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Horizons: Dev Profile: David Bowman

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Our series of developer pofile Q&As continues today with one of the most polarizing figures in this genre: David Bowman. The lead creative force behind Horizons answers some questions on his past, present and future.




MMORPG.com: David, you are a well known name in the industry and obviously quite controversial in some circles. What reaction do you have to those who react strongly against you?

David Bowman: Critics exist in every entertainment industry. I personally listen to them but do not let them sway me from what I need to do in order to make entertaining worlds happen. I have made mistakes, and I'm sure I will make mistakes again in the future. Every decision that I have made has been based on a desire to build these worlds with a talented team. I have successfully launched these worlds while others have tried and failed. My contributions to them have made them more entertaining. I have often had people who did not know who I was mention their favorite experience in Horizons or Asheron's Call and they were elements that would not have existed if I had not kept moving forward. One lesson that I'm still working on, is to not prematurely share my excitement about some aspect of Horizons until it has had enough testing to make sure it will reach the audience.

You can read the full article here.

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

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Comments

  • DoomReaperDoomReaper InvernessPosts: 143Member

    Nice read, fairly short overall but expansive answers to the questions. I look forward to reading developer profile Q&As with other Horizons developers in the future ::::19::

  • KhoalKhoal College Station, TXPosts: 84Member

    Interesting read.  Didn't know much about Bowman's pre-MMO days.  Definitely looking forward to seeing more profiles.

    (Here's hoping this thread doesn't take any downward turns.image)

  • gopher65gopher65 Saskatoon, SKPosts: 46Member
    Who here finds it weird that David worked with blind people in 3rd world countries before becoming a developer? image That's one heck of a career change LOL
  • CopelandCopeland Overland Park, KSPosts: 1,955Member

    "I met with the team at Artifact Entertainment at E3 and was convinced by Rick Simmons that the server technology was what I was looking to find. I was hired in May 2001 to bring their project Horizons: Empires of Istaria live in November, which is when they had budgeted and scheduled completion.

    I will leave the details of that experience for a book."

    HAHAHAHA yeah i'm sure he will.. Let's just gloss over the theft of a game , the backstabbing of the creator and his running the game into its current position.

    This guy is one amazing asshole.

  • boeskyleboeskyle Somewhere, ORPosts: 114Member

    No downward turn, but just clarifications.  I am disappointed, but not surprised by this interview.  At least it is formatted properly.

    David Bowman: My official title is CEO and Creative Director. . . .  This time, Jason Murdick worked with me in the evenings, doing much of the monster creation.  

    [later]

    Chris Tulumello, who had been contracting with Artifact Entertainment, agreed to acquire the assets of Artifact Entertainment as long as the core team was kept intact.

    Please, again, clarify Chris Tulumello's role in his own company, Tulga Games, that bought the net assets of Artifact Entertainment (net after the Bankruptcy court discharged certain liabilities).  Did the owner elevate the prior leader of the bankrupt company to run his own company?  You see, www.tulgagames.com is in a perpetual state of . . . . nothingness without such details.

    Hope to see more on Jason Murdick in the future though.

    I was interested in doing a MMP where players could change the world, not just their characters.

    Soon, I hope, Horizons will have that feature.

    Oh, did the staff of mmorpg.com find a new reviewer for Horizons?  Time's a ticking away between all of these "projects" with Tulga Games and Horizons.

  • AldaronAldaron Fort Worth, TXPosts: 1,048Member

    Speaking of Horizons...Who was that original idea fellow. The one that created the whole schmill of the game.

    The one that they backstabbed, overthrew, then tore out about every page of his idea's and created this debauchery?

    "Fear not death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal."

  • ungrimagrolungrimagrol Appleton, WIPosts: 153Member

    Thanks for your work in getting word about this charming game out there for people to see.  The polarized responses you will get here truly are a mirror of the love/hate relationship this game and the Tulga CEO have long received from the gaming public.  I believe this is because the unfolding saga of Horizons is every bit as addictive to watch as the game is to play; it is impossible to put the popcorn down and go do something else, as we see here time and again.

