Hello, all! My name is Jeff Hamilton, and like many of you I've been a fan of video games for as long as I can remember. I started working in the industry as a temp QA Tester at EA about 8 years ago, working on many games there (Spore, Dante's Inferno to name a few). I worked my way into design at Paragon Studios, where I became a Systems Designer on City of Heroes. I now work at Cryptic Studios, where I helped ship Neverwinter and have been working on Star Trek Online in the interim.

Outside of work, I spend my time playing video games and attempting to stay in shape, hitting the gym twice a week. I used to be a musician and actor as well.

Feel free to ask me anything about the process of making games, what it's like to work in the industry, why game developers do things in ways that specifically infuriate you, etc. If you want advice on what to study to break in, or what to read to prepare for a career in game dev, I'm happy to help there as well! I will try to answer anything I can that is legal for me to answer (NDAs are a bitch).

Proof: https://twitter.com/JeffAHamilton/status/524176723512786944

Edit1: Taking a short break to grab some food, will return around 7:30 am pacific. Keep questions coming! I'll answer throughout the day and night.

Edit2: Started answering questions again about 15 minutes ago. Also, I feel compelled to point out that everything I say is just a personal statement as a human who happens to do this job - I do not represent my employer, nor am I here for any sort of promotional purpose. :)

Edit3: Holy moley that's a lot of questions. I am doing my best, I promise!

Edit4: Working on Star Trek now! I will make my way through these over the course of the day - I'm sorting by some combination of everything but Top as I answer. If you have a question that you particularly care about getting an answer to, Tweet me a link directly @jeffahamilton

Edit5: Made headway over lunch. Will answer more questions after work. Gotta go make games, for now! Smell ya later, reddit!

Edit6: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2js28o/iama_game_designer_working_on_mmorpgs_amaa/clejz34 contains my previously promised answer. Gonna answer more questions until I crash asleep sometime within the next hour. This blew up waaaaay beyond what I thought it would - I hope you all had as much fun as I did.

Comments: 2035 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

swatches763 karma

When are we going to be getting our 100% science based dragon MMO?

azuredrake542 karma

Look man, I don't wanna get technical, but Drakes are not Dragons, ok?

Haha, I remember seeing that post and boggling. I hope whoever made it learned a lot from the response, though - an actual MMO where you play dragons would be cool (RIP Horizons)

KrishaCZ418 karma

Hello Jeff! How hard is it to come up with quests for MMORPGS? I know a lot of games that got dumb and boring because they kept repeating the "Go there, kill'em, grab loot, bring it to us" pattern...

azuredrake634 karma

Creating content for MMORPGs is a tremendously difficult problem to solve. Not because it's hard to write any given cool quest - individual cool stories are relatively easy to tell (though telling them well is an artform unto itself). Rather, content in MMOs is difficult because its value decreases to players the more times they have played through it, until it is no longer worth their time to complete.

The reason you see "kill 10 rats" quests is because they were the most time-efficient way to direct the player into the gameplay back in UO and EQ1. Games have generally improved from "Go kill a thing N times, bring us 2N objects from the bodies of the thing" - but filler quests are also "ok", design-wise, as long as they're used sparingly. Think of the pacing of a book: Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Denoument. If all quests are Climax all the time, the game quickly becomes overwhelming and unplayable, even if they're all really good.

Sorry, I rambled a bit. Let me know if you want more explanation on any given point.

proclutch240 karma

Sorry, I rambled a bit. Let me know if you want more explanation on any given point.

Can I join your guild?

Dininiful365 karma

Sure, but first get me 73 flowers, 84 deer skins and then kill 200 flies.

proclutch152 karma

I don't care about you. I care about this guy.

azuredrake64 karma

This card was what inspired the character name which in turn became my /u/ btw :)

azuredrake91 karma

Are you US top 20 in your class? If so, DM me with a link to your logs. :)

jackaltornmoons85 karma

Don't blame Everquest for that. I never once did a "Kill X amount of anything" quest in EQ. You weren't directed at all in EQ, that was the beauty of it.

