Inside the Head of Bryce Harrington

by Shane Wickson

I am going to start this by pointing out that the goal of the WorldForge Project is not just to provide a framework for a gaming system, but to build a community around that framework and provide a rich role-playing environment. In order to accomplish that goal, we not only have to plan and code, but we have to get to know each other, something we bit-pushers are sometimes not very good at. Getting to know a bit about each other was what I had in mind when I took on the job of interviewing Bryce, and it is my hope that after you finish reading this you will feel like you know a bit more about Bryce.

First, lets get the technical stuff out of the way. Bryce's full interview is available online at http://old.worldforge.org/website/news/newsletters/irclogs/bryce_interview.html Read it to get a bit more insight into what that man is like. For the shorter version, read on.

Bryce grew up in Oregon and now resides in Hermosa Beach, California. He's gonna be 28 soon, is a rocket scientist, and is single (hear that, ladies?). He possesses really nice academic credentials, having earned his BS from USC and his MS from Caltech. Bryce the elected to pursue riches and fame outside of the academic community instead of shooting for his Ph.D. After a few 'lost years' in which little is know about his life, Bryce resurfaced as a rocket scientist and member of the WorldForge Project. Like most of us code jockeys, he started with computers at a very early age. His uncle brought over an Apple computer chock full of games and Bryce got to play with it for a week or so. After that, he was hooked and began diligently saving up for his own computer. Mustering all of his 3rd grade will-power, he managed to horde up $5. Thankfully, his father came to the rescue and bought the family a TRS-80. Quickly realizing their mistake, the family returned that and purchased a VIC20, and another nerd was born. :)

Bryce's credentials in the OpenSource/Gaming Community are really impressive as well. He was not only one of the original Civilization FAQ contributors, but he also helped maintain the Civilization II Wishlist, which eventually made it into the hands of Microprose. He's worked on numerous other gaming projects (which crashed and burned for various reasons), and he's actually submitted code to Mozilla.

On the role-playing side, Bryce began playing games in late high school. Not liking AD&D, he tried several of the other options available at the time: CoC, GURPS, Traveller, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, to name a few. Evidently, Bryce is a hard man to please, because he wasn't happy with those games either. So, he buckled down and wrote Circe, his very own RPG, and has been playing and refining it ever since.

On the family side, the coolest thing I found out was that Bryce has a sister who is an actress. How cool is that? Or is it that I'm easily impressed by such things since I'm only a simple computer guy from Texas? Well, I think its cool, so its going in the write-up. If you don't like it, volunteer to do next months interview.

OK, so now you have the background. Whoopee. We all know that's not what interests you. If so, I could have gotten away with a two minute bio and I would be working on work stuff right now (like I should be). What is Bryce like as a person? Who is "the man behind the mask"? :)

First off, Bryce is a smartass. It made the interview rather fun for myself, because I'm kind of a smartass as well. I still smile at some of the antics that went on during the interview, and I'd strongly suggest wasting some of your time on reading it. Bryce also possesses a good sense of humor: he didn't miss a Monty Python reference and answered most of my off-topic questions in a rather imaginative fashion.

Bryce's admitted vice was Diet Coke. With no drinking, drugs, fast cars or fast women for me to write about, I had to look elsewhere for material. Actually pseudo-journalism instead of tabloid style trash. Thanks, Bryce. Everything else I managed to find out about Bryce points to a strong individualist. He likes new music. He roots for the underdog, but doesn't seem to follow football (a very foreign concept for us Texans). A perfect illustration of this came out in the following question:

<grover> If you were to be any superhero, which one would it be? 
<bryce> huh. 
<bryce> Green Lantern. 
<grover> Why is that? 
<bryce> he could make cool stuff with that ring, and probably no one else would pick him. 
<bryce> I like being unique. 

All that, and he used to raise gerbils! Gerbils. Go figure. The final thing that I was curious about was his attitude towards the project: what made it different from any other project, and what he liked about WorldForge. To Bryce, this projects biggest asset (aside from Uta and the rest of the incredibly talented artists) is that it is comprised of really mature, dedicated people. Later in the conversation, we had to qualify 'mature', but I think his assessment is still correct. To sum up, Bryce is a fun, hardworking, and intelligent individual. If I had a sister, I would probably set him up with her. I think we can allow him to stay with the project a little while longer. :)