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VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

I was requested to do this thread on another discussion.

In summery:

1. Got a winter-break job play testing Avalon Hill's first computer games in Dec. 1979.

2. Designed and programmed 3 games for Avalon Hill 1980-1982.



3. Co-founded Aegis Development in 1985, designed and coded two games for the original Mac.





4. Hired by Activision in 1988 as Director of Tech, eventually VP of Technology. Did tech and UI for a few games. Want Some Rye?





5. Ran development at Lightspan and launched their PlayStation games, almost got rich when they IPO'd in 2000.

6. Mobile game stuff at Bonus Mobile (with then Wayans) and PlayScreen (I blew up pigs before Angry Birds did).







7. Launched a VR Game thing in 2017, didn't work out.

8. Did The Climate Trail in 2019 as a solo effort and gave it away.



9. Recently attempted a turnaround at a game studio owned by a company that does everything from alcoholic beverages to telemedicine.

10. What I'm up to today.

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Gatts
Jan 2, 2001

Goodnight Moon


Nap Ghost

Please explain Leisure Suit Larry. Thank you in advance.

Zapf Dingbat
Jan 9, 2001




I'm just curious about FMV. I know it's easy to laugh about it nowadays but as a kid to me it felt so exciting. What was the buzz on it from a dev standpoint? Did it feel like a flash in the pan or just how things were going to happen from then on?

I remember there was a point where the magazine ads for FMV games advertised how many CDs they used, as if it was something to be proud of. But it felt like a big deal.

I was 11 years old when Return to Zork came out and you couldn't keep me away from that game. Even though I was a dumb kid and it took me forever to actually get underground, I got pretty far without even calling the 900 number.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Gatts posted:

Please explain Leisure Suit Larry. Thank you in advance.

Didn't work on it. That was Sierra. Al Lowe is a comic genius.

My Faux Pas was LGOP2. Did the game engine and UI for that. But that lead to The Return To Zork.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Zapf Dingbat posted:

I'm just curious about FMV. I know it's easy to laugh about it nowadays but as a kid to me it felt so exciting. What was the buzz on it from a dev standpoint? Did it feel like a flash in the pan or just how things were going to happen from then on?

I remember there was a point where the magazine ads for FMV games advertised how many CDs they used, as if it was something to be proud of. But it felt like a big deal.

I was 11 years old when Return to Zork came out and you couldn't keep me away from that game. Even though I was a dumb kid and it took me forever to actually get underground, I got pretty far without even calling the 900 number.

I did the FMV code for RTZ. I started working on FMV at Aegis, on the Amiga (co-developed the ANIM IFF format). In '88 at Aegis we got this demo of a 640x480 Mac screen showing a looping Emmy statute.

The real breakthrough was the image compression stuff I worked on at Activision for the DOS version of the Manhole. Basically images broken into 4x4 pixel blocks that could contain 1, 2, 4, or 16 colors and the 'lossy' algorithm to determine that. With video the 16-color block was eliminated and replaced with "nothing changed here." Along with audio compression, we were able to stream MCGA (320x200x256 color) video from a double speed CD-ROM drive with all software on a 16mhz 386. Hence RTZ.

Funny Story: We (Activision) showed the video stuff to Apple ATG (Advanced Technology Group) in 1989. They said "why would you do this when you can control a laser disc?"

Connection: Randy Ubillos was working at a division of Mediagenic (nee Activision) when I was doing the initial digital video stuff in the late 1980's.

https://www.fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/23218-randy-ubillos-creator-of-fcp-retires-from-apple

Prof. Crocodile
Jun 27, 2020




It's pretty exciting to see a Steve Ballmer ahegao in the wild.

I do have a serious question about working at Lightspan though. IIRC they made a ton of educational games for sale directly to schools. Were those games in any way financed by public grants for specific topics or subjects, or maybe tailor-made for specific school districts based on RPFs? Or did you develop them entirely in-house and then sell them when they were done.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Prof. Crocodile posted:

It's pretty exciting to see a Steve Ballmer ahegao in the wild.

