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General: Jess Lebow: Got Game... Demo?

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

In this week's tale of MMO development, Jess Lebow gives us a look at the high pressure world of press demos from the developer perspective. He tells us the tale of a round of high stakes interviews that he was a part of during a trip to Manhattan to show off Pirates of the Burning Sea, providing us with a rare inside look at the other side of the press demo coin.

We had scheduled some time for lunch between meetings, which we instead used to run to the local electronics store and buy a new laptop. That accomplished, we still needed to put the client on the new machine, which was going to take some time.

Our next appointment was with Newsweek, so we made our way to the tiny, stark marble lobby of their high-rise building, sat down on the floor, and got to work. Now remember, this was only a few years after September 11th, and New York was still on high alert. They didn’t really take too kindly to a couple of guys with a bunch of high-tech equipment camping out in their lobby and poking wires into things. And we were asked, politely but firmly, to “please leave.”

Read more here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

Comments

  • shavashava Somerville, MAPosts: 282Member Uncommon

    About 20 years ago, I had a student working for me at MIT, and I gave him the job of setting up a new computer.  As he surfaced from the tangle of cords, he asked, "How senior do you have to be to stop crawling under desks in this business."  Everyone in the office just laughed...

    Still crawling under desks, nearly 30 years later!  (And really, I've never learned to like it, but at least now people don't expect me to wear pantyhose while I do it...)

     

    Yrs,

    Shava

  • SamhaelSamhael Huntsville, ALPosts: 696Member Uncommon

    Good article -- made me smile.  It's hard as hell to really sum up a job in a description and most jobs that you actually *can* do that properly are really boring.  I'm career IT and my job description changes on a weekly basis. :)

  • ArmEagleArmEagle GroningenPosts: 36Member

    Great article.

    I actually kinda like crawling under desks and setting up my PC though. I guess it's kinda a second nature now, having visited quite some LAN parties and still going to a few every year.

    It's nice to read a little bit about the history of PotBS too.

  • MordacaiMordacai Atlanta, GAPosts: 309Member

    Wow man that's sounds just as fun as our 1st ever presentation at DragonCon last year for FOA....what a mess, missing badges..can't find the contact...cell phone dead..shift of presentation slides...overrunning our alloted time since we were late due to the badge issue.. :D 

    Luckily for us, your CEO Russ at Pirates had his presentation just after us, that was a close one and he was cool with it. We stayed and had some conversations with your guys just after....good pointers for us for this year since we're heading back on the road...

     

    Cheers for the article..

  • NevulusNevulus Miami Beach, FLPosts: 1,288Member Uncommon

    Now this is a great "behind the scenes of the MMO industry" type article I look forward to reading. Great job. These are the stories and on-goings that you just dont get to read on the publishers website, or companies main site.

    Cheers. Keep em coming.

  • mukinmukin Great Falls, VAPosts: 79Member

     I've spent almost 20 years in software sales ('enterprise' software, in my case) and this blog gives me flashbacks.  I've been in a sub-basement at 3am, I've been in a trailer in the dead of winter, and I've even once spent 70 straight hours (no sleep) getting ready for a demo.  It all makes you appreciate your 'regular' work that much more.  And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  • DeeweDeewe Long Beach, CAPosts: 1,965Member

     Thanks that was  good read and memories... ;)

  • sadeyxsadeyx leicesterPosts: 1,553Member

    hmm, I understand what your saying in this article Jess,  but I think you will find that in any job you need to do things which dont exactly come under your job description.  Its certainly not a special requirment of a dev.

    What amazes me is that a dev team will literally bend over backwards to show off their product to prospective publishers, fixing any problem immediatly, but when the game is released and there is a public out cry about  some feature which they feel mislead over,  the devs are nowhere to be seen "too busy to comment", where is your resourcefullness then?  why are paying customers not treated the same ?  why are they so low class and useless that they dont deserve to suddenly have something prioritised?

    Guildwars "alliance battles" is a classic example.  Everyone was excited for months and months about forming an alliance and fighting other alliances...   only to realise that it was nothing of the sort!  it was a battle between randomly selected people who could barley even communicate with each other...  Even today, Alliance battles have nothing to do with alliances.

    Also in guildwars we screamed and screamed for years about storage space..  only now I see extra storage has been given.  Yes there were other requests which were fixed, and Areanet were very good at responding to certain things,  But the biggest and most obvious problems appear to be ignored.

    Its not just guildwars, Every mmo i play has the same problem... Eve online, Vanguard, AoC, to name but a few where I have painful memories.

    Yes, devs eventually 'get around to it' but usually this is only because they suddenly realise everyone has stopped playing and its a bit too late.

    Sorry Jess, nothing personal.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Originally posted by sadeyx


    What amazes me is that a dev team will literally bend over backwards to show off their product to prospective publishers, fixing any problem immediatly, but when the game is released and there is a public out cry about  some feature which they feel mislead over,  the devs are nowhere to be seen "too busy to comment", where is your resourcefullness then?  why are paying customers not treated the same ?  why are they so low class and useless that they dont deserve to suddenly have something prioritised?

     

    It's been like this since 2004, when the champion of MMORPGs came out, when no other dev/title could pull off what this one MMORPG did... get them off the other games to come on their game and keep them there. You see it's very funny... I don't really wanna give credit to Blizzard because I have some gripes but when you look at other games (which I have tried and tried to play) you just can't get away from the fact that: Blizzard gets the job done. But why? Simply because they don't go around months and months before the release of a product to advertise the crap out of the "amazing features" while only showing the candy.

    Most MMORPGs of 2004-2009 have failed because of technical issues. Everyone on every forum I have seen on AoC, for instance, was banishing this game from their mind because of the technical issues... you just couldn't play this game right it was way too bugged for way too many people. We're not in 1997 anymore, people could live through EverQuest bugs... why? Because the game was special, unique, if you wanted to quit because you weren't satisfied... but still wanted a 3d experience, you couldn't... there was nothing else. People now want end products as advertised and sadly, devs will do anything to show all the "GREAT STUFF" this title has to offer yet in their minds, wishing to god it "doesn't crash like it usually does". And what happens, the "low class" customer actually gets awful end product or a release candidate and SOMETIMES, a BETA...

    This is why I will always respect Blizzard, they made their money. They don't need to beg over a publisher that we all know ;) WILL rush them into release. Trust me I know how hard it is to a publisher to release late but hell, if the title looks promising, and people are getting hyped, what's the difference in offering a crappy build now or later really? If the hype's killed now or later, you'll still quit.

    I enjoyed reading this article and hope I am not too off-topic. 

    Mike.

     

  • DeathTrippDeathTripp Orlando, FLPosts: 263Member

    Decent article. Cool.

    -----------------------------
    Real as Reality Television!!!

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