Sozzals
Hi folks

Today I’m joined by Grouse, a Swefriend who is from the Feenix era of Pyran. Grouse is most famous in Pyran for being one of the nerdy coder dudes, his marriage in 2014Β and his dislike of almost everything – it became such a running joke that, in 2017, we set up a Tumblr site called “Things that Grouse Likes” . We update it when we find things Grouse deems worthy of his attention!

Grouse, it’s a pleasure to have you here, and thanks for agreeing to chat to me today!

grouse
Haha I completely forgot about that wedding! As I recall Glurfu’s dress was made by someone called Pukefest. Good times! Anyway, happy to be here, and these interviews definitely qualify for being added to that tumblr!

Sozzals
I will update the tumblr accordingly

Every online name has a story – tell us how you chose “Grouse” – was it earlier or later in your gaming career?

grouse
I’d say definitely on the later end of my gaming career. Before Grouse a lot of the MP gaming I did were things like counter-strike and dota where, and I imagine every early teen who played these games can relate, nicknames were usually pretty short-lived, juvenile jokes and puns and taunts. Grouse originated from one of those sessions, and it’s pretty much what you would guess. We were playing CS, I was drinking some famous grouse whisky, and I think a bunch of us were playing around changing names, bored waiting for someone to get a pizza or something out of the oven. It’s mostly stuck with me since cause I’m terrible with choosing names, and turns out actual ruffed grouse are seriously cool – look them up on youtube, they’re the drummers of the forest!

Sozzals
Wow they are actually really incredible!! Check them out! We need more of these in #petting-corner. I feel kinda bad for actually eating grouse eggs now, but they were fucking delicious.
Tell us what you remember of your introduction into Pyran and the early days of raiding with us.

grouse
Oh wow, I hadn’t even considered grouse eggs as something you could eat! What are they like? I imagine they’re a bit like quail eggs, I guess?

Ouff I’m not sure what I really remember from the proper introduction to Pyran. I think I first joined you after a scholomance group, I think you, tzyx, and pidge were in it? I want to remember a hunter as well, but maybe not. I don’t remember much from that run except it taking forever cause we were doing every boss, but I guess it was a good enough time for me to apply afterwards shrug

I’d say one of my most vivid memories though were in MC, somehow turning the rogue channel into some kind of not so secret second guild chat with more shamans, warriors, and hunters than rogues, and bribing Zebratazi, Glurfu and Shamcor into spam-healing me on Golemagg to see how many stacking fire dots we could hit (34, if I recall, which would have been around 1700 damage every 3 second on my rogue which I guess had something like 4-5k max HP? It was fun. For me.) Oh and very much encouraging the same shaman group to chain-lightning as much as possible πŸ˜‰

The other thing I remember fondly, if not so vividly, are the guild challenges, but those started a bit later, and I hope almost everyone has some good memories from those by nowΒ  πŸ™‚Β 

Sozzals
Man, Jim still has mental issues around those shamans and their chain lightening shenanigans! I think we’ve all grown a lot since then though.
What games are you into atm?

grouse
Oh boy, where to start? I play almost exclusively single player games these days. I finished the Shadow of the Colossus remaster on PS4 a couple of weeks ago, right now I’m playing Uncharted 4, spending some time mastering leaf sweeping in Dustforce, and a really cool stealth assassination puzzle ish game called Aragami. Ravnos bought me the first 9 Tomb Raider games on steam for christmas, so slowly getting through those as well.

I think the recent highlight is definitely Life is Strange though. That game took over every aspect of my life for a couple of weeks, and I still think about it quite often. It’s a dialog focused adventure game with a lot of choices that affect the characters and overall story, mostly in small ways but sometimes the changes can be quite drastic. The sort of special mechanic is a time reversal allowing you to go back in time and change your choices with some limitations. It’s a hella wonderful game. Shout-out to Pidge for putting up with my manic obsession with it

Every now and again I’ll get together with Zebra, Harshfuzz and Nogall to play some co-op multiplayer. Zebra and I played A Way Out a few weeks ago, before that we all played Gauntlet, Human Fall Flat, and Helldivers together. Human Fall Flat had us all wheezing with laughter for hours, highly recommend to play that with some good friends.

Sozzals
It’s nice to have a period of Singleplayer Games for a while, something to really immerse yourself in. We should get Fuzz to organise another one of his crazy tabletop extravaganza nights again!
Tell us a bit about the Grousealouse irl. We know you recently moved back from London to Sweden to take up a swanky job at a very well respected video game publisher that we all know and love. Tell us a bit about that, about life in Sweland and about any other secret hobbies that you might partake.

grouse
Definitely, and it’s amazing how many different types of games you get to explore when you don’t spend every free hour in the same game farming for the next raid πŸ˜‰

So the London thing just sort of happened. I was burned out on university after studying for almost 4 years and I was fully committed to getting into the games industry, so I started looking around and happened to see Feral Interactive were looking for programmers. So I applied, interviewed, and off I went. All of that happened pretty much in the span of 1 or 2 months.