I do have a serious question about working at Lightspan though. IIRC they made a ton of educational games for sale directly to schools. Were those games in any way financed by public grants for specific topics or subjects, or maybe tailor-made for specific school districts based on RPFs? Or did you develop them entirely in-house and then sell them when they were done.

They did follow state curriculums but I’m not sure they got any grants.

Lightspan was a huge operation with hundreds of employees. Funding was mainly TCI, Comcast, Microsoft and some of the Sand Hill. Rd. VC firms.

I recall $125m in pre-IPO funding.

FYI they started on the Apple/BT settop box. That went away in 1995. We’d spent $60m on content by then. So I did an investigation and picked the Sony PlayStation over Saturn, 3DO, CDi and CD-32.

Worked with companies I knew from Activision and before. Got a dev system that only required a PC. By the summer of 1996 we had converted some of the titles.

IPO in Feb 2000 had a market cap of close to $1B. I had a decent amount of shares but the market crashed in March.

Balmer appeared in iWhack which came out as a web app for the iPhone the weekend the iPhone was released. It is considered to be the first iPhone game. I came up with the concept and co- designed the game with MyNuMo co-founder Sherri Cuono. MyNuMo became Playscreen.

https://www.pocketgamer.com/articles/003513/first-iphone-game-emerges-from-a-hole/

VideoGameVet fucked around with this message at 23:06 on Apr 26, 2021

Foxfire_
Nov 8, 2010



What does publisher actually do now that lots of games are non-disk and there's no publishing to do? Just be an investor and fund developers to make games-for-hire?

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013


What're you up to today?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Foxfire_ posted:

What does publisher actually do now that lots of games are non-disk and there's no publishing to do? Just be an investor and fund developers to make games-for-hire?

Funding, Marketing,

As to design it depends on the deal. Often the publisher will provide technology and/or content ... for example finding a narrator.

At my last position I found a narrator for a puzzle platformer,

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Discendo Vox posted:

What're you up to today?

Consulting on game marketing and design. I have applied to some game companies but as they say ...

No Consoles For Old Men

MoonshineWilly
Feb 7, 2007
Damn you, harlot! Science and I know what we're doing!

What’s up with games that still have set checkpoints as the only save option? It seems like it’s a step back from either a save state that saves your exact point in the game, or even the simple old school passwords that saved all your items but started you at a known point. Is this some kind of engine limitation or is there somebody in the industry with a hard-on for lost progress?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

MoonshineWilly posted:

What’s up with games that still have set checkpoints as the only save option? It seems like it’s a step back from either a save state that saves your exact point in the game, or even the simple old school passwords that saved all your items but started you at a known point. Is this some kind of engine limitation or is there somebody in the industry with a hard-on for lost progress?

It's easy to save exactly where you are in a game that isn't a real time play, for example in an adventure game.

Harder with something like a puzzle platformer game. For example I had a minor role with "Where's Samantha?" which was released on Steam a month or so ago (I found the narrator and marketing team). That game uses set-points because of this.

My "Climate Trail" and of course, "The Return To Zork" had save-anytime.

Ferdinand the Bull
Jul 30, 2006



Hi, I just have one question for now.

Hard at work or hardly working?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Ferdinand the Bull posted:

Hi, I just have one question for now.

Hard at work or hardly working?

Two consulting gigs:

1. Marketing for a board game on Steam and Mobile.
2. Advising a interesting MMO in development.

And some stuff related to NFT’s.

MoonshineWilly
Feb 7, 2007
Damn you, harlot! Science and I know what we're doing!

Do you see VR as the future of gaming? Or will it remain a small subgroup of games?

Interested in hearing any stories about development of a VR game.

Zarin
Nov 11, 2008

I SEE YOU


VideoGameVet posted:

Two consulting gigs:

1. Marketing for a board game on Steam and Mobile.
2. Advising a interesting MMO in development.

And some stuff related to NFT’s.

What is your take on the whole NFT thing?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

MoonshineWilly posted:

Do you see VR as the future of gaming? Or will it remain a small subgroup of games?

Interested in hearing any stories about development of a VR game.

