Meet the Team is a regular feature in which we interview members of the Pipeworks team working on Terraria to give you a brief introduction to the people working behind the scenes to maintain and improve your favorite game. Today, our subject is Eric Hope, Lead Engineer on the console versions of Terraria.
Can you give us your name and title?
I'm Eric Hope, Software Engineer at Pipeworks Studio
Where are you from, and how long have you been working in games?
I've lived most of my life in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, and I've been developing games professionally since 2001 -- but my interest in making games started way back in 1985. I had a Mac 128, and the paint program sparked my imagination. I drew characters and copied successive frames into the clipboard, where I could view them, then held down the right button on the scroll bar to animate them. I drew mazes in it, zoomed in as close as I could, and imagined I had an avatar walking around in forests. I had a music program, MusicWorks, that I taught myself how to compose music on. I got myself a copy of Turbo Pascal around 1990, and started figuring out how to pull these things together. Hypercard came out shortly after that, making it a breeze to put together games like the old ICOM games like Deja Vu and Shadowgate. Then, I learned C++, and using DirectX and OpenGL, started making platformer games. I went to college, got a Computer Science degree, and then, started doing it as a career.
What have you worked on in the past that people might know?
I worked on Dance Central 3 for the Xbox 360, allowing transitions between scenes in the background while songs were playing, stitching together dance moves, the Holla Back mode, and support work for the Freestyle mode. I did the UI and in-game cinematics system for Rock Band 3 on the Nintendo DS. I worked on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports of Gems of War as lead programmer during its preproduction, and I worked on Zombie Apocalypse : Never Die Alone, making the AI of many of the zombies, the system for designers to build the traps, and player control.
Can you tell us what you do on the Terraria team?
I'm the lead programmer on the console ports of Terraria. I ported ReLogic's PC code, which was made with XNA, which prevented it from being able to run on all platforms, to Unity, which is massively cross platform, allowing there to be a single code base. I'm overseeing all aspects of its development.
What makes you passionate about working on Terraria?
My favorite genre of games has always been open-world, side-view 2D platformers with a persistent expansion of player movement and power, that allows you to explore the world and game mechanics at your own pace, in your own order; games like Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. When everyone started adopting 3D as the wave of the future, I figured my chance to make games in that vein was limited to what I could do in my spare time. When Terraria came out, it proved me wrong, but I still never imagined I’d be working on it, let alone leading the team developing the console versions.
What would you like to tell players about the future of Terraria on consoles?
We're bringing the full 1.3.x experience on the PC to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4! The lunar apocalypse and moon lord battle, expert mode, NPCs fighting monsters and socializing with each other, new biomes, new enemies, and more.