What It Takes

Why join the God of War team as an Engine/Graphics Programmer?

For a AAA project like God of War, the engine and graphics team is surprisingly small - around 8 programmers. Being first party means we don’t have to worry about multiple platforms. This affords us a smaller team, but expectations are very high. Being that we’re small, every member of the team has a large impact. There’s a definite expectation that members can work autonomously and with minimal oversight. Everyone on the team has developed a close working relationship with their colleagues. Throughout development, we’ve built friendships across disciplines, and that collaboration and mutual respect is critical to delivering a high quality product.

We have our own engine and tools and both are continually evolving. Some parts have stood the test of time (since the PS2 days), while others are brand new. For PS4, we rebuilt all of our rendering tech. When working with a licensed engine, you might find yourself feeling more like a technician than an engineer. Here at Santa Monica Studio, we’re building the ship we’re sailing. The sense of ownership is really exciting and motivating. While we all have our own core competencies, we don’t operate in strict silos. Everyone works on whatever is necessary to get the job done – tools, engine or rendering. We interface directly with the content creators to understand how they work, improve their workflows, and help educate them on our technologies. We’re responsible for delivering end-to-end solutions. What good is any of the cool stuff if no one can use it?

As an Engine/Graphics Programmer here at the studio, you'll have an opportunity to create new things and approach them in a way that maximally benefits the project and makes the best use of PlayStation hardware. Our focus is only on PlayStation, which means that we can work closer to the bare metal and squeeze out that extra performance. We work closely with ICE and the Advanced Technology Group that design the hardware, platform tools, and SDK to provide feedback and suggestions. Also, we’re in regular contact with the other PlayStation studios, like Naughty Dog and Guerrilla Games, to share ideas and talk shop, which is pretty cool.

What are the key qualities from an Engine/Graphics Programmer we're looking for?

Knowledge of CPU/GPU architecture, math, algorithms, data structures, optimizations, rendering techniques, and lighting theory are all important.  We don’t expect every candidate to be equally strong in all areas, but these are the ones we care about. We look at the candidate’s strength overall, it’s not just about years of experience and/or titles shipped. A lot of candidates trip up on the math, algorithms, and CPU/GPU architecture portions of the interview, so it is good to brush up.

Throughout development, we’ve built friendships across disciplines, and that collaboration and mutual respect is critical to delivering a high quality product.

Where do we have the strongest needs in our pipeline?

Right now we’re heavily focused on improving existing art pipelines and general optimizations, so someone who could get up and running quickly in those areas would be most appealing. Keep in mind, though that we hire people for the long-haul so the same standards (as always) still apply. 

Why our studio, why now?

It’s hard to gauge what it would be like to work for a studio from the outside, even after interviewing there. Santa Monica Studio really appreciates its employees and respects that they have lives outside of work. Generally speaking, the work-life balance at this studio is really good for the games industry, and, as a dad, that’s really important to me. As a relatively small studio,  we build close relationships, and the management here is very approachable and receptive to feedback.  It’s a very healthy work environment. It’s really exciting working on God of War, especially now, following the E3 announcement and how well the game was received. Of course, now the pressure is on to deliver...it’s a little scary, but pretty damn exciting, too. There are still a lot of opportunities to make a big impact here and to be a part of a really awesome team.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY for our Engine/Graphics Programmer position, or visit our CAREERS section to explore all other available opportunities

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