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Tyrant

Gordon Walton - Are You The One Who Brought Us The Nge?

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Of course I don't really know you personally.  Is everything you said completely true?

 

In the end I'm not psychic.  Yet, when I read what you've said I see some things in there that, based on my own life experience in deploying systems in the face of "elaborately convoluted difficulties", that cause me to think back:

 

As a Project Manager sitting in front of a Director, with the project's Accountant present, being told to interpret a contract clause in an incorrect manner.  And while legalese can indeed sometimes be . . . foggy . . . in this case it was not.  And I had sealed my understanding of the correct interpretation based on two things:  Common sense and everything we had TOLD the client, for months, both in private meetings and open presentations to them coupled with a validation review with the person who had written the Contract because I had seen the freight train coming days earlier, so I anticipated and reviewed.

 

So, as I was being "directed" by the Director to  get with the program and understand how it needs to be interpretted, with the Accountant sitting there looking like a deer caught in the headlights, with millions of dollars on the line . . . the issues driving the difficulties related to software NOT ready to spec, not passing testing per functional specifications promised . . .

 

. . . I chose to tell the truth.

 

I told the Director  I couldn't interpret the clause differently, because what I was being asked to say wasn't what the clause said, and wasn't what we had been telling the client for months.  I indicated I wasn't going to lie all of a sudden to try and pad over our own mismanagement of in-development project requirements.  These were basic, obvious omissions and failures I discovered had been covered up, not grey area.

 

Things became, predictably I suppose, far more difficult for me after that.  Etc., etc., etc.

 

What does this all mean here, what comes out of your open dialog in my mind:

 

I signed up with ACE because of WHO I THOUGHT you guys were.  You guys present well, from a character and experience standpoint.

 

1)  Be Honest.  I think I see that in you guys, to the best of my ability to perceive that.  Stay that course.

2)  Be Practical.  I think I see that in listening to how ACE speaks about the project.  Stay that course, keep to the forefront of the necessary, perhaps mundane management disciplines any business requires to be successful.  Clearly something basic in your tool sets given your backgrounds.

3)  Be Courageous.  The world is filled with people who don't give a rat's ass over you or the people under you.  My guess is you already understand this.

 

3a)  Triple this for your Community Manager once things go live.  Please provide Pann with a 5gal jug of 5-Hour Energy Go Juice,

 

4)  Be well managed, particularly with making promises.  Complete clarity and no ambiguity in setting / managing customer expectations.  Which, to me, must work well with #1 and #3a.

 

In the end I suppose I'm saying nothing more than:  "Stay the course you've set . . . continue . . . be of good character".

 

That's what "dinged" with me in reading your OP.  You chose the practical and forthright route in a difficult position, the intent to serve the business and the customer, in good faith.

 

I signed up because of YOU GUYS (what I felt I saw).  Even if Crowfall in and of itself isn't going to be to my liking . . . I'll still be a fan of Art+Craft, willing to try other endeavors, because of that.

 

The good that comes out of the SWG situation is a sonar ping on who you are . . . in a difficult situation.

 

Thanks for  your time.

 

/waves

Edited by Bramble

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Sorry I was just looking up who Tyrant was cause I did remember the name and came across the post.  I had to say my two cents cause SWG will always be special to me, and so many others.

 

No need for an apology, friend. No way I am the one to say which thread supposed to be resurrected (or not), I am no moderator.

Just saw an opportunity for a pun, considering mood of 'Crowfall' and all. :) Big fan of SWG myself.

Edited by rolan storm

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I'm currently in college to hopefully become a Lead Game Designer. I was wondering if you would lend some hindsight advice, you stated

 

I participated in the early planning for the NGE, and I was told to execute it over my and many others on the SWG teams’ objections.  I failed as an effective communicator in my attempts to change this course.  In March of 2005 my boss came to Austin for a visit, and I told him I was going to refuse to move forward on the NGE development and launch.  I had assessed that it would be a breach of my fiduciary duty to do so.  I believed (and told him) that launching the planned NGE would alienate the customer base, cause at least half of them to quit and lose the company 10’s of millions of dollars.  At the same time I told him he deserved to have people that worked for him do what he said, and I was sorry I was being intransigent.  A week later I was terminated, and frankly I was never happier to be fired.  I don't blame my management, as I basically made them do it.  Being in conflict with your management is never fun, but doing something you don't believe in is worse.

