1.how long have you been in the video games industry and how did you get started?
I started hobbying on games in 2009. I am currently finishing a Masters degree in Sound Design for interactive media, started in 2010. I'm in second year but have been employed in a company called Game Audio Factory, specialized in ... Game Audio :) For almost a year now. I currently work and study at the same time !
2.what equipment do you use in the studio and for foley recordings? and what computer programmes and Middlware used?
For voices, we have the classic Neumann U87 + Avalon 737 combo routed to a 192 I/0 with PT9HD. We have also Sennheiser/Rode/lavalier mics for various other type of recordings
For Foley, artists bring their own mic which are DPA or Schoeps (most of the time) coupled with a focusrite ISA.
We use various softwares but mostly Adobe Audition, Soundforge and Vegas. A lot of Excel as well :)
Middleware depends on the project. I have used wwise and fmod so far, and a bit of UDK's kismet as well.
3.what is involved with your job role, and how does this differ between companies you have worked for?
We are mainly working for companies who seeks to outsource their audio (RedSonic01 you can get in touch if interested ^^) so my tasks are various and covers the whole Video Game Audio pipeline: sound design, integration, Audio QA, localisation ... We are also proposing in-house services. I'm a bit like a freelancer but with a company structure and a professional studio equipment. The other difference with the "regular" sound designer job is that I have to spend time skyping/calling/emailing instead of seeing people around a table :)
4.specifically how much computer programming is involved in your job, and how does this differ between companies you have worked for? and what is expected of you in terms of this?
I don't do programming but some of my team mates have this ability. I mostly do scripting XML/java/flash, depends on the project.
5.What is your favourite aspect as being a sound designer? and what is the hardest part of the role?
The hardest parts are definetly the tight deadlines and the pressure of delivering on time, especially when some people don't learn from their past mistakes ^^
Working as part of multidisciplinary team and interact with graphic designers, programmers & game designers is what makes game audio a fascinating job. I also quite enjoy the necessity of being jack of all trades. The job shapes your ability to adapt and that's what I find interesting.