Friday, May 19, 2006

Creeping back to normality.

It's been a funny old week - and only now am I barely getting back to something like normal.

Yesterday in particular was very odd in terms of sleeping/dozing patterns and I think I was driving the wife up the wall by lounging about and sleeping/dozing at odd times rather than do things like cooking meals for the kids and tidying up when it was more than reasonable to do so.

Anyway, I hope I've got the last fitfull sleeping instances out of the way - and combined with not having a tipple since Monday, this is setting me up for getting back to being fine again just in time for a nice relaxing weekend. Mind you, the fact that my youngest has his 5th birthday party (with no-doubt 20 screaming friends in tow) will no doubt help - as will attending Jon Oldham's monsterous leaving party in Sale, Manchester... and getting a midnight train home so I can be up at 6am when big Vern arrives to drive us to Cardiff for the Leeds-Watford game - I only hope that our night in Cardiff is a happy drunken one and not a mournful "might have been".

Kilburn has already described my likelihood of making that midnight train (11:50pm actually) as "you having more chance of fingering the Queen" which I thought was a bit harsh and quite distasteful given she's like almost 70 or something.

I've also just been reading a few of the posts on our Team17 forum, a place where "fans" (read die-hard, hard-core cynics with stellar expectation levels) can post messages, comments and suggestions - and the odd critique. We do read a lot of it, but a lot of it is throw-away and whilst there is occasional sense, there is much madness posted.

To be fair, a lot of the type of people who post on our forum's aren't our target market - this might sound odd, but generally the average person just wants to play and enjoy a game, not write endlessley about it or discuss the finer points of disappointment because feature X (or Y) were missing and how much it'd have improved their quality of life if it had been.

Still, it's all reasonably interesting, if occasionally irritable and stingingly hurtful reading. It's difficult for a lot of people to understand we are human and that making video games isn't anything like as straight-forward and uncomplex as they think - but it really is hard to get a handle on that, unless you have done it yourself, under extreme pressure of deadlines and the financial liabilities that go with it. Assumed operation and real-life are a way apart.

Another thing that people don't get are the time-span's involved with getting a game concepted, pitched, greenlit (i.e. accepted to go to contract stage), then developed, then tested, then submitted, then published. This cycle takes a considerable time and in a lot of cases, the woo-ing of publishers to your pitch/concept can take longer than the development cycle of the product. The fact that you see so many sequels to games shows that developers time is in most cases cut quite short, but this is due to many reasons, mostly profit/fiscal related. The man on the street just thinks "hey, instead of GAMENAME 1 and GAMENAME 2 why not just take longer and do GAMENAME in the first place?" - sounds ideal, perfect even... but life's unfortunately far from that simple.

It was also interesting to see what the folks were ruminating about our reasons for attending the E3 show. Well, truth be told, we're always there. We attend most of the industry events and most of what really goes on, goes on behind closed doors. Most people are busy and more concerned with what will be happening at E3 in a year or two's time - and that's the same for us.

The studio is working on a bunch of quite exciting projects on a number of platforms right now - we're in a unique and strong position and it feels great - just a pity that none of this can be discussed just yet! To the outsiders and our forum people, it looks like we're doing nothing but sat on our backsides, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Having been known as "the Worms studio" for the last 10years or so has had it's plus points and minus points for fairly obvious reasons. Re-creating Lemmings of late has been both fun and positive for us - but there's plenty more to come. So stay tuned :)

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