GreatOwl1105 karma

This. Challenging PvE that requires grouping is far more interesting than questing.

I think people have mixed up the genre and that's why most MMOs have floundered lately. MMORPGs were never about questing. They were about a social experience; a game that required significant interaction with other players to progress. Modern MMORPGs seem to be a single player RPG where other players are occasionally present.

There is massive pent up demand for a truly social player interactive MMORPG and no one is delivering. Execs have passed off the failure of the MMO as a problem of the subscription model. I disagree. Its a failure to deliver an actual MMO. Anyone who has played a truly good MMO such as EQ (up through Luclin) knows that the last thing you're concerned about is the $15 per month. It was so addictingly fun - something today's MMOs don't have.

azuredrake223 karma

There is massive pent up demand for a truly social player interactive MMORPG and no one is delivering.

There is desire for it, but there is no demand at the price point you are asking.

Let me explain: Games can cost you time, they can cost you money, and they can cost you effort. These are resources you have to spend on games that you cannot get back. Do you know why casual games are so popular? Because they have extremely low effort and time costs. If you so much as sneeze at the app store, you will get 5-10 moderate quality casual games.

When you say there is a "massive pent up demand for a truly social player interactive MMORPG", what you are arguing is that "millions of people have an overabundance of both time and mental willpower". Does that sound like you, or any of your friends, over the age of 18? Even if it does, do you suspect there are enough more people with extreme reserves of those resources to justify creating a game that effectively prohibits people with low time or effort to spend from paying their money to the publisher?

I will go into cost, value, and integrals of supply:demand curves in more detail in my answer to the below post on F2P trends. But this hopefully at least lets you understand why this perceived niche has not been successfully filled in ~10 years.

azuredrake88 karma

I distinctly recall killing many rats for tails in Qeynos. Maybe I'm just weird and wanted rat tails for something though. :)

If EQ didn't start it, WoW definitely did.

Hellknightx227 karma

I just want you to know that City of Heroes changed my life. I was devastated when NCSoft decided to close up shop. After Cryptic moved on and Paragon Studios stayed behind (When Matt Miller took the reins), CoH actually started to improve. By the end, it was in the best shape of its life. I stayed on-board throughout its entire life cycle, from beta to its death; something that I've never done and probably never will do again with any other MMO.

I guess my question to you is, for a game that goes through years of post-launch updates and the inevitable cycle of old developers leaving and new developers joining the team, how much "spaghetti code" did you have to work with on City of Heroes? I suppose you're the perfect person to ask as a systems designer, and I heard (a rumor) that SG Base Raids were taken out of the game because nobody could figure out how the code worked.

I tried playing Neverwinter, and it definitely feels like City of Heroes as far as gameplay goes, but it lacks the super hero attraction that originally hooked me with CoH. I really hope Cryptic goes back to its roots someday with a true CoH sequel (Champions doesn't count).

azuredrake141 karma

Thank you for the kind words! City of Heroes was a truly unique game, and I was devastated when we got closed down. We were making really cool stuff given the resources we were working with, IMO.

How much Spaghetti Code did we have to work with on City of Heroes?

There was a lot of what I'd call "legacy code" - there wasn't a whole lot of "spaghetti code". I very much doubt that Base Raids were removed because someone wrote indecipherable code, but rather more likely because the time and money to reimplement them in a non-fundamentally-broken way was not justified by the extremely niche value they brough to the game.

For Legacy Code, that meant a lot of fundamental decisions had already been made about "what purpose" a feature was for, and trying to expand old features to serve new, overloaded purposes could be extremely dangerous. For instance, when we released the Incarnate System, we accidentally introduced a whole bunch of server lag with the new powers we created that was really hard to track down for maybe a month. Problem is, it didn't occur internally, even under load testing - it was only from massive numbers of actual clients connecting to one map with the new powers. Tim Sweeney (Black Scorpion) and I spent three days changing every passive power in the game after that. Servers performance improved by like 46% or something that patch - actually better than pre-Incarnate, since we fixed old problems too. But it was all caused by our using Passive powers in a way they were never meant to be used.

