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News & Features Discussion  » Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: Young v. Old: Dev Debate

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28 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/04
Posts: 2425

OP  10/26/06 2:31:02 PM#1

Vanguard Technical Director Ryan Elam is the veteran, while Designer Derek McDevitt is the rookie. The two get together to expand on their opposing world views in this new monthly feature.

Derek McDevitt: My name is Derek McDevitt and I'm a Game Designer at Sigil Games Online. I got my start at Sigil back in July of 2005 when I was hired as an Associate Game Designer. I've been in love with games for most of my life. When I was just a young lad in elementary school my dad found a perfectly good Atari and a couple of games in someone's trash (he was a trash man, not a garbage digger) and brought it home for my brother and I to play. Ever since those days of 'Pong' I have been hooked. As far as MMO experience goes, the one I've played the most is Everquest. I started playing in middle school, but playing became hard after my parents found out that I preferred EQ to homework. More recently I have played World of Warcraft and, of course, Vanguard.

At Sigil I do many things, including playing ping pong and being pretty much the ping pong champ of the design team. When it comes to Vanguard though, my main responsibility is that of overland population. This includes, but is not limited to, allocating creature types per regions of the world, planning out level progressions for the overland game world, designing and building overland camps, and meticulously documenting all of the things that I've already mentioned. Some people here at work think that I have a slight case of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but they're probably just thrown off by my documentation and how I organize the copious amounts of Sobe bottles on my desk by the color of their caps.

The whole article is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 663

10/26/06 3:04:18 PM#2
Can you really call this a debate? It's more like a duel interveiw. It sounds like it would be interesting if it were longer though.

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/04
Posts: 3

10/26/06 4:14:04 PM#3

How is it that this is not the longest running debate in Business history. The young is trying to make a name for himself, the old is trying to hold on tho the name he created in his years on the job. Hmmmm.

So the problem, the young has good strong ideas that cost money and may or may not be the answer in the old guys eyes. The old is supposed to have, or thinks he is supposed to have all the answers, or is paid to have all the answers.

So the solution to the debate is the balance. If they both understand their roles, and points of view, it is remarkably easy. Old timer, you are no longer the smartest guy in the building, you want to think so but it is not true, if it is true you have done a bad job hiring. Young guy you may be one of the smartest guys in the building, but not the wisest, unless you are truely elite, and there are probably parts of the picture you are not looking at.

Old guy, you are supposed to manage your talent, part of that management is to explain why so he can use the information at a later date and refrain from asking a similar question in the future.( Oh and get them to wright the code cuz it will get done faster)Young guy, I know this will be hard but you have to listen to what the old guy is telling you, i know sometimes they dont always say what they mean and it seems like they change their minds allot, but so will you when you are old.Find the hidden code!!!!that will make you uber!!

And young guy one last bit, sometimes the old guys no matter how wrong they are are still right, even if it makes no sense to anyone but the old guy, and even if later they realize they were wrong and change it to the way you wanted it to begin with, but just different enough not to be the same. You have to give them that because when you are old you will need it and the young guys will give it to you. Or you will fire them.

Oh and young dude the old guy is not you peer, so dont talk to him like he is, it's rude and insensitive, old guys are sensitive.Oh and old guy watch out for the Aggro emotions of the young guy they still work on the FFE plan.

Fight it, F*&k it, or eat it.

PSSSFFFFTTTT!!!! Debate over I win.I take donations for my counciling services, too.Beta keys excepted.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/04
Posts: 1594

Freedom of choice
is what you got,
freedom from choice
is what you want!

10/26/06 6:00:41 PM#4
Yay! I am all for you Ryan!

Teach that n00b Derek his place in the company!

"Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas


Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/06
Posts: 10

10/26/06 6:48:10 PM#5
If the devlopers can't agree...

God knows how the game will end up :P.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/27/06
Posts: 948

10/26/06 7:36:51 PM#6

Friendly Disagreement > Unanimous Agreement > Unfriendly Disagreement

Debate within a development team helps the development. It breeds ideas. The best you can do for a game is bring as many major conflicting opinions as you can into a team and make them get along. If you can manage to do that -- and it is extraordinarily difficult -- you have a recipe for something great that will improve with age (see: EVE) rather than deteriorate (see: Galaxies).

Like the gene pool.

Favorites: EVE, VG, LotRO | Playing: None | Anticipating: SC, ED, TD, EQN, CU


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

10/26/06 7:56:39 PM#7

The title should be 'Vangaurd: Saga of Heroes: Arrogance v. Wisdom: Dev Debate'

Real men don't have to puff up their chests and stand on their tippy toes to look big and manly.  When grasshopper learns this lesson, he will  have matured a little.



Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/06
Posts: 10

10/26/06 7:58:35 PM#8
Fair point.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/03
Posts: 7445

The enemy is so dumb! They believe that WE are the enemy! - A famous orc commander.

10/26/06 8:43:09 PM#9

Well, they are also at opposite jobs.


The tech guy has to make sure the game is functional, that it work.  If you listen too much to this guy, you will end up with PONG with maybe an extra feature.  It will run smoothly, very nicely, no lag, and the server will be able to support millions of players, lagfree.