    I hope that people will take advantage of the free trial and find out which side of the love/hate divide they land on!  Meanwhile the game grows, and the community works with the developers to create a cool game.

  • TrumboTrumbo Fayettevile, NCPosts: 20Member

    deleted by me

  • Sanctus_MorsSanctus_Mors N. Bay, CAPosts: 597Member

    Copeland, your on the money with that. Man if anyone reads the Story of Artifact Entertainment (http://webz.us/hz/htm/wrh.htm) it's amazing that Mr. Bowman pulled the very thing that his predicessor, James Jones, did to the Original Mind behind Horizons, David Allen.

    I hate office politics. Espcially when they ruin something that could have been better.

    Here's one to you, Allenimage

    your arguement is so persuasive, so filled with knowledge and insight. You back up your argument very articulately, with suggestions of improvements and raising examples to glorify your position....oh wait, you didn't

  • TrumboTrumbo Fayettevile, NCPosts: 20Member


    Originally posted by Sanctus_Mors
    Copeland, your on the money with that. Man if anyone reads the Story of Artifact Entertainment (http://webz.us/hz/htm/wrh.htm) it's amazing that Mr. Bowman pulled the very thing that his predicessor, James Jones, did to the Original Mind behind Horizons, David Allen.
    I hate office politics. Espcially when they ruin something that could have been better.
    Here's one to you, Allenimage


    Name one thing David Allen finished that was worth the code to blast it to vaporware heaven. He started project after project that was never finished. If he had been doing his job, there is no way his backers would have taken the game away from him.

  • Jd1680aJd1680a Portland, ORPosts: 398Member

    If I remember David Bowmen didnt just leave Turbine, he got fired for cheating his way up the ladder.

    Horizons need to replace the current CEO and creative director someone who is experience at what they are doing.

    Have played: CoH, DDO EQ2, FFXI, L2, HZ, SoR, and WW2 online

  • gopher65gopher65 Saskatoon, SKPosts: 46Member

    http://www.pharaoh-productions.com/phpbb/public/index.php?sid=3925c9755b57b16f6f4c08a1f3a66ea1

    Go there. That is David Allens latest company that he drove into the ground. Search for posts by "Requnix" (he is DA). On the Pharaoh-productions boards DA talks a little about horizons. Know what he has to say? He says that he was making 10000 a month and driving a porche, and that the reason his concept of HZ didn't succeed was that the people working for him weren't willing to work 20 hours a day for free. Yes that's right, he expected them to work for free (yes he actually said this).

    David Allen then goes on to say that the whole problem with the MMOG industry is that companies like Blizzard actually PAY their employees, and therefore those employees are unable to work for $0 for people like David Allen.

    DA is a total nutjob. I could not believe it when I read that post. He's gone over the edge into woo-woo land.

  • PaladinPaladin Baltimore, MDPosts: 15Member

    I don't have any personal feeling towards Mr. Bowman, one way or the other. As a gamer, however, he's definitely on my "devs not to trust" list. The Horizons beta test left a very bad taste in my mouth... we worked hard to provide useful feedback, to point out the obvious problems (not just the bugs, but also the game-play and design issues) that were built into the game. They were many, and some were crippling.

    In return, we got a lot of "spin" from DB. This thing would be fixed in production, that thing would show up shortly after release... the whole thing was a mess. In the forums, I was one of the few saying, "look, he's not going to put out a game that sucks. That doesn't make any sense, financially or otherwise." As it turns out, I was very wrong. He did put out a game that sucks, and... well, the bankruptcy speaks for itself.

    The long and the short of it is this - the original Horizons had hella potential, and built a very loyal follower base because of that potential. DB took this game in a different direction, fulfilling his own vision of what the game should be. The end result proves that his vision is sorely lacking. For that reason alone, I won't be giving any game he's directly involved in producing a second glance. He's got a proven track record, and it's not a good one.

