What Are They Hiding at Lucasarts?

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Maybe the bulk of the structure is to house their new Thuggee Temple, San Fran is on a fairly thin crust of earth with lots of lava simmering below...

Or maybe they really are making missle guidence systems, lets just hope that they are better than the X-Wing's Proton torpedoes.

Is there really a need for secrecy in a place like that? Your making a Star Wars game, odds are it'll have Stormtroopers and Jedi. Even the story lines of Star Wars games are predictable; Evil Empire plots to overthrow galaxy, 9 or 10 brave heroes, some who may or may not have a troubled past/skeletons in the closet, are with you. Despite overwhelming odds you choose to only have 2 of them with you at any given time.

They're going to freeze George Lucas' head and store his personality on a ROM. You heard it here first.

skugga:
Lucasarts share the building with ILM. In fact many ILM staff are mixed in with Lucasarts staff rather than being on separate floors. Often working together on projects. ILM helps LA with cinematics while Lucas Arts helps ILM with quick pre-vis etc..

They're probably more worried about you catching a glimpse of the new live action Star Wars show or one of the many unannounced blockbusters they're working on.

This is pretty much what it boils down to. LEC doesn't even really have that much space compared to what we have over at ILM, who have quite a deal more. Plus there are non-Lucas affiliated companies that also lease space at the Presidio campus. But security is a huge deal for Lucasfilm due to the many clients that contract ILM and Skywalker Sound for work and want to keep whatever they can under wraps. Plus there's a ton of cutting-edge tech being developed in those areas, particularly on the ILM side - stuff that can potentially be patented or industry-breaking. So the security thing isn't LEC-specific at all, it's just campus policy. Though the NORAD comment made me laugh, since the security setup's not really anywhere close to a military facility or anything - hell, different Lucas division employees have open access to each other's spaces.

As for the alarms at the security areas, the guests probably weren't instructed properly on how to swipe the badges over them. You need to make sure it's on the correct side, you can't swipe immediately after someone goes through, etc. You're supposed to swipe and wait for the proper light, if you walk right away and an error pops up you're going to set off the alarm. Happens all the time, temp badges or regular ones.

I'm really curious as to what put-off the article author so much - was it just how the PR folk treated him? Not enough courtesy shown or something? When I've given tours to guests, they don't really talk about the security at all.

Russ Pitts:
This is the world of Lucasarts, where everything si (sic) perfect, and none of it is to be touched.

Probably the most fitting sentiment of the entire article right there.

Oh wow, that sounds pretty weird. What a contrast to Blizzard's HQ and its nerdy playful tone. On the other hand, maybe the black vans and increased security were there because they saw Russ Pitts' avatar, which sort of looks like Aleister Crowley.

You should have left some of this fake dog poo on the sidewalk and somewhere inside.

image

Good times my friends, good times. Sophomoric? Yes, but they were too, and dammit satisfaction guaranteed is always found in plastic poo.

p.s. Did you ask the blonde out?

XiaNaphryz:
:words:

I'm going to assume he's simply comparing his experience to other developer visits. I'm sure it's very convenient for LucasArts to share the grounds with ILM, but if that means this is the experience visitors come away with it might be worth to reconsider. Or, at the very least not be surprised when someone is intimidated by the security.

The "you're the first to complain"-defense is weak. Who's to say previous visitors simply didn't complain because they were worried to generate badwill between their company and LucasArts?

XiaNaphryz:
I'm really curious as to what put-off the article author so much - was it just how the PR folk treated him? Not enough courtesy shown or something? When I've given tours to guests, they don't really talk about the security at all.

Some of the folks here at the office had suggested the fact you guys share space with ILM was one of the reasons for the tight security, and that makes perfect sense. To be honest, that hadn't occurred to me at the time and it wasn't mentioned to us on the tour, nor was it obvious.

Still, having toured dozens of game development studios and endured countless security/PR gauntlets, I have to say that my experience at Lucasarts was by far the most oppressive. I don't have a beef with anyone who conducted the visit, they were all as courteous as one would expect, but brusque. Perfunctory even.

Generally when we're invited into a studio it's to be shown the studio itself as much as the game. After all, as I'm sure you're aware, there's as much interest in where you guys work as there is in what you make. You guys, of all the developers, have the most outstanding facility, yet you discourage curiosity about it with a ferocity equal to its awesomeness.

I suppose the heart of my confusion was that, if there are so many restrictions on allowing visitors into the space, then why did you ask us to come? Other developers arranged for rented space to show their games at GDC. I understand you're local to SF, but it's not like you couldn't afford it. If the need for the security was to control the space, then a hotel suite or event venue would seem a much more logical choice. That you guys instead opted to bus visitors to the Presido and then escort them on a tight leash suggests the theatricality of the visit was at least as important as the substance, which is disappointing and sad considering how little we were actually allowed to see.

I enjoyed the game demo and we of course appreciated the invitation, but at the end of the day I felt like I was invited to a party and then forced to stand in the kitchen lest I ruin the carpet. I mean, having someone walk us to the restroom and then wait outside to walk us back? I understand being asked to not take pictures, but that's how you would treat a child, not an adult professional doing his job at your request.