I was a co-founder in a company called Forward Reality in 2017. We did a "hidden object" game "Edison's Lab" to pitch to Oculus (you're an apprentice in his NJ lab, fetching items etc.) but by the summer of 2017 the funding had dried up from the majors (Oculus and HTC).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aHMf3MwlLw

We even had a verbal agreement for funding of a 360 film with HTC, but sometime after E3 the taps were turned off.



Had a deal to have this shown on VR 'kiosks' in museums worldwide. But like I said, the luster on VR really fell off.

In early 2018 we pitched a game/crypto thing to people we had worked with in 2000, and ended up getting hired to work on a medical device of sorts. I was in charge of research and testing, the only job where I was actually hired to do physics (ask me about repairing a laser particle size analyzer). That ended for me in June of 2000.

So back to VR.

For some reason I still have very good eyesight (20-15) and the lag between display and head movement does make me somewhat nauseous. I did get to play some nice VR titles back then (we put the setup at the research office), Beat Sabre is a lot of fun. I'd need to check out the newer stuff to have an Intelligent conversation about the state of the art.

AR looks to be very interesting. I can't wait for this sort of future :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJg02ivYzSs

Had a AR thing in the works in 2009, BSU (Blowing S**t Up). Based on an old thing that was done in SMS in Russia called BotFighter.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Zarin posted:

What is your take on the whole NFT thing?

I'm involved. Advising a company that has the leading mobile apps for creating them and a solution that solves this issue:

https://www.dwt.com/insights/2021/03/what-are-non-fungible-tokens

“For instance, at the time, many people assumed that when applied to media assets a blockchain could act as a delivery device, to easily move digital assets around in a manner similar to cryptocurrency. In reality, blockchains are great as ledgers for tracking transactions but terrible as a storage or distribution system for digital assets of any size. The files for media assets, in particular, are just too large.

What this means is that for digital media assets, the file itself—whether a photo, a video, an eBook, or anything else—must "live" somewhere else. You can create a permanent, secured record of the asset on a blockchain, and that record can be "tied" cryptographically to the asset wherever it lives off-chain, but they do not reside together. Think of it like a library: There is a card catalog that tells you where books are located and when they are borrowed, but the books reside separately on shelves.”

“... it is important to recall that nothing about NFTs changes the fact that just as books in a library are found on the shelves, not attached to their library cards, the underlying asset for NFTs always exists somewhere else ‘off-chain.’”


The company places a digital fingerprint into the actual blockchain record, so as long as an instance of the image exists somewhere, it can be verified to be the same image that was used to create the NFT.

Game companies are very interested in jumping on the trend, one of the companies I consult with is going to do that.

MyNuMo, the company I co-founded that became PlayScreen, started out as a user-content portal for phones (ringtones, wallpapers, and videos) in 2006, allowing artists to sell their stuff via shortcake. So the idea of giving people the ability to sell digital creations has always been appealing.

wizzardstaff
Apr 6, 2018




What’s your opinion on crypto/NFTs as they relate to environmental impact and climate change? Apologies as this isn’t strictly related to your video game history, but you being involved with NFTs surprises me given the passion I’ve seen you show elsewhere for The Climate Trail.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

wizzardstaff posted:

What’s your opinion on crypto/NFTs as they relate to environmental impact and climate change? Apologies as this isn’t strictly related to your video game history, but you being involved with NFTs surprises me given the passion I’ve seen you show elsewhere for The Climate Trail.

I'm working to fix it. I've been investigating blockchains that use Proof Of Stake as opposed to Proof Of Work for some time now.

Right now a transaction on Ethereum uses about 70kwh and it takes 2 to mint a NFT. So that's 500 miles in a Tesla. It also costs a lot.

A bitcoin transaction? close to 1000kwh now. Close to 4000 miles in a Tesla. Crazy.

There are good alternatives with Binance Smart Chain using something like 1/100th or less energy than Ethereum and supporting the smart contracts that make NFT's work.

