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Interviews: Launch Day Interview

By William Murphy on February 01, 2010

Launch Day Interview

Traditionally Open Betas are seen as a sort of marketing exercise, do you think shirking the traditional practice was beneficial?

Todd Harris:

Definitely. For this final Beta phase we had a number of goals but two of the most important were: 1. tune server stability and 2. see how players and groups would behave within Conquest so we could tweak some meta-game rules. These goals both required a large population. The Conquest dynamics are very emergent and require tens of thousands of users participating. Fortunately our pre-order campaign was very successful and so our pre-order customers were able to experience the game early and provide more than enough people to satisfy our Beta testing goals.

Launch day arrives... thousands of players start flooding the servers. These are the things that the Open Beta usually helps prepare for. Aside from crazy, hectic and harrowing what's the mood like in the office come launch, now that your baby is finally unleashed upon the world?

Todd Harris:

Being a father of two children I think your 'baby' analogy is spot on - lots of work leading up to the birth but even MORE work after the baby is unleashed. The point being, we already have big plans for post-release enhancements to Global Agenda. In fact the studio as a whole is continuing to support and update this game rather than moving to a new project right now.

Of course, we have to survive Launch Day first but we are fairly optimistic based tuning done during our pre-order head start this past weekend. Assuming things go well, the Dev team will be in-studio with a cold beverage playing Global Agenda alongside everyone else.

Were there any specific goals you had for development that you had to put off in order to make launch? Features that you wanted to add or anything of that nature?

Todd Harris:

There are certainly some 'nice to have' items that we decided to wait on. But all the core features were included and well-tested. We'd rather release a solid core and then enhance and add content over time. We'll continue to do surveys to help prioritize new development and ensure that we are delivering the items most important to our community.

Are there any plans post launch for content updates?

Todd Harris:

Yes. We have already started work on a first content update that will include new Conquest territory types, new Conquest-specific devices, and new PvE content.

Are said updates going to be available to subscribers only, or will certain additions also be available to the retail owners?

Todd Harris:

We'll introduce matchmade PvP maps and core device additions to the entire community including non-subscribers. But the bulk of our ongoing content additions are focused on Conquest and PvE and these will be subscriber only.

Balance is key in a game like Global Agenda. How does the team keep track of the metrics necessary in order to level the playing field as evenly as possible?

Todd Harris:

We track everything - individual player statistics, team statistics, device-statistics, Conquest production rates, heat-maps to show hot zones within each map layout, and more. Everything in maintained in a SQL server database and we have some powerful visualization tools that let us report and graph trends. This way we can use objective metrics to compliment the subjective impressions around what seems overpowered or underpowered to the community.

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