SWG Legends news // *SWG:Legends: Staff Spotlight - NoStyleGuy*

Staff Handle Name?
What is your position on the Legends Staff?
I am a Developer. I joined the team as an intern in May 2021 and was made a full developer in August.

(Say "Hello" to NoStyleGuy during those rare times when he is down on the surface.)

What do you do for the project SWG Legends?
As a developer, I am tasked with implementing all the changes to the actual game you see. This can be as simple as updating the quests/collections for a new holiday event (I did Lifeday 2021 and EFoL 2022), or as complicated as adding whole new features.
I love working with Legends designers who make awesome new objects (like the adorable stuffed X-wing and TIE Fighter toys from Rees). My job is to get them into the game, and give them life, such as those toys’ sound and particle effects.
I also really appreciate working with Legends QA staff. They are great at finding all the bugs and oversights we developers make. In my professional experience, there can sometimes be conflict or animosity between devs and QA due to the nature of the relationship. On this project, however, I truly love the working relationship we have. They are super organized, thorough, and savvy at their trade. I feel confident in our releases because I know QA has put them through the ringer.
While developers are expected to help out with all kinds of content (like the aforementioned event updates), we also get the flexibility to work on our preferred areas of the game, and for me, that’s Space. I enjoy implementing the passed Senate Proposals and working with the Senate Space Committee on the features, tweaks, and bug fixes they have identified as important.

How did you come to possess these skills, education or self taught?
I have been programming in some form since middle school (around 12 years old). I got my bachelors degree in computer science from Michigan State University, and later got a masters degree in computer science as well. I have been a software developer in the US defense industry since graduating college (2010). All the while, I have been programming at home on various hobby projects including video games (with Unity 3d), websites (mostly Vue.js), and random one-off tools (C++, C#, Python, whatever is the right tool for the job).

(Who says that NoStyleGuy has no style? Check out that slick paint job on his X-Wing!)

Describe your typical day supporting Legends.
My typical day supporting Legends starts with an inordinate amount of time on Discord, trying to stay engaged with the community. You will find me answering questions in #general, but mostly I can be found in the space-related channels and other Discord servers. Finally, there is a lot of communication between staff members that occurs on Discord that I try to stay on top of.
I usually spend most of my after-dinner hours in front of my development computer, doing the actual development work. This entails running a private instance of a Legends server, and making many small tweaks to lines of code, and perhaps saying some incantations, to try and make things happen how I want. It also entails consuming more than a few adult beverages in order to smooth over the frustration that occurs from the aforementioned activity.
Something I spend a lot of time doing, that people might not realize, is just learning what old SOE code is doing. Where does that behavior come from? How does that system work? Why do certain things react the way they do? I do this for my own education, and also to help players understand how certain game mechanics work, or to help advise Senators on the feasibility of prospective changes. The SWG codebase is massive, complex, and evolved over time. Like any large-scale, long-lived software project, it has good parts and bad. Some code-paths are complete dead ends: either unfinished features, or vestigial ones that were not fully removed. Some systems are so elegant and logical, that you can’t help but tip your hat to the SOE devs. Others are so frightening and scary that you want to slap them. My real life job entails a lot of “legacy” code like this, and the story is always the same there. I really enjoy digging into these large projects and discovering their inner workings. I get a sense of accomplishment when I can unravel their mysteries and solve a bug, or add a new feature.

What do you think your greatest contribution has been to Legends?
Fixing the broken Bazaar Search Attribute Filters for some ship components. This was a bug from (at least) 2005 that persisted until shutdown (and Legends). I remember some correspondence on the old forums where an SOE dev (or perhaps a CSR or Senator) basically said it was impossible to fix. It is not an exaggeration to say that when I was learning programming in high school I had a pipe-dream of applying to work for SOE and fixing this bug. 16 years later, I got the opportunity. As soon as I heard about SWG-Source (the open source project that shares a common ancestor with Legends), I dove in. It took some sleuthing, but I fixed it. I sent the commits to the Legends team as a sort of informal application.
What would the other staff at Legends say to this: "Describe NoStyleGuy"
I think many of them would say “he’s that guy who knows everything about space, but nothing about anything else!”. Which I would contest: I also know a little bit about crafting (as long as it’s space parts).
I think my fellow developers would say I ask a lot of questions. Maybe too many. Like I said, I am always looking to learn more about the SWG codebase, and that often leaves me leaning on the experience of the more experienced devs. I am in constant awe and appreciation of the amount of knowledge they have gained about the codebase. It is quite remarkable.

