December 12, 2012
Behind the Scenes, We've Got a Lot Going On!
Every week is FULL of furious typing, crazy-fast coding, and lots of coffee because we have got a SUPER-long to do list! But since we are so busy every day, a lot of what we work on that ISN'T for release just doesn't make it into the Design Notes. We want you guys to know as much as possible about what's going on, so let's fix that!
A New Look for AQWorlds in Progress!
Between solving a large portion of the lag issues and working on Guild Halls AND dynamic quests,* Yorumi has been working with Artix and Kraken on a new character creation screen (Artix totally spoiled this news on Twitter!) and new in-game interface for AQW. We try to get as many of the bugs OUT of AQW before you get to play it, and here's a great example of why we test!
* Triggering different quests at different times in different zones!
It's never good to lose your head in battle!
The homepage is also getting a makeover. We're starting slowly by changing the homepage posts to make them more dynamic and informative. There is so much content in AQWorlds that sometimes it's hard to remember what's out there!
Coming soon, you'll see featured locations, classes, items and more on the homepage! And if you scroll down, you'll already see the Featured Guilds section we introduced. Get YOUR Guild featured on AQ.com by following the directions here!
The Adventurers were our first Featured Guild!
Better Bug Smashing!
Koi (the AQW Bugs forum moderator), Reens, and I met last week to discuss changes to the Bugs forum. We want to make it easy for you to report your AQW issues there, because it is a lot easier for us to keep track of bugs when they're posted on our forum instead of on Twitter.*
One thing we really want to do in the as-soon-as-possible future is get an in-game bugs reporting system ready. That would help us collect vital information (like what version of Flash Player you are using). The goal for the AQW Bugs team is to fix ALL (or as close as we can get) of the bugs in the game - big and small!
* Because of how many tweets we get every day, it is very easy to lose important ones.
Planning Releases for 2013: What would YOU like?
Because of how insane it is to do what we do - release a new expansion to the game each week - we need to be very flexible with the game's release schedule. You never know when a team member will get sick or a planet-wide catastrophe strike. But having an outline in hand lets us plan what the team should work on ahead of time.
We've got our list of releases, but YOU are the heroes who will battle through them! Since we make the game for and WITH you, we want to know what YOU'd like to see in AQWorlds this year?
What do WE have planned for 2013?
How about Chaos Lords 11, 12, and 13?! 2012 was so busy, we didn't get to face nearly as many Chaos Beasts as we wanted to, so we're going to have to launch an all-hero attack on Drakath and find out what's behind his Chaos Portal! ARE YOU READY?!
12-12-12 Event Releases at Sundown!
12-12-12 is a deadly date! 26,000 years ago, Kezeroth the World Ender tried to free the Beast Quetzal from his prison in a giant ice comet, but failed. Tonight, Quetzal's comet is finally close enough once more for Kezeroth to sense it, and to end what he began so long ago. If he succeeds, he will use Quetzal's power to encase the world in ice... ending all life on Lore for good!** Grab your sharpest weapons, Heroes, because we're NOT going to let the world end!***
We're ALL going to need bigger blades for this boss fight!
** I wish our Loremasters had deciphered those scrolls LAST week!
*** Since I've been dealing with a lot of this background work, Cysero has taken on the entire 12-12-12/12-21-12 combo event! After watching the first mind-blowing cutscene, I am 100% sure this is one of AQW's most EPIC cutscenes EVER!
January 17, 2011
Run a game company with Artix today
A lot of players ask what I do here BattleOn Games. They say I "run all of the games", but what does that really mean? So, last night on Twitter I asked if it would be interesting and worthwhile to everyone if I made a Play by Play of everything that happened today. That way you could get a behind the scenes peek of what a typical Monday is really like here at the secret underground lab... of course... there is no such thing as a typical Monday, or any day. Back in the early days I was all alone and programmed, drew art, animated, wrote storylines, answered customer support emails and... um... made lots of puns. Now, I am honored to work alongside a team of 50+ creative team members... and make lots of puns. I do not know what will happen today, but I hope you enjoy spending the day with me. Battle On!
???am (Tuesday) Many hours later, the day ends. Zzzz.... Zzzzz..... (snoring on keyboard/pillow and dreaming of what adventures await tomorrow.) Mondays are always planning days. Tuesday is when games and projects go full steam ahead... and Fridays are RELEASE DAYS!
9:04pm Finished DerpQuest Adventure - pretty unpredictable ending! Cleaning up and heading home from the Secret Udnerground Lab. when I get home, I am going to take Daimyo for a walk then power up my machine and start transcribing what happened in the adventure into a storyboard.
5:50pm DerpQuest Begins! (The printer just blue screened while printing out the quest sheets and we realized I left the powercord for the camera at home... we have 30 mins of battery life. Galanoth is getting it while we begin.
