December’s Producer Letter – A Game begins to emerge!
A bit of time has passed since I last pulled my head out of the trenches. It seems like we just finished stuffing our gullets with turkey and stuffing and winter is now fully upon us! I got in my car one day this week and my can of coke I’d left in there was frozen solid. Not used to that coming from California.
The entire team has been knee deep creating an MMO from the ground up that aims to meet the expectations of our founders and future players. No small feat despite having a very talented team. We literally have days where maybe four hours pass where not a word is said, everyone is just heads down working hard. These days are, of course, countered by the occasional Nerf gun war. (Today a sniper rifle showed up in the office!)
My last recap was mostly personal and not related to work. Let’s turn that around then shall we? Last I spoke I compared myself to the support class in LOL or the sniper in any FPS. That analogy still holds true. A large part of my work has centered around improving communication amongst the team, improving pipelines, or foreseeing problems. Maybe I should add part ‘Soothsayer’ to my job description? Surprisingly the part that takes less time than you’d imagine is tracking the team’s progress and making sure we’re on schedule.
Currently the team is fully focused on January’s opening of Internal Testing. As we have said before, our team is focused on a lot of ‘background’ work that has been going on as our talented engineers build our game engine and network infrastructure from the ground up. Our animation editor is coming along nicely which will later be followed by our VFX editor near the beginning of the year. Both of these systems will not only let us create in-engine assets but also set the infrastructure for game design and balancing. Both of which we’ll be doing for the foreseeable future! I think all our engineers need mugs that say, “Have you hugged your engineer lately.” Because, honestly, they are creating magic out of numbers. Sometimes I think they forget how cool that is!
Concurrently the art team is tactfully juggling the art needs of the January IT while concepting what may be the races and classes for the game’s launch. The art needs for the upcoming testing are mostly to have assets to bash on the engineers work with. Pretty dry stuff but very, very, necessary from a planning point of view. The concepting however is a whole other realm. I’m having trouble finding the words about how truly exciting that is! Having an art background myself, I’m in on the concepting discussions not only to play producer but also to give feedback. It’s really exciting when our concept artists suddenly hit this magical idea and we all look at each other, quietly, and nod with big grins. It’s that magical moment when something that may have just been a ‘doodle,’ to quote the artists, sparks everyone’s imagination and enthusiasm.
And then there is design. What can I say? What do you say when your team is tasked with not only creating a fantasy MMO, but also one that is successful, and above all else fun to play? You say BSC. Now if you are in our Founders forums or check our numerous updates, you’ll know that BSC means “Bat Shit Crazy.” It’s a favorite term of Mark’s that, honestly, I believe defines what is going on, mostly in secret, right now. We use the term BSC knowingly because many of the ideas are counter to much of the current MMO’s out there. We hope our fan base will be excited by these ideas as we are here. Be excited. Be very excited.
So happy upcoming Holidays to you all! Safe travels if you’re visiting friends or family. Our offices will be closed most of next week and then until January 2nd but Mark has told me that he will still manage to get at least one Becoming ™ tale for you to enjoy over the break. Additionally, some of us will be active on the boards and even working at home on some things (we do love what we do). We look forward to seeing many of our founders in the first internal test in January!
Producer, environmental artist and turtle lover!