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Just after the Austin Game Developers Conference, Jon Wood, Keith Cross, Evan Wilkinson, and Laura Genender all of MMORPG.com were given an opportunity to have a tour of the Austin, Texas offices of NCsoft. MMORPG.com site developer and graphics monkey Evan Wilkinson gives this report on the experience.
To start off, let me tell those that have never worked in, or visited a game studio what it's really like. First off, creativity and a degree of "strangeness" is not a liability. Quite the opposite in fact, it is often considered an asset. One might think of an office that develops software to be stark cubicles in an unending row with the strong flicker of fluorescent lighting accompanied by that incessant hum. This, in my experience, has never ever been the case of a game development studio. Picture if you will: A large room with many desks in it. The walls are almost completely covered with art, drawings, posters, and toys. The desks are the same as the walls: covered in paper, toys, pictures, disks, and quite often soda cans. The glow of monitors is quite often the only real source of light. When light is needed, those overhead fluorescent tubes never get used, but desk lights and the ever popular tall free standing lights shine on. Indirect light is king in this realm. It is not quiet. Usually the faint sound of music and chatter among those working hits your ears when you walk in. This is the picture of a game studio office... and NCsoft's offices in Austin, Texas fit the stereotype perfectly.
Check out the whole report here.