austin game conference

Nicolai aka “Crazy German” (Austin)

1993-2000 I worked for Demon Internet in England, first for Demon Systems but I rapidly slid into doing various Internet things and moving over to DIS proper. (Particularly proud of my mention on the “Internet” link; for 9 months I had the email address “o@uk”). Up through the ranks of the Support Team came a guy called Nicolai with a thick German accent and an in-your-face sense of humor. We were both big on software development and we both had a more than passing interest in game development. So as I was hooking up with old-friends on Facebook, Nicolai’s was one of the folks I actively sought out.

Surprise, surprise: Nicolai was listed as being in Texas, Austin infact. Turns out he’s at Bioware, having done a while at Sony/Psygnosis. We agreed to have beers while I was there in AGC, but we kinda neglected to arrange it before I left town.

Not seeing him at AGC, I decided to ask a couple of the Bioware folks if they knew him. Damion Schubert spared me a while for very useful conversation, and at the end I asked about Nicolai Guba. Damion couldn’t quite place the name, so I added, “crazy German guy” and Damion immediately knew who I mean’t. The next two Bioware guys, as soon as I said Nicolai, replied “the crazy German guy?” So the next one, I asked “Do you know the crazy server programmer guy” to which he replied, “oh, Nicolai?” Finally, after his rather excellent talk, (“Accelerating programming teams in an iterative environment“), I had a brief chat with Damon Osgood, who once again identified “crazy German guy” as “Nicolai” :)

Infact, we met up with Nicolai monday night at the Heatwave Rockband party at the Sky Lounge, where we also met up with Chris Sherland (“MO”) and the NetDevil folks before hooking up with Mike Webber (“Gryf”, now QA lead at Gearbox) and heading off to an Irish pub (where the drinks were on Gryf). Nicolai is every bit as crazy as I remember, picked up right where we left off with his brow-beating me for all the Perl coding I used to do at Demon before his friend John accidentally gave away the fact that Nicolai is now a Java programmer.

Was a pretty good party, and had a lot of fun at Fados with Gryf, Nicolai and the NetDevils right up until one of the Netdevil guys tried to disrupt something happening nearby by grabbing me by putting his hand over my face and pretending to french me. I’m sure he thought I was Mo. Still, that sobered me up fairly rapidly and things broke up shortly afterwards.

Possibly the funniest moment of the night was Mo scuttling (he scuttles, definitely) up to a guy from Sony and saying “Wait, I know you from somewhere, where do you know me from?” and pulling the guy into a 5 minute “who the hell are you”. No, I think Mo dropping to the floor and deciding to demonstrate 1-handed pushups on the corner of 5th and Congress was pretty fun too :)

Back (Prolog)

Back in Bedford; meeting my old mate Nicolai was one of the highlights alongside Lum electing to come sit with myself and Gophur during Bruce Sterling’s keynotes and a long (and very helpful) chat with Damion Schubert – I just hope that my subsequent guilt over having hogged so much of your time didn’t translate as any kind of rudeness :) Was really great to see Mo too, infact the entire NetDevil crew were really great people – except for Ryan. He says he was trying to fend someone off from Regi, but he also seemed to be very keep in visiting Oil Can Harrys…

Wore my “Plain Clothes Cop” t-shirt on Tuesday, which is usually fun but having so many people stare at your chest is unnerving :)

More in the next few days, including pics.