Monnor185 karma

What is your opinion on the holy trinity in MMO's (Tank, DPS, Healer) and ArenaNet's attempt to break free of it with Guild Wars 2?

azuredrake165 karma

I could write pages on this topic. The trinity or something like it is useful to limit the permutations of strategic choices players have to make when forming a group. GW2 still has some aspects of it, but extremely softer versions of it. I love GW2 - I think it's an excellent game, and I admire them for breaking the mold of the Tank/Heals/DPS trinity in a way that, for the most part, works. I think the broken trinity in GW2 does, however, contribute to a situation where DPS solves all problems posed to the player.

TL;DR - It (The GW2 system) improves the game in many ways, but makes it weaker in at least one very noticeable way.

Nirovora164 karma

How much thought and discussion goes into the payment model for an MMORPG? How are your views on free2play, pay2play and everything in between?

azuredrake250 karma

Welp, this is a big question. I want to make absolutely clear that when I'm answering this question, it's both well-written and to-the-point. So I'm going to write you up a response at lunch, probably, and post it then.

Oh, to the first point - a ton of thought and discussion goes into it. MMORPGs are huge huge investments - no decision about core business model or product is made without extensive research and justification.

But as for the second question, I will get you an answer as soon as I can write one that's worthy. :)

Edit: Answer follows:

OK, so free to play. Pay to play. The Big Question with Capital Letters. Let’s set a couple ground rules here first. I cannot talk about the financials of any game that I’ve worked on – super illegal in some cases, and just not worth the risk to me in other cases. I cannot/will not talk about any other game my employer makes. I can make general logical statements about “the way things are perceived to be” and can try and build a case for any given business model. If this is enragingly nonspecific, I apologize in advance.

Alright, ground rules set. Now, for some background information. Let’s brush up on some Economics 101: Supply and Demand. To quote Wikipedia:

In microeconomics, supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity.

But we’re not dealing in physical goods, for the most part – games can be sold entirely digitally. This means there’s a substantial one-time price to creating a game (the money needed to pay the development team) – but after that, the minimum supply price of the game is just whatever it takes us to host servers and get bandwidth to transfer our stuff to you. This is not totally trivial, but let’s round it down to 0 anyway. So once initial costs are recouped, we can give games away for free, right?

Ok, save that part in your mind. Why do people buy things? There is a spectrum of humans that spans the gulf between two types of people – rational actors, and irrational actors. Let’s ignore irrational actors for now because we learned Econ from some professor somewhere who truly believed the Age of Enlightenment heralded the End of History. So for Rational Actors, why do they buy things? Well, for any given purchase, they are willing to make the purchase when the net cost (including opportunity cost) of the item is lower than the value of the item to them. Value is a function of many things, but let’s say a game’s Value is a function of: Novelty, Quality, and Satisfaction of Expectations.

Let’s say there are 100,000 gamers in the world. Each gamer has their own “stat weights” of what they Value in a game, and on top of that a “stat weight” of how much they care about games in general. We could imagine some people and what their stat weights would look like – hell, imagine yourself and what you care about in a game – but at this point, we don’t really care about the individual level. We line up all the 100,000 people, we show them our game, they know exactly what it’s about, and their stat weights multiply by the game’s strengths in each of those areas to provide the total aggregate value of the game across the population chunk.

“I’m bored”, you say. I know, I’m sorry. It’s econ, I’m trying not to make it dry. Here, have two pictures:

P2P: http://imgur.com/P505QGJ

F2P: http://imgur.com/okchcAp

Ok, so now you can see where I’m going with this. Of course, it’s not that simple – Rational Actors will pay as little for something as they can! So even if you create a tremendously valuable experience, say, a game worth paying $180 for – you’ll be hard pressed to get people to pay you that if their marginal purchases aren’t getting them anything. Look at the Humble Indie Bundle, for example. Technically, you can just pay nothing (or is it .01?) and get a bunch of games. BUT, if you pay AT LEAST the current average price (let’s say $5) + .01, you get <insert extra thing here>. This marginal purchase is acceptable because the total sum transaction is still well below the value you appraise the entire bundle at. If it was “Pay 30$ to get extra thing!”, the bargain would no longer be a bargain, and people who value the entire bundle at somewhere between 5$ and 30$ end up not giving the bundle their money. This is why Humble structures their sales in this way – it’s essentially the optimal way to get as much money as possible from people who want to buy these specific Indie games, while still casting as broad a net as possible to reach people who only want to pay .50c or $1.00.

