I almost hit a sticky wicket, but it's all in the game

May 25, 2007

Name: Chris Child

Age: 34

Job: Visiting lecturer in computer science and games technology at City University, London. PhD student in artificial intelligence. Director of Childish Things Ltd, a company that develops the International Cricket Captain series of computer games for PC, PlayStation2 and PlayStation Portable).

Salary: About £50,000 a year

Practical training/education/ background: I have a degree in software engineering, an MSc in cognitive science and a diploma in academic practice.

I'm also nearing the completion of a PhD.

In addition, I worked for Logica CMG for two years and for Empire Interactive for four years.

Working hours and conditions: I have mainly been working from home on computer games recently, but have a desk at the university that I use a lot when working on my PhD.

I also lecture for a few hours a week.

Apart from the lecturing, I can work any hours I choose.

Number of students you teach: I currently teach about 35 students.

Biggest challenge/bugbear this year: We were supposed to have delivered the latest version of International Cricket Captain in December, but the project is a major upgrade on previous years and has been delayed.

This has put the completion of my PhD back by a few months. Grr.

How you solved it: I didn't stress about it. I got on with completing the game and lecturing and then returned to the PhD study when I had time.

Worst moment in university life: Realising I'd spent hundreds of hours working on my BSc dissertation but had only left myself two weeks to write the whole thing up.

What is your office/working space is like? The university space has just been modernised and is very bright and sociable.

My desk at home has plenty of room and the great thing is that I can play music as loud as I like.

What university facilities do you use? Just the PC generally.

Do you socialise with people at the university? I have a few good friends there, but I have lived in London most of my life so most of my social life is outside of university.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with professionally and how do you cope with them? Trying to get a decent contract out of the computer game publisher is always a battle, but they're also a good bunch and we have a good laugh socially.

Best excuses for bad behaviour you have heard: "I had eaten too many lollipops and was on a sugar rush."

Do you interact much with other parts of the university/ other departments? I met a whole load of people from outside my department while studying for my academic practice diploma, and we had some fun nights in the pub after the lectures.

I thought at the time that it was a shame there aren't more excuses to get together with other departments - as there is a lot of crossover between degrees.

It is also good to meet people outside your direct subject area.

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