How do you think, now that its in the past, that you could have preformed as a better communicator and what tips for effective communication would you give a young game designer like myself.

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I'm currently in college to hopefully become a Lead Game Designer. I was wondering if you would lend some hindsight advice, you stated

How do you think, now that its in the past, that you could have preformed as a better communicator and what tips for effective communication would you give a young game designer like myself.

I'm going to kick in on this one, but first a couple of disclaimers.  One, I'm not a game designer.  Two, I'm a student but one who has project management experience.

 

Now that's out of the way, the answer to your question has a couple of answers.  One, do not blindly listen to the people giving you communication advice on your course unless they have run/participated in a significant project before in their lives.  And I don't mean just games development because something that seems to be missing out there is that project management and games development at the management level are one and the same.  I mentioned earlier how I'm a student.  I'm a Project Management student (Masters, as it happens) and my dissertation is going to be titled (quite simply) Games Developers and Project Management: They're Doing It Wrong.

 

Controversial statement, yes.  Untrue?  Not by a long shot, at least not from the outside.  However, I digress (it's a bit of a sore subject for me).

 

Effective communication is easy.  Openness, honesty and the right information to the right people at the right time.  Don't lie.  Ever.  First time you get caught out, then all credibility you might have had will disappear.  Don't be afraid to make decisions, but don't be afraid to change them if that's what the project needs.

 

Read.  Not just on games development or project management.  Read on psychology (we are human, after all), read on the successful project managers in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Sign up to an organisation like the PMI and attend conferences/talks on effective communication.  The ridiculous thing about effective communication is that it is stupidly simple, but we as humans are so bloody terrible at it.

 

I'll stop there, as I'm kinda weighing in on something you didn't even ask me about but it's one of my pet hates.  I've been in projects where senior management were terrible communicators and the project suffered for it.

 

Also, to remain completely on-topic, I don't blame you, Tyrant.  In fact, from your testimony my stock in you has only risen.  Takes guts to stand up to your management and tell them they're wrong.  You were vindicated by the fact they fired you instead of listening.

 

In fact, Khoth, that's a great lesson to take away from Tyrant.  Actions always speak louder than words.

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Apologies NostrusUK,  I'll chime in here:

 

Effective communication isn't easy, nor is it easily come by.  It's one of the principal disciplines any (truly) successful person, regardless of industry, has to develop over the course of time.

 

This is because most people like to talk . . . and don't know how to listen.

 

As a result, truly "effective" communication is a full-duplex discipline that requires a great deal of practise (back-hand, fore-hand, back-hand, etc.) to develop, while, yes, also adhering to being honest, open, etc.  I won't disagree on those points at all.

 

Talking is easy.  We all like to hear ourselves talk.  We love our own ideas, passionate about our "truths".

 

Listening is sometimes much harder, particularly when there is a viewpoint that doesn't seem to match our own.

 

And I'd like to read your dissertation when it's done, if that's possible!   :D  Best of luck with that /thumbsup

Edited by Bramble

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No problem.  It's going to be really interesting to write, especially as I don't know how open developers will be to interviewing if I'm going to be questioning their methods.

 

Man, I'd love to interview Derek Smart. It would make for an interesting talk anyway!

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"So Derek, how exactly do you manage your stakeholders?"

 

*blank look, sound of crickets outside*

 

Exactly. :D I'd love to see that interview.

 

I don't really care about Star Citizen hate or his other missteps, but boy oh boy I love to see people who throw ridiculous accusations around shown fools they are. I mean I don't have specific list here, but he always talking **** about someone.

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On 4/3/2016 at 10:35 PM, Khoth said:

I'm currently in college to hopefully become a Lead Game Designer. I was wondering if you would lend some hindsight advice, you stated

How do you think, now that its in the past, that you could have preformed as a better communicator and what tips for effective communication would you give a young game designer like myself.

Effective communication can be a talent some have, but for most people it's a learned skill.  Study the mechanics (from professionals, reading, even school), and practice it a lot!