See pt 2 of response below: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2js28o/iama_game_designer_working_on_mmorpgs_amaa/clf8dyb

azuredrake23 karma

So how do I feel about Free to Play? I used to fear it. I used to loathe it. Before I had tried League of Legends, before I had ventured out to play free MMO’s, I felt it was a corrupting force that was creating perverse incentive systems for designers, and breaking down essential walls between business development and game design.

But then, almost four years ago, I started playing LoL. I played one game, which soon turned into 5, then 10, then next thing I knew I was playing duo top as Tristana with my friend’s Twisted Fate for 4 hours every night. After a week, I went to their online store and I bought their game outright (all the champs at the time) – the game was so fun, and had so much integrity, it was easily WORTH my money to me.

A year later, I helped the team at Paragon launch a total conversion of City of Heroes from Subscription to F2P. We made some mistakes, for sure, and the conversion didn’t save the game in the end – but at no point in the conversion did I feel like my personal morals were compromised. The important thing I learned from converting CoH was that F2P shouldn’t be a desparate move to save a dying game – if it’s going to be used, it should be a model used at the beginning of an online game’s life to ensure that it lives as long as possible.

There are variants on F2P that accomplish the same goal of allowing players to pay as much as they find a game to be worth. WoW, for instance, is certainly not F2P if you want to play current content – but they allow players who find the game to be worth MORE than $15 per month to pay extra for mounts, companions, or customizations. Blizzard also allows “dabblers” to play early levels of WoW for free, in effect betting that people who think their game is worth nothing will find it to be worth more than nothing after playing it. Guild Wars 2 also allows microtransactions with no monthly fee, but has an up-front box cost, presumably to help ArenaNet mitigate the risk of the game’s development cost by ensuring substantial early returns when the game shipped.


  • F2P is not inherently evil, despite all claims to the contrary
  • F2P allows players who would never pay box price to still experience a game
  • F2P allows true enthusiasts who love a game to support it to the extent of their desire
  • F2P done right is not a move of desperation, but an informed decision of strength
  • Subscription is not dead – it just controls what portion of the demand curve you’re locking out
  • Holy crap, this was way too long. I should probably clean this up and turn it into a blog.

KitKatMasterJapan152 karma

My question is: How has no one made a Harry Potter MMORPG yet? I swear, if someone did, I would just give them all of my money.

Anyway, a more serious question: What's your work out routine? Have you ever used gaming for exercise?

azuredrake123 karma

RE: Harry Potter - I dunno! I actually worked on a mac port of Harry Potter...5? back at EA. And the game was pretty good - the recreation of Hogwarts was really enjoyable to run around in. I would guess that EA still has the rights to the franchise, but given how long it's been since anything new came out, that might not be the case.

As for work out routine - My friend is my personal trainer and has helped me not explode at the gut over the last three years. I work out on Thursday and Sunday mornings with a PT, and I try to get at least one workout in on off days. We alternate days focusing on chest, legs, arms, and core. I also try to go for an hour walk at least twice a week at lunch. I used to be in awesome shape - wish I could get back to my high school cross country-running fitness level. Maybe someday!



azuredrake99 karma

It's totally valid to prefer single player RPGs! :) As a player, I find the sheer number of permutations of choices that MMOs tend to present to me a fascinating problem to solve. As a designer, it's nice to be able to iterate on designs and tune them for your audience, which one wouldn't typically get to do with a single-player game.

