Archive for the ‘Out of Character’ Category

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:

  

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: From Ohai to Bigpoint

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

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.

This made the rounds today.  I enjoyed it muchly.

“Look Ma, I’m a Producer!”

Posted: April 27, 2009 by Kendricke in Out of Character

Well, technically I’m just an Associate Producer, but I’m pretty sure my mother only heard the part she wanted to hear.  In any event, it’s a pretty big step for me, as I’ve shifted from writing about games as a hobby to helping to build games for a living.  You see, today I started my new job as an Associate Producer at Activision.  I haven’t talked about it publically because (A) it’s all happened rather quickly and (B) I didn’t want to say anything till I’d actually signed papers and put some time on-site. 

So, what exactly does an Associate Producer actually do?  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure as of yet, but I’m learning.  I’m learning pretty damned quick. 

As I learn, I’ll try to share what general lessons I can.  I’m sure I’ll put in some long hours over the next few months at least.  I’m positive I’ll feel overwhelmed most days.  I’m certain I’ll feel lost at times.  At the same time, I’m absolutely thrilled and excited to have this opportunity.  I’m pretty stoked about getting back to work tomorrow.  This time last year, I couldn’t have said that.  Frankly, I can’t ever think of a time I’ve thought that.  That has to be a good sign.

Friday Funny

Posted: March 20, 2009 by Kendricke in Out of Character

When gaming geeks go into shepherding…

Pet Peeves: Common Gamer Speak

Posted: January 7, 2009 by Kendricke in Out of Character
Tags: ,

For years now, I’ve found myself privately and quietly correcting scores of group-mates across various MMO’s regarding some basic misspellings.  I realize that I’m not immune to making such mistakes myself, so I hurl these few stones publicly with the full realization that my own glass house is surely to come crashing down around me.  That said, I simply cannot keep quiet any longer: 

Joe tells the group, “Incomming!”

What does incomming mean?  Are we using communications devices that no one told me about?  Are we “comming” on those devices to speak to others?  …or are there actually monsters INCOMING that I should be aware of, instead?  (Note:  there’s only one “m” in “incoming”). 

Joe says, “That’s rediculous.  I can’t believe they’re going to do that.”

I know this is simply a common misspelling, but it grates on me every time I see it.  It’s the textual equivalent to chewing on tin foil, so far as I’m concerned.  You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a post on an MMO forum where someone is using the word “rediculous” instead of “ridiculous”.  Just typing it here makes me want to go take a scalding shower. 

Joe posts, “Worst nerf ever.  It’s a total slap in the face.” 

If there is any phrase that has truly lost all meaning for me over the years, it’s “slap in the face”.  I may even agree with someone 100% on an issue, but the moment they say “slap in the face”, I find myself composing essay length rebuttals against whatever stand they’ve chosen to take on whatever change it is they feel insulted by. 

Joe tells you, “RU LFG?”

Ok, I get it.  You’re cutting back on keystrokes, so you use “R U” instead of “Are” and “You”.  I don’t even get upset about LFG, but for some completely mysterious reason, I find myself twitching in disgust the moment someone uses “RU”, “plz”, or “WRU”.  I don’t mind MMO specific abbreviations, or even general net lingo (LOL doesn’t phase me in the least), but the new generation of text-speak gives me an overwhelming urge to grab a cane so I can wave it at the kids who are on my damned lawn!  I honestly have no justification for hating some abbreviations while completely accepting others.  If I really knew, I guess it wouldn’t really be just a “peeve”, now would it?

Ok, that’s enough for now.  I actually feel much better getting all that off of my chest.  A bit of a cathartic release from time to time is good for the soul, I suppose.  I’ve shared some of my gamer speak peeves with you.  Return the favor:  what common gamer sayings irrationally bug you?