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TullyAckland

Ask The Team!

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vague hint:

"I <3 D'Orion"

 

now, to your real question:

 

I am ALL IN on Crowfall. I've invested a big chunk of my savings. I left my cushy job. I gave up my safe little nest, and took a bold (arguably foolhardy) leap into the unknown.

 

Why?

 

Because I HAVE to make this game.

 

March, 2004: Shadowbane basically ruined me. I put everything I had into Wolfpack; I crunched for years. I spent all the money that I made from selling my previous company. I lost friends. I alienated family members. I'm not going to go so far as to say "shadowbane caused my divorce", but I will say: it certainly didn't help.

 

We shipped it, yes. and it sold well. But it was riddled with issues (technical, design, and operational) that caused it to bleed players like a sieve.

 

All that effort, all that cost, all that pain. and it just didn't work. We lost.

 

We sold the company to find a soft landing for the team. The founders? No such luck. Unemployed.

 

I had invested everything in Shadowbane, and walked away with almost nothing. For about a year, I basically fell off the grid, didn't do much of anything but think about what went wrong.

 

I'm over that, now. I'm not longer haunted by 'this went wrong' or 'that went wrong'. I'm years past the autopsy.

 

What haunts me is this: it ALMOST worked.

 

The vision we (the Wolfpack founders) had was amazing. The vision was right there, so perfectly clear in our minds. It was tangible. And, every now and then in development, the rarest of moments. A break in the storm clouds, the sunlight would pour through like a light from heaven and everything would just WORK. For a few moments, you could FEEL it. Ask the folks who played the SB beta, they can tell you what it felt like:

 

THIS IS IT.

 

THIS IS THE GAME.

 

THIS IS THE VISION.

 

IT IS REAL.

 

IT WORKS.

 

 

...and then the clouds would roll back in, fires would erupt all around me, and everything would go to hell again.

 

The idea behind Crowfall -- the original idea that pre-dates Shadowbane, that was born in a pizza joint as a scribble on a paper napkin -- that vision is my white whale. We had it once, right there, in our grasps. It was so close!

 

It ALMOST worked.

 

I've spent every day of the last decade learning how to build MMOs. Shadowbane was the first game that I ever worked on, remember. I made a ton of newbie mistakes. Say what you like about Wizard101, but we had a flawless launch and amassed over 50 million players. I've picked up a few tricks.

 

I learned what I need to learn about building MMOs. Launching MMOs. Running a live service. and with Gordon here, and the team that we have recruited, we can do this. We can make this game great.

 

This isn't just a game to me. I'm on a mission.

 

It is time to right a great wrong.

 

Todd

ACE

There is no greater motivator than failure.

Strange to say, I haven't seen a post written with such candor in a long time.

For me, after reading this post, it is no longer about sitting on the sidelines, watching to see what happens, now I actually WANT this game to succeed!

Edited by secretlycanon

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Hey icy witch,

Every studio I have worked at has had men who are incredibly respectful of women. I think outside of the industry, the idea that the game industry is a boys club is a bit exaggerated. There have been the very occasional sexist comments from one or two people, but those are so few and far between that I don't even consider it a deterrent to continuing this job. I have had all the opportunities that men have had. If your talent speaks for itself, you should have no issues moving up and being successful. I'm sure there are studios out there that would not be so pleasant to work at...but you have a choice not to work for those companies.

 

As far as being surrounded by men, it's not been a bad or awkward feeling for me. They treat me so well that I consider them my friends and family. And of course, there's always going to be some females to make friends with. I have made so many incredible friends in this industry, most of them men, and you will find because it's such a tight niche of people, it will feel like a family. We try to support each other all we can when there's the inevitable company wide layoff. We keep networked. We discover a friend of ours knows another friend of ours across the country. It is really a very passion driven industry.

 

As far as sexual harassment, I'm not quoting anything here, but I'm assuming that you'd be in the same danger of that at any job in any industry. I have not personally had anyone go too far with me. You would go to an HR representative, they are extremely intolerant of that kind of behavior. We are just as professional as any business, that includes upholding human rights.

 

Do you mind if I ask what industry you're studying for?

