Where are you from?
I’m from Saint-Eustache, but I have a special connection with the Eastern Townships.
What is your educational background and professional training in?
My college studies were in computer science and mathematics. I had the opportunity to do an internship for my studies, which I did at Ubisoft Montréal. I was initially hired as an AI (artificial intelligence) Programmer on Assassin I, and then on II. At the time, I was in charge of navigation for the non-player characters.
Afterwards, I worked a few years on Assassin Brotherhood and on Assassin 3 until its launch, still in AI but as more of a generalist. Next, I had the opportunity to work as Lead 3C (camera, controls, and characters) on Rainbow Six Siege. That was my first experience in team management, which I did for four years. Today, I’m the Project Lead Programmer on Rainbow Six Siege and I manage a team of AI programmers and 3C, as well as animation artists.
What is a Project Lead Programmer?
For starters, a Project Lead Programmer is present throughout the production of a video game, from the prototyping phase through the final debug. One of the facets of video game production is with the features – designers propose different features to the programmers to set-up the gameplay of the game (for example, the option to fight with a shield).
A discussion and decision is then made on whether or not the feature will be implemented or not, and it gets prioritized with the other features to be developed. As the Project Lead Programmer, I have a global vision of the communications, priorities, and production tools. With the help of my leads and technical leads, I’m responsible for the execution of all technical deliverables. Finally, a big part of my work requires me to play an advisory role for the programmers and to ensure my team is performing and working well together.
Describe your job in 5 words.
“20/80” and extinguishing fires.
We put 20% of our effort into what becomes 80% of the end result of the video game (the entire structure), and 80% of our efforts go into polishing the game, which is only 20% of the final result.
What’s your greatest accomplishment at Ubisoft?
When I arrived at Ubi, I worked very hard on the navigation for non-player characters in Assassin’s Creed. They could do everything the main character could once the game was released. It was a big challenge but I had great supervision and it delivered great results.
Describe your typical day.
Depending on what stage of production we’re in, my days are relatively the same. For example, at the beginning of the project, there are many meetings with the designers and programmers about the different features. Afterwards, discussions follow with the leads to ensure everything is coming together as it should. The one constant throughout the production process is to facilitate communication between the different teams and to find solutions for the various challenges that present themselves. I always need to keep a global vision for the team and our objectives.
What does it take to be good at your work?
A successful Gameplay CPI needs to have a good understanding of both short and long-term production needs, and therefore should be a good listener. You also need good interpersonal skills, common sense, and to be good at calculating risks. It’s also important to play video games to have a good overview, this also allows you to stay up to date on challenges to help find the right solutions at the right time.
What role does teamwork play in your week?
For me, team spirit is one of the most important aspects in the scope of my work. Technical skills can be learned but someone’s personality is a lot harder to change. This is why it’s important for me to ensure that my team feels good and is working towards the same goals.
Otherwise, as a CPI, I find myself working with many other teams, such as programmers, designers, production directors, project managers, and team leads. It’s pretty much all teamwork all the time.
''After 12 years of working at Ubisoft, I haven’t once woken up not feeling like going to work.''
What’s your online game user name?
What’s your favourite place in Mile End?
Le Dieu du Ciel! and The Waverly. We often go to one of the two places for our team bonding sessions. It’s important to get downtime together, and those are two of our favourite places to do it.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Regeneration. I do a lot of sports and it would very practical to be able to regenerate myself after my injuries. And who knows, maybe I could regenerate to the point of becoming immortal?
What’s your favourite game (of any kind)?
DayZ, a post-apocalyptic zombie game. It’s really intense.
Soccer or hockey?
Do you have a slogan?
Go hard or go home. Whether at work or play, I strive to be productive, intense, and focused. I’ve never achieved anything important without “going hard”.
Any final thoughts?
I’ve found my second family at Ubi Montréal. This maybe isn’t the case for everyone, but I’ve often heard “the people on X production were amazing!”- we forge true friendships here that last a long time.
Interested in becoming a Project Lead Programmer?