Dev Blog: “I Must Not Fear”

Steve Austin, Lead Programmer


The alarm sounds with its droning beep at six in the morning. I jump from my bed to begin my morning ritual. Shower. Dress in the dark so as not to wake my wife. Get my son’s breakfast. He’s nine years old and can do it himself, but he’s busy playing Minecraft and hasn’t yet gotten hungry enough to remember his breakfast. Say goodbye. Out the door. Enter the “spy-mobile” (my black Ford that was previously owned by someone from the DOD). 6:30am. Start the 25-mile drive to work. Along the way my mind expands as I fill it with science fiction audio books. Highway 280 takes me to another galaxy…today is “Dune”, and there is wisdom in it…something I can use. Something Lara Croft might even use…

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

– Frank Herbert

Arrive at Crystal Dynamics at 7:00am. My fear is the fear to fail. My role is Lead Programmer, but today, I am whatever it takes to make a Build and get it out the door. Preparing a AAA game for release feels like launching a rocket into space. A team of people work round-the-clock from different time zones to accomplish one shared goal…to bring Lara Croft to life in a new adventure. Our team puts love and care into the project, but at at some point we have to let it all go, and all we can do is hope.  

All the programming has been done. Most of it by the very talented programming team that I lead; all of them experts at what they do. I have my hand prints on the project too, but it is their work that has brought our game to life, creating complex systems to transport our players to another world.

All of the art has been done. From concept phase through production to the final stages, our artists have created a vivid world for Lara to explore.

All of the design has been done. Our designers have woven an intricate carpet of player progression, experience, and exploration, and joined it altogether to form something that I really enjoy playing.

All of the audio has been done. The sounds of our game transport me to Syria and Siberia and everywhere Lara goes.

All of the animation has been done. Lara moves fluidly through her world as she explores, defends herself and struggles to survive.  

I must not fear. Everything is ready. Now is the time for Tomb Raider fans to enjoy our best work!

Steve Austin
Lead Programmer, Rise of the Tomb Raider