Jeff Freeman was my right hand man for 6 years. He was the straight man to my lunacy, someone who balance out my development ideas. We were a great team together.
He was one of the best developers I’ve ever worked with as well as a good friend. Through thick and thin on Galaxies, launch, Jedi, JTL, NGE, Expansions and Live.
It’s hard to know what else to say other than he’ll be sorely missed.
First, I’ll try and do some more of these answers at a later time. I saw this stuff dragging so I posted what I had already written.
I’ll try to get more of this done, but until things settle down a bit, this is what I’ve got.
Additionally, ot seems that some of you might be disappointed that I’m not going into gory details, or casting newfound light on events.
I will talk about how I perceive things, but in a general sense. I will talk about my feelings about some aspects of history.
Those of you wanting names, specifics, laser focused blame or exacting details.. Well.. I’ve got nothing for you. Not only do I not remember a lot of stuff to the level of detail that you guys expect, in a lot of ways, it’s not appropriate for me to post here.
I will talk about how I felt about things and my perspective. Under no circumstances will I point fingers or pillory anyone.
If this is unacceptable, I apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that maybe, somehow, it might be time to move on.
Here are a few cherry picked questions, rewritten to be answerable by me.
“How is working for SOE for a developer ?”
Kick ass actually.
I worked there for almost 6 years and got to work with some of the best people I have ever worked with A great experience.
I left, not because of anything they did, but because I had been working with the same people for a long time.
Figure >10 years with the Austin crowd. Mix in the time at SOE and I felt too complacent, too comfortable.
A complacent designer is a scary thing. So, I left and moved overseas, looking for a new challenge.
“Is it hard to develop a game such SWG with so much interferences from Lucasarts? ”
Lucasarts was the most pleasant IP owner I have ever worked with. Professional, fast, concise, and willing to bend over backwards to make sure we could do what we wanted to do.
Plus, all of the liason’s we had on their end went out of their way to streamline the process.
Very positive relationship all-around.
“Why was there such a rush to release the NGE?”
“Who is to blame? We want Names!”
That’s not how it works.
I am proud of the work I and everyone else has done over the years since Galaxies started development.
Even though I’m not at SOE anymore I respect the work they do every single day. Some of the best game developers I have ever worked with are still at SOE.
Every day the game continues to run, every day that that SWG has someone playing is something I view as a great accomplishment, and one I’m proud to have been a part of.
So, if you want someone to blame, blame me. This isn’t about finger pointing or passing a buck.
I don’t remember specifics actually. I think it was reasonable, but we were trending down.
If you think about playstyle variances as a pendulum and use the extremes of the arc to represent playstyle differences, you can get a feel for how stagnant an area of play is at any given moment.
We saw this with UO, where one day, everyone was an archer, and the next, a mage. The less the overall oscillations, the more static everyone’s playstyle is.
With a player driven experience, playstyle monocultures are bad. Look at Ogame to see how it horks up an experience. So, CU was an attempt to whack that pendulum and get some more variance into the game.
Plus, it cleaned out a lot of the crufty bits we had put in pre-launch and made it more maintainable. “Why introduce loot and ruin crafting?”
This is an interesting design discussion. We had a curious problem where the economy was so inflationary, and so controleld by the crafters, that new players were simply unable to actually get into the game.
The items they needed were too expensive to purchase, and no manner of starting income could have fixed this.
Basically, the crafters did what they wanted, which was to control the economy.
When you’re looking for a large amount of new players coming into the game, this kind of lockdown is a problem.
We can debate the value of the change, but that was the impetus.
The decision was to comply supplant the player-driven economy, but merely to support it in parallel. The reality, well..we can talk about that later.
Once the backlash of the community, and consumers, were made known and articles in the New York Times were published how much explaining or defending did you have to do with your friends and or family who were familar with your work – how tough was it?
I go hot and cold on this one. On one hand, I’ve had to develop callouses about external exposure of my work since UO days.
I get inured to commentary about how I should be “Put into a sack and kicked to death” on the forums.
On the other hand, it can still be tough. Nobody wants to work on a game nobody likes. Nobody wants to work on a game that makes some little kid cry when he gets it for christmas.
I find it helps to be introspective on the whole thing, to see what we did wrong, what we did right, and think about how to improve future things.
It comes down to personal growth as a developer, and using mistakes we made to prevent mistakes in the future.
Do you feel that your work on SWG during the “nge” fiasco has impacted your ability to be employed in the game industry?
I’ve spoken quite frankly about these bits during interviews, so I’m not sure it’s had much of an impact.
I’m less interested in stock MMO’s, so that shift might have helped as well. So let’s go with Maybe.
Which version of the game do you personally prefer?
Jump to Lightspeed.
For the first time ever, I installed Ubuntu it seems useful.
Like I could really use this on a day to day basis.
Of course, if they really want it to be a normal person destop replacement I would recommend fixing:
1. Firefox fonts. They’re weird by default
2. Monitor detection so you can run over 640X480 by default. THIS IS A BIG DEAL
3. Nvidia driver stuff is a pain. Maybe you could default the all important control panel to on.
4. More comprehensive explanation of the theming.
5. NTFS support out of the box.
All in all though, it’s not too bad.
Beats the shit out if vista. I nuked it last night, reinstalled XP and now Ubuntu as well.