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Media Consumption: Raven Software's Jim Shepard

Media Consumption: Raven Software's Jim Shepard

February 10, 2006 | By Brandon Sheffield

Today’s Media Consumption, a weekly column that digs deep to find out what our favorite game developers have been devouring in the four basic media food groups of audio, video, printed word and games, speaks to Raven Software gameplay programmer Jim Shepard.

Jim has been with Raven Software for two years now, and is a self-professed proud alumni of Florida's Full Sail. He recently shipped Quake 4 for the PC and Xbox 360, and was part of the team that helped port Doom 3 to the Xbox. He actually got his start in games as an indie programmer, under the auspices of Glaximus Games, where you can still download many of his student works for free.

Jim is currently hard at work on the next version of Wolfenstein, but in the in-between times, he's consuming the following:

Music: "You know, I hadn't realized how stagnant my music collection had become until I recently collected almost everything onto a portable hard drive. I think that the evolution of modern music has finally moved past me! Well, there's a pretty solid chance I'm listening to Bad Religion at any moment. That band has been a staple of mine for almost a decade now - there may be entire encounters in Quake 4 that were generated to the tune of that band. I do listen to a lot of video game music, but I'm really interested in the remixes and arrangements provided by the fan community. has been one of my favorite places to find new tunes for years; it's amazing to see all the directions people take the source material. Finally, there's a solid collection of general esoterica that fills in the gaps. Everything from techno to the Conan the Barbarian score."

Movies: "I love movies, but it's been a while since I've really been taken in by one. Serenity did that, though. I had never seen a lick of Firefly before I watched it, but afterward I ran out and bought the DVD series. I think Ronin stands as my favorite movie, you can watch it over and over and always catch some new slickness. A lot of us here (at Ravensoft) get together on the occasional weekend for Bad Movie Night. Did you know they made a prequel to The Exorcist? It's as bad as you'd imagine."

Words: "Well the last year or so has been almost completely dominated by the great Neal Stephenson. I finished Quicksilver and The Confusion, now I'm onto The System of the World. Fantastic, ass-kicking books. I'm just glad he didn't run too far with Ye Olde School Font and have that F glyph for the letter S. I did manage to squeak in Anansi Boys, which was a treat. I also spend a lot of time reading Knights of the Dinner Table, which is probably the finest comic/magazine in gaming today. Oh, and The Art of War hardly goes a week without being referenced or re-read for something. No meeting with artists or level designers could be survived
without it."

Games: "I love a tough game, I like the abuse. Recently it's been Devil May Cry 3, God of War, Ninja Gaiden Black (need to finish that one!) and the latest Fire Emblem. Oof, that game gives me ulcers. Guild Wars is quite dear to my heart, even though I've taken a bit of a hiatus from it. There's some WoW, of course. Star Ocean 3 is still my favorite recent console RPG. I've been playing a little Street Fighter Third Strike when I get the chance, and the Dreamcast here at my desk is begging me to fire up Cannon Spike again. I love a good shooter! I have a few of the more popular indie ones like Warning Forever, and almost every thing by Kenta Cho, the guy behind Tumiki Fighters. Don't forget about table top games! I run a bi-weekly game of Warcraft D20, which is turning out to be a lot of fun. I'm also lucky enough to play in a bi-weekly game of Shadowrun, which is just excellent. Our GM pulls out all the stops and it's a really creative, inspiring, adventurous game."

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