Personally I've found great pleasure in meeting people from all over the world and working with them to overcome great challenges in MMOs - but I still have much love for longform single-player RPGs like the great Baldur's Gate games.

th3d3k0y87 karma

What do you think about what Everquest: Next is promising to do in terms of scale and potential success. Do you think that is where more games will start to go, or do you think MMOs need a full reboot to continue to be successful?

azuredrake132 karma

EQN has a lot of really good ideas. First of all, in MMOs, players ARE content. To whatever extent you can let your players create content for other players, you will increase the value of your game for players who value Novelty - these are the players you can see drop off a couple weeks after every major content patch in WoW, for instance.

If you can create a game that can create infinite novelty for their players, then those players that stop subbing to WoW will never stop subbing to your game. So I think that's one way to solve the volatility of revenue stream that MMOs tend to experience with their content launch cycles.

I don't think MMOs need a full reboot to be successful. Many non-WoW MMOs continue to succeed for years, many of them growing rather than declining. I do think, though, that there's a yearning in the genre's playerbase for "something different". What that thing is, or if it ends up being what the players want after someone makes it, I guess we'll have to wait and see. :)

BrianAllred70 karma

Misread this as

First of all, in MMOs, players ARE [satisfied].

and thought "This guy must not actually play any MMOs...".

azuredrake85 karma


I've been to the forums, worry not.

MegaBord20 karma

Did you ever play MUDs? I played a ROM-based MUD in the late 90's and it was by far the best multiplayer experience I've ever had.

The players were definitely the content. The community was small (100-200 players) and I think the clan rivalries benefited from that. Players became known and certain ones were genuinely feared.

Being text-based, there were no graphics which allowed a crazy amount of flexibility in creativity. Reading combat scrolling up the screen was like reading the Matrix, you got used to it. I've always wished this could scale to an MMO but maybe with some Hammerwatch style visuals to keep storyline and content creation quick.

azuredrake8 karma

I played Chronicles2? Something like that. Vampires vs. Werewolves vs. Angels vs. somethingelse. It was fun but I was never all that into it - just played to keep a couple friends happy.

Wolverine162161 karma

What games do you enjoy outside of the ones you develop?

azuredrake116 karma

I'm a relatively high-ranked Ret Paladin in World of Warcraft. Sometimes I daydream about streaming this, but I'm not sure if the audience for it is there, haha. I play a fair amount of League of Legends as well, currently in Gold 3 or so with my Ranked 5s team. After these two staples I try to switch in a new third game every two weeks or so, just so I can take apart as many games as possible and figure out how they all work. All of this on top of staying atop the metagame in whatever game I'm working on at the moment (currently Star Trek Online).

MarshallX14 karma

Followup question as a fellow high ranked Ret - what class are you switching to now that we got shelled?

azuredrake31 karma

I won't switch. I have everything but Rogue and Priest in case anything gets absurdly FOTM and we need it for progression, but I trust Blizzard's class team to keep Ret competitive enough for me to raid just based on my ability to use Hands, LoH, and clutch offheals (glares at healers for wasting my GCDs)

tootiredofthisnazgul55 karma


azuredrake90 karma

I played in beta - the gunplay felt really tight and satisfying. The core combat and gameplay loop is so good, it can carry what is by all accounts a "puzzling" story and progression experience.

OddYeti46 karma

Hey so sorry if this question is too personal, but it's been my dream to work in the gaming industry my entire life, and i'm currently in school working towards a cs degree. My question is though, realistically what can I expect salary/ money wise working a QA tester job out of college? Also any suggestions on what to emphasize on resumes an/or how to break into the industry? Thanks so much

azuredrake80 karma

In the U.S., Games QA Tester can range anywhere from 10$/hr up to 18$/hr. Typically this rate varies with experience and special capabilities.

As a new grad, emphasize any indie work, side projects, or analytical writing you've done. Or basically anything you've done that demonstrates outstanding passion and drive not just for playing games, but for figuring out how to make great games.


Thanks for doing this AMA! Do you put in many easter eggs into your games/let funny glitches stay in?

azuredrake59 karma

I have a penchant for puns, but outside of silly names and flavor text on kooky one-off items, I try to keep things serious as much as possible.