Design is, at its core, 99% communication to 1% inspiration.  Design (IMO) is about mental models that the players will enjoy discovering, along with the interactivity, timing, pacing, presentation and rewards that make up what we call game play.

Start with the outcomes you want from those you are communicating to, get into the head of the receiver of your communication and deliver communication that works for them to lead them where you want them to go.  Communication effectiveness is in the mind of the receiver of that communication.

A designer has to communicate with their leadership, with their peers, with other disciplines in development and with the players.  You don't get to the players unless you can effectively communicate to all those other constituencies.

Over time  you may realize that the best communicators are often story tellers.  They find a way to impart information or change minds through entertaining/engaging narrative.  People have been telling stories since we could only grunt and gesture, it's an innately human activity, central to who we are.

Good luck to you on your journey!  Try to enjoy the ride!

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4 hours ago, Tyrant said:

Effective communication can be a talent some have, but for most people it's a learned skill...….

Did you really just necro a thread to reply to a 2 1/2 year old posting? LOL Don't feel too bad, I have made silly mistakes like this before.

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4 hours ago, mystafyi said:

Did you really just necro a thread to reply to a 2 1/2 year old posting? LOL Don't feel too bad, I have made silly mistakes like this before.

Correction, Tyrant necroed a 2 1/2 yr old post to give good advice. Honestly, the fact he took the time to give a proper reply even knowing it was a old post just makes it more awesome.

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Thank you for the necro. I'm always interested in hearing how that mess came about, and the lessons learned by industry insiders because of it.

On 4/4/2015 at 12:52 AM, Tyrant said:

I'll start with the easy part:  The NGE was my fault.

[snip]

I participated in the early planning for the NGE, and I was told to execute it over my and many others on the SWG teams’ objections.  I failed as an effective communicator in my attempts to change this course.  In March of 2005 my boss came to Austin for a visit, and I told him I was going to refuse to move forward on the NGE development and launch.  I had assessed that it would be a breach of my fiduciary duty to do so.  I believed (and told him) that launching the planned NGE would alienate the customer base, cause at least half of them to quit and lose the company 10’s of millions of dollars.  At the same time I told him he deserved to have people that worked for him do what he said, and I was sorry I was being intransigent.  A week later I was terminated, and frankly I was never happier to be fired.  I don't blame my management, as I basically made them do it.  Being in conflict with your management is never fun, but doing something you don't believe in is worse.

From where I sat in the cheap seats, I place blame on SOE-Smed. I don't want to sling more drek at him over it, he's has plenty of it and has given a plethora of mae culpas because of it, but it was his call. Knowing the risk, you pushed back because you knew it was wrong. Others stayed on and built a "toilet in the living room", because that's what the boss was paying them to do.

Edit: No hate intended in the quote. Loving your work is important, but it comes 2nd to having work.

IMO, the biggest problem with SWG was using the SW IP. It was a huge draw of players, but it also set expectations too high, gave Lucas Arts a stakeholder position, and I presume it cost SOE to be able to use it. The game behind the IP was a good game, and the direction it was going could have made it a great game. For my part, the SW skin was irrelevant. It could have been Smurfs Online and I would have played it.

Edited by VaMei

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5 hours ago, BarriaKarl said:

Correction, Tyrant necroed a 2 1/2 yr old post to give good advice. Honestly, the fact he took the time to give a proper reply even knowing it was a old post just makes it more awesome.

The thread was inactive for 2 1/.2 years. the post replied to was 2 1/2 years old. Do you think before you write or just spit out drivel to pretend intelligence?

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I stuck through the game in its ups and downs always measuring my disdain for revamps against what they were attempting to offer. Couldn't stick it out for NGE but the new faces it brought surely liked it, and their play experience had not been tarnished like those who started at launch. I never had hard feelings about any of it, because in general SWG had always seemed like it was in a tough spot. Balance wasn't graceful and many bugs persisted through the game's life. That being said, I got my refund on Trials of Obi-Wan and looked out upon the rest of the MMO market in pity. SWG was, at least for a time, the last hope for proving the viability of sandbox games and skill-based progression systems. It's been an inordinate amount of time, but it's heartening to see these concepts explored in a serious manner once again.

 

Edited by Lightsig

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