Been a while since the two of us had a chat... how about we catch up? This morning I caught sight of the yearly phenomenon that always follows Mogloween...
I was drinking from a winter-themed coffee cup at the coffee shop. That is where I meet my Martial Arts Master Instructor for our weekly accountability meeting. We have been meeting for about a year now. What do we do? Each week we share our goals with each other... and then review them and set new goals the next week. At first thought you might not think there are a lot of similarities between running a martial arts school and a video game studio-- but I get the feeling that everyone who runs their own business experiences the exact same issues & challenges. It is nice to talk with someone who can relate... and has had similar experiences from which to offer advice and solutions.
Upon getting to the lab today, I was hit by a tornado of urgent requests. (Not to be confused with the literal tornadoes we had last week here) This is not unusual-- but the sheer volume of urgent things needing my attention was horrifying. Even as I type this, I am getting impatient phone calls going to my voice mail. (2 in the last paragraph). This was a major point of discussion with my Master Instructor today.
Recently, a lot of my newer online friends have noted how slow my personal responses have been-- if at all. If you have known me for a while, then you already know what is going on. It is the end of the year... September through December are always our busiest and most packed game dev months. It makes sense. All but one of our major games were released in October. We have been launching our biggest seasonal events of the year across the games. Not to mention a half dozen other vital projects including the physical Moglins we are manufacturing. Most importantly, is AdventureQuest 3D's main storyline is a major restructuring which we are currently working on (and figuring out how to implement some of the trickier parts to) on top of all of this.
Last week a player asked, "What does Artix do?" -- which is a really weird question. Because if you asked me, I would say "I make video games!" but the truth is a little more like "whatever it takes... and all of the other stuff too." If you are curious... then just take a look at last week. I spoke with a player who has brain cancer and, on your behalf, was able to donate to help them through the difficult time ahead. I met with Lindsay Lohan and the lead singer of Journey's PR manager. I met with the creator of a wellness app who will likely have their app across hundreds of universities by the end of next year. Been designing a board game with Voltaire. Reviewed and approved the 2019 calendar. Designed the VIP custom Moglin forms. Met with a French developer who creates 8-bit NES games. (Probably my favorite)
I love what I do 100%. But it should be noted that everything I listed above was on top of my regularly expected duties. I start each week with team meetings and a full AdventureQuest 3D Team meeting. We have two tracks. The programming track which creates features and code... and content track which creates monsters, maps, items, and quests. Earlier in the week, my involvement with individual parts is on design and decision. For example, I will sit with Zhoom and Yergen and design out how PvP will work. We know that the coding will take weeks... and that a lot of the things we want might need to change. Then when Zoom returns to work on that, I will switch to a content project. You can see the top projects listed on the Game Plan page which I update Mondays. Like the revamp of our app store listing and new trailer. Neither of these things have had the progress I intended. The backlog is very visible... it took weeks to release the Pirate trailer. It should have been simple. I recorded all of the video clips personally at launch, and Jongar wrote the perfect Pirate song. But finding the time to actually stitch them together was eluding me. So I paid a trusted player to see it to completion while I worked on other urgent tasks that were falling behind. I am involved with the AQWorlds Mobile project and we are working on new features for the Artix Games Launcher including IdleQuest.
My work days are always stacked to the brim with production work, 10 to 16 hour days are common... and each day is very different. Fridays... are always the busiest (and also the "funnest") :D The one thing I truly enjoy doing each week, is the release promo and newsletter on Friday. I photoshop the promo images together from the new in-game graphics and then write the newsletter, Design Notes post, Kickstarter post, Steam post, and then post the articles to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Previously I would write, shoot and edit the weekly video updates in Premiere too-- but as of two weeks ago, Vesper has taken that over (way to go Vesper!) He latest video is here.
I hope you do not mind me sharing all of this with you. There are times where I am suddenly extremely active and responsive on social media. Now, you will be one of the few who know these moments happen when I am in between projects and I fly to tweet deck to see what you are up to and what you thought of the last release. It really is like popping your head out from under the water for air. So, you can imagine how important it is to the team and I to see words of encouragement there. When any game dev says something like that, they really, really, really mean it.
So, long story short-- if I am slow to reply, you are one of the few who know what is going on XD I am pretty eager to share with you and everyone about everything we do. So when you hear me go quiet, you know I am just temporarily flooded with a sea of urgent work.
But Artix... you are a solution guy, how are you going to improve this? Hey! Great question. I was thinking about hiring an assistant. There are over 30 people in this building but not one person with any bandwidth to assist me. Anyone want to move down to Florida who has the mental strength and dexterity to be an official "Artix Wrangler"? Warning. 99.9% chance I will drive you to the brink of madness. Still actually considering this? I will link you to the job posting when it goes up.
I pretty much wrote you a novel today... but there are many people reading this who I deeply care about and really wanted to make sure they knew I was not ignoring them. This is the busiest time-- and will do my best to use this time to bring you the greatest game releases of the year.
Winter is coming.... Battle on!