After numerous requests (thanks to Ice's post -- appreciate that Ice) . . .
I went to Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After Law School I worked at one of the top US law firms. I got marired and have since had 4 kids (ages 6 months to 7 right now). A friend of mine decided to start a game company (Realm Interactive). I decided to help out, but still worked as a lawyer most of the time.
We made one of the earlier MMPOGs. We were making a pre alpha for about 1 year before we ran out of cash. We decided to cut salaries and employees and try to make it toE3 --6 months away -- to try to get a deal. We were going to quit on June 30, 2000.
After striking out with about 20 publishers, on June 27, we got interest from 2 publishers. The timing was amazing. I had already given up.
NCSoft (the largest Korean Publisher) signed us to a $3 million publishing deal. We hired LOTS of employees and created a game. Our employees included Dagnor and Joe Maduriera (probably spelled wrong). Joe was the artist for the X-Man comic book for several years and frankly is one of the top video game artists in the inudstry right now (he works for Vigil at THQ and is still doing X-Men work--we will come back to this).
At the time, NCSoft had signed two other independent projects -- City of Heroes and Guild Wars (you may have heard of both). Our game was a Diabolo MMO, whch had not been done before.
NCSoft had a million dollar booth at E3 complete with indoor meeting rooms and bars, booth babes, etc. Our game was one of the featuured games. We had thousands of posters we gave out to fans and a lot of marketing material at the event. It definitely was an experience to have a giant booth at E3.
To make a long story short, NCSoft ended up buying out our company. Our employees all got jobs with NCSoft and we got cash (I was the only one not to go work for NCSoft). My understanding is (I was not there) that NCSoft decided to take our best people off the project to help other projects. The game we were making got scaled down and NCSoft released it as Dungeon Runner -- a free to paly MMPOG. A lot of our team left NCSoft to go elsewhere. Several artists worked on SC2 for Blizzard.
I had 2 main partners at Realm. One of them eventually left NCSoft and started Vigil games. Vigil was subsequently bought out by THQ. VIgil released successful console game Darksiders and WarHammer 40K. My old partner is now in senior management at THQ. Dagnor also worked at Vigil and THQ for a period.
Anyway, after Realm, I continued to work as a lawyer, while my one partner was making video games and my other partner was successfully building and selling start up tech companies (Sal).
Dagnor eventually left Vigil and worked on the start up tech companies. A few were successfully sold to public comanies. After making enough money to live on, Dagnor decided to make Battle Dex. The original name was Iron Condor.
Dagnor and Sal came to me with Iron Condor and asked me to test it several years ago. I had no intention of getting involved. I liked the game and thought it would be cool if you added cards to the game. In my spare time (there had not been much of it), I had previoulsy been a top level Magic the Gathering Player (at a time I was ranked in the top 5 in the World).
I came up with most of the card ideas and we worked them in. Dagnor and I tested almost everyday, but other than helping design the cards and testing, I really did not do much. Dagnor was a one man show for a while. Dagnor had hired artists, animators, and other programmers to help him. (mainly guys he worked with at THQ, Vigil and Realm). While the artists obviously did the art, I'm not sure the other programmers did much. Dagnor is a beast.
I slowly got sucked into the game and somehow ended up doing a lot of the balancing and making all of the missions. I have absolutely zero programming ability and need help getting basic computer things to work.
I think I am one of the better players in the game, though I have not played much 1 v 1 lately and almost no serious 1 v 1. Even when I was playing , unfortuantely (or fortuantely for you) there have been very few games I have been able to pay 100% attention to. I have 4 kids and another full time job. When I do play, I often have a kid on my lap, am on a converence call, and am making a mission on my other computer.
I definitley have given full attentiont to a few games. One for sure was a 2/3 series vs. Witcher for $250 or something like that and others were cash matches vs. Inferno and Justice. SInce I could schedule them at any time, it was on a weekend when my family was out of town (no work, not kids). I wanted to win because I thought Witcher, Justice, Ifnerno, Solid, and Asfa were the 5 top players at the time. I had already beat Solid a few times and I wanted to see how I would do versuses though other top players. I beat all of them. Though Witcher and Justive have gotten a LOT better since and I have probably gotten worse. Justice later beat me in a rematch, though it was close. I will have to give Witcher a rematch sometime soon. I have yet to play Asfa. I thought I was going to play him in the ladder but Inferno beat him with a really cool base rush.
I mention the above because it is very intersting to have a top player in charge of balancing and making missions . Very few games have one of the best players have this role. This is both good and bad. I think it is good balancing wise, because I know the game and I think I don't do things a lesser player would because I understanding the game.
For example, in Alpha, EVERYONE wanted to nerf Artillery Hero. I would not let them, though it was me against about 30 people. As most of you know, Art Herois not played often in 1 v1 constructed. And, I did not nerf him, but I buffed him, since Alpha. Also, in Beta, I knew airlifts and temp firepower boosts were broken after about 1 week in Beta (they cost 15), but I wanted to let others figure that out first. So, I think this is a plus of being a good player.
On the negative side, it is difficult for me to make the "Easy" missions and I know there have been complaints about missions being to hard. The problem is the missions seem Easy to me. So it is hard to figure out what is Easy for a less experienced player. I try to have Ice test things so I can see if a bad player can complete the missions (I really can't make that joke anymore after he beat Witcher twice, but it is always fun to give Ice shit -- but I'm really scared to play him right now as it is like fighting a girl -- If I win so what, if I lose, I never hear the end of it).
There have been some good memories with this game. Beta was a lot of fun. Our players were great and it was fun getting to know a small community. E3 this year was fun as well. Solid came down from SF with Sal and Pierre(at the time Solid had won the first 3 $500 tournaments -- we had never met him before but he lived close to Sal and we thought it would be good to have the top players input on some things), and Ice and Dagnor came from Austin. We played several 3 v 3s with me, Pierre, and Sal vs. Dagnor, Ice and Solid. At the time Pierre barely knew how to play. They killed Piere's base on turn 3 twice (the second time we had him bring construction crew, but he did not submit in time), but somehow Sal and I won both games. Then Me and Sal beat them 2 v3. This pissed Solid off, who then challenged me and Sal to cash games. Solid lost both. He then drank a lot of grey goose from my bar and went to bed. This started the downfall of the great Solid -- the first top player in the game --- he really dominated the first part of Beta -- everyone was scared of him and he won three $500 tournaments -- then, like Mike Tyson, he lost that fear factor and has plummeted since. Come Back Solid. Put some time in and take Witcher, Justice, Jojo and Mythos out.
Anyway, we are now trying to grow Battle Dex and I am excited to see what happens. Sorry for the long post. I wonder how many people actually make it to the end (p.s. I did not edit this, so there are probably lots of errors).