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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 27
01-21-2009, 01:41 PM
Thanks for doing this interview, Craig.

Like others here, I'm also energized by many of your comments. Spock? Check. Preference for exploration? Check. Adventure on the Atari 2600? Big-time check. (Warren Robinette was the first person I ever admired as a game designer. Did you discover his "hidden room" Easter egg in Adventure? Classic.)

And like RogueEnterprise, I also appreciate your additionally giving us a peek behind the kimono regarding the development processes and tools you're using. Scrum/Agile tells me you're open to trying new processes. Waterfall tells me you know better than to forego using an "older" process just because it's older. JIRA tells me that you understand the need for a task tracking tool that insures everyone knows what's expected, when it's due, who's responsible for it and where it stands. And your willingness to build your own in-house tools tells me that you're capable of investing time and money if you can see a long-term payoff in quality.

I also developed my own project tracking tools when I got transmogrified into a project manager. I know the value that good process management tools bring to hitting schedules and catching bugs before they go into production. So everything you just said makes me feel better about the odds of Cryptic launching a Star Trek MMORPG where others have failed, and the odds of that game's quality level being high enough to give it a decent chance of commercial success.

One thing I'm still wondering about, though, is how much influence you have on Star Trek Online's core design. You may personally prefer exploration and "The Inner Light" over violent conflict as I do, but Al Rivera, STO's lead designer, is a self-professed fan of combat systems.

These are different -- and sometimes incompatible -- visions of what constitutes "fun" gameplay in a MMORPG. Neither is "wrong"; both bring something valuable to the MMORPG design table.

But they are different.

So when there's a difference of opinion on the design direction for Star Trek Online, and the design opinions of both the executive producer and lead designer seem reasonable, whose vision usually wins?

Just curious.

--Flatfingers