  • D0ZeRD0ZeR Sterling Heights, MIPosts: 489Member



    Originally posted by gopher65

    http://www.pharaoh-productions.com/phpbb/public/index.php?sid=3925c9755b57b16f6f4c08a1f3a66ea1
    Go there. That is David Allens latest company that he drove into the ground. Search for posts by "Requnix" (he is DA). On the Pharaoh-productions boards DA talks a little about horizons. Know what he has to say? He says that he was making 10000 a month and driving a porche, and that the reason his concept of HZ didn't succeed was that the people working for him weren't willing to work 20 hours a day for free. Yes that's right, he expected them to work for free (yes he actually said this).
    David Allen then goes on to say that the whole problem with the MMOG industry is that companies like Blizzard actually PAY their employees, and therefore those employees are unable to work for $0 for people like David Allen.
    DA is a total nutjob. I could not believe it when I read that post. He's gone over the edge into woo-woo land.




    Talk about over stating things. Yet it is ok for Bowman to make 10k a month and pay his devs way under pay scale. Isn't that asking people that work for you to work for nothing? One thing we can say for sure Allen never lied to his player base.

    I wasn't going to comment on this interview only because it is just another attempt by Bowman to change how he wants to be remembered. Sad part is he left out so much about what really went down and why he had to leave Turbine (was fired).

    Wonder why he never brings up the real problems with the game. Like the still going on crashes, memory leaks and ect. is it really in his best interest to keep ignoring them? I would have loved to hear a question like, "Why do you keep having so many monthly contests? Are the pops that low?". Or can you you release the real sub numbers so we can see how well or bad the game is doing? I could come up with 50 great questions that should be asked of him. Sad this will never happen.

    Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
    Bruce Lee

  • DoomReaperDoomReaper InvernessPosts: 143Member


    Originally posted by Sanctus_Mors
    Copeland, your on the money with that. Man if anyone reads the Story of Artifact Entertainment (http://webz.us/hz/htm/wrh.htm) it's amazing that Mr. Bowman pulled the very thing that his predicessor, James Jones, did to the Original Mind behind Horizons, David Allen.
    I hate office politics. Espcially when they ruin something that could have been better.
    Here's one to you, Allenimage

    Ooh ! Yet another person links to a one-sided story written by David Allen !

    Well I guess I'm sensible. I don't believe a word of it, and I won't even begin to try and pick through what's true and what's not until I've read this 'book' that David Bowman mentioned that he might write in the future. Only once I've seen both sides of the story will I actually be in a position to make any relatively accurate assumptions.

    Do yourself a favour mate, see if you can learn both sides of the story before placing your faith in an article that David Allen confessed on his forums to writing out of frustration. Oh and while you're at it, when you're spreading the link, add a disclaimer clarifying that the story you're linking to is only David Allen's description of events.

    Well it was bound to happen, as with anything about David Bowman people flock in ready to pick at a bit of the carrion. Personally I judge Bowman on the mistakes I have witnessed him make, not the mistakes that some ex-employee of Turbine said Bowman made, not the mistakes that some wannabe game designer says Bowman has made. He's made mistakes, but since everyone's too busy believing whatever BS they're fed, they've missed the actual mistakes that DB has made, and of course they're always willing to completely and entirely overlook any of the positive things that David Bowman has done.

    "Is it human nature to be biased, biggoted, prejudiced, selfish and narrow-minded ? I see these traits a lot on the Internet. Fortunately when I deal with people in real life they attempt to disguise such traits if they exist at all."

  • D0ZeRD0ZeR Sterling Heights, MIPosts: 489Member
    Well I hope if Bowman writes this book he can come up with documents that can show how the docs on that site aren't true. Also if you read the article it isn't one sided it is a very detailed look at exactly what happened and with documents to back it up along with other peoples statements. It just isn't Da talking and telling his story.

    Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
    Bruce Lee

  • KlausWKlausW Denver, COPosts: 165Member


    Originally posted by Sanctus_Mors
    it's amazing that Mr. Bowman pulled the very thing that his predicessor, James Jones, did to the Original Mind behind Horizons, David Allen.
    I hate office politics. Espcially when they ruin something that could have been better.
    image

    David Allen's design may or may not have done well; we'll never know, because he never actually produced anything but empty promises to his fans and investors. It wasn't David Bowman that took the company away from him, it was the investors on his board of directors. They had entrusted their money to David Allen and were totally justified in canning his slacker backside & turning everything over to someone who could actually deliver a product.