In my years covering games and touring studios, I've been treated like a journalist on many occasions, so I understand what that entails. I know the presence of writers and cameras makes people nervous, especially when those people have access to more information than they're allowed to reveal. But this was the first time I've ever felt like I was being treated like a child. As I've said, it was disappointing. Not unforgivable, by any means, but disappointing for sure.

Russ Pitts:

XiaNaphryz:
I'm really curious as to what put-off the article author so much - was it just how the PR folk treated him? Not enough courtesy shown or something? When I've given tours to guests, they don't really talk about the security at all.

Some of the folks here at the office had suggested the fact you guys share space with ILM was one of the reasons for the tight security, and that makes perfect sense. To be honest, that hadn't occurred to me at the time and it wasn't mentioned to us on the tour, nor was it obvious.

Still, having toured dozens of game development studios and endured countless security/PR gauntlets, I have to say that my experience at Lucasarts was by far the most oppressive. I don't have a beef with anyone who conducted the visit, they were all as courteous as one would expect, but brusque. Perfunctory even.

Generally when we're invited into a studio it's to be shown the studio itself as much as the game. After all, as I'm sure you're aware, there's as much interest in where you guys work as there is in what you make. You guys, of all the developers, have the most outstanding facility, yet you discourage curiosity about it with a ferocity equal to its awesomeness.

I suppose the heart of my confusion was that, if there are so many restrictions on allowing visitors into the space, then why did you ask us to come? Other developers arranged for rented space to show their games at GDC. I understand you're local to SF, but it's not like you couldn't afford it. If the need for the security was to control the space, then a hotel suite or event venue would seem a much more logical choice. That you guys instead opted to bus visitors to the Presido and then escort them on a tight leash suggests the theatricality of the visit was at least as important as the substance, which is disappointing and sad considering how little we were actually allowed to see.

I think that's more to due with the particulars of whoever in LEC PR was scheduling your visit. Maybe it's a LEC thing since I'm with ILM, but being invited to our campus more often than not includes a tour of the facility. This may not necessarily mean entry to any actual workspaces, but there's enough "cool stuff" around that people get excited to see. It's not necessarily a standard thing for all press visits, but if there's time available for it it usually happens.

I'd suggest you just follow-up with your PR contact, as I'm sure the last thing they want to do is to give you guys a bad impression, which I can see why you guys may have if you were just brought in for a quick demo then escorted out. Also keep in mind that some things are just company-wide Lucasfilm policy - visitors aren't allowed anywhere on the non-public areas of the campus without an escort even to the restrooms, whether you're a personal guest of someone visiting for lunch or a big-shot Hollywood director.

Anyone at all who is at least a little familiar with the workings and business dealings of George Lucas is not surprised at all by something like this. Lucas protects his IPs like an obsessive hoarder.

you know this may just be a plot to make the escapist want to know more whats in the box...guys GUYS I'M SAYING SOMETHING IMPORTANT...

uhg...

maybe they are just trying to make wow worried and release cataclysm early clause they play wow... damn my logic is awesome

Maybe I'm mistaken, but that doesn't strike me as the best way to treat one's guests.

They have taken control of Half-Life 2 episode 3. Where doomed.
(LOL)

fanklok:
You know what Russ you should have kept asking questions and stuff just to see what they would do to you. Maybe one of the guys would have said "I think it's time for you to leave. Rex would you escort him off the premises." Then some guy that sounds vaguely familiar, but you just can't figure out where from, comes up and tells you to follow him and it's another elevator ride but instead of stopping on the ground floor you go further down, down to sub basement B even though the elevator's panel only goes to A. Rex pushes you out of the elevator into a line of storm troopers, and it hits you that's where you've heard his voice before. So you get dragged down to the firing line executed with blasters some of you gets scrapped up and sent off to the cloning facility, then a perfect copy gets churned out and sent on it's merry way then that fateful day when George Lucas starts his domination of the world you join with the clone army because all those years ago when you died you came back on his side for that very purpose.

...Unless of course that's what did happen and you didn't tell us, oh god everyone run for your
lives.

good story

Apparently they forgot to brainwash the journalists afterwards.

There are a lot of people out there--whether they claim to be "journalists" or not--that are total jerks. They will lie, cheat and steal or anything else to get attention, to get information they want, to just get their way.
How many times have people written articles here about how great they think they are for griefing other players? That mentality doesn't stop when the computer's off.

I'm surprised that more developers aren't more careful, frankly, given the nature of people in general, our society today, net culture, and some gamers in particular. Do I like all of that and the result--such as very tight security and emotional distance? No, but I can understand why it's that way.

If you really don't like the direction things are headed, then take a stand with The Escapist. Don't glorify the griefers and the a*holes of gaming or of anything else. That doesn't mean you can't talk about them, but you don't have to give them space to vomit their bloated egos on the visitors here.

We all bear responsibility for the societies we live in and the cultures we create. In general, honestly, the Internet culture sucks.

Doktor Merkwurdigliebe:
Apparently they forgot to brainwash the journalists afterwards.

I have to admit that I laughed at that one.

So Lucas Arts IS al qaeda!?

I think they're just looking for attention.

At least they didn't have 5 layers of fences, guard towers with patroling M16s, and a no running or you would be shot policy, like they do at a nuclear plant that i work at. Almost out of this prison, but the game development career I want sounds exactly the same. Tear...

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