The Designer has to make these guys work harder.  They have to find the stuff that will make this game cool and better, they basically have to figure what features and what aspect they can manage to get the older folks to accept to program and make functional.


Without the tech guys, I don't think the Designer can make much of a game at all, it will be all sweet and his head.  However, the best techs put together give results similar to what Microsoft do...and Microsoft isn't exactly earthbreaking in terms of interesting gameplays.


Basically, if we have to sums it up, the Designer have to find/figure/design a way to make sure the tech guys make an awesome game that will be a great success.  The Tech guy, he is the very core of what make the game...however, he needs support, because techies despite having awesome qualities, often fail at understand how to make the gameplay more interesting, cool...


To make the techies smile, the best designer on earth is prolly to drunk to care!  Which is a lot worser then the techies working for MS! 

- "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - René Levesque about the denial NO on the poll to his dream, project and goal. (Free translation)


Novice Member

Joined: 1/10/04
Posts: 19

10/26/06 9:28:21 PM#10
I laughed, that was a good article.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/16/03
Posts: 193

Eternal life brings eternal hunger.

10/27/06 1:45:13 AM#11

This is too cute

Sounds like the Sigil team are having a ball of friendly teasing contests at work. The best working atsmophere is one where you can get things done but adopting the philosophy that life's ment to have some fun in it

So this is Derek's FIRST job? that guys gotta be the luckiest SOB I've heard of. Got a ticket through college and a seat right in the industry he's been dreaming of. Others like myself however have gotta pay our way through college and cross our fingers that our 3rd or 4th job tittle invovles something in the industry we've been looking for. Congrats to him I supposed I must say


Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/04
Posts: 1594

Freedom of choice
is what you got,
freedom from choice
is what you want!

10/27/06 2:43:51 AM#12
Ok , this time no joking

I myself am designer and work every day with coders. Some of which are older than me.( Hehe i am old sod i admit )

But it is always the same thing with coders

" It cant be done! " , " It is not in our road map " , " It will take to much time " ... etc

When i request feature from them , i know exactly what they are going to tell me

They usually like to stick to what they know , and the old concept of how to get there. I cannot blame them.
Their schedual is tight  as it is.

The young coders on other hands , are very willing to try new things - because everything is new to them anyway.

So old blood = efficiency and quality
New blood = Not so efficient but  innovative

In my oppinion developing companies should have team of youngbloods  that their  only task is trying to do this
crazy undoable ideas. (and ofcorse other much bigger team , steady coding in good ol way)

"Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/09/06
Posts: 44

10/27/06 3:34:51 AM#13


"...the one I've played the most is Everquest. I started playing in middle school, but playing became hard after my parents found out that I preferred EQ to homework."


Lol same.  I started eq in 7th grade when it came out and my parents from that point on began taking away computer/power cables/blocking ip adress every time they got mad at me.

At the same time i ahve to ask, how old is derek then? I started EQ in 7th grade and im 19 now.. did he start working at sigil when he was 20? lol


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/04/04
Posts: 5

10/27/06 7:26:54 AM#14

Having been the 'old guy' in several Unix Sys Admin shops, it was great fun to read the article and the thread.  There are two more very important reasons for the mix of old and new.  The new kids keeps all us old farts on our toes!  And second, one of the greatest rewards I've ever received, while working, was mentoring the next generation and watching them grow up!  The new blood must come in and take up the slack!

Sign me,

Happily Retired!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/29/05
Posts: 232

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king - LAST OF THE MOHICANz

10/27/06 10:08:11 AM#15

this made me laugh.

As some one starting a 3 year degree in video computer games at the ripe old age of 37 it also gives me a glimmer of hope that I too will find my niche in the industry.

More discussions like this please and sorry but I gave Vanguard a hard time on a post and feel a bit guilty now! Just fed up of class based fantasy games...but I am sure Vanguard will rock as big as WoW! }:)


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/04
Posts: 463

Be yourself

10/27/06 11:04:39 AM#16

LMAO! Sigl is my fav. dev team now! I mean lol... I would love so much to meet those guys. Just check employee spotlight. If guys can joke like that... I'm sure Vanguard will be a good game.

::::08:: to all people that make Sigl

Every time I read your post, I die a little inside...


Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/05
Posts: 548

Murder She Wrote.

10/27/06 12:54:09 PM#17
theyll end up agree in the middle of what they both said


Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/06
Posts: 124

10/27/06 1:06:36 PM#18
That was a bit different.  Interesting, but not very informative.  It's like Desperate Housewives for the gaming world.

Novice Member

Joined: 7/22/06
Posts: 3396

10/27/06 2:31:12 PM#19
Maybe they should pull some innovation in Vanguard instead of talking about how they can be innovative.  I admit the programming is very well done, but the game design looks very bad.


Novice Member

Joined: 6/21/06
Posts: 11

10/27/06 3:28:27 PM#20
I have to side with the old timers in this dialog, and not just because I am one.  I remember being that young pup with the bright ideas, but the bottom line is that there needs to be more HARD WORK for the young ones - HARD TEDIOUS WORK.
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