Thanks so much for replying! I'm studying to be an aviation maintenance technician and I am one of two female students out of about seventy students. All the guys I am studying with are nice guys and very respectful too. And I'm glad to hear that you've had no issues with men in your work and I'm sure the same goes for my field, too. I do however keep my guard up a little, and make sure they know not to try anything stupid.

Edited by icy witch

Dang you're an Icy Witch.

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No reason to be concerned.  I've probably worked for more game companies than anyone you've ever met (and have done due diligence on many times that number of teams), and in my experience it's rare for production terms such as Alpha and Beta to have the same definition from company to company or even studio to studio.

 

For example, your specific definition of Pre-Alpha I've never personally seen used.  I've promised to lay out some of our development processes in the Team Updates so expect to see more about this in those every-other Wednesday updates over the coming months.  We actually aren't setting our definition of Alpha firmly until we move from a pre-production state into full production.  And in my management process those definitions are codified in conjunction with the team that executes against them, so ours aren't actually set yet!

 

Does this mean it is safe to assume alpha is not in the near future? And definitely not coming with the release at the end of the countdown timer?

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Todd and I get in around 8am, the rest of the team rolls in between then an 10am depending on their schedules.  We have a team standup meeting at 10am that lasts 10-15 minutes then we all focus on the day's priorities.  Our core hours when we expect everyone to be in the office are 10am-5pm.  Depending on the day, and daddy duties, Todd and I leave somewhere between 5:30pm and 7pm, It's rare for more than a couple of people to be here after 7pm.  We haven't had any official crunch, but more than a few of the folks have taken some of the tougher work home and worked through it to stay on target.

 

We have a really professional team (by design), so we spend almost no time checking up on people beyond the daily standup and end of sprint reviews.  Our people want to be working on this, they don't need a taskmaster standing over them.  We do spend a lot of time dialoging with people as we start new systems and elements though, it's not unusual to find 2-5 people sitting on the couches outside our offices talking and drawing to get consensus on how a particular task will be tackled.

 

Hope this gives you the insight you wanted!

For me this is unheard of. Never in all the years of my game play and watching games come and go have i seen a dev give this kind of insight and attention to the potential player base. To me this alone sells me on the game, let alone the whole concept of the game itself. This kind of stand-up attention is exactly what the mmo world needs right now. I truly cannot wait to play this game. Thank you guys very much for the insight into the whole process.  

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Cataclysm. Please tell me you guys plan to make it a big deal. Destroying a world should be a chance to go nuts and do things you could never do on a traditional persistent world. I want fire to rain from the sky. Cracks in the earth. Gods to walk among us. Anything but a countdown on top of my UI slowlyticking down till server reset...

Devs i would love to see this question answered. Thanks

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Did you guys decide to setup shop in Austin, TX because of Google Fiber?

 

It's absolutely a valid reason to choose where to live / do business.  ;)

 

I've lived here 1999-2001 and 2003-now (and I am a native Texan), while Todd is a native of Austin.  I think you'll find that a lot of people once they get to Austin like it a lot and stick here.  We're not the stereotype of the brand Texas, but we are certainly a part of it.  Google Fiber will just be a small plus, once we finally get it, IMO!  In the meantime AT&T and Roadrunner have stepped up their bandwidth while lowering prices, which is a good thing!

 

I could go on and on about Austin like a tour guide, but all that does is make more people move here!  :)


Gordon Walton, ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.  [Rules of Conduct]

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

 

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No reason to be concerned.  I've probably worked for more game companies than anyone you've ever met (and have done due diligence on many times that number of teams), and in my experience it's rare for production terms such as Alpha and Beta to have the same definition from company to company or even studio to studio.

 

For example, your specific definition of Pre-Alpha I've never personally seen used.  I've promised to lay out some of our development processes in the Team Updates so expect to see more about this in those every-other Wednesday updates over the coming months.  We actually aren't setting our definition of Alpha firmly until we move from a pre-production state into full production.  And in my management process those definitions are codified in conjunction with the team that executes against them, so ours aren't actually set yet!

 

Thanks Gordon, so you're in pre-production :( still a long way to go! Still, I'm really looking forward to seeing the game develop, just hope the funding goes to plan (if not better than planned!)

 

 

Does this mean it is safe to assume alpha is not in the near future? And definitely not coming with the release at the end of the countdown timer?