Oh, and as a former QA tester: All glitches must die.

bennychong37 karma

Hi Jeff. Firstly thanks for doing this AMA!

So I've got a couple of questions.

  1. What video game has most influenced your career to date?

  2. Did you ever meet the guy who says "EA Sports, it's in the game"?

  3. And finally what are you currently playing? Apart from work related games

azuredrake23 karma

Hi Jeff. Firstly thanks for doing this AMA! So I've got a couple of questions. What video game has most influenced your career to date? Did you ever meet the guy who says "EA Sports, it's in the game"? And finally what are you currently playing? Apart from work related games

  1. Probably Final Fantasy IV (SNES), as it introduced me to RPGs. More apocryphally, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, as it was the first video game I ever picked up and couldn't put down, so to speak.
  2. Never did meet the EA Sports voice man, sad to say. :)
  3. Currently playing a smorgasborg consisting of: STO, WoW, LoL, D3, Fallout 3 (again), Skyrim (Still), Infamous:SS, and Sm4sh 3DS.

Stoooooooo36 karma

How frequently do 'developer inside jokes' make their way into the games you have seen?

azuredrake52 karma

Not really very often. I think the closest thing I can think of is all of the guards of the Corleone safehouse in Godfather 2 were names of people on the dev team for that game.

BigPapaTyrannax25 karma

Hi! I'm currently a senior at a top US university studying bioengineering and economics. My real passion though is gaming, and I would love to get some sort of job in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, I don't have much coding experience, or course work that is relevant to gaming since my school doesn't really offer any of that. How would you suggest I market myself when I apply to gaming companies, and what types of things do they look for in resumes? Thanks!

azuredrake66 karma

You're an engineer! That's fantastic - engineering is the study of solving problems. Making games is basically a big long series of problems for humans to solve, which when solved, return a big long series of problems for other humans to solve! Use all of the critical thinking, analysis, and documentation skills you've learned from your engineering coursework to thoroughly dissect and put-back-together games that you like.

Marketing yourself to gaming companies is going to be hard right off the bat - I won't lie. Very few companies seem to hire entry-level applicants these days. Many of them hope or expect that you've worked on an indie project. I will say that making your own game is easier now than it's ever been before. You can get Unreal 4 for $15.00 a month and play around with making levels, guns, scripting enemies, etc. If at all possible, I would suggest making a game with some friends or working on one in some way. Check for an indie dev club at your university, or perhaps look at taking an elective from your CS department if there is a class on making games.

If you can't make a game - that's still ok. You're a trained problem solver, and that's important. There are a couple avenues open to you, assuming you don't do Art and you don't do Code. You can go into Design, or you can go into Production. Design tries to determine a fun set of problems for players to solve, and then implement those problems into the game. Production works on scheduling and resource management, and tries to coordinate all aspects of a game (design, art, code, QA, release) so that quality stays as high as the project can afford to make it.

If you want to do Game Design, definitely play up your analytical ability. Try to include a side project or two on your resume, and if you don't have one, try to include something that shows a passion for intellectually taking apart games. Maybe a blog series on what games do well? Maybe some youtube Let's Plays with in-depth analysis of mechanics? This will all help you stand out.

Good luck!

olib12329 karma

Obviously not the OP, but I do work in the games industry (product manager/producer).

My best advice would be to get involved in any game jams, indie projects or anything that actually gets you working on a project. Your degree obviously isn't a computer science one so perhaps look at other roles in making games that don't directly require writing code, e.g. production or game design

azuredrake46 karma

I know you're a product manager because you gave him all the essential info he needed in about 1/6th of the words I used. :P Great stuff!

BreweryInTheSky6 karma

On the other end of this, I don't have a formal degree but I have made several games, some of which involved me writing a lot of code and others where I took on other roles. Is a formal degree an absolute requirement to get hired in this industry?

azuredrake15 karma

Absolutely not. I never finished my degree - just made games instead. Seems to have worked out ok. :)

A degree does help, though!

ErikJR21 karma

What are the chances of a pokemon mmo?

azuredrake59 karma

Er, well, Nintendo's been really on their game this year with online integration, so I'd give it a solid 2%.

