Psychochild on what it’s like to make a crowdfunded MMO

    
34

Camelot Unchained senior engineer Brian “Psychochild” Green has published a blog post examining his experiences on CityState’s crowdfunded RvR title. While he doesn’t offer any juicy details about CU or its systems, the piece is worth reading if you’re curious about the industry’s ongoing flirtation with open development.

Green says that crowdfunding forces developers to develop strong community ties as well as strong code, and he says that mistakes are often easier to spot than in traditional development where there aren’t thousands of players poking and prodding at an alpha state game. Green also touches on a reader question about possible burnout due to the massive amount of information typically available on crowdfunded games well prior to their release. “I know that when I relaunched Meridian 59 years ago, some of the most passionate testers showed a lot less enthusiasm for the game after it launched,” Green said. “But, there were still plenty of people who were overjoyed to play the game when we actually did launch.”

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Psychochild
Guest
Psychochild

Sinaptic As I said, I don’t know if it’s better or worse overall, but it is different.  But, as I said, being able to interact with the backers is great; you can see their enthusiasm right in these comments, even.  It’s something I’m used to during live operation of a game, but not during development, and it’s something I really love about MMO development in particular.

As to your second question, let me clarify that the demands aren’t necessarily coming from the players.  Instead, it’s an internal demand that we want to present the game in a useful state for the players to test it.  A really obnoxious bug can overshadow smaller bugs, which means those smaller bugs might not get caught as quickly we want them to.  So, a developer might prioritize fixing that larger bug sooner than he or she otherwise would if using in-house testers.

But, hopefully, fixing these bugs sooner pays dividends by making less bugs as the game approaches launch.  We’ll see if this theory is true!

Sinaptic
Guest
Sinaptic

Estranged Damonvile Psychochild 
I have to say my same experience all the same. After GW2 WvW fizzed out and a couple other MMO’s launched that didnt turn out to be good – I thought I packed it in for the genre.
But MJ was on here and talked to me and one day I sat down and went through the videos and saw how people were being treated. I jumped on and I dont regret it one bit. The clear vision and clean communication and actual accountability well like I said I dont regret one bit.

Sinaptic
Guest
Sinaptic

sry I did forget to ask my Questions

Are you enjoying the difference in the dev and how things are done or does it become tedious in a way?

Second if I may?

Do you find greater demands by the testers/funders or is that more of a psychological thing since they put money in etc VS the old method? You mentioned prioritizing more etc.

Sinaptic
Guest
Sinaptic

Psychochild Sinaptic 
Josh Forman of ArenaNet was a victim of just such a thing. Giving insight and things can get off the message and in it lies the greatness of it.

But the downside is as you say. Pointed to say the least.

dradiinmmo
Guest
dradiinmmo

Mark Jacobs dradiinmmo I was reading an article on TheEscapist talking about the potential end to computer games because of harassment i worry that maybe some of this might be influencing Devs to stay away from the community. I just wonder if that is as much of an issue as the article leads it to be (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/garwulfs-corner/14466-Why-People-Will-Leave-PC-Gaming) .

On the other hand it could end up being a crutch for some Devs to pretend that is the reason they are incommunicado.

As always i love reading about the interactions between Devs and gamers. thanks again MJ and Psychochild. 

Off to read the CU forums  ;)

SpykeDruid
Guest
SpykeDruid

DDO so fun…. I think that is one of my fav things about you as a dev. You still play for fun and you are willing to look past some things for the sake of fun.

TimothyTierless
Guest
TimothyTierless

Psychochild “Once you get too close to the details it can be hard to pull back and appreciate a game for the entertainment value.” I agree, it can be a heavy burden. I’d guess the same can be said of any skilled profession from musicians to construction, once you are too close its hard to flip the switch and view something from the POV of the average person.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

dradiinmmo Mark Jacobs Thanks! The thing is that any experienced MMO developer already knows this *if* they have followed/been part of the industry for any significant time. What I’ve always believed in, and this goes back to my AUSI days, is that it should be part of my job to interact/talk/etc. with the folks who are, one way or the other, paying our wages. You give us your hard-earned money and we should give you some of our time and effort in an honest manner. As long-time readers of my posts know, I think that if developers (of any game) are willing to take the bows/credit (even if they share them like I try to do), then they should also be willing to share the heat. It’s not an easy thing to do because it means absorbing occasional body blows, very unkind words and every so often, really nasty stuff like death threat, bomb threats, etc.

I will always treat our players this way for as long as I’m making games.  While it has hurt me in some circles (VC for example) because far too many of them want to hear/inhale pipe dreams or want less-polarizing people, I will continue to be the guy who I’ve always been. I’ll make mistakes and own up to them, I’ll share credit with the team and I won’t crow about how much I’ve done in the industry, every time I get, even when it’s true. :)

Thanks again for your kind words and support.

Psychochild
Guest
Psychochild

TimothyTierless As I wrote a few weeks ago, I still actively play 2 MMOs: FFXIV and DDO.  I’m an enthusiast as well as a professional, and I like to think that being a fan makes me a better developer as well.

To be fair, though, there are some developers who no longer play for fun.  Once you get too close to the details it can be hard to pull back and appreciate a game for the entertainment value.  There are some fine designers i know personally who aren’t enthusiasts.  Or, at least claim they aren’t….

Psychochild
Guest
Psychochild

Sinaptic Hah!  The reality is that without a strong focus on communicating with the outside world, a blog post like mine might actually violate some of the guidelines for other companies.  There was the recent story about the Nintendo writer who was fired for speaking on a podcast, for example.

After being part of online communities for so long, I’ve developed a really good sense for what is good to share and what isn’t.  At least until I get a boss angry enough to fire me! ;)