Re Gordon's "pre production" quote
 
I've worked in game dev for over 10 years now and pre-production is always the phase where everything gets put down on paper/theorized and a small portion of the game is made to give an impression of how the final game will look. This is usually a hand full of characters, a small section of level geometry and some nice animation/sound.
 
I'm currently working for a Studio that uses VERY small development cycles, we release a game every year as such full-production for us lasts around 8 months which is VERY short, and we work with a very large and established franchise, so what we do has been done before and is "easy" to do.
 
An MMO production lasts MUCH longer.
 
 
long story short I HIGHLY doubt we'll be seeing a playable alpha for a few years. 
 
This is assuming what Gordon said is true, and that they are currently still in pre-production mode, with limited funding by the sounds of things too :(
 
Still, It's really refreshing to see the Devs so engaged with the community and i genuinely hope everything goes smoothly for them!
 
I for one can't wait!
Edited by crysak

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Thanks Gordon, so you're in pre-production :( still a long way to go! Still, I'm really looking forward to seeing the game develop, just hope the funding goes to plan (if not better than planned!)

 

 
Re Gordon's "pre production" quote
 
I've worked in game dev for over 10 years now and pre-production is always the phase where everything gets put down on paper/theorized and a small portion of the game is made to give an impression of how the final game will look. This is usually a hand full of characters, a small section of level geometry and some nice animation/sound.
 
I'm currently working for a Studio that uses VERY small development cycles, we release a game every year as such full-production for us lasts around 8 months which is VERY short, and we work with a very large and established franchise, so what we do has been done before and is "easy" to do.
 
An MMO production lasts MUCH longer.
 
 
long story short I HIGHLY doubt we'll be seeing a playable alpha for a few years. 
 
This is assuming what Gordon said is true, and that they are currently still in pre-production mode, with limited funding by the sounds of things too :(
 
Still, It's really refreshing to see the Devs so engaged with the community and i genuinely hope everything goes smoothly for them!
 
I for one can't wait!

 

 Do you have a link where that was stated? or where did you find that quote?

 

Also, I still think we are for sure getting at least beta this year. Its early 2015 and they seem pretty far.

 

Keep in mind Crowfall has been in development since early 2013.

Edited by vVe

Community Moderator - http://killonsight.info/

The Dark Forest beckons...

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Just a reminder guys, if you are asking things in this thread that are strictly about the game, we aren't answering those kind of questions here, or confirming details that we haven't talked about yet (I'm looking at you XcomVic).  From the first post in this thread:

 

"Note: For obvious reasons, we might not be able to answer all of them. Especially ones regarding elements of Crowfall which we haven't disclosed... Some things just aren't ready to be discussed yet!"

 

I know it's hard to be patient with this process we are in, but there is a method to our madness (we hope!).  Only 17 days to go, and then all the broad brush strokes of the game will be clear! 

 

To be clear: the "reveal" doesn't mean that we are going to release our design docs on the 24th.  There will still be some details that won't be nailed down.  In game development, you might be absolutely sure of something today, and then 2 months later when you are testing it you have to reverse yourself or rethink it completely.  When it comes to those kind of things we'll continue to be non-committal, until we've convinced ourselves we're on the right track. 

 

In addition, our long-term vision for the game is certainly going to be larger than our current resources.  As many of you have commented already you want lots of additions to things we have talked about, and mostly we do too!  But we will be drawing the line between what we are doing (which is building the core fun and systems of our game), and what we'd like to do in the future, when we have the resources to do so.

 

We will be transparent with the things we know, but not with the all things we're still debating internally.  We do read the input you give us in the forums (and on other sites) and include it as part of the process.  And I assure you, you will know more about our game during development than the vast majority of games.  Our commitment is to continue to talk with you about it, throughout the process.


Gordon Walton, ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.  [Rules of Conduct]

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

 

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Does this mean it is safe to assume alpha is not in the near future? And definitely not coming with the release at the end of the countdown timer?

 

The countdown timer is not a release to alpha.

 

As promised on the front page of the site, we will describe the rest of the game vision once it expires.

 

This will be a lot of information for the people who had neither the patience nor interest in playing the game of rampant speculation.  

 

For you guys, it will contain a mix: some new surprises, and some confirmations of things you already know or suspect.