The game people realize that the costs are too high for in-game items, so they are also looking into low energy/cost stuff.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

If you came to Activision in the late 80s then you would have been around when the company went bankrupt and got bought out by Kotick yeah? What was that transition like and people in the company's feelings about it? Any big culture shifts?

CrypticFox
Dec 19, 2019

"You are one of the most incompetent of tablet writers"

What advantage does an NFT have over a conventional digital sale?

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

when you think about it...i'm the first girl you ever spent the night with



Grimey Drawer

CrypticFox posted:

What advantage does an NFT have over a conventional digital sale?

You don't have to trade anything of value with an NFT, so that's pretty cool.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Original_Z posted:

If you came to Activision in the late 80s then you would have been around when the company went bankrupt and got bought out by Kotick yeah? What was that transition like and people in the company's feelings about it? Any big culture shifts?

I was there from '88 to '94. I'm the only senior person who was in both eras (Bruce Davis and Bobby Kotick). I was Director of Technology when he came in and became VP of Tech, when I turned down an offer to run Sega's CD-ROM thing to stay at Activision.

I was drat lucky. At Aegis Development we published this Amiga game:



Well, Kotick's prior company, The Disc Company, picked it up. I also knew Bobby because his company did the word processor for the Amiga, Textcraft.

The Magnavox Patent case crashed Activision in 1990-1. Hundreds of people down to a few. Bobby came in around 1991 I recall.

Only 13 of us moved from Northern California to LA in 1992 when Activison relocated.

Even though LGOP2 had bombed, Bobby believed in our vision for The Return To Zork and that helped turn the company around. I know people don't like him, but he did right by me.

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

CrypticFox posted:

What advantage does an NFT have over a conventional digital sale?

When an NFT is created it appears on all markets, not just a centralized one.

But they need to move to a proof of stake basis, even Ethereum uses too much energy.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



So in the late 70s/early 80s, the big name in the field was Atari, right? Did you have any interesting interactions with them, or run-ins with Chris Crawford?

Also, why exactly did Activision decide to acquire Infocom, and why did they think producing new Zork titles in the 90s, only as graphical adventures, would be a good idea?

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

VideoGameVet posted:

Even though LGOP2 had bombed, Bobby believed in our vision for The Return To Zork and that helped turn the company around. I know people don't like him, but he did right by me.

Yeah, I've always gotten the impression that Kotick's bad reputation is not fully deserved. Maybe now he's known as the guy who's turned making videogames into a factory and only cares about the profits due to some choice quotes that keep getting repeated, but the guy took over a dead company and managed to completely turn it around into one of the few that survived generation after generation and is one of the biggest publishers in history. He clearly seems to know what he's doing and must care a lot about the company and videogame industry since he's been running it for so long, if he was just some suit who only cared about $$$ he probably would have taken his money and run long ago or sell it off to someone else. What were your impressions of the guy?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Fuschia tude posted:

So in the late 70s/early 80s, the big name in the field was Atari, right? Did you have any interesting interactions with them, or run-ins with Chris Crawford?

Also, why exactly did Activision decide to acquire Infocom, and why did they think producing new Zork titles in the 90s, only as graphical adventures, would be a good idea?

At Avalon Hill, 1981 or so, I was a play tester for Chris' Legionnaire game!



His book DeReAtari was THE manual for coding the Atari 800/400.

Of course I later knew him when he started the GDC. I attended the second one (the first was at Chris' house), and many of the others.

Then at Lightspan (around 1995) I actually bought in Chris for a day to consult on a game based on the Mayan economy.

I wasn't there when Activision purchased Infocom.

Activision's CEO Jim Levy pushed for this and they bought them in 1986 for $7.5 million.

Bruce Davis was the CEO when I was hired to be the director of technology in the summer of 1988.

"While relations were cordial between the two companies at first, Activision's ousting of Levy with new CEO Bruce Davis created problems in the working relationship with Infocom. Davis believed that his company had paid too much for Infocom and initiated a lawsuit against them to recoup some of the cost, along with changing the way Infocom was run."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infocom

Davis didn't fire the Infocom people at first and in one of the craziest statements told me that Joel Berez shouldn't take it personally. Infocom themselves started to do illustrated games, Shogun (based on James Clavell's book) was pretty amazing. Things between Activision and Infocom went bad for the obvious reasons. Activision closed Infocom's Boston office in 1989.

