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My last day at Microsoft and 343 Industries was two weeks ago.  I left to take a new job at the recently opened HBO Codelabs to work on HBO Go.  After 5 awesome years at Microsoft it was not an easy decision to leave, but personally I was ready for a change, and was incredibly excited by the people, problems, and possibility offered by the HBO team.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve worked on some amazing projects, with some truly outstanding people, so I thought I would take a moment to reflect.

Gears of War 2

In July of 2008 I joined Microsoft to work on Gears of War 2.  I was beyond ecstatic to have the opportunity to work in the games industry, and on one of my favorite franchises.  Shipping Gears of War 2 was a blur, I was quickly thrown into the deep end.  I owned the testing of Co-op and helped out with matchmaking.  There were a lot of long nights, but I was having a blast and learning an incredible amount.  Getting Gears 2 to go Gold required several long days, weekends, and an all-nighter which involved me taking a quick 20 minute power nap on the floor of my office, but it was all worth it come launch night!  Plus Lancers!

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Halo Waypoint V1

In the fall of 2009 I was working on Gears of War 2 sustain, and dedicated servers for Gears of War 3, when the fledgling 343 Industries asked our team for resources to help with the first Halo Waypoint Title Application.  This was one of the first Xbox 360 title applications, and so I relished in learning the new tech and quickly bonded with the 343i team when I was loaned out on the project.

343 Industries

In early 2010 I was offered a position to join 343 Industries as web service developer #2 working on the Halo Game Services.  It was thrilling to join the studio when we were only 60 people and watch it grow and band together to ship Halo 4.  I worked on the Halo Presence Service, Playlist Service, Statistics Processing Service, and the automated Cheating & Banning Service, along with owning the Network Data Protocol.

One of the things I am most proud of is the transition we made from physical machines (IIS & SQL) to an Azure Cloud powered solution.  It was a huge undertaking, requiring a re-architecture of the entire service, but we pulled it off and now the Halo Services are in a great position to grow and scale in the future.

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Not only did I get to dive head first into cloud computing with Windows Azure, but I also got to work with some amazing Microsoft Research Teams.  Post Halo 4 I was lucky enough to get to share my experiences and learnings from building and shipping these services via podcasts, web videos, and conference talks.

There are too many excellent memories to enumerate over the past 4 years I spent at 343.  But some highlights include, wrangling Spartans at Halo Reach launch events, showing off Halo 4 at E3, laughing so hard I cried when taking a break to watch Corgi videos late at night, and watching Australia and New Zealand come online and hit our new cloud services on launch night.

Over the years I’ve worked with too many awesome people to list them all.  Of course no discussion of my career at 343i would be complete without a huge shout out to Hoop Somuah.  Over the years he taught me so much, helped me grow immensely as a developer, and became a very good friend.  WAH!

Leaving 343 Industries was bittersweet.  I have so much love for Halo, the studio, and the project.  But I am so immensely excited for the new adventures ahead!  “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!”

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