seattle/Vancouver, as an external developer in their offices. By then EA had me in their grasp, so I headed to EA SPORTS and EA GAMES proper (Chertsey) for Premier League Stars, F1 2000/2001, Football Manager, Harry Potter’s (2 & 3), Shox! (my favourite game worked on…), Quidditch, across PC, NGC, PS2/3, and NDS. Then as I have a passion for football, I ended up at Eidos (BGS), on Championship Manager (PC/PS3/PSP), then a sideways move to PKR, online gambling. Funny as I have never gambled. Then I took a planned 1-2 year sabbatical…. 10 years later I came back!

What is your favourite thing about working at Firesprite?
There is a real friendly openness to the company, I haven’t come across anyone who wouldn’t help you out or point you in the right direction. I like the way there is a drive for a work/life balance, a sense of looking after their staff. There is a real mix of talented people from vet’s to grad’s and that’s great, as all can bring ideas and help Firesprite grow. 

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!
For the last 10 years, I have been one of the UK’s leading Technical and Cave Diving Instructor Trainers, training divers in the use of Open and Closed Circuit technologies, on deep wrecks, in flooded Mines and Cave systems around the world. I am also an active explorer, part of the British Cave Diving Group (CDG) and a founder member of the UK Mine/Cave Exploration (UKMC). Most recently, March 2020, joining the Nordic Explorers, for cave (dry and wet) exploration in Norway. The feeling of being the first person ever to see parts of the world is incredible, and a real privilege.

What advice would you give to someone who was hoping to progress into a Senior Programming position?
Learn all you can, but accept you won’t know everything, be open and prepared to listen to all ideas, whether from experience or from fresh approaches. I love learning, and everyday should be a learning day. Oh and remember, we don’t learn by doing things right! Be brave, its ok to get things wrong, learn from them and grow.