5:39pm Setting up for DerpQuest! (Derpquest is a Table Top Dice game that we created to write the animated series. It is heavily story-telling oriented. A game master runs the game telling the players what is happening. All players are given a major quest that they share... but secretly, players are given a list of conflicting quests which often erupt into chaos as the game progresses. Each hour of real game play results roughly 3 to 4 minutes of script. We record the game with a video camera and transcribe it then edit it later. Unbeknownst to most players... you were asked multiple questions a while ago which resulted in selecting DoomWood as the first setting. You made an amazing choice!)
5:17pm Safiria & her doom poodle Phaedra are heading home for the day -- she gets in much earlier than the rest of us. (Saf says goodby and Phaedra says, "Can I eatz them?") Meanwhile everyone sitting at the DragonFable table is preparing for the main event of Monday.... DERPQUEST! Starts in 30 mins or less. I have just enough time to check in with Rolith and make a few art decisions on the card game packaging. Most card games are super serious and medium to slow paced... which is great, I love those games. But to be different and unique I want ours to be really funny and crazy fast. The art on the packaging needs to make people chuckle so they expect the right thing when they open the box. (Which officially shaped like a Mayan Pyramid and opens into a giant playing mat!)
4:58pm So YOU WANT TO BE A MOD? I just spoke with Stratos (who is the head of volunteer moderators on AQWorlds) and he is looking for volunteer mods who are over 18 and speak both portuguese & english. There are very few positions available so please do not be offended if you are an excellent candidate but are not selected during this round. (Note: A good candidate for moderator would not be offended.) You can apply at the moderator info application page.
4:35pm Wow... this is a wierd one. Returning a call to the Suffolk County Police Department in New York regarding "someone who might have stolen money from Artix Entertainment". I do not think anyone has ever stolen from us -- how wierd! (Update: So I checked the phone number against the numbers listed on the NYPD's website and it checked out OK (You can never be too careful). So I returned the call. Apparently he was following a lead on a fraud/scammer who had sent us a business proposition two years ago. I remember that very clearly. The deal smelled fishy and we terminated conversations immediately (Yay for aura of Detect Evil +1!) Hopefully we were able to give the Detective a little info to help him catch the bad guy he is pursuing. It is things like this that I imagine you would never guess I spend time doing... I really do hope you are finding this interesting. I am writing it a bit bland and honest so you can see the real behind the scenes picture. A lot of people think running a game company involves having a video game controller in your hands.
4:26pm Voice acting in the music room for the upcoming AQworld's event. Cysero already did his robot voice... Zazul, Nythera, Galanoth & Warlic are preparing to do their parts. We moved the music room last week and invested in some giant foam wall-thingies to stop all of the echo that plagued our previous voice recordings. Some of the bass still reflects.... next week we will reinforce it some more to create an acoustically "dead" space. This week in-game they are expanding the Battle-Under zone... which you can get to via secret passages found around the town of BattleOn.
4:05pm While I was in the EpicDuel room we had a network wide connectivity outtage. Popular theories is that someone forgot to feed the server hampsters... or perhaps it was part of EbilCorp's Internet Darkening Project... or perhaps the evil tree ninja snuck into the server farm in Texas? No problem. Everything is A-OK and back online. (I am glad something went wrong... it worries me silly when things go smoothly!)
3:46pm Meeting with the EpicDuel team - Titan and Nightwraith
3:26pm Just got approval on the AQW Card Game Boxes! Getting art ready!
3:15pm Eating a Taco! Nom nom nom nom nom nom (Mostly to make Safiria stop nagging me to eat. Please do not tell her I said that -- she only does it because she cares. Or is trying to keep my blood healthy since she is a Vampire.) It is a little weird we have not had any major crisises yet today. (Maybe we should not have said that out loud?) Yay! Finally a moment to check email and answer Tweets!
3:00pm Checking in on the gang in the MechQuest room (aka POD 6) Korin is having a rare item release this week while continuing to prepare for the big Game Show Planet in a few weeks. George Lowe is expected to do some voice acting along with other members of the staff. You can see some Q&A he recently did with players on the MechQuest design notes. Also, Yergen von Smergenburgen is working on a crazy animated intro to HeroSmash. Warlic is going to do soundFX and animation -- looks like 3 days to complete the remaining work if nothing else comes up. Also on the subject of HeroSmash -- we stole back some resources to focus on AQWorlds during January which is why development temporarily slowed down. After the AQWorlds game and inventory changes Zhoom's next goal is to return and do the super customizable super skills in HeroSmash. Dumoose and Llussien made a a new zone that will likely appear in the alpha testing next week.
