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Zentia Developer Blog

Thoughts from ChangYou's Zentia Dev. Team about F2P gaming, and living life in the game industry including happenings, experiences, and all other things gamer. To find out more info about Zentia,check out:

Author: ChangYouZ

Zentia Producer Blog - Day Before Open Beta

Posted by ChangYouZ Wednesday October 13 2010 at 4:06PM
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Zentia Producer Blog - Day Before Open Beta
I’m the Senior Producer at ChangYou. I’m going to try to keep track of the day so I can share it with you. Hopefully, it’ll give you all a bit of insight into what goes on right before we open the gates of our virtual world.
One day until Open Beta Launch.
Soundtrack for the day: ”I Want to be Sedated” by  the Ramones
8:58AM on October 12th; the day before Open Beta begins.  Tried to get into the office early in an attempt to get a head start on the day. Of course, traffic was awful. I did manage to get in early, however…..2 minutes early. The first thing the CEO wants to know is the status of the Open Beta (OB) tasks.  Six major items are still open. We have a quick meeting to reprioritize these remaining tasks. Every minute between now and server shutdown is officially filled with priority tasks. The whole team is moving like a well oiled machine. It is quite impressive to see. I wish I had a few minutes to watch them as they each complete their part of a task and deftly hand it off to the next person.
9:20AM - I am busy double and triple checking all the tasks listed as “Finished”. This should take a few hours at least.
12:30PM - Lunch! I have time for lunch. This is a good sign. Thai peanut salad was the food of choice, if you really must know. 
1:25PM – The first disaster has hit. The new client and installer are not correct. They have to be remade and re-tested. There is no open beta without the new client.  We are estimating that the new client will be ready for testing at about 2am. Luckily we have a nearly endless supply of coffee, snacks, and the number of a pizza place that delivers.
This isn’t my first open beta launch, but it is for much of the rest of my team and I hope they are prepared for the long haul we are in for today.
3:40PM - The last few hours have been a blur of final preparations.  Needed to make sure all the promotions are set to start tomorrow, the website is up to date, the leveling contest is set, and ensure that all of the data from the last 7 weeks is saved so nothing is lost in the move from Early Access Beta to Open Beta.  The ultimate disaster would be losing data. So rule of the day is back up the back up and make an extra copy of both.
3:56PM - Another quick meeting on the game client issue. I think we have a good resolution. Now to adjust the distribution schedule for the soon-to-be fixed client. Once again, I am thrilled to be working with such a professional group. It’s almost 4pm and the day has no visible end yet. Not one word of complaint from anyone. How awesome is that?
4:27PM - Time for the first casualty of the day! The ZTV episode had to be pushed back. The players love seeing Katealyst and we really wanted this video to come out today. Unfortunately, our design team is swamped with higher priority projects. The video should be out by the end of the week.
5:00PM -  Oh, nice win for the players. Grandpa Luck was only supposed to be giving out 5 Devil Essence but is instead giving out 10. No time to make a fix so it stays at 10.
6:30PM -  A wave of tiredness has just enveloped the whole team.  Time to get the coffee maker cranked up.  
7:04PM -  Haven’t even started my daily tasks yet. If I can get 60 uninterrupted minutes I can get the
critical daily stuff out of the way. The rest can wait until tomorrow (hopefully after I get 8 hours of sleep).
8:48PM -  We’ve hit a lull waiting for the new client to be made.  This is the worst part, we’re tired and we have no more urgent tasks to do while we wait. The new client is being made as fast as possible but we have no idea if it will be an hour or six before it is ready for testing. Everyone is trying to keep busy doing other tasks while we wait. It’s hard to concentrate on mundane tasks. The office is really quiet, just the sound of people typing away on their keyboards.
9:06PM -  A conference call with the dev team in China. Just a few small details left to iron out for the client. I think we are all resisting the urge to get irritated with each other.
9:27PM -  Sent everyone home except the Associate Producer and the Product Assistant and myself.
9:56PM -  New client will be ready for testing at 1am. We’re heading home to get a few hours of sleep.
Right now I feel like I just got on a rollercoaster. The car is slowly moving toward the top of the first hill. Click. Click. Click. The anxiety is building with each click.  The server shutdown will be the moment that we hit the top and everything seems to stop. Opening the servers tomorrow will be that first plunge down the hill. I know it will be a fun ride. See you on the other side!