Featured contributor: Jeroen, aka vts, aka vtsj

This time Jeroen, aka vts is our featured contributor. He has been working on both minor fixes and big things like the wall system. Read on for a description on what “Featured contributor” means or jump down to read the quick interview with Jeroen.As you may remember we had a thing a while back called Member/Contributor of the Month, as you may also remember we have not any such posts for quite a while. It’s definitely not because of a lack of skilled contributors as anyone following the forums/IRC (or for that matter the release announcements) knows. It was hard to keep to the monthly schedule, but since we still think it’s important to highlight the skilled people who work on 0 A.D. in various ways we’ve decided to bring it back in a slightly different way. Both to honor the hard-working contributors, and to give everyone a chance to get to know them a bit. To give you some insight into who the people working on 0 A.D. are smile.gif Now we will post on a slightly less rigid schedule, but that doesn’t mean that the people featured are any less worthy wink.gif

And here comes the interview with Jeroen:

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Jeroen, a 23-year old guy from the city of Ghent, Belgium. I finished my Computer Science studies last year, and am now employed at a financial company in Brussels as a security analysist. I’ve been a programmer on 0 A.D. for about a year now.

My programming background is mainly one of personal interest. I believe it started as a teenager, when I became interested in building websites in Flash. To make them do more interesting things I started learning ActionScript, which in turn lead to PHP to be able to do things on the server side, more generally exposing me to the LAMP stack. I moved on from Flash websites to more traditional ones, and picked up some Java, C/C++ and Python along the way. Today, I still occasionally do web development, although I find my interests have moved more towards non-web development.

I enjoy programming and general problem-solving recreationally. I tend to write programs just for fun, for personal use or because I have my mind set on learning how to write a program that does a particular thing. I enjoy a challenge in that regard. Game development was a challenge for me when I first heard about 0 A.D. (and it still is), and that was a big part of the reason why I decided to join the project. It’s a subject I’ve always been interested in, but that I never had a chance to get serious with. Many aspects about 3D programming seemed very complex and hard to grasp for me, so I figured just diving in would be a good idea.

There are some communities that I used to be a part of when I was younger. I used to be very active on Kirupa Forums, a board about web development (and anything related). I also used to be part of the Crossfire community, which revolves around the game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory that I used to play quite enthousiastically and competitively. I still play it occasionally, but just for fun.

Other than that: I’m a big fan of movie soundtracks, and am somewhat privileged in that regard as the annual World Soundtrack Awards are held right where I live. I also like to go for a run every so many days around my local track. On my nightstand are books about reverse engineering, windows internals, (popular) cosmology and religion, and our local variant of Scientific American.

What have you found most interesting about contributing to 0 A.D.?

I think the most interesting part has to be the way in which a loosely grouped set of people from around the world manages to coordinate an effort like this, and have been keeping it going for so long. I’ve said this before, but one of the things I really like about 0 A.D. development is that the people involved are active in such a way as to create a positive feedback loop: because people keep the project moving forward, everyone stays encouraged to keep working on it, in turn contributing to the feedback loop for others.

Anything you want to add?

Nothing especially important, although I would like to point out that I think it’s great to be able to work with and learn from people who are vastly more talented and knowledgeable than me, and not only in the field of programming.

Oh, and I also enjoy the occasional back-and-forth with people on IRC who appear to share my tastes in music (you know who you are) smile.gif