    Horizons may not be the game people wanted; it may not be the game the development team wanted. It has problems, it needs more subscribers, and any current player could give you a list of things they'd like to see improved.

    But it's up and running, due to persistance & hard work on the part of David Bowman and the AE/TG dev team. The issues are being addressed, conditions are improving , content is being added, and subscriber numbers are up as new people come in and old players return. The game is still alive and is on the road to recovery.

    Nothing with David Allen's name on it can even say that much - but then, his abject failure both as a designer and a business manager speaks volumes.

    Guildleader, Mithril Council, Chaos

  • TecknowolfTecknowolf Loveland, COPosts: 5Member


    Originally posted by Paladin
    I don't have any personal feeling towards Mr. Bowman, one way or the other. As a gamer, however, he's definitely on my "devs not to trust" list. The Horizons beta test left a very bad taste in my mouth... we worked hard to provide useful feedback, to point out the obvious problems (not just the bugs, but also the game-play and design issues) that were built into the game. They were many, and some were crippling.In return, we got a lot of "spin" from DB. This thing would be fixed in production, that thing would show up shortly after release... the whole thing was a mess. In the forums, I was one of the few saying, "look, he's not going to put out a game that sucks. That doesn't make any sense, financially or otherwise." As it turns out, I was very wrong. He did put out a game that sucks, and... well, the bankruptcy speaks for itself.The long and the short of it is this - the original Horizons had hella potential, and built a very loyal follower base because of that potential. DB took this game in a different direction, fulfilling his own vision of what the game should be. The end result proves that his vision is sorely lacking. For that reason alone, I won't be giving any game he's directly involved in producing a second glance. He's got a proven track record, and it's not a good one.


    I agree with you Paladin, and I also was one of the vocal people during beta that said same things as you. I was greatly let down when I looked at the game several months after release and very few of the fixes were done. But, in his defense, losing a magority of his funding meant losing many graphics people and programmers. To this day half the world is non existent and mobs are still scarce. But he has gotten dragons Ancient Rite of Passage, made the first game where players could play as a dragon, and made the best crafting system in a MMO.

    I myself am designing a MMO and starting a prototype to gain funding and trying to duplicate his crafting system. Well, with a bit less tedium to it.

    I still think they need to make one server where it is pvp, with dragons also pvp, and make a few buildings designed for pvp like guard towers and gates/doors. Never could figure out why no doors, must be a programming thing.

  • TecknowolfTecknowolf Loveland, COPosts: 5Member


    Originally posted by KlausW
    Originally posted by Sanctus_Mors
    it's amazing that Mr. Bowman pulled the very thing that his predicessor, James Jones, did to the Original Mind behind Horizons, David Allen.
    I hate office politics. Espcially when they ruin something that could have been better.
    image

    David Allen's design may or may not have done well; we'll never know, because he never actually produced anything but empty promises to his fans and investors. It wasn't David Bowman that took the company away from him, it was the investors on his board of directors. They had entrusted their money to David Allen and were totally justified in canning his slacker backside & turning everything over to someone who could actually deliver a product.

    Horizons may not be the game people wanted; it may not be the game the development team wanted. It has problems, it needs more subscribers, and any current player could give you a list of things they'd like to see improved.

    But it's up and running, due to persistance & hard work on the part of David Bowman and the AE/TG dev team. The issues are being addressed, conditions are improving , content is being added, and subscriber numbers are up as new people come in and old players return. The game is still alive and is on the road to recovery.

    Nothing with David Allen's name on it can even say that much - but then, his abject failure both as a designer and a business manager speaks volumes.



    I am in agreement about this. My knowledge isn't extensive but from the various posts and links which I have yet to read all of them I say give David Bowman a chance. The game is not bad, game design is pretty decent actually and had he been able to finish it could have been really fun. As my previous post, he has been hamstrung due to finances. I am not however saying he was without guilt or malice. Just that he is doing what he said, still attempting to finish the game and fix bugs. Look at shadowbane, it is buggy to this day and even though they add expansions the game play to me hasn't improved where as Horizons has.

