Design Notes

August 27, 2013

Shattering Illusions

Making Games is not the Same as Playing Them

Today was my last day in the offices of Artix Entertainment.

This is the Lab lobby. Labby.

I write a lot of stuff about how they keep me in a cage and I subsist off of rats. Well, brace yourselves: none of that is true. I’m going to let that sink in for a moment. In fact, today they took the entire AQW team out to lunch (delicious, delicious sushi). I was thanked for my service. I was bought lunch.

Then Alina handed me this... bracing tonic. 

Then Cysero said that I should write a farewell design note saying how much working here is crazy and NOT what people think in order to curb the droves of players begging to work here. So yeah, here that is.

Reality Check In-Coming

Nothing ever goes the way you intend.  Never ever. Never ever ever. I can’t stress that enough. In 3 months with a release every week, I can’t think of a single instance in which everything went according to plan*... but that's why they train us like ninjas. There isn't an obstacle so big that we can't find a way around it... somehow. 

* This is how making videogames is like real life. The pictures below show how it is not.

This was not part of the plan.

You have no clue how hectic things can get around here. It would blow your unprepared mind right out of the back of your head. Every other week, there’s a crisis that seems like it’s going to send all the programmers running out the door screaming... or hurling laptops through the windows. EVERY OTHER WEEK. It’s like they take shifts or something.

Only Thyton didn't run away screaming from BrutalCorn.

And in spite of all of this, there are still metric tons of players who loudly pine for a job here and I know why. I know what they think they’ll get because I used to be one of them. They think that working at AE will be just like playing the game, somehow.

It's not. There are no camels here.

That all of the artwork and code and writing can just be magicked into gameplay, and that, upon playing it, the players will hurl their adoration at them with wild abandon.

We prefer hurling pies with wild abandon

And yes, I’m sure some of you are thinking right now “I’m not one of the people Notsgnal is talking about. I know that making a game takes effort.” YOU DON’T KNOW JACK.

Jack and his friends are pretty cool guys.

You have absolutely no concept of how hard each and every person works to bring you this game. None. The only reason that AQW is able to be goofy and fun is because everyone here has years of experience, so when they work themselves to the point of manic dementia... they only get half-Chaorrupted.

Close enough.

At any given point in time, half the team is busy drawing or typing whatever their insane brain dreams up while their subconscious tries desperately to revive what is left of their broken minds.

Goodbye forever.


P.S: Working at Artix Entertainment has been perhaps the most amazing experience of my life. I'm making a game. Everyday I step into the office is a day that can say to myself "I'm going to make something important."

I made a release with Druids. Druids are important.

Words cannot describe how immensely satisfying that is. I am eternally grateful to the wonderful, beautiful people that pour their hearts and souls into this game. I am honored to have worked with them, even if our time together was heartbreakingly short.

I am not ready to leave.

For a brief moment, I was part of a whole. Today is the last day I can say this. (There is no WAY we are letting you go that easily. School may get you for NOW, but... - Alina)

We are Artix Entertainment. And we make games. I love all of these crazy folks that I had the privilege of getting to know. 

BalloonsI also got a balloon bear shark. WHAT IS THIS PLACE?!

And, of course, I love all of you.

Your friend,

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