 

Todd

ACE


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

[Rules of Conduct]

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Hey guys great work :)

 

Is it possible to have the forums with a thread that shows only post from official team, or quotes and responses from the Team? I am really getting weary of sorting thru the "omg I am first to ever post on this thread" and other meaningless (but understandable excited) post.

 

I think there was such an option on the old SB forums, but I don't recall exactly.


ShadowBane - Former IC of Societas Daemonica (2005 -2014)

ShadowBane - Former IC Nordic Chapter SB (2004)

ShadowBane -  Former IC / NL of House of Atreides, Damnation (2003-2004)

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I don't know if this is a valid question but, who's in charge of the OST? I listened to the sample in the video and I liked it a lot. OST use to be very important for me in a game, to the point that many songs from my all time fav game (Lineage II) even make me cry (oh the feels... great memories, nostalgia :_D).

 

Thanks to games I could discover people like Bill Brown and love their work.

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Hey guys great work :)

 

Is it possible to have the forums with a thread that shows only post from official team, or quotes and responses from the Team? I am really getting weary of sorting thru the "omg I am first to ever post on this thread" and other meaningless (but understandable excited) post.

 

I think there was such an option on the old SB forums, but I don't recall exactly.

 

It's on the web team's list to get added to the site, but probably a week or two out.  We use this community provided service ourselves for now: 

http://www.crowscall.com/devtracker


Gordon Walton, ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.  [Rules of Conduct]

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

 

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A couple questions for you guys. Answer as you're able.

 

1) Based on what you've said so far, I'm ready to step out of my comfort zone and try Crowfall. One thing I've been considering a lot is the Eternal Kingdoms. Are these things that are going to lead to the domination of the largest clans and guilds, or is it more like player housing in that larger kingdoms may produce more rewards and resources, but they're generally independent of one another except where players desire interaction? Do sieges and politics play into the Eternal Kingdoms?

 

2) So in these campaigns, control of particular resource areas will be important. Does this mean that the guy who sits at home playing his computer 24/7 is going to far outdo those of us with real responsibilities? Obviously there are more rewards for players who dedicate more time, but is this going to be a scenario that will make it harder or near-impossible for busy individuals to be successful, or at least to climb the ladder toward kingdom rule? If we're talking long-term, that also means what the player keeps in the Eternal Kingdoms, and the resources they gain while in campaigns.

 

3) How large of a role will politics play in campaigns and the eternal kingdoms? Will your "popularity" or follower count outside Crowfall mean that you can amass more supporters and players and dominate the game? If Uncle Bob is is actually Uncle Bob Dylan, isn't he bound to get more support in campaign after campaign, and win Risk every Thanksgiving?

 

4) The ability of players to ignore the Eternal Kingdoms opens up the possibility of free agents, mercenaries for hire, or otherwise independent players. To what extent do you, as developers, expect these players to be successful? Only in the sense of accomplishing individual goals, or also in playing the game and becoming wealthy themselves?

 

5) Will our accounts allow us to create multiple characters, and will there be certain advancement options in Alpha / Beta to test higher-level archetypes of different kinds to see which best fits our play style? And I assume these two stages of testing will remain separate from the live game. But I'm curious if we'll have enough time to test out multiples or can create multiple accounts. Because let's face it, every time you all share a new archetype, we automatically respond "Ooh, I'm playing THIS one!" ;)

 

Thanks!

Swordroll

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Coming from a person who remembers that for quite some time, the general public usually heard of a particular video game via word of mouth or seeing it for the first time at an arcade AFTER it's full release and seemed to have no problems bonding with each other over video games or appreciating video games; Do you think the recent phenomena of the standard of "prereleasing" content to a video game has been helpful or detrimental to the gaming community as a whole (Dev.s & general public)?


If you can't dazzle em with brilliance, baffle em with truthiness

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Do you have any doubts or concerns regarding the use of Unity?

 

I'm sure Unity lets you be much more productive than other game engines might allow, but my (admittedly very shallow) understanding is that Unity can't keep up with the performance of competing engines which offer only (or primarily) C/C++ APIs like Unreal, which means fewer things have to be going on on-screen to keep things performant and efficient. I have absolutely 0 game dev experience so this impression is just based on what other people out there say about Unity. But if there's any truth to it, I hope it doesn't impact the smoothness of combat, animations, movement, etc.

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