So back to me. I had pushed Davis to publish Cyan's first game, The Manhole (HyperCard) in 1988 and then got Activision to let us produce a CD-ROM of the game ... this is considered to be the first CD-ROM game.

To get this onto DOS, I took stuff that I had worked on at Aegis, and built a game engine for first-person games called MADE. We also ported this to the FM Towns and the NEC9801. I was inspired by the adventure systems of Sierra and Lucas Arts, but wanted to go with Cyan's first-person click based game.

By 1991 things were pretty bleak, but with a small team we did a rather low budget game, LGOP2. All the art was hand drawn with pen and scanned in. The game was too darn easy.

As I mentioned Kotick knew me and kept me on. We finished LGOP2 in 1992 after the company moved to Los Angeles.

Bobby hired Peter Doctrow to run the studio and he hired Eddie Dombrower who had produced Earl Weaver baseball at EA. By then I had the digital video stuff working and we build The Return To Zork (RTZ). I wanted to revive Infocom so I had the logo in the game (I was the technical director and did the game engine and the UI). RTZ was a hit and helped get Activision out Bankruptcy.

It was the last title to use the logo other than "Lost Treasures of Infocom."

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Original_Z posted:

Yeah, I've always gotten the impression that Kotick's bad reputation is not fully deserved. Maybe now he's known as the guy who's turned making videogames into a factory and only cares about the profits due to some choice quotes that keep getting repeated, but the guy took over a dead company and managed to completely turn it around into one of the few that survived generation after generation and is one of the biggest publishers in history. He clearly seems to know what he's doing and must care a lot about the company and videogame industry since he's been running it for so long, if he was just some suit who only cared about $$$ he probably would have taken his money and run long ago or sell it off to someone else. What were your impressions of the guy?

Bobby believed in my vision for a story-based real-actor adventure game. So I owe him.

One reason I left in 1994 was (so Ironic) that Activision didn't want to continue with the deep puzzle interface and NPC interactions of RTZ and instead wanted to go with a Myst type game.

Ironic since myself (and Sherry Whitely) pushed the company to publish Cyan's first title, The Manhole.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



What was the transition from floppy disk/tape games like when it moved into the CD era? What were you or other people thinking about distribution models then, and were people thinking about the now standard digital distribution models we have now?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

GoutPatrol posted:

What was the transition from floppy disk/tape games like when it moved into the CD era? What were you or other people thinking about distribution models then, and were people thinking about the now standard digital distribution models we have now?

Yeah, I went thru cassette to floppy to CD to Digital.

The transition from floppy to CD was a big deal because it allowed us to do so much more imagery and audio. 1000x more. I started to work on optical disc stuff at Aegis and one of the reasons I was hired by Activision in 1988 was to make something significant happen in this tech. The first week I was there I asked the VP what the box of mac floppies was and he told me it was a hypercard thing by two brothers in Texas.

That was The Manhole by Cyan.

When digital happened the big deal was the explosion in titles. Not immediately on mobile, before Apple took control away from the carriers, they would curate the titles and there would be a limited number of them.

But soon after the app stores happened it all went ballistic.

VideoGameVet fucked around with this message at 03:40 on May 2, 2021

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

VideoGameVet posted:


To get this onto DOS, I took stuff that I had worked on at Aegis, and built a game engine for first-person games called MADE. We also ported this to the FM Towns and the NEC9801. I was inspired by the adventure systems of Sierra and Lucas Arts, but wanted to go with Cyan's first-person click based game.

Huh, I'm surprised to hear that you directly worked on the Japanese PC ports, I would have assumed those would be farmed out to a Japanese studio. What about the console ports of RTZ? Also, why was it ported to PC-FX of all things?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Original_Z posted:

Huh, I'm surprised to hear that you directly worked on the Japanese PC ports, I would have assumed those would be farmed out to a Japanese studio. What about the console ports of RTZ? Also, why was it ported to PC-FX of all things?

