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Business Game Industry

Founder Ken Williams Discusses the Time Sierra On-Line Game Developers Nearly Unionized in New Book

Sierra On-Line founder Ken Williams clearly stayed busy during the pandemic. Earlier in October he released a new book, Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings: The rise and fall of Sierra On-Line, which tells Sierra On-Line’s complete story from his perspective for the first time.

In one Sierra story I’d never even heard hinted at before, Williams spent part of a chapter describing the process of clamping down on the company’s wild start-up culture—or trying to “bring discipline,” as he describes it—and pushing his team to a point that he admits became abusive.

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Game Development Game Industry Podcast

Anger is Optional

Todd provides an update on the studio, the state of the podcast, and thoughts on managing gaming’s impact on our attitude.

This is a shorter episode while I finish reconstruction on the studio and set up the next set of interviews. More great stuff is on the way!

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Business Design Game Development Game Industry Games Podcast

Draw Distance Producer Kamil Krupiński

This show was a couple of firsts for the podcast: I think it was probably the first time we’ve had on an industry producer who wasn’t also responsible for several other jobs (at least no more than any producer is) and it was also the first guest we’ve had phone in from Poland–I trust you’ll excuse the occasional dip in audio quality.

If you haven’t tried Serial Cleaner, Draw Distance’s last big project under the name iFun4All (yes, we talk about it), you’re missing an entertaining stealth puzzle game with style to spare. If you picked it up recently in your Humble Monthly, take a few minutes to check it out before you jump into this episode, then you’ll also be caught up for when the new game, Ritual: Crown of Horns, hits Steam Early Access later this week. Once you’ve tried both, you’ll be struck by how this relatively small studio came up with two drastically different games and full-on nailed them both.

In addition to digging into the game projects, I picked Kamil’s brain about the life of a producer for a mid-size team, and it was no surprise that such great games are coming from a team that places such emphasis on quality, sound decision-making, and factoring the human element into management decisions. Pay close attention to the issues he points out in the industry and says the fixes are in the hands of people in his role. It seems clear that Draw Distance is a great place to work.

Thanks again to Kamil and the team for their time.

Kamil / Draw Distance:

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The #GameDev Breakdown Podcast

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Business Game Development Game Industry Humor Podcast Writing

Jordan Mychal Lemos of Ubisoft

Jordan Lemos is a WGA award-nominated scriptwriter working at Ubisoft in
Québec, with writing credit on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the words of Socrates himself. He’s been a Twitter pal for a while now, and for some reason, we have the conversational energy of the cousins you have to separate at Thanksgiving dinner.

Jordan’s path into the industry was far from easy. Pay close attention as he describes the roles and responsibilities piled on him while working with previous employers and the type of thanks he got when typical industry issues came along. It’s no coincidence that he has such specific ideas on how the industry could improve life for the writers that help make games so compelling, and its relationships with them as career professionals.

This show was a ton of fun to record, and I appreciate Jordan’s time. Call us, Beat Saber team!

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The #GameDev Breakdown Podcast

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Business Game Development Game Industry Games Podcast Writing

Joshua Davidson of Gearbox Software

Joshua Davidson is a senior sound designer working at Gearbox Software in the Dallas, Texas area. After leaving Full Sail University in 2007, he Contributed to Red Faction: Guerilla and Saints Row 2 at Volition in northern Illinois before heading south to work on Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Battleborn, and Borderlands 3 after making the move to Gearbox.

In addition to building a stellar career in AAA games, Joshua has done some great writing and speaking about his time in the industry. His deep-dive into how he went from high school hopeful to graduate to industry pro has bounced around the web some before landing at Medium–it’s a must-read for anyone outside the industry looking to make their way in. He also returned to Full Sail years later to give a great talk on his industry run that you can now watch at YouTube.

In this week’s show, Joshua provides some updates on the last few years of his career you won’t hear about in his earlier presentations, we discuss some recent trending industry news, and Joshua provides some of the advice he would have liked to hear on his way to the top.

This was an awesome discussion and I really appreciate Joshua’s time. Go support him on Twitter and check out his killer work in Borderlands 3!

Joshua’s links:

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Audio show:

Credits:

The #GameDev Breakdown Podcast