My name is Johnny Owens, and I am a professional game industry programmer with credits in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Saints Row IV, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Saints Row: The Third.
My career has seen me working in a number of different programming and scripting environments. I’ve worked in C++ game and tools code, build engineering, C++ engine code, C# tools code, Objective-C tools code, Lua game scripting, PHP/MySQL web tools, and internal scripting languages. In my career, the roles I’ve enjoyed the most are when I get to help improve the workflow of the team and to make the jobs of my coworkers easier and more enjoyable to do with improved tools.
I am currently a Tools Engineer at Retro Studios. I work directly with the development team to understand their needs, then create tools to empower them to create the quality of work Retro is well known for.
Prior to Retro, I was the Studio Tools and Build Engineer at Ubisoft San Francisco, supporting South Park: The Fractured but Whole as well as an unannounced project. While there, I rewrote most of our build process and making fixes and adding features to our existing tool set to make our developers more efficient. I work closely with our teams to understand their workflow and frustrations, to identify bottlenecks and find creative ways to solve them.
Before Ubisoft, I worked as the Audio Tools Engineer and Audio Scripter at Sledgehammer Games on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I worked as a general purpose scripter and programmer for the audio team, handling whatever is asked of me to make the sound designers more efficient and to be able to focus on sound design. That involved hooking up sound playback at the right moments in script for both in house and outsourced sound assets, investigating and fixing bugs that the sound designers are unable to diagnose, working on one-off utility tools, and having technical ownership of our in-house dialogue management tool. Most of my scripting work was done in our in-house scripting system, which uses a C-Like syntax and coroutines to simulate a multithreaded scripting environment. My tools work was all done in C#.NET, I wrote many small utilities, including tools to automate most of our localized audio implementation. I also took over technical ownership of our C#.NET-based dialogue tool and in a few months took it to feature complete and stable, and was in use by the dialogue specialists for managing our VO.
Before Sledgehammer, I was an audio programmer at Deep Silver Volition, the developers of the Saints Row series. I worked on various audio related tasks, including integrating 3rd party audio engines and working on internal tools as needed. Prior to that role, I was a gameplay programmer and mission scripter on Saints Row IV as well as the DLC mission packs “Enter the Dominatrix” and “How the Saints Saved Christmas.” I handled all of the Lua scripting for a number of missions, as well as implementing and upgrading C++ based gameplay systems and hooking them into our mission scripting environment. I worked directly with a different mission designers and artists for rapid iteration on each mission.
Earlier in my career, I worked as a tools programmer at Star Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare Austin. I made internal tools based in PHP and MySQL for automated platform testing, as well as a few general utility tools for the studio. I also worked as a native tools and engine programmer with GameSalad Inc, working on new features for their mobile game engine and Mac based editor, working mainly in Objective-C and Lua.
I graduated from DePaul University in 2011 with a degree in Computer Games Development. While at DePaul, I worked as a programmer and sound designer in a number of different in class and extra curricular game projects. The most notable of these projects was Devil’s Tuning Fork, a game about exploration through echolocation, which was one of 10 Student Showcase winners in the 2010 Independent Games Festival. While in college, I also worked as a programming intern at Volition on Saints Row: The Third, helped run DeFRAG, DePaul’s Gaming and Game Development club and one of the largest student organizations at the University, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
For more specifics on my professional work, see the “Game Industry Experience” section. To see games that I worked on as a student and in my free time, see the “Personal Game Projects” section.