This is our regular series that pulls back the curtain on some of the members of the Formation Games team.
This month, it’s our Lead Systems Engineer, Ryan Moore.
Can you start by telling us when you joined Formation Games and what you were doing before?
I joined Formation Games on 2nd January this year.
I studied Astrophysics at university, but didn’t want to become a researcher so I managed to push to do a programming project in my final year, processing galaxy simulation data. This was my first C++ coding project and looking back it at now it was rubbish!
From there I joined Sony’s QA team in Liverpool, working mostly on Beyond: Two Souls. Luckily enough, a grad scheme then came up in London which moved me into an analytics role, and from there I moved around in PlayStation from store analytics to game analytics, supporting all the first and second-party studios with everything from tracking in-game animations to fraud detection.
I then joined Media Molecule to work on the server infrastructure for Dreams, which I’m still proud of for how speedy it is.
Can you tell us a bit about your role as Lead Systems Engineer?
Our tech team is still quite small, so my role is applied both in the gameplay sense (who you interact with in the game, how your league works and so on) but also on the server side (making sure everything runs smoothly and the game doesn’t crash). I spent my first 6 months mostly focused on building some solid foundations.
Now my role is all about the core loop and the logic of the game, but as we roll out to the community I think there will be a bit of a bouncing back and forth. It can be hectic at times, but I enjoy the challenge and live for the madness of making great games!
So let’s talk games! What’s the first football game you can remember playing?
I’m younger than I look (!) so it would be FIFA 96 on PS One, which I think was the first 3D title in the series, and where John Motson’s commentary only had about three variations.
That game had some amazing cheats like invisible walls in the air, different “ball personalities”, and “big team”. I miss the crazy stuff like this, no one really does that now. Like using the Pro Evolution dive button (smash all the buttons at once) which pretty much always got you sent off.
Do you have a favourite football team?
I grew up in the Gloucester area and my uncle wanted a team to follow that wouldn’t cost the earth, so we picked Bristol Rovers, at the time when Ian Holloway was manager.
I went to all of their home games for 4 or 5 years. One of the last games I attended was the League Two playoff final, which broke the record for the largest single-team attendance at Wembley and held that for a long time.
I stopped going after I went to uni and to be honest haven’t really followed them much since.
Your happiest football memory?
We beat Bristol City in a midweek game — a replay of the Football League Trophy semi-final in which Rickie Lambert scored the only goal.
We were never in the same league as City so it was a big game. It was chucking it down with rain and their fans stormed the pitch at the end, which got a bit scary with police horses marching onto the pitch. But that was a great night — the first proper derby where I was invested in the team, standing with the Barmy Army all night in the torrential rain.
We got beaten by Doncaster in the final at Cardiff. Interestingly it was the same year as we won in the playoff finals at Wembley, and Chelsea were the only other team to play at both the Millennium Stadium and Wembley that year.
What excites you most about CLUB?
This is a boring engineer’s answer but what really drew me to the role was the opportunity to build what I wanted. Usually, you inherit something that someone else built, which means you inherit constraints or a top-level vision that inhibits what you want to do. Here there is none of that legacy, so we really do get to build what we want (and to make our own mistakes!).
And I think the product opportunity is incredible. When we talk to people about what we’re doing and the potential reach of this game, particularly as a live service game, you really feel that. It’s super exciting, even if it comes with some big challenges too.
Last question, if you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want to have with you?
Oh man. So I’m all about the people so it’s got to be my partner and my daughter but then how do I keep us all alive…? Actually, is that selfish? Shouldn’t I leave them at home to live their own lives?
I guess the third thing would be an infinite supply of food. You asked a programmer, you got the logical answer!