Charles de Rousiers

Charles de Rousiers is Software Engineer on the Rendering pod in the Frostbite team. Pushing the graphical fidelity in today’s and tomorrow’s blockbuster game titles is what drives this doctor in Computer Graphics hailing from France.

“After having finished my Ph.D. in Computer Graphics in France, I wanted to move into the video game industry. There are a lot of concrete challenges to address here, and there is a lot of research where you can directly apply the outcome.

I started applying for jobs abroad in several studios. While born in France, I wanted to live and work in another country to take in new experiences. I had already spent some time abroad during my studies, and I’ve always enjoyed living outside France.

DICE has been one of my favorite studios for a long time, and I really liked the work done by the Frostbite team on Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. So the choice to move to Sweden when they offered me the job as Software Engineer on the Frostbite team was very easy.

My daily work on the team is quite varied: I do coding, playing, miscellaneous problem solving, brainstorming, helping other team members, and chatting with artists. The diversity means it never gets boring!

I’ve always been into visuals, and I think it’s interesting how we are now getting enough horsepower to almost rival movies when it comes to rendering complex materials, beautiful particle effects, and proper lighting – all in real time.

There will always be abstract and heavily stylized games, and I think that’s great. But for a first person shooter like Battlefield (or a racing game like Need for Speed) I think people will always strive for photo realism to increase immersion. That’s the part of rendering that piques my interest the most.

One of the things I appreciate the most on the Frostbite team is the amount of team work going on. Have a problem? Just chat with your colleagues and you will find an awesome solution together.

The benefit of working on the engine itself means we aren’t restricted to one game title at a time. You are in touch with a lot of game teams and thus address a large range of problems and features. I find that very rewarding, as opposed to working on a single title.

I joined Frostbite a couple of months after Battlefield 3 shipped, late 2011. It was easy to get into the Frostbite team, and it was quicker than I thought to make yourself at home in Sweden. The winter was a bit long, perhaps, but I am very happy to be here. The combination of the beautiful city and the closeness to nature is really appealing to me. I couldn’t dream of being in a better place -- working on Frostbite here in Stockholm is a labor of love.”

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Henrik Karlsson

Having worked at DICE and Frostbite for the past 13 years, Technical Director Henrik Karlsson knows the ins and outs of creating and fine-tuning the engines that lie at the hearts of our games.

The constant strive to outperform himself and all other games on the market is what drives him.

“As Technical Director, I currently work on a layer of the Frostbite engine that we have labeled ”Core Systems”. My job is basically to build a powerful engine that facilitates great gameplay design. I need to know exactly how everything works “under the hood”, and I open up the engine for the game designers so they can use it to the max.

I work with Frostbite because I am extremely competitive. Always striving to deliver the best in your field is a very big challenge, and I think very few jobs outside can offer the same opportunity for growth and learning. All of my colleagues are still kids at heart, and we all share the joy in making a living out of our hobby. I constantly keep an eye on the competition so I know where I need to aim to beat all of them.

While being Technical Director clearly is a different discipline than game design proper, I do see myself as somewhat of a game designer at times. It’s like when I had this idea about how to enable great detail while keeping the grand size of the levels that Battlefield is known for. I approached that hurdle from a technical angle before any game designer asked for it. It was a feature for Battlefield 3 that the entire team wanted to see, but the implementation needed to start at the Core System level.

Sometimes I build a feature, and later I see someone on the team using it in new and innovative ways. Like this one time where we created “loose part” components that were made to mark vehicle parts as loose so they shake when driving over bumpy terrain. This was later used for the in-game camera, giving the perfect bouncy feel to a truck driver’s seat! It’s like we’re supplying a big chest of Lego, and the designers come up with fantastic creations from those building blocks.

Depending on what layer of the engine you work on, you could argue different skills are needed. Someone working as a rendering engineer is probably into visual quality more than I am. What binds us together is our epic stubbornness. We solve stuff. We wrap things up. You need to have a huge capacity for logical thinking, and you need to be a team player.

I love the feeling of wrapping up a project. I remember crunching with the team when shipping Frostbite 2 and Battlefield 3. It was tough, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I can never turn a challenge down, and every game challenges me to perform at my very best.”

