PhD, Computing Science, University of Alberta
"It’s a fun and rewarding experience being on the cutting edge of game development, and trying experimental techniques for making the games of the future," says Mark Brockington, Lead Programmer for world-renown game company Bioware Corp.
Brockington completed a doctoral degree at the University of Alberta, with a thesis about parallel processing. "In two-player games, we approximate optimal strategy by looking a few moves ahead, and evaluating the position at that point. Parallel processing, or processing with multiple computers, arrives at decisions faster. This offers a competitive advantage to these programs, since a program can search further ahead than a single-processor opponent, and generally they make better decisions."
Brockington chose to study at the University of Alberta because of the excellent faculty and colleagues. "Having colleagues and supervisors who were genuinely interested in games of all sorts (including Go, Poker, chess, checkers and Othello) made the hard parts of doing research seem more like play."
Upon completing his degree, Brockington was hired at Bioware and has worked for them ever since. He states, "The focus of my degree aligned very nicely with the skills that I was required to learn to make commercial computer games."
Brockington has been involved with various projects, such as Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II – Shadows of Amn, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Dragon Age.
"I work on games because I’m still a kid at heart! I love playing games, and watching a game form from the ground up. Walking into a games store, pointing at a game on the shelf, and telling my daughter ‘I helped to make that ’ is a very rewarding experience."