Way better than the 0% I would have given it last year.

zeroniusrex19 karma

Hi Jeff!

What is your favorite game and why is it Halo?

Also, shouldn't you be working, young man? I'm gonna have to go over to your desk and look at you disapprovingly and distract you with bad jokes, aren't I?

azuredrake16 karma

pls Maria no beatings

Answers mostly happening during maploads I swear...

azuredrake22 karma

Also my favorite game of all time is probably Mass Effect 1. It made such an impression on me and masterfully utilized the hardware of the time.

mcneff13 karma

Hello Mr. Hamilton,

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

How many different 'managers' have you worked under and what traits did you find in the 'managers' that you liked the most (e.g. they were personable, they showed a genuine interest in the work you did, they were clear and organized in their instructions)?

I ask because I'm studying Game and Simulation Arts and Sciences dualed with Computer Science in preparation to enter the games industry as a producer.


azuredrake10 karma

I've worked under somewhere between 10 and 20 managers. IMO, the best managers trust their employees, and empower them to do their jobs well. The best managers facilitate their employees, helping clear logistical obstacles out of the employee's way so that the employee can focus on doing their job. And most importantly, the best managers communicate early, often, and accurately, allowing for the process to self-improve. I can't stress this last part enough - if your process does not include a method for self-improvement, it is fundamentally broken.

Thanks for the question!

daddyyboyy11 karma

How do you feel Star Citizen will impact the MMORPG landscape in the future? From the perspective of competing with Cloud Imperium Games. Being that out will obviously set a new standard for high fidelity, immersive, player influernce for its members?

azuredrake22 karma

Hmm. Star Citizen is both something new, and something that a core audience is extremely excited for. That said, it's far enough out that it could still be scoped to be quite a different product by launch. I don't have enough information about what it actually is to judge how it will affect the market yet.

caffiend26 karma

So, I have (what I feel) is a great idea for a video game. I have lots of notes and have written out as much of the idea as I am able. I am not programmer and I know no one in the video game creation world.

My question is this: how can I begin to make my idea into a video game? As 40 year old man, father of 2 young children, and the sole breadwinner of my family, I can't just start a job as an intern and work my way up. Would I need to create an independent company? Can I sell the idea to a bigger studio and hope to be a creative director so the idea can be realized as I envisioned it?

Any advice here is appreciated!

azuredrake5 karma

Hmm. Ideas are rough - their value is extremely hard to gauge, and it's impossible to communicate them without functionally giving them away.

This is, however, kind of a textbook case of what Kickstarter is for. If you pitch your idea to the world and say "Hey, I need X$ for Proof of Concept, want to fund it?", you can see if there's value in your idea. There's sort of a whole sub-industry around kickstarter campaigns that I'm not really familiar with, but if you do your research and bulletproof your campaign, you can try to catch lightning in a bottle.

Other than that, I'm afraid I don't have any easy ideas for you. Games inspire people - they tend to give people ideas for follow ups or new games. The thing is, everyone working in games also has their dream game or games they want to make. Unless your idea is purely transcendental (something I've never seen), nobody is going to want to drop what they're working on and make your thing.

jint3i2 karma

Tell us about your burnout experiences. How did you overcome burnout? What would you recommend to others who have burned out already?

azuredrake4 karma

I experienced extreme burnout towards the end of my third year at EA. It was largely caused by a malicious middle-manager who colluded with a co-worker to make my life miserable. At the time I was young and foolish, and felt like talking to HR would just make things worse somehow. That was the culture at EAQA at the time.

Unfortunately, the only way for me to overcome it was to leave. I was unemployed for about four months, and in that time I focused on exercising every day and getting my mind back to a healthier place. In the end, it worked out, since the next job I landed paved the way to move from QA into Design, and I haven't looked back since. :)

[deleted]0 karma


azuredrake4 karma

I must admit - I am actually not a peanut butter man! However, the peanut butter girl scout cookies are pretty good, so I'll go with smooth of whatever brand they use.