In a recent post, Border House blog talked about Ada Lovelace Day, a day chosen to recognize women in the field of technology or science. The post is centered around the games industry specifically, and there's one example I found particularly interesting.
8:45 AM - Wake up. Check IRC for messages and activity in the staff chat room, breathe a sigh of relief that nothing has blown up overnight. Get coffee, shower.
9:00 AM - Check all emails and private messages, respond to anything urgent immediately, 'mark as unread' anything else for later. Eat breakfast in silent rage at todays growing list of issues.
10:00 AM - Write out a specification for a cool new forum feature, to be passed onto the developer you've somehow charmed into working for free.
10:15 AM - Realize your original idea sucks. Revise it entirely whilst cursing under your breath. Talk it over with the developer, keeping your tech dictionary close at hand.
11:00 AM - Put together a new list of interview questions, after the the list you spent a weekend going over with staff was flatly turned down. Conform to the subject restrictions that the developer's PR department now deemed to include in their rejection email.
12:30 PM - Catch up on the most important forum threads on both sites, monitor moderator activity, delete a few posts and hand out a few infractions.
01:00 PM - Lunch break.
01:10 PM - IRC conversation with a staff member outlining a coming event. Go over text, decide on any images necessary. Create the text and images yourself, because you don't happen to have a writer or graphic designer on staff. Send out for review.
2:30 PM - Re-check any PMs or emails not yet dealt with. Send a few email responses, do a bit of actual administration.
3:00 PM - Return to the forums for a deeper inspection. Aim to have everything 'marked as read' by the time you're done. Fail miserably.
3:45 PM - Play some L4D2 to burn stress. Role-play a world where MMO players worldwide have been forced into daylight by a massive server-outage, and you must put a stop to their shenanigans.
4:30 PM - It's morning over on the US west coast, and the developers have risen from their slumber and crawled to the coffee machine. Give them a while to acclimatize, and then strike up an IM chat to catch up and discuss any issues.
4:45 PM - Some site staff need removing/adding/updating, grab your crowbar and head over to the masterpiece that is the vBulletin Admin Control Panel.
5:00 PM - Take a break. Play some games, have a couple of beers with friends, make dinner.
7:30 PM - Feel some level of suspicion as it seems, as always, a disproportionate number of issues have arisen while you were AFK. Answer emails and PMs as swiftly as possible.
8:00 PM - Notice an irate forum member posting a thread in your feedback section, complaining about the actions of a member of staff. Initiate damage control on the replies already there, and start working up a reasonable, comprehensive response that satisfies all parties.
8:30 PM - Discuss the goings on of the day in the staff IRC channel. Throw a few PMs around to individual staff members, responding to certain requests or issues.
9:00 PM - Return once again to the forum. Check priority threads, ban some spam accounts, check the spammers for alternate accounts, ban those too. Feel warm and fuzzy about being able to hit the big red permanent ban button with zero remorse.
9:15 PM - Ease off for the night, though continue monitoring forums, PMs, email and the staff IRC room regularly. Check RSS reader for any interesting blog posts or news. Maybe squeeze in a couple hours of gaming.
11:00 PM - Spend the last hour before you go to bed making sure there is nothing you missed, everything on your list has been done, and the staff are content. Make sure any plans for the week ahead can fit around your work schedule.
12:00 PM - Kneel by your bed with your palms together, praying to the internet gods that nothing horrific happens while you sleep.
Unfortunately this exciting update (making their forum do things that forums everywhere have done for over a decade) will require wiping their current forum entirely, and asking everyone to re-register and start again...
KillTenRats just put up a piece I wrote for them, on the subject of random developer updates.
In the age of 140 character communication it’s becoming standard practice for developers to tease their audience with sporadic tidbits of information, be that through Twitter, forums, or other mediums. It’s guerrilla warfare tactics in the fight against stagnation, but just how effective are these seemingly random ‘micro-updates’? A sincere effort to maintain a more responsive and fluid relationship, or just the easiest solution to a tricky problem?
Check out the rest of that post here.
I'm not going to go on about specific cases or certain idiotic developers. I will simply say this:
Why, if your goal is to prevent piracy, would you make it inconvenient and painful to use a legitimate copy of your product?
For now, listen to Good Game's interview with Valve's Gabe Newell (and a few others), in which he tackles the problems caused by DRM and the importance of good service.
He gets to it about half way through part 2, but it's a fantastic interview all round, so I highly recommend watching it all.
Towards the end of part 2 he also talks about a business model remarkably similar to the one I began outlining back in June last year. I'm not implying he stole it from my little blog, but it's great to hear the 'community funded development' idea is being tossed around by a serious developer.