One the NEC 9801 we had to get the digital audio stuff I had done to work. On the FM Towns it was a 32k color version, just beautiful. Special versions of the MADE system. FM Towns was my favorite PC of the era.









Activision had a office in Tokyo. One of the engineers there located a puppet troupe to do the voices. Mac's were used to create the Kanji text images. All the coding was in the USA.

I participated in the negotiations for both versions. Audio and Text could be independently switched from Japanese and English.

In the Fujitsu (FM Towns) negotiations I told the VP of Activision Pacific to ask for a crazy amount of $$$ due to the prestige ... and we got it. Years later I found out that titles like "Dungeon Master" only got half.

The NEC 9801 version was sold by a book company, Tokyo Shoseki. They did a magnificent package:







We supplied images, audio for the PC Engine versions, but I wasn't involved in that so much.

I think the years when I was working on this (88-90), traveling to Japan etc, were some of the best times I have ever had in the industry.

Vegetable
Oct 22, 2010



If you had the choice, would you want to be developing games at an AAA studio like Rockstar or Ubisoft now? Are there particular skillsets or qualities that you would need to acquire?

VideoGameVet
May 14, 2005

It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion. It is by the juice of Java that pedaling acquires speed, the teeth acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my bike in motion.

Vegetable posted:

If you had the choice, would you want to be developing games at an AAA studio like Rockstar or Ubisoft now? Are there particular skillsets or qualities that you would need to acquire?

I'm management really. I think I'm kinda out of the AAA space because I spent the last 16 years in mobile ... mainly casual.

I have the management skills, but the companies want someone who has produced some titles of note.

In 2018 I came close to being hired for a CTO position at a once great MMO company in trouble. Had a few voice interviews. That was sort of a "you'd have to be nuts to try and turn this around" job. I was friends with the person who had run this before it tumbled into bad times and had a lot of insider info. Of course I took a "you'd have to be nuts to try and turn this around" job last August with the expected outcome.

There's a new MMO startup 5 miles from where I live, I know the people (good) but they want someone who has worked on MMO's.

My best bet would be a mobile/casual/educational game company.

Funny tale, there's a big educational game company in the LA area ... 100's of employees. They were looking for a head of strategy in 2017 so I fired off the resume and mentioned that I get credit for the strategy (switch from cable set-top boxes to the PlayStation and the management of all that) with endorsement from the founder of that company ... that took Lightspan to close to a $1B IPO. Didn't get it. Found out senior management were kinda in a cult we all know.

If I wanted to work for a AAA as a coder, I had better know Unreal and/or Unity really well and have some credits to my name.

Earwicker
Jan 6, 2003



VideoGameVet posted:

I was drat lucky. At Aegis Development we published this Amiga game:



man i loving loved this game as a kid. i was terrible at it, always crashing freighters when i tried to park them and just making really bad business decisions from the getgo but hey, i was like 8 and i found it a more enjoyable way of "seeing the world" than carmen sandiego anyway. never made it to a point where i got to play with the nicer ships

my question is: what was most embarassing launch in video games history? is it still daikatana? has it been eclipsed by cyberpunk or no mans sky or star citizen? is there some big failed launch that never even fully made it and only industry insiders know about it?

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Earwicker posted:

my question is: what was most embarassing launch in video games history? is it still daikatana? has it been eclipsed by cyberpunk or no mans sky or star citizen? is there some big failed launch that never even fully made it and only industry insiders know about it?

Well, E.T. for the Atari 2600 was so bad it nuked the entire industry: nearly everyone in the US lost their jobs, and it was years before it started to recover. The company buried hundreds of thousands of unsold cartridges in the desert, encased in cement. That's pretty hard to top.

mercenarynuker
Sep 10, 2008

i am the bruce of the willis


Don't forget the saga of Duke Nukem Forever, which I have played and beaten for some insane reason

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Killswitch
Feb 25, 2009


Did you ever work on Little Big Adventure or Twinsens Odyssey? I vaguely recall those being activision titles in the 90s as a kid and I played the poo poo out of those two.

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