What they actually said:
"NSG has been a wonderful addition to the team, adding much needed expertise in space and the careful balancing the equipment, missions, and PVP require. He also has a good combination of wit and determination for chasing down the bugs that QA throws at him." - QA Wafle
"NSG has been an invaluable part of our Development team in helping this project maintain its heading. It's very easy to sense his passion for the game overall, but particularly when it comes to space! He has a very admirable work ethic and keen attention to detail that has been a tremendous help to the project and community. We certainly hope to work with him for a long time to come! HE ALSO REALLY LOVES PORGS AND EWOKS." - Events Walmahrt
"NSG is an incredibly smart, kind and patient person. Not only has he reached out to the greater space community on innumerable occasions, but he has taken the time to explain complex in-game systems and worked tirelessly to improve and expand space gameplay." - QA Tukk Ordo
"NSG is always ready to learn and he brings professional development knowledge to the project. I’m excited to work with him and look forward to what we can achieve with his addition to the team :)" - Developer MacSquizzy
"What can I say about NoStyleGuy that’s publicly acceptable… he’s like a developer or something… right? I kid, I kid. He’s done an excellent job of stepping into a space developer role, which is definitely welcomed by the space community. He has drive and ambition and touches scary code that others hide from. He is a fantastic addition to the team, and we’re certainly happy to have him here." - CSR Oroti
"NSG gives his all for the space community. He's a really great guy to work with and is always willing to dive in to areas of SWG he's unfamiliar with to better understand and help improve them. I'm proud of the work he's done to help improve Legends and I look forward to continuing to work with him on many of our upcoming projects." - Developer Reign
"NoStyleGuy has been a member of the staff team for about a year now, and in the that time he has become a strong developer within the SWG:Legends staff team. While he is a much needed beacon of light in the darkness of space, he has also been able to utilize his skillset to help us with the ground game as well. His comments on tasks are always well thought out, and he is almost always available to bounce ideas off of. Thanks for everything you do NSG!!!" - Admin Lokee
"NSG is pretty awesome. Easygoing, knowledgeable, dedicated and always open to discussions, he is a treasure both as a dev and person. We're lucky to have him on our team, helping guide Legends towards newer, greater horizons." - Senate Liaison SplinterStrike

What has been the most difficult thing you’ve done supporting Legends?
The hardest part has been closing my Shipwright shop in-game. Before I became a staff member, I tried to be one of the most well-stocked, consistent suppliers of affordable ship parts to new players. I got a great sense of pride seeing complete strangers recommending my shop (and my leveling kits) to prospective pilots. I tried to keep the shop going when I joined staff, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the week to do both.
How often do you actually get to play SWG?
I play on Legends for a few hours every week. This is mostly in space at the GCW battles, or other events, where I can interact with other pilots.

(NoStyleGuy is pictured above hunting down Rebel pilots to introduce them to Imperial Justice!)

What is your favorite thing to do in game?
No surprise, my favorite thing to do in game is to blow stuff up in space. I find the combat very visceral and rewarding, even when you’re doing relatively mundane PvE. I also love space PvP, though I admit I have lost a step in my prowess since Live.
When did you start playing SWG, and describe that experience?
I started playing in December 2004. I wanted to play at launch (June 2003), but my dial-up internet connection couldn’t handle it. My family got cable internet in 2004, so I was finally able to sign up. I took some breaks after the NGE, but I played on and off until shutdown. I played on Ahazi, and though I initially started out as a ground-pounder (Pistoleer/Doctor) with only a cursory interest in space, once the NGE hit, I basically took to space and never looked back. Similar to my time on Legends, I operated a pretty well-known shipwright shop too. One thing I remember is that it took much more effort to run a shipwright shop on Live. It was my second job. Legends has really improved the quality of life for crafters with things like double extraction rates, 5 character slots, more items able to be factory-run, and a bunch more.

Thank you for taking the time to share about yourself NoStyleGuy!

If you're interested in learning more about other staff and community members, why not check out our SPOTLIGHT MASTERLIST?