Living in London was super cool. So many great museums, street markets, wonderful pubs, and some very entertaining crazies. And I got to port some amazing AAA games to Linux, so yknow, that was kind of cool πŸ˜‰ Having moved back to Sweden again, what I miss most is the cheese, museums, and tea. Oh, and some of the parks in London are incredible.

Moving back to Sweden was a decision of opportunity more than anything. The smog of London and brexit definitely helped things along, but when it comes to the EU games industry, Stockholm is pretty hot shit right now, which is kind of weird considering how tiny our precious country is.

So, yeah. Now I’m working as an Engine Programmer on the Clausewitz team at Paradox in Stockholm, and that takes up a ton of my time. I love cooking, hence #matporr. I try to get a fair amount of reading in, hence #bookclub. I managed 8000 pages in 2017, hoping to hit 10k this year. And I’m committing to do a bunch of hiking this year, first around Abisko in northern Sweden and hopefully Iceland around winter for the northern lights and just glorious Iceland. Who knows, maybe I’ll find the perfect spot for our Pyran retirement home πŸ˜‰ Aaaand when all that is said and done, I try to play as many games as possible, work on my own games, and explore Stockholm.

Sozzals
I love that you miss british tea πŸ˜€ I’ll have to post you some. What kind of games are you working on for your personal projects? Anything we should be excited about?

grouse
Heh, yeah. I wasn’t actually much of a tea drinker until I moved to the UK, but it completely replaced coffee for me. In part because I was having trouble sleeping, and other… bodily complications. Zebra brought over two massive boxes of yorkshire tea when he was over though, I’ve still got around 300 tea bags, so I’ll be alright for now πŸ˜‰

The main thing I’m exploring in my spare time is a kind of 3D parkour platformer idea that I have, but it’s crazy ambitious and it’ll be years before I really have anything to show or talk about, if ever. There are a few other smaller ideas I want to explore as well, so we’ll see where that goes. Making games is a pretty popular idea, as you might imagine. Even programmers are fairly saturated, relatively speaking, so mostly I’m just exploring different ideas and learning as much as I can in my spare time to stay competitive.

Sozzals
Having lived with a software engineer for a few years now, i’ve been witness to the graveyard of unfinished game ideas…. πŸ˜€ I’m sure lots of Pyrans would be interested in testing your platformer when you get it to that stage!

What’s top 5 on your bucket list of things to do before you die?

grouse
Heh, yeah, there definitely isn’t a shortage of ideas to explore spread out over years of notebooks and pub discussions πŸ˜‰

Now that’s a tough one. I feel like this list changes pretty often for me; the world is so full of genuine wonder and things to do it feels I discover something new to add to the list every other month. But I think right now, and what it most often settles back to, in no particular order:
* Visit the new 7 Wonders of the World
* Release a (hopefully very) successful game of my own production
* Experience the Northern Lights
* Visit every continent on Earth
* Find someone to share all of it with πŸ˜‰

Sozzals
That’s a lot to get through.
Kudos for wanting to travel and experience the world and all it’s wonderful cultures and people.
We all know you’re a very opinionated person and you love to play devil’s advocate. Are you hopeful for the future of Planet Earth or do you think we’ll end up consuming ourselves? What kind of dystopian future does your mind conjure?

He sent me this first…….

grouse
Sturgeon’s Law states “ninety percent of everything is crap”. 90% of all games, all design, all software, all hardware, all research, all products. Everything. The world is full if crap everywhere we look, we just have to open our eyes.

I believe in this pretty strongly, and if you’ve known me for any length of time that should be no surprise at all. In particular, I’m super critical against software and UX design. I deal with buggy, slow, unresponsive, and just poorly designed software every hour of every day. Tools and software made by and for software engineers are not magically better.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like anything or that things aren’t better these days. Infact, when it comes to the Planet Earth as a whole, there are so many things to be optimistic about that it’s hard to know where to begin. Solar energy is finally reaching a critical mass where it’s not only the green and ethical thing to do, it’s the financially viable thing to do. The space race is being rekindled and we’ll have humans sent to Mars sooner rather than later. HIV patients are living relatively normal lives, and with the amount of awareness and research surrounding cancer it’s only a matter of time before that becomes a thing of the past.

But climate change is a bitch so we’re all gonna burn to a crisp, drown in tsunamis, or be blown away in tornadoes. If that doesn’t happen there’s always death by thermo-nuclear war to look forward to. And if that doesn’t kill us we’ve always got the galactic empire’s stagnation of progress and fall into barbarism to look forward to. But all that’s OK, because we’re probably in a simulation anyway, so none of this matters and we’re just waiting for someone to hit the reset switch.

As far as enjoying being the devil’s advocate goes… Some people like to watch the world burn. I like to throw sticks into the spokes and watch what happens.

Sozzals

So there you have it folks. We’re all going to die.
Thanks for this lovely chat Grouse. Who’s interview would you like to read next and why?

grouse
No problem, thanks for the chat!

Yours! And Jim’s! You two should interview each other, I’d love to read about you crazy love-birds, how much it took to convince Jim to move to Northern Ireland, and how on earth this crazy community got started.

Sozzals
You’d need several large buckets and a bottle of vodka to get through that one.

grouse
Bring it on

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