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Interview with Helen Burchmore   Games   Malkin | 5/6/2013  log in to like post  1

An interview with Helen Burchmore by HomeCreatures.

Helen Burchmore
Full Name: Helen Maria Louise Burchmore
Personal Quote: "Life's a beach"
Been with the company since December 1998, worked on Adventures, Playgrounds, Creatures 3, Sea monkeys. I am a biologist, and currently come under the 'Artificial Organisms Group' supplying new technologies etc to the rest of the company.

We found someone we haven't already interviewed! So, we tied her to the seat and threatened her with Miff's socks, it wasn't long before she just had to spill the beans on what she has been up to!

HC: What did you do before CLabs?
Helen: I started with a degree in Biology, another one in museum studies and several years working in museums as a natural history curator and trainee taxidermist...believe me, unless you have spent an afternoon elbow-deep in a dead badger, you really haven't experienced life..

HC: How did you get involved with them?
Helen: I'd moved from Cornwall to Cambridge when my partner got a job here. I couldn't find any work in the local museums and spent some time unemployed until I saw an advert that said 'Do you like playing games? Do you have a passionate interest in natural history?.'. I applied and managed to talk myself into a job as a biologist with the company.

HC: Had you heard of or played Creatures or other A-Life game before you joined, thoughts?
Helen: This is going to sound really bad, but I hadn't heard of ALife until researching for my job interview. Once I had read about it, I was hooked on the huge possibilities it has for future developments in technology. And it is all based on biology, so I found it fascinating. It has been quite hard to catch up with everyone else at work though, having started from a position of absolute ignorance..J

HC: What was your first day at Clabs like?
Helen: Pretty amazing. I was given a computer, a copy of Creatures 2 and spent all day installing and playing with it. I then spent the next six months or so learning how it all works in depth...

HC: Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Helen: Depends on whether it is a work-day or a weekend J Weekends are spent watching motor-sport (I'm a Formula 1 fan), gardening, bits of taxidermy and being generally domesticated. Weekdays are a blur of caffeine-induced hallucinations involving small furry creatures..and that's just the other staff! Actually I don't think I have ever had a 'typical' day at work. There is just so much going on all the time, that each day is entirely different in what I do - developing game ideas one day, testing games another, developing genomes, research, writing articles.a veritable cornucopia of differencenesses.

HC: Where do you see yourself in three years time, and where do you see Clabs?
Helen: There are a lot of very creative people working here, and new ideas for games are being developed constantly. In three years time, I hope I'm still going to be working here devising alien ecologies, breeding creatures of all sorts and generally having more fun at work that is probably allowed under EU law. I think the company will expand its range of products and build on previous successes.

Of course, on the other hand, ALife technology could be the basis of a technological revolution, meaning that due to a take-over in 2016, CyberLife end up running the world. In that case, I would hope to be appointed as Chief Scientific Officer (with special duties for cryogenic preservation research) and have to wear the uniform pointy ears.

HC: Using one sentence describe the team you work with.
Helen: Stark, staring bonkers. Or inspired - it depends on how much coffee they've had recently.

HC: Is there a member of the team who has a habit that really annoys you, that you would like to get of your chest?
Helen: Well, there are a couple who persist in being annoyingly awake and bouncy in the early morning (before 11 am). I sometimes feel like stapling their feet to the floor...but don't have the co-ordination until my caffeine levels have reached a level to reboot my brain!

HC: What is your life ambition and why?
Helen: Good question! One of them is to taxidermy an elephant (I really want to now how on earth they do that). But I guess my real ambition is to make enough money to retire back to Cornwall and spend the rest of my life being a beach bum. It's tough, but someone has to balance out all those people who do stressful jobs J

HC: Using one sentence can you describe yourself?
Helen: Flurble wooble widgywidgywodgywoo. You didn't say it had to make sense J

HC: Do you have any interesting Norn stories
Helen: Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin.

It was a dark and stormy night, and the clouds hunched and boiled above the little village in the mountains as though seeking to pound it underfoot. The thunder was so loud it was felt as much as heard, and so the knock at the door came as a shock to the huddled shapes slumped in the shadows of the room. 'Foo dat?' shrieked a youngster, startled into alertness. And from the other side of the stout door came the reply....

Sorry, got a tad carried away there. I can't remember any really interesting stories, but it is a real buzz to be idly playing the game during development and see the creature you are watching do something new. Like the pair of Ettins who currently hold the speed record for clearing the ship in C3 of gadgets - 23 minutes to hoard nearly 40 objects in the desert. I was very proud of them J

HC: If there was anywhere in the Creatures universe (Albia & Ark) you could go where would it be, and why?
Helen: Probably the aquarium on the C3 ship - the only creatures to disturb the quiet would be the occasional Ettin stealing machinery. I have a feeling that if was on the ship for long, I would need to escape from the bibbling occasionally!

HC: If you had to be a breed of Norn, Grendel or an Ettin which would you be and why?
Helen: Possible a Grenorn, as I have fluffy and psychotic aspects to my character in roughly equal amounts! Although not quite so many scales or teeth..

Helen: Sorry, no can do - there is no justification for my existence or anyone else 's. I'm just trying to make sure I do as little damage during my life as possible; I think I can content myself with the idea that people who have met me would have had a more boring life without me (more boring, and quite possibly much more tranquil.).

HC: And your final say to the community....?
Helen: Have you hugged your tapeworm today?

An interview with HomeCreatures..


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