Latest News Press Releases News Archive
Developer Blog
Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Other Projects Game Downloads
The Studio The People The Awards The Coverage About London Contact Us
Work at Splash Damage Environment Art Test
Discussion Forums Chat Room Xbox Live Leaderboard Splash Damage Links
About Splash Damage
Splash Damage >> About >> The People >> Arne Olav 'ao' Hallingstad

Team Profiles

Arne Olav 'ao' Hallingstad


Joining us from the bowels of a great fish comes Arne Olav 'AO' Hallingstead, along with a sofa, some bow ties, and the remote control we lost down the back of a completely different sofa. Arne was extruded through a traditional brass die in Jessheim, a town of about 14,000, mainly human inhabitants, about 40 mins North of Oslo, the University of which he relieved of a Bachelor in Computer Science. Arne worked on LMS Coop for Doom 3 and Weapons Factory Revolution for Quake 4, and made an Ark, and some shoes, from bread.

Arne's demands included more snow and less wind, fresher vegetables and better-spoken fruit, shoes for the hungry and food for the barefoot. That all appeared to be in order, and so he was offered and accepted the Mauve Kepi of the SD coding team. And through it all he offers us protection, a lot of love and affection, whether we're right or wrong. He has a steady gig every year as one of the Nine Lords A-Leaping, and freelances as a Yablochkov candle. He's in that box. No, the Soapy Lemur Femur Soda box. Yeah.

Things You Were Too Afraid To Ask...

Every once in a while, we interrogate one of our own and put their answers up for all the world to see. Read on to find out more about what Arne does, how he ended up at Splash Damage, and more.

What do you do at Splash Damage? What does a typical day look like for ao?

I'm a gameplay programmer and usually spend all my time in the gamecode and gamescripts, I almost never touch the engine. I'm also responsible for the UI backend, creating features needed to create the HUD, Limbo and Main Menu and other UIs as needed.

I often work on a lot of different things and it's usually quite different from month to month, such as new weapons and items, tweaking them, player movement, implement a new UI based off of a design for example. It's very volatile at this stage in the project and very interesting to work on so many different parts of the code. It's all programming in C++ though, plus a few meetings now and then.

Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started? Do you have any tips for people wanting to break in?

I was interested in making games a long time before I got into the industry. I guess the curiosity about how the games I played were made got me into programming when I grew up. I'm a self-taught programmer and started experimenting with making simple games and graphics-related programs. As I got more experienced I joined a few online teams to create games. Failing a bit, learning a bit and all that, all good experience to have in the end.

Since I loved the Doom and Quake series of games and was familiar with the previous game engines I joined a mod team for Doom 3 called Last Man Standing Coop. I think it's a good idea to join mod teams if you're interested in getting into the industry. Start offf with finding a team which is working on a mod idea you think you would enjoy playing yourself. If the mod you work on gains popularity then that's an additional motivator, but not something you should expect!

In addition, I was messing with the Doom 3 Shaders, eventually discovering a fully functional Megatexture renderer in Doom 3, it just needed a shader file that was missing and a megatexture file. So I ended up reverse engineering the shader by trial and error.

I got hired at Splash Damage about that time, at the start of 2007. I think in the end it helps a lot if the work you've done shows you're passionate about making games.

Why did you join Splash Damage?

I really like the fast paced action in the Quake series and Wolfenstein: ET was very much the same game. I knew the people at Splash Damage were previous modders themselves and they were making the ET: Quake Wars game which seemed like a great game to be working on. I had just finished my studies and thought I'd apply for a job at Splash Damage - there wasn't really any other game company I wanted to work for if I could choose.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

I really enjoy implementing new gameplay features and seeing it being enjoyed by others. Worst is perhaps having to remember the names of the new hires. There's Paul, Paul, Paul and Chris, Chris, Chris!

What was your first gaming experience?

I played a bunch of games on the 386 I now can't remember the name of, but the one still stuck in my head is System Shock, that was a scary game. Unfortunately it came out only a few months after Doom! The user interface was also quite complex and the depth of the game put many people off I think.

What types of games do you like, and what's your favorite game of all time?

I like games in a lot of different genres. I love Civilization games, especially Civilization 2 was good. I played the Quake games a lot and many of the most popular mods, Team Fortress, Weapons Factory, Quake 3 Fortress, Rocket Arena, Action Quake, all good mods. Played more Starcraft than is healthy too. The favorite game of all time would be System Shock 2 for being such an innovative and scary experience, there were so many choices you could make in the game. If you're interested in playing it it can be downloaded for free (yes the whole game), and there's some interesting mods that improve the textures, models and sounds in the game.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?

I enjoy watching movies and flying my RC helicopter in addition to having various projects. Recently soldered together an ~80Mips video game system, making a Nintendo DS MD5 viewer, Quake Wars mods and fiddling with new graphics technologies. Also made this useful program to regularly query the Quake Wars servers and notify me whenever MoP or any other of my friends play so I can join them.

Is it true that Splash Damage thwarted your career in professional football?

Although I've played a lot of football and it's a great passion of mine, and I really wanted to be a professional football player when I grew up, I don't think the outcome would have been different. After high school I kind of made the choice by focusing on studies. But I hope we can get together a team for regular 5-a-side practices here at Splash Damage, the recent Games 5s football cup was a blast.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask, feel free to post them in the comments — our forum-trained tapirs will try to answer as many of them as possible.


Nice top hat!
I have to say how dissapointed I am for not being mentioned on this page! It's an outrage!
I have known Arne Olav for about 17 years and this is how he repays me! *Shakes fist*
Yeah Ao is a great guy, I just hope Splash Damage is treating him within legal bounds.
Cheers from Norway!
Uhuh, i thought about that but.. Nah... ;)

The beard is a bit of an experiment, we'll see how long it lasts.
I always thought you guys were older, but many of you are young!
Originally Posted by mortis View Post
I always thought you guys were older, but many of you are young!
don't forget that they got a bunch of good photoshop artists there
Originally Posted by Joe999 View Post
don't forget that they got a bunch of good photoshop artists there

For the record, the average age at SD is probably around 27
Originally Posted by Fluffy_gIMp View Post

For the record, the average age at SD is probably around 27
And the average mental age is about 17
Originally Posted by DarkangelUK View Post
And the average mental age is about 17
Originally Posted by DarkangelUK View Post
And the average mental age is about 17
Which may still be above the average mental age of their games' target audience.
Originally Posted by kamikazee View Post
Which may still be above the average mental age of their games' target audience.
Haha so true!