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Kristoffer Benjaminsson

Program Manager Kristoffer Benjaminsson heads up the Frostbite Go initiative – plotting a course to bring the full power of the Frostbite engine to mobile devices.

“A lot of people perceive mobile devices as lightweight time killers only. As Program Manager on the mobile Frostbite Go division, it is my job to ensure that Frostbite can deliver a rich and full gaming experience on handheld devices. I want to transform the notion of handhelds from killers of time to bringers of quality time. That’s a very appealing concept to me, and an extremely stimulating challenge.

One of my responsibilities is creating the roadmap for our mobile efforts. It is my job to guide our work so that we are focusing in the right areas, investigating the right questions and developing the right features. I also frequently do hands-on coding both because we are a relatively small pod but also since I’m still a programmer by heart.

I originally started out in the industry doing network and gameplay coding, but I find working on the engines themselves to be a more rewarding challenge. Mostly because it means you see the bigger picture and have a longer time span in mind when developing something. Working with Frostbite means not only developing something for a specific launch, but nurturing and evolving the project as a whole as well.

Plotting our road map means that I am involved in a lot of dialogue with different game teams and hardware developers around the world. In order to take Frostbite to new devices, we need to understand both software and hardware developers – what are they aiming for going forwards in terms of specs, game concepts, and specific game features?

There is plenty of opportunity to exchange ideas within Electronic Arts. For example, I am often in contact with the Firemonkeys studio in Australia [developers of mobile Real Racing series among others]. Discussing development with others and sharing ideas is a very enjoyable part of my work, and I think the open sharing mentality is a strength that sets EA apart.

When I arrived at DICE and the Frostbite team, I immediately realized just how talented everyone here is. I instantly knew I wanted to keep working here and to develop and learn more. The great thing about being in the Frostbite team is that everyone is super skilled but unpretentious. There is no territorial thinking here – everyone is open and willing to share their knowledge with you.

In our team, the hierarchy is very flat – everyone has a part in what we deliver and a part in our decision-making process. Everything we do, we do as a team. My job is mainly to make sure we have the right focus, but we are all responsible for grabbing the ball and running with it. At the Frostbite team, you don’t sit around and wait for change to happen – you drive that change.”

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Martin Ridgers

Martin Ridgers was born and raised in the UK with a Swedish mother. He recently moved to Sweden to work in the Frostbite team, allowing him to be at the forefront of the games industry while reclaiming his roots.

”I moved to Stockholm and DICE towards the end of 2011, when the studio was busy shipping Battlefield 3. Around that time, the Frostbite engine started expanding into a number of game teams within the EA Games Label. Today, Frostbite is driving a multitude of genres like racing games, RPGs, first-person shooters, and RTS games. It’s a very diverse and happening environment to work in.

My entry into the games industry wasn’t something I really planned. I originally studied music at university, so as far as programming goes I’m self-taught from a young age, starting with the rather obscure Sinclair QL. Back in the days there was not a whole lot to do with computers. With no Internet, you needed to investigate the hardware itself and find something else to do with it.

I’ve always been interested in what makes a game run; more so than the title itself. I like thinking at a low level about the hardware and poking around in there. It’s almost like playing detective, in a satisfying and rewarding way.

Being part of the Core Systems team means I help deliver a broad range of brushes that the game teams can use when creating their titles. Literally thousands of people from various EA studios all over the world use Frostbite every day, and it is our job to serve all of them. It keeps the job interesting and challenging. We need to be able to adjust, react, and introduce new ways of thinking all the time.

Working abroad is just a natural part of being in the games industry. It’s very much a multi-cultural industry, and Frostbite is no different. There is a broad range of people from all over the world here – there is a real drive to get the talent you need. My mother is actually Swedish, so I was excited to move to Sweden from the UK to reclaim my roots, as it were.

I like Sweden. I think the country is geared up towards looking after their own. There are a lot of positive cultural differences that you don’t see when looking in from the outside. I naturally knew a bit about what I was in for before moving here, but even so I was pleasantly surprised.”

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