Has it really been three years already?

Posted: May 14, 2015 by Kendricke in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I brushed off the dust in here, I guess.  I’ve been working, of course.  Since my last post, I spent a couple of years at KIXEYE, then a year at Kabam.  I’m now in the process of lining up the next big thing.

In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the time to catch up on my games backlog.  I’m watching shows I missed out on.  I’m learning coding (starting with Javascript, actually).  I’m also enjoying a second paternity leave with the newest addition to my family.

I used to spend a lot of time here talking about the games I played and my guild – particularly the challenges that guildmasters face on a daily basis.  Lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing Mechwarrior Online and even Megamek/MHQ.  I guess this makes sense considering how much Battletech got me into gaming to begin with.

I’ve also been playing in the betas for World of Warships and Heroes of the Storm (and yeah, both are very fun, but in completely different ways).  Other games on the list right now include Civilization V (I’ve played an embarassingly large amount of time in Civ), Mordheim, Darkest Dungeon, and several board games (Sentinels of the Multiverse and Munchkin rule our BBQs).

Right now, the goal is to get back into the habit of writing.  Subjects I feel like exploring will likely be more related to production of games, rather than playing games.  I can imagine a few folks have ideas about what they think it’s like on this end of the table and I’d love to correct most of the myths and misperceptions.

I know there have been rumors floating around so I want to make it official:  I’m leaving Bigpoint.  I’ve accepted a great offer from KIXEYE to come onboard as a project manager for an unannounced title. The decision was particularly difficult to make, as I’d also received a competing offer from a studio I very much wanted to work for, and my wife and I simply couldn’t make the numbers work the way we wanted. I’m really going to miss my team on Battlestar Galactica Online and I’d given them nearly a full month’s notice to try to ease the transition. My last day with Bigpoint will be July 31.

I’m really looking forward to the challenges at my new studio.  KIXEYE and Bigpoint exist in the same general universe, but up till now KIXEYE has been much more oriented around Facebook titles while Bigpoint has been pushing platform agnostic browser based games.  I can’t wait till I can talk a bit more about my game, but it’s still got a ways to go in the oven and the team is already growing to help accommodate that.  What I can say is that there is enough similarities in the approach to the design to feel just familiar enough, while the game itself is different than anything I’ve worked on previously.  Should be fun.

Note:  The title refers to KIXEYE’s unorthodox recruiting posters found all over San Francisco:


Do Not Adjust Your Screen

Posted: December 4, 2011 by Kendricke in Website Related

Nothing much to see here.  I just changed up the woefully out of date theme.  Hopefully this fits a bit more now.

Hundreds of People Made this Blog Post Possible

Posted: November 28, 2011 by Kendricke in BSGO, Out of Character

Like tens of thousands of Americans, I flew home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, unlike most of those travellers, I decided not to tell my wife.  I was able to surprise her with a sudden appearance in Minnesota after being in San Francisco apart for more than two months.

I was able to do this because hundreds of people worked over the holiday – pilots, flight attendants, airport ground crews, TSA security, police, parking attendants, etc.   Even though most of America was able to take a few days off of work and enjoy the holiday with their families, this was possible only because a large segment of our population put in hours of work throughout the past several days.  On “Black Friday”, shoppers got up early and filled the stores which were open because retail staffers got up even earlier and made sure the shelves were stocked and the cashiers were ready.  In call centers around the country and beyond, customer service representatives and tech support staff worked around the clock to make sure the stores were open, problems were resolved, and issues were handled.  When I took my wife out for breakfast on Friday morning for the first time in 9 weeks, it was only because the cooks and wait staff were there to greet us and cook for us.

Of course, over the past four days, we also ran our first Nemesis Tournament in Battlestar Galactica Online.  Also, across all the servers, we ran a double experience weekend.  We also rotated multiple offers in our game for ships and munitions packages, each of which had to be manually turned on and off.   The only reason we were able to provide all of these functions over the weekend was because a segment of our development team and support staff remained available and working throughout the holiday.  While the rest of the team slept, our IT staff and support engineers were maintaining the servers, following up on alerts regarding anything which could possible impede performance.  Our QA leads were playing the game from home throughout the tournament and tracking suspicious tournament points totals.  Our Community team kept reading our forums and in-game chat throughout the weekend and made sure that team leadership was kept updated on any potential issues that players were raising.  Dozens of BSGO team members continued checking email, logging into our game, and reading our forums throughout the entire holiday.

