Member Spotlight: Lephyrius
- Who are you?
Hello everyone, my name is Jonas Innala! I am thirty years old and I am from Sweden… way beyond the Wall. And winter is coming. I have a Bachelor in Computer Game Programming and I was originally going to be a Master in Computer Science, but that didn’t work out. So currently I am working as a freelance-developer; I’m not that good at social contact but I love to code. In my spare time I also like to build game engines! There are so many ideas for video games in my head, but I haven’t been able to find a graphic artist to make a complete game with me to the end, so I just keep building game engines.
- Is there a story behind your avatar or nickname?
Oh my gosh. Yes, I am afraid there is. My avatar is from a Penny Arcade comic strip, and features a mean-ish caricature of the typical Mac user. Thing is, nowadays I am a Mac user – and that caricature couldn’t be further from the truth! Not only am I the complete opposite of an elitist hipster, but I use my Mac for hardcore coding. It’s irony on the meta-level, which is why I decided I need to have him as my avatar! My nickname’s history is much more muddy. It’s an old Starcraft nickname of mine from some fifteen years ago, and while I could somewhat trace the elements I think went into its creation, it has merely become so familiar to me it carries its own weight and history already.
- What do you do at IGDB.com?
I code. Besides Christian, I am the oldest member of the team! I am the main back end developer of IGDB.com, and almost all of the back end structure in place today has been coded by me. For example, recently I coded the DLCs, expansions and bundles feature. As a back end developer, I coded all the database tables and the relations between those tables – the inner workings of them, in other words – as well as made sure that users would receive karma points from their contributions.
- How did you join the development team?
Alright, so. A few years ago someone posted that they were looking for a Ruby on Rails developer on a Swedish gamer website called Loading. I answered that post and got accepted to join the project. But I also got a PM to my inbox from someone else: it was Christian, sneakily headhunting me based upon the post I had answered. Greedily, I joined both projects at the time. Later on, I transitioned into just doing IGDB!
- What motivates you to continue in this project?
It is a nice domain, I really like what we are doing here. Creating something that makes people say things like, ‘this is so nice, you are doing such a great thing here” is really uplifting. Positive messages from users and other team members really make it all worth it, and I think I really thrive on this platform. It makes me want to put in extra effort, and keep going, even when there is that really hard bug and it makes you start to doubt yourself and your choice to become so dedicated to the project.
- What are you personally most proud of to have accomplished on IGDB.com already?
The lists are really successful. I think they have been put to use awesomely by the community and I really love reading people’s different lists. It was a really interesting feature to code, and the code that I did for them turned out very nice and clean. To be honest, I do not think users should have to care about the cleanliness of code at all, but as the back end developer, it is crucial that I care about it.
- What are you looking forward to happening on the site in the future?
I would love a feature that could give me clever game suggestions. It would be neat to have a page where I could see all my different friends’ video game suggestions, as well as ones suggested by the website, so I could discover new games I haven’t played yet. For such a feature, we would need a more advanced suggestions system, which would be super hard to code as we would need to do some awesome big data analysis for, well, everything! But I would definitely love to try code that. Another feature I’ve been really looking forward to implementing is crowdsourced translations, so that we could have information also available in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Pirate English, High elvish, Klingon…!
- What games have been most influential in your life? And what are you playing at the moment?
You should take a look at my Top 100 list! Let’s scratch the surface a little bit, though. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past is THE video game of my life, and it would be the one I’d pick if there was only one I could. A similar, deeply enchanting experience, was The Curse of Monkey Island. While the first and second Monkey Islands were good, it was in Curse that the characters really became more than animated portraits; they became alive. I also love Broken Sword games, they resonate with me so much… I can not accurately say what it is exactly that makes them so powerful for me, but I imagine a lot of it has to do with the fact that I love George Stobbart. He is the kind of person I really want to become like. Overall, I am very emotional when it comes to great games, and I have to admit I was one of those players who cried when they played Final Fantasy VII. The time and place has a lot to do with that, too. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was a different kind of important because it’s not even actually on my top 100 list, but it is a video game I found exactly when I sorely needed something like it. For another kind of influential, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is the game I have learnt most English from – which has allowed me to join a project like IGDB.com, so that’s definitely a very defining game for my life!
Cutest rubber duck there is, am I right?
Right now I am playing StarCraft II: The Legacy of the Void. StarCraft: Brood War is the game I have played the most in my life, especially as online matches. Sadly I don’t have time for those anymore, but I am enjoying Legacy of the Void a whole lot. I am also playing some Tearaway Unfolded and Yoshi’s Wooly World. I love Yoshi’s Wooly World, I even bought the cute Yoshi amiibo to be my rubber duck! Not for the bath, but for coding. I am an avid practitioner of rubber duck debugging, so he is important to the site, too.
- Do you have any other hobbies besides games?
I like growing stuff. In the summer, I grow strawberries and vegetables like sugar snaps, radishes and salad at my summer cottage. It’s especially fun to experiment with growing new things: last summer, I tried growing melons. They failed miserably, but I relish the experience nonetheless. Overall, I love to spend time in the Swedish archipelago in the summer. My summer cottage is an internet-free zone, so no access to online games. I do bring my 3DS with me though, so I play a lot of it there! I really like doing it, it is somehow much more focused gaming when I am not torn in between things and not reachable by other people, unless they really need me. But that is totally related to games. I also like to cook! It’s fun to really feel the food, and create something that you can eat. My specialities are minestrone soup, risotto and pizza. And if there is a lasagna anywhere nearby, well, I turn instantly into Garfield.
If you have a question you’d like to ask this member that was not covered by the spotlight, feel free to do so in this thread!
Member Spotlight is a weekly series that showcases members of our community. The series first introduces the team behind IGDB.com, after which a chance in the spotlight will be offered to important community members. Member Spotlights are released on Fridays and our other weekly series, the Dev Notes, on Tuesdays.