Now that Earthrise is in the alpha stage what is it that you find yourself doing on a daily basis?
Right now I am focused on scheduling tasks and planning for beta. Everyday I schedule meetings with the team managers and we discuss the game’s progress. I also closely follow the direction in which the game design is going and often give suggestions on improvements can be made. Another aspect of my day is completing interviews with the media and exchanging emails with parties that are interested in the game.
How does it feel to have made it this far into the process?
It is such a pleasure to see the game evolve on a daily basis! I am very happy with the progress that we have made so far, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the most important stages of the Earthrise development are yet to come.
What has been the biggest challenge in the process?
The biggest challenge was the increase in team size. Right now the team is four times larger than it was in our first months and sometimes it can be a bit difficult to get everyone to agree on ideas and directions as well as follow the same rules.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Just like all of our fans, I can’t wait to start Beta testing the game. The day that we announce to the public that Earthrise has entered Beta will mark a true accomplishment, but the game’s launch will be an ultimate milestone.
As Lead Game Designer what do you oversee daily?
My day at Masthead Studios usually starts with a cup of steaming coffee in hand, perusing the internal Wiki systems for any responses from the development teams regarding the previous day’s changes, and answering any questions on subjects currently at work. From here I turn my attention to the design team’s status, updating the schedule for the day and assigning daily tasks to each team member. As we get closer to Beta, work becomes more demanding and challenging and the team takes every goal to heart discussing solutions and balancing content during daily brainstorming sessions. I begin my afternoon by sorting through and elaborating on notes from these sessions and then update the technical documentation with all new changes and decisions, as well as final content in either draft or balance form for the programmers and art team to access. It is true what they say, game designers often play with Word and Excel more than games! Continuous meetings with artists and programmers guarantee that everything is implemented and modeled close to the design while giving me an idea of what the other teams are working on. As the day draws to a close, I focus on any marketing materials, such as interviews, that need tending to.
How do you keep the team motivated when creating the environment of the island of Enterra?
The best motivation for a creative team is to have almost every idea and suggestion put on equal ground and integrated into the core, making Earthrise a game developed not just by a selected few, but by everyone on the team. Just as every artist has a creative license to enrich the theme of the game, the game designers have the freedom to suggest and work on ideas that make the gameplay more exciting.
What are you most excited to have accomplished this far in the development process?
Aside from the game design document, which totals hundreds of pages with content and gameplay features alone, I am most excited with the flow of world building that meets and exceeds our expectations. If this continues to go on as fluidly as it does right now, we all should be excited about the Beta!
Programmer: Stefan Dragnev
What do you find yourself doing on a daily basis?
Most of my days are spent between research and implementation of new technologies, maintenance of the quality of our releases and improving the processes in our department. Recently I’ve been working on integrating Ageia PhysX into our project.
Is this the first game you have worked on?
Yes, this is my first game project of such a large scale, but I have written simple games before.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Considering everything that we hope to accomplish with Earthrise, one of the most challenging aspects of this process is bringing together the various technologies that are used in our rendering engine to create a vibrant whole.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
I can easily say our rendering engine – just look at the screenshots!