I’m one of the online community representatives for STO. In my case, I am the German Community Rep and as such work both STO as well as our second game, which we released in September: Champions Online. I have not worked very much for STO when it comes to the front stage and have more been in touch with the German concerns in general. I prowl a few German STO fansites while they are not watching me and often find myself preferring the smaller fansites when doing so. While my main focus is the German community (I tweet in German on my official Twitter), I still throw in helping hands where needed. Trivia questions on the IRC channel have come from my pen as well as translations for the webpages.
How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Star Trek Online?
From 2001 till 2003, I got my feet wet as a Volunteer, Senior Volunteer and Lead Volunteer in three different games before I even started out working in the MMO industry. In 2004, I started to work in the industry when I moved from Germany to France. Life being full of change, I continued working from 2007-2009 for two other companies in the U.S. before joining up with Cryptic Studios in May 2009. All in all, I have now worked actively for four gaming companies and covered six games, not counting CO and STO.
Who is your favorite Star Trek character and why?
Oh boy. I am difficult with favorites. I would need to list Tasha Yar, mainly because when I was younger, I felt I could relate to her; closely followed by Wesley Crusher for much the same reasons. Guinan was someone I would love to meet in the real world. If anyone knows a bar where she currently waits tables, please drop me a tweet!
What is an interesting fact about you that players would be surprised to know?
When younger, I watched a TNG episode called “The High Ground,” which took place on Ruita IV. The Rutians all had a racial trait: A streak of gray ran through their hair all the way from forehead to the back of their heads. I kinda liked that and had a blonde streak bleached into my own air, from my right temple, in an arch down the side of my head to the nape of the neck.
I did suffer a bit of teasing, but never stopped having it made for years. Friends mocked it to be my Gap of Knowledge (Bildungslücke), as it was a bright blonde streak in my dark hair.
If you could choose to be an alien on Star Trek, which species would you want to be?
I would actually not mind being a Trill. Mind, I would like being a worm; a symbiont, not a humanoid. Imagine centuries of knowledge, being a link between the lives of your hosts, taking a few years now and then to live in the caverns on Trill and communicate with others of your kind … yeah, I could spend a couple of hundred years like that!
Which is cooler: monkeys, robots, pirates or ninjas?
Ninja. Sorry, I am a firm believer that Europe can be very lucky indeed, that the Japanese did not suddenly feel the urge to start marching west bound across the tundra and knock on our doors. Why? Ninja.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the gaming industry?
Every little bit helps. If you are not a native English speaker, polish your English skills; you will need them everywhere. If you know how to create something from sandboxes such as level design; do it! If you are interested in being staff on a fansite; go for it! Even creative writing such as fan fiction can count, depending on what it is you wish to do. After that, specialize in what you like to do and be prepared to work your way up through the lower ranks. While working in QA, as a GM or doing Tech/Billing support, you will learn the ropes of how the inner workings in a gaming company are. And keeping up-to-date with games that are in your line of work (consoles, MMOs, Adventure, FPS) will always be a bonus.
What was your first favorite video game?
Sadly Stormshade already picked Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders, how rude! That would also be my first pick, especially as it involved the whole family. (Thanks, Mom, for giving me the tip to check between seat cushions for a lighter!) But if I have to pick something else, I guess it would be Space Quest II. Even if I did need my older brother’s help to navigate some of the more tricky bits of the game. Also, SQII was one of my first games, long before games were localized. These text-based adventure games were a corner stone in my grasp of the English language.
Good to see a German soul looking after the needs and demands of us German blokes in STO. Looking forward to see some stuff from you while the engines room's heating up. Big thanks to Cryptic/Atari for involving us in their plans. Keep it coming.