2:30pm Meeting with Geopetal and the DragonFable team about this week's release featuring Fae and quite possibly the dissasembly of the Blade of Awe. If you are not in on the inside joke... Fae has appeared in countless DragonFable ads but has never actually been put in game. She is a shapeshifter who transforms into a random animal every time she sneazes. Although... Geopetal's plan for putting Fae in game was something I did not expect. Meanwhile, Trey Surehunter (Not only a great name pun... try reading it outloud... but is also Valencia's Father) The last quest indicated that he may have not-so-good intentions for the Blade of Awe (which, 5 years later in the original AdventureQuest... is scattered into many different parts. This quest should explain why and how that happened.)
2:19pm Woohoo! Wrapped up early. There is a problem with the upcoming AQworlds inventory changes -- off to meet with Zhoom. Alina just posted about the DragonFable SoulWeaver Class. (Thanks for finding my mistake Johanan9107 & Yami!) Safiria is choosing what sort of booth we will be running at DragonCon this year. I do not want to be in the dealer room.. I would rather set up a exhibitor booth out in the open where we can meet players and just hang out and give free stuff away.
2:00pm Conference call with LA regarding the AdventureQuest Worlds animated series. (Should last one hour)
1:30pm We had a really interesting idea at this meeting... what if one of you came and ran the AQWorld's release for a week... we could film it documentary style. It would make for an interesting series! We are setting up some quality test shoots for this Saturday. (We normally shoot terribly cheesy videos on Saturday mornings. This was the first one we did... and yes that is what I look like without my armor on. The Ninja was sent by EbilCorp.)
1:12pm A director and his film-student friend arrived at the office. Galanoth took them on a tour (stalling while I finished up) to discuss the live action mockumentary project we are planning to do this year. Think... The Office + Ninjas + Zombies + Gaming! ... OOOH! Just got the cards. Added the updated HeroSmash logo to the card. (The cards work with all games so we are trying to make sure it clearly states it this time. some people did not know you could use the DragonFable cards with AQWorlds.)
1:05pm Met with our businessy guy (official title I think) Trying to schedule a meeting with GameStop. Also, the deadline for art for the new in-store pre-paid game cards is due -- these ones will be in Target, Walmart, Toys-R-Us etc in a few months. I asked Princess Miko & Mido (Mido is semi-new with us. He does a lot of art including the weekly AQWorlds promo banners, Chicken Cow T-shirt and much, much. much. much more.) to make sure we have the right version... because it would be realy embarrasing to send the wrong one! (no way to fix a mistake like that.) They want to know if the pre-paid game cards should be branded BattleOn Games or Artix Entertainment. What do you think?
12:45pm Signing MechQuest Artbooks
12:26pm Meeting with Cysero and the AQWorlds team on unlimited bank space, this weeks release, & the upcoming live event (Only 2 weeks away!?)
12:21pm Using the little Paladin's room. Agt_Grey & some other player son twitter felt that this journal should be EXTREMELY accurate, LOL!
12:13pm 2nd Interview was a no-show so moving on to the AdventureQuest Worlds card game. We got the green light from Toys-R-Us to finish the physical card game which they will have in their stores in March. Dumoose is doing the final balancing of the cards and Mido/J6/Miltonius & Cysero are finishing the final card art. We have a follow up on what sort of packaging to use... the game is a single deck which includes everything you need for 2 to 4 players to play at any time. While Safiria gets verification on our packaging, I am off to talk to Mido about our opportunity to get the card game in an upcoming circular (those giant paper advertiements that Toys R Us sends out... we only have a few days to produce the ad or we will miss it. The ad must contain what our product looks like. Roughly translated: We only have a few days to design everything or we miss our chance to be in the circular.)
11:50am Coordinated the... ... hope it goes well.
11:40am Writing this design notes post. and skimming the forums and Twitter... The day is officially starting. (Official start time here is 11:30am)
11:10am Interview for Spokesmodel/Production Assistant. Wow... she was in the Cruxshadows?
10:00am NPC Band rehersal. We were running late so only enough time to work on 2 songs.
9:00am Daimyo says, "Arf!" ... with those "get your armor on and walk me Paladin eyes!"
8:30am It is a dark and stormy... morning? There is a pretty intense thunder storm outside... my moat is flooding!
Two local directors and a few film students were scheduled to come over and premiere 2 short films at my home. However, they showed up with THE ENTIRE CAST AND CREW from both films (over 30 people) We were in desperate need of more chairs and food. My home does not normally have that high of a cute actress to room ratio -- Zhoom is currently single and will be really sad when he finds out what he missed. We were up until 3:30am and after everyone left I was cleaning and fell asleep on the DoomKnight room bed. Earlier that day Zhoom, Galanoth & I went to the Gym and overdid the workout... because of the way I was laying sideways nearly falling off the bed (I cannot believe I am telling you this) I must have cut off the blood flow to my already barely movable arms.... because when I woke up I was unable to move them and was temporarily trapped. I rolled around falling off the bed onto my feet and sleepily made my way back to the Paladin room. All of my experiences in the DoomKnight room thus far have been deadly and embarrasing.