Christopher Atkinson

Developer Biography

Chris Atkinson's first foray into Computer Science was in high school when he eleven. In his first class, the elderly teacher scribbled what appeared to be nonsense on the blackboard and Chris, using an old BBC computer, accidentally pressed 'Break'. The teacher went into a paroxysm of temper and noise, scribbling in red permanent ink diagonally across his exercise book,


And so temporarily (for a decade) ended his interest in this new and dynamic technological field.

Chris initially wanted to be an exotic animal Veterinary Surgeon. Whilst at school and college in southern England, he spent three years gaining work experience in a Veterinary Hospital. Chris also obtained work experience at Marwell Zoological Park in Hampshire and worked on a dairy farm whilst studying for Advanced Level (pre-University) Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

Unfortunately (He thought at the time...) he spent his home work time seeing his friends and constantly playing on his aging Commodore Amiga. He didn't make the grade to get into Veterinary School, but had the grades to be offered an interview for medical school. He didn't want to.

He opted to study for Human Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Liverpool because the course was largely primate and palaeontologically based, and because he thought he could wing it sideways into vet school.

But...the PlayStation® came into being. Imagining he was the best at Psygnosis's WipeOut2097 isn't enough for vet school.

So instead he graduated from University with his B.Sc. in 1999, and staying in Liverpool, entered the world of mixed employment, working in catering washing dishes, then as a Logistics Systems Analyst in a Pork factory - soon leaving because he liked pigs. Then for Telewest Broadband as a Digital Faults Technician. He was often late after playing on his PlayStation®2 all night.

Once Telewest deemed him unsuitable, he took a number of professional IT courses:- MSCE, CompTIA Network+, CCNA and European Computer Driving License. The training company AMRAFplc went bust four months into the course.

Chris continued to play on his PlayStation®2, always still hearing, "You're wasting your time playing games!"

About the same time, Chris also acquired a taste for Law, when in a dispute with the local Council over tax, took the Council to a tribunal, represented himself and won the case.

Unemployed in 2003, Chris heard that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Quality Assurance Office in Liverpool (formerly Psygnosis) was looking for game testers. Thinking it would be cool to work where WipeOut2097 was made, he went for the job.

July - September 2003
Obtaining a short-term contract as a 'Compatibility Tester' he went on and successfully gained probabtional employment as a Functionality Tester.

September - October 2003
Within one month Chris was sent down to SCEE Cambridge Studio for four weeks to help with on-site testing for Ghosthunter, where he worked very, very hard and sometimes stayed up all night in the dev studio helping out any way he could. Impressed by the dev team, their dedication and their technology, he decided to begin his odyssey into Computer Science.

November 2003
Despite still being on the three month 'new starter' probation period and not having the one years testing experience required, Chris decided to go for the role of TRC Auditor, whose role is to dig out SCEE Standards bugs (A Developer's bane).

December 2003 - March 2005
Successful in his bid to become TRC Auditor, Chris worked on a number of titles and has become a successful member of the team. He worked (and continues to work) hard to improve QA and Developer communications, and is keen to persuade Dev to utilise the team's TRC knowledge earlier, preferably during the design and planning phase of a title's System Development Life Cycle, thus minimising Beta phase TRC bugs which would, in turn, allow Dev to focus on functionality bug fixes, thereby ultimately reducing/managing project scope creep.

September 2004 - Present Day
Chris is currently studying for his Master of Science degree in Information Technology - studying through the night, almost every night, before going to work in his bid to one day enter games development, hoping to initially assist in Project Management/Assistant Producer and streamline the occasionally messy development process and simultaneously learning how to code C++, whilst gradually learning about the new CELL technology and hoping perhaps to be involved in this new distributed parallel processing arena.

March 2005 - Present
He has obtained the position of TRC Team Leader. His first title his team was responsible for TRC auditing, is SCEA's God of War which after leaving the QA Internal process, entered into the Submissions Process and passed first time (though SCEA's dev team were superlative and the title was largely clean of TRC bugs after a couple of versions).

Chris is 30, currently lives in Liverpool with his girlfriend and has been up all night again studying postgraduate computer science and project management. He hopes to remain in SCEE and overturn the view that he is too unskilled and inexperienced to one day be a Console Games Developer and onwards...

Contributed by Chris Atkinson (1) on Jul 07, 2005.