All of us love our games (I assume you do too, and that is why you are here) and most of us want exciting new games to come along. We want them fun, we want them nuanced, we want them polised. Oh, and we want them right damn now. Why does it take so long to develop a game anyway? While I suspect that most of us have ideas why games take so long, I think that most of us don’t really think about some realities that govern whether a game is polished (seemingly a large yardstick for measuring the success of a game), fun, and attractive to us. I don’t think most of us have any idea of the scope of these games or the resources required to develop or operate and manage them.
During AGDC this week during 2 separate events Blizzard Entertainment shared what they think makes them unique in this regard.
The first, a Gamasutra interview with Blizzard lead content designer Kevin Martens is relatively simple: Iteration. Taking something and playing and testing it over and over. Tweaking it and playing and testing it over and over again. I suspect that many of us would expect that this is the essence of “polish”. How can something be polished without lots of testing and lots of adjustments from what you found while testing? Of course all of this iteration costs money, so that excludes some studios who may be operating on a shoestring or are under time-pressure to release a game. It’s also clear that this is why Blizzard takes so bloodly long to get anything out.
I’ve been a fan of Gary and Ryan from MMOG nation for a while. I used to listen to their podcast back when theirs was just about the only podcast out there about MMO’s. Gary Gannon, the Gary from the aforementioned team has been semi-retired from podcasting and community in general for about a year or so.
He’s returned in a big new way with his new site GameBreakr. The new site is a combination of news, ultra-brief reviews, and something a little more experimental, Gary’s live video podcasts. At AGDC, he’s launching the site with the help from the folks over at Vivox. He’s also peppering in a lot of social networking components with his presence on Facebook and Twitter as well. It’s a little more of a 360 degree approach to an online presence than is being done elsewhere.
The tag line on the blog is “Video Game Talk You Can Trust – with Gary Gannon” The scope of the podcasts will be everything gaming from Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, and PC gaming. I’d encourage you guys to go over to the site and check it out and click the “Game Breakr Live” tab at the top to see the live podcasts during AGDC with people from the industry, and check back each day to see what he’s got going. I’ll be following this new experiment and see how it develops. It’s cool to see someone take a little more complete approach to the community.
I never met Ferdinand Morrone. This is his story…
Before he ever became the Superintendent of the New York Port Authority Police, Ferdinand Morrone had a law enforcement career that most cops would envy. Born in Brooklyn, he started his career with the New Jersey State Police in 1963, and continued his education and got his PoliSci degree from Stockton State College in 1974. He followed that up with a masters in Public Administration from Rider University in 1977.
In 1981, Justin Dintino was running the Intelligence Unit of the State Police. He recalls;
I was running the Intelligence Unit… and he was assigned to me as an investigator. He was a tremendous investigator. He was like a bulldog. I would give him the toughest cases – organized crime, solid waste, and he would always deliver the goods. … If he got on your tail, you might as well cry uncle, because he was going to get you.
One of the last cases he worked as a State Policeman was the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was one of a few dozen cops the NJSP lent to the feds to work the investigation. Morrone finished up his 30 years with the NJ State Police in 1993 and took his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel. Cops like Fred didn’t just lay about the house though. By 1996, he had taken the job as the Superintendent of the Port Authority Police, a force that is in charge of all the transportation and shipping jurisdictions in NY and NJ. Still living in New Jersey, Fred would sometimes work at his office on the first floor of the World Trade Center, or sometimes from his office in Jersey City, depending on the day.
I’ve always liked close up magic, and slight of hand. This guy is really good though. Pay special attention to how the song lyric matches the trick…