Facebook Friday Week 9 – Jeff Vanelle

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By Evil Chris Priestly

Bonjour! Bienvenue à un autre BioWare Facebook vendredi. Deux pampelmousse! Qui a coupé le fromage? Ok, that’s enough really bad french out of me (can you tell I don’t speak french?) I was trying to speak french as this week’s update features an employee who not only speaks french, but actually comes to BioWare from France! BioWare employs the best staff from all over the world and Jeff is an awesomely talented individual, so we brought him from sunny France to icy Edmonton. I did ask Jeff for a real french language greeting for our french speaking fans. If this translates to something like “Priestly is a doofus” I shall hunt him down and crack his aces at the next poker game.

Fans de BioWare des quatres coins du monde, bonjour a tous! Voici mon profile, je suis un des rare francais a BioWare. Etant donne la majorite de fans Anglophone, je continue en anglais. Bonne lecture!

Jeff Vanelle

Where are you from?
I am originally from Dunkerque, in the North of France, 20 minutes away from the Belgian border, which is probably where my taste for good beer comes from. I’ve been away from home for 13 or so years now, spent 7 years in England, and the last 6 years in sunny Edmonton.

Favorite movies:
Tron, it’s gonna be a great one right? Right???!! Recently, I really enjoyed “The girl with the Dragon tattoo”, “Inception”, “Red”. Oh, I nearly forgot: “Skyline”! Ahaha! Nah… kidding.

Favorite TV:
Anything except cable TV, I much prefer watching documentaries on any topics.

Favorite books:
Hyperion’s saga from Dan Simmons, Carion Comfort from Dan Simmons, The nine princes of Amber from Roger Zelazny.

Favorite pizza toppings:
Ask any Famoso in town, they will tell you that good cheese, with some extra gorgonzola, mushrooms and basil is my sweet spot.

Job or title at BioWare:
It says “Principal Technical Lead Artist” which is way too convoluted to my taste.

How long have you worked for BioWare?
Very close to 6 years now.

What does a Principal Technical Lead Artist actually do?

My job title itself doesn’t do much. Ask anyone “Go talk to the Principal Technical Lead Artist”… you will most likely get an answer along the lines of “Who? The what now?”. Day to day conversations sounds much more like “Your stuff is broken, go see Jeff, he’ll help you out”. In a nutshell, I sit somewhere between the artists and the programmers. At the end of the day, I am a game developer generalist, spending most of my time figuring out problems, better work flows, teaching whatever I know to the content creators, and fixing their problems because they don’t read my documentation.

What is your average day like at the office?
I come in the office early, to secure a couple of hours of uninterrupted work on longer term tasks. When 10am rings, the day becomes highly unpredictable, and random requests start pouring.

Favorite BioWare moment Game related/thing you are most proud of at BioWare:
Obviously, the completion of any of our games is something to be very proud of as a team, but I love the excitement and the sense of achievement we get out of a small prototype, whether it is a new project or a new feature we introduce.

Favorite BioWare moment not game related:
Definitely too many to list here, and since I tend to organize a number of social activities with the BioWare crew, there are many, many great stories to be told (although, most should remain confidential). Given the diversity of personalities we have here, any sort of gathering outside work will generate a storm of hilarity. It is awesome to see the game’s team behaving as a team outside work.

What do you do to relax/do you have any hobbies:
You won’t see me at the gym, I hate it! But I get involved in a number of sports activities such as Volley Ball, Dragon Boat, Squash, Dodgeball, Skiing, Skydiving.

I also do a fair bit of photography, feel free to browse!
I am just putting this site together, so there is only a small selection of my work. For the whole thing check HERE

What game are you losing sleep for right now (that you are not working on)?
Super Meat Boy. This game makes me realize that even though I am an old school guy who grew up playing extremely punishing platformers, your reflexes don’t get better with age!But I refuse to let that damn game beat me!

What is the most “nerdy” thing about you?
Did you just call me a nerd???! Meet me in the parking lot once the sun is down.

If you didn’t work in video games, what would you be doing?
Full time pro photographer.

What do you want people to know about you?
I live through my friends, the more the better! Stop by say hi!

Edit: Evil Chris here again. Jeff didn’t mention it, but he was also the winner of the office’s Movember fund raising contest to see who could grow the best mustache. Below, I present to you Jeff’s awesome “Full Head Mo”.