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JASON WALKER - MAN ABOUT EIDOS
Copyright 2008 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ April 18th 2008 ]

Man about Eidos is a series focusing on the poeple behind the scenes, whose roles make up an integral part of the internal mechanics of the Eidos machine. We kick off the series by pointing the spotlight on Jason Walker, Head of Mastering at Eidos' London headquarters.

Jason Walker is more than just Head of Mastering for British publisher Eidos Interactive, he's an institution in his own right, a proud member of BAFTA, and he courts a wrap sheet longer than a roll of Andrex. Eidos acquired Jason in 1998 as lead tester, with his first major coup being on Warzone 2100, a real-time strategy and real-time tactics hybrid computer game developed by Pumpkin Studios.

In 1999 Jason tripped the light fantastic from Quality Assurance to Compatibility, spearheading a new department charged with ensuring interoperability between titles and consoles. In 2000, two years after joining Eidos plc, Jason Walker became Head of Mastering.

A slight fellow with a brown mop and an interesting side-kick named Ray, Jason recalls. "Day to day tasks involve taking code from all the studios and developers we work with and making it available to all the relevant departments within the Eidos group worldwide, be it disc burning, image compiling, uploading to foreign offices etc..

Jason continues: "I work with lots of bespoke software written by the console manufacturers, ranging from big button tools which anyone could use, to Cygwin based sdk's requiring patience and a careful typing finger .

"QA is by far our biggest 'customer' as they test all the products going through the company. I also burn code for all pr/marketing requests, so if you've read a review by a website or magazine you can be sure that the code they reviewed past through my hands at some point.

As Head of Mastering, Jason expands: "I'm also responsible for actually mastering the finished code, which means taking the final version and preparing it for manufacture. This means handling the submission of the code to Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony or adding the copy protection system to the final PC exe."

In 2001, Jason joined the ranks of BAFTA following a successful application to their Interactive section. "I've attended the Bafta movie awards on a few occasions now (me in a suit is something you don't see everyday, only on special occasions!), and thoroughly enjoy taking part in the movie voting.

"For 2 years I was on the jury for the games awards, which involved having to play lots of other people's games and judge them at BAFTA HQ among a group of fellow members."

Be it by flaw or design, there is little doubt Jason Walker is committed to his craft. "I was raised by my dad and brother, my dad being on the IT sales side, and my brother just being a God with computers. So my work ethic is entirely based on them, they are both workaholics and I am too. My dad always said as a rule "Follow the 6 P's (Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance)" and I have. It's worked reasonably well so far."

Indeed it has.

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