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GCG Interview: Tara Teich, LucasArts Programmer

Tara Teich, a lead AI and gameplay engineer at LucasArts, shares her experience of what it’s like to work as a programmer in the game industry in a new interview on GameCareer
Tara Teich, a lead AI and gameplay engineer at LucasArts, shares her experience of what it’s like in ato work as a programmer in the game industry in a new interview on GameCareerGuide.com. She discusses how she got her first job in the industry and where she thinks game programmers today should be focusing their efforts. She also recently participated in a public campaign to make the field of engineering more visible and attractive to high school-aged girls. Teich holds a BS in computer science from Northwestern University, and her game credentials include Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (AI and gameplay lead engineer), the Empire Earth series, Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna from Microsoft Game Studios, and a few other titles. Of her transition from university to work, she said, “I think college really prepared me for my job, though maybe not in the usual sense. Sure, the classes I took and the knowledge I gained were important, but for a woman working in technology, one of the most important things I needed to learn was how to deal with being the only woman in the room. After a few classes [in college] where I was the only woman out of 50 people, I sort of stopped noticing. So I don't think the environment was really a surprise, or anything like that.” When asked where she sees room for improvement in the game development industry and what programmers should be doing to help get them there, Teich said: “One of the things that happens again and again the game industry is rewriting the same code over and over again. Almost every project I work on, we start over and have to reinvent all the basic systems that every game needs. There's a real movement among programmers to share knowledge and stop reinventing the wheel, as it were. I think we need to stop wasting time re-implementing known systems so we can spend more time figuring out new solutions.” You can read the complete GameCareerGuide.com interview -- which also includes Teich defending her criticism of Jane McGonigal’s (Institute for the Future, ilovebees ARG), optimism about the game industry -- on Gamasutra's sister educational site.

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