  • gopher65gopher65 Saskatoon, SKPosts: 46Member



    Originally posted by D0ZeR



    Originally posted by gopher65

    http://www.pharaoh-productions.com/phpbb/public/index.php?sid=3925c9755b57b16f6f4c08a1f3a66ea1
    Go there. That is David Allens latest company that he drove into the ground. Search for posts by "Requnix" (he is DA). On the Pharaoh-productions boards DA talks a little about horizons. Know what he has to say? He says that he was making 10000 a month and driving a porche, and that the reason his concept of HZ didn't succeed was that the people working for him weren't willing to work 20 hours a day for free. Yes that's right, he expected them to work for free (yes he actually said this).
    David Allen then goes on to say that the whole problem with the MMOG industry is that companies like Blizzard actually PAY their employees, and therefore those employees are unable to work for $0 for people like David Allen.
    DA is a total nutjob. I could not believe it when I read that post. He's gone over the edge into woo-woo land.



    Talk about over stating things. Yet it is ok for Bowman to make 10k a month and pay his devs way under pay scale. Isn't that asking people that work for you to work for nothing? One thing we can say for sure Allen never lied to his player base.

    I wasn't going to comment on this interview only because it is just another attempt by Bowman to change how he wants to be remembered. Sad part is he left out so much about what really went down and why he had to leave Turbine (was fired).

    Wonder why he never brings up the real problems with the game. Like the still going on crashes, memory leaks and ect. is it really in his best interest to keep ignoring them? I would have loved to hear a question like, "Why do you keep having so many monthly contests? Are the pops that low?". Or can you you release the real sub numbers so we can see how well or bad the game is doing? I could come up with 50 great questions that should be asked of him. Sad this will never happen.


    Actually DOZeR (why did you use capital letters in your name BTW, I strongly dislike it when people do that:P. Off topic, sorry hehe), if you actually GO TO THE LINK I PROVIDED, you can see what David Allen said for yourself.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    I did not overstate it in any way. In fact, what I said is an almost verbatim quote (IE, paraphase;)) of David Allen (both from his article where he states what his salary was while he worked for AE, and from his official forums).

  • KhoalKhoal College Station, TXPosts: 84Member



    Originally posted by gopher65

    ...
    Actually DOZeR (why did you use capital letters in your name BTW, I strongly dislike it when people do that:P. Off topic, sorry hehe), if you actually GO TO THE LINK I PROVIDED, you can see what David Allen said for yourself.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
    ...




    After a little searching on DA's Pharoah Productions site (which was shut down in 2004, with nothing really to show for it other than some game called DEMISE), I discovered some interesting things in those forums.

    Made things a lot clearer.

  • D0ZeRD0ZeR Sterling Heights, MIPosts: 489Member
    Can you show links to these things you say he stated. By the way I have posted over there and I never seen anything like that, so please bring up some proof of what you state. Also do you really think I care what you think about my nick. Great community HZ has all they do is attack any way they can.

    Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
    Bruce Lee

  • kpartonkparton WolvesPosts: 104Member
    The shit that went on with horizons when it was being developed miffed me off, and infact it still does now so stop making me talk about it.....
  • YasicYasic flatwoods, KYPosts: 10Member
    i have always been happy with horizons in general as far as the concepts were concerned.  i am glad to see that this game is back on it's feet and progressing at a reasonable pace.  i was worried for a long time about it's future :)  The game can't really get any worse than it has been so let's see what bowman and crew will do yes?
  • XanderZaneXanderZane Glendale, AZPosts: 226Member

    I read about 1/2 of the article as I could really care less as to what David Bowman did in his younger years. Yes, he was able to deliver a product (if you could call it that), but it was total crap upon release.  Yes, David Allen wasn't able to deliver anything himself, but we'll never know if it would have been good or bad. We know what D.B. has given us is BAD. Oh the game has improved a bit, but because it was so awful upon release, it couldn't get much worse. Much of the lag started to go away after 95% of the people left the game. You can't expect much lag if hardly anyone is on the servers. There are people who will still play this game, hoping for vast improvements; but the game will never be considered a success. Like Shadowbane and AC2, it will be seen as a failure from everyone who isn't playing it anymore.

    Xander

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