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Interview with Matt Dusek

January 17, 2010

by reesemcblox


Check out this interview veteran ROBLOX developer Matt Dusek! He’s so cool he is user number 916 AND he has a space in his username.  Talk more about this post on our forums! –ReeseMcBlox

It's Matt!

Q:  What is your favorite thing about working for ROBLOX?

A:  It’s two things together: really smart people working on really hard (but fun!) problems.  It’s endlessly rewarding.  Right up there is the astonishment that comes from seeing all the things our users build from the raw bits of stuff we put out there.  We are constantly amazed!

Q:  What are you most proud of so far that you worked on at ROBLOX?

A:  Some of the things I’m most proud of are small pieces of technology that make the big ones possible — stuff that the users never see or know about.  Those aside, I’ll always have a special fondness for the RoblEX.  That was a fun, challenging project.  I just wish it would’ve had more support from Telamon along the way.  😉

Q:  Why did you join the ROBLOX team?

A:  ROBLOX was far and away the most interesting thing that I came across when my wife and I were planning our move to California in 2006.  At the time, it was a relatively primitive 1-player game, and the web site was nothing like what you see today, but I could envision so much of what was to come, even way back then.  The idea of ROBLOX excited my imagination!  Add to that the mighty brains and many talents of David and Erik, and I knew I had to be a part of that team and help make it all happen.

Q:  How old were you when you started programming and how did you learn to?

A:  I learned to program on the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe, sometime around 1983 — which would put me in 3rd grade and around 8 years old.

It was something that my dad and I did together, and he of course helped a lot.  There was no World Wide Web back then, so we bought a subscription to the magazine Compute’s Gazette, which was a great resource for hobbyist programmers.

Most importantly, though, I learned to program like everyone else does: by sitting down and trying, failing, figuring out my mistakes, and then trying some more.  There’s really no way around that simple recipe for most of the things you ever want to get good at.

Q:  How did you get Telamon to make you the Dusekkar and then why did you take it off?

A:  Well, I didn’t really "get" Telamon to make it for me.  He’s pretty much the physical manifestation of elemental caprice.  He submits to no authority or compulsion save his own whimsy.  That said, we did strike a bargain of sorts; I built the RoblEX in exchange for it (see above).

Q:  Did you draw the flower on your smiley flower T-Shirt?

A:  No, I found it online.  It’s one of the very first user-created images ever uploaded to ROBLOX.  I used it for testing while developing that part of the system.  I never imagined it would become such a calling card.  😛

Why are manhole covers round?

A: Elementary: A trapezoidal manhole cover wouldn’t very well fit with a round manhole, now would it?

Q:  What are your hobbies?

A:  Mostly I spend my free time vexing our cats with epistemological puzzles and logical paradoxes.  When not busy with that, though, I enjoy all of the following:

High performance driving/instruction.  Some race tracks I especially love (I’ve never met one I didn’t like): Putnam Park, Road America, GingerMan Raceway, Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway.

Hiking.  Some truly unforgettable places I’ve loved getting out and walking around: Glacier National Park in Montana, Yosemite National Park in California, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Banff National Park in Alberta, and Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland.  Every time I visit I place like one of those, I become aware of how much larger and grander the world is than my concept of it.

Music.  After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back to soothing the savage beast.  My wife bought me a Seagull S6 acoustic guitar for Christmas, and I’m learning to play.  In days gone by, I’ve played the piano, organ, and even (a REALLY long time ago) the French horn.

Q:  What is a recent book you read?

A:  Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou.

Some other random stuff I’ve been reading recently:  The Graveyard Book and Marvel 1602, both by Neil Gaiman; The Complete Guide to Capital Markets for Quantitative Professionals by Alex Kuznetsov; A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett; Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy; Powers Vol. 1: Who Killed Retro Girl? by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Also, everyone should be sure to check out The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams and Deborah Beale.

Q:  What other games do you like to play?

A:  Social games: Mafia (a game so good, you may lose friends over it!)

Tabletop: Cosmic Encounter, Dungeons & Dragons

Electronic games: Racing sims, Smash TV, Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2, Castle Crashers, Call of Duty: World at War

Q:  If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

A:  If I could have any superpower, I would want it to be the power of the perfect one-liner.  I’ve been foiled far too many times by thinking of a great quip only after it was too late.  Or not at all….