It’s easy to overlook such care and passion from a player’s perspective.  I don’t blame our players who only point out issues.  They’re our customers.  They get to point out problems.  They don’t have to understand the amount of work that goes into fixing each problem – nor should they have to.  However, from a project manager’s perspective, I couldn’t be more proud of the team I’m on.  Though I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to fly back to Minnesota for a weekend to see my wife, I was at least as proud of the people here at Bigpoint who spent at least part of their well earned holiday making sure that our players could keep fragging each other for days on end.

Thanks, guys.  I appreciate it.

An Update:

When I last posted, I had taken a position at ohai in San Francisco and was excited about my future and the future of the company.  I was mostly right.  At Ohai, we did launch our game, Unicorn Parade.  It even pulled in a couple of generous articles in the press (like this one).  Shortly after launch, the studio was sold.

I miss the old ohais.  I had a lot of fun working in our studio up on 2nd and Bryant.  I spent several late nights there – not because I was forced to, but because I genuinely loved what I was doing.

And so while one door shuts…another one opens.  So, I’ve been here at Bigpoint San Francisco for the past few months.  I’m the new Project Manager on Battlestar Galactica Online (BSGO).  Instead of just complaining about the things I don’t like, I get to be part of the solution toward making a better game for our players.  In fact, as I write this, I’m in the middle of creating the first part of a concept document for a new system expansion in our game that I hope our designers can work from.  It’s an area of the game that could use some love and I’m pretty excited that we’re able to put some resources into this.

So, as I finally get around to dusting out the cobwebs around here, those of you who somehow manage to check this site out will see a shift toward discussions of BSGO and general development process as opposed to player-side guild dynamics (though I still play and still lead my guild…albeit with a much larger focus on delegation to a great crew of officers these days).

So, here’s hoping I can make put my money where my mouth is and just help put out a better game.  I know the players have high expectations.  It’s interesting to be on this side of the forums, at least.

Aside  —  Posted: November 21, 2011 by Kendricke in Bigpoint, Ohai, Out of Character

Gold in them thar hills

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, The Gaming Industry

It’s been some time, but I’ve finally got the time to start writing again, it seems.  What’s been going on?

In February, after two exciting, grueling, incredible, exhausting years at Activision, I took a position as a producer at ohai, a start up in San Francisco.  I get to work with people I’ve respected for years, working as part of a small, passionate development team putting together MMOs for Facebook.

I’ve certainly taken my fair share of potshots at Facebook games over the years (my previous post, for example), but I’m hoping that perhaps I can take some of that sneering contempt and attempt to bring a traditional gamer’s perspective to more casual titles.

So far, ohai’s been a great home, just as Activision was for quite some time.  I learned a lot at the Big A, and certainly miss a lot of my former coworkers.  A few of the more senior producers there have been unbelievably generous mentors to me over the years and though I’ll still ping them from time to time for advice, I’ll miss our 11 PM beer sessions after work.  I put a lot of my heart and soul into the games we built there and I’m still proud to walk into a GameStop or Target and see one of my games on the shelf.  These may not have been AAA MMOs, but the amount of sweat and tears that went into them was not lessened because the budgets or timeframes weren’t as large.

Anyway, it seems I’ll have a bit more time to talk games.  Certainly I’ve had more time to actually play and enjoy games in the past few months.  My guild is still doing strong in spite of the inactivity I’ve inflicted upon them over the past two years, in no small part to the efforts of the extraordinary officers currently leading our Everquest II and Rift chapters.

It feels good to be back to writing.  Hopefully I can start doing a bit more of that over the coming weeks and months.

Are You Tired of Games that Are Fun?

Posted: January 27, 2010 by Kendricke in Uncategorized