My first day with my new team was alright. It’s expected that the day is pretty unproductive as you discover what tools you need to install and what documents you need to read. In that respect, that was fine.
There was, however, one morale draining moment. The lead engineer in my area was nice enough to take me around the team to introduce me to everyone. He introduced me to a lot of people as “Erwin, the new front end engineer”. Now for those who aren’t familiar with game development, the traditional starting role for rookies is in the front end area. Keep in mind that I’ve been writing code professionally for five years and have shipped four titles. So one dude who I get introduced me to says:
“Oh, are you from Group X?”
Now Group X isn’t the real name of the internal EA work group he mentioned but I need to be tactful here. Group X was described to me earlier, and these are someone’s else words not mine, as a “farm team” for junior engineers trying to crack the big leagues and get work with a game team. So dude here thought I was some fresh n00b who was getting his first taste of playing with the big boys after clawing his way out of the minors. I really had to try very hard to stay polite in that moment. Taking a deep breath, I simply said:
“Ah no, I was a gameplay engineer for all three skate titles.”
I really wonder how many other people I met today thought I was some junior engineer with very little experience and skill. Wonderful.