(Note: this song is not very good at all)
The cavalcade of fun that is Derek Smart’s stewardship of an MMO continues apace.
Once we run out of back-story in the lore, then we’re just to going start making up stuff. No, seriously, we are. Since David, Hue and Jason are gone now, we can do anything we want. We already have, uhm, battle hamsters. So we’re going to expand on those and take it from there.
The biggest issue I have is that with all this new-found exposure, under load, the server CPUs may very well heave themselves clean out of their sockets, blow past the fan, bid farewell to the memory chips on their way out and make a clean exit out of the cage.
Yes, that’s the plan. That and the fact that we’re going to focus all our efforts on fleshing out the battle hamsters, since Elves — of any kind — are flat out banned from the game.
I’m scared. I’m very scared. Can you hold me? Fine. How about a hug then?
Look, all the man wants is a battle hamster, CAN’T YOU HAVE SOME COMPASSION?
The latest from the Aion community team:
What do you do when the community manager of the game you just took over locks your own thread?
Why, you go elsewhere, young man. YOU CAN’T STOP THE SIGNAL!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dr. Derek Smart. In case you were short of laundry to wash, we now have plenty.
Tip: If you take money from investors, at the very least, TELL THEM what you’re doing with their money and the asset they’ve burned millions on. Going behind their back, lying to them – because they don’t know any better and have NO experience in our biz – is only going to get you ousted and fired when someone decides to start ASKING the tough questions like, oh, I dunno, where’d four years and our money go and where’s the darn game?
I’m already a magnet for controversy and I don’t particularly want to take the focus off the task at hand to put it on “Derek Smart” because that would be unfair and distracting. Apart from the fact that many will try to make this “A Derek Smart thing” because that’s as much fun as poking a bear with a cattle prod and running into your mother-in-law’s bedroom.
HR managers are not idiots – especially in our industry. So the three of you can tool around with each other all day long, but my guess is that given how competitive the industry has become and how it is now focused (now more than ever) on hiring based on experience in *shipping* games, you guys will most likely never – ever – work in this industry again.
And those are not the only two instances. Over the past two years, everytime you guys burned through investor money (on God knows what), David has gone back to the investors telling them the game was going to be done THIS time, give us more money. He gets the money, then continues with the same schtick. As I said in my lengthy report to the investors, this whole thing has all the makings of a long con.
Then in the midst of all this, David tried to sell and/or license the game assets (I’m not even going to bother naming names at this point) behind the backs of investors, myself and the co-founder. It was that very last act that caused him to be fired and all three of you to be gone by the time the dust settled.
The day we found out – quite by accident – that Truegames had a team down in Chandler evaluating the game that David – even though he was told weeks before NOT TO DO IT – was trying to sign to them for pennies on the dolalr (a fire sale designed to cut the investors out and leave them hanging) – was the day I sent Jeff Luhan (who clearly had no idea what he was stepping into) a strongly worded email notifying him that David had no authority to act in that capacity on behalf of QOL and that we had NO interest in giving the game to them. He called his team back immediately. We fired David. An emergency session of the investors was then called.
And that is just one of many examples of the sort of mess that you guys put this company through.
There are police and FBI complaints filed by the investors, there is a lawsuit in the works etc. Go ahead, tell me you didn’t know anything about that. Nor the fact that not only was he siphoning money in order to overpay himself and his buddies, but also had an inexperienced family member – with *zero* industry qualifications – on the team *and* being paid higher than any other person *with* industry experience and qualifications. I fired that person as well as you well know.
All company bills (as you know since 3000AD paid you *your* last payment) thus far have been made out of an escrow account to which the investors put money to keep the company operating because they weren’t putting any money into an a/c that David and you lot had access to. As a result of the distaster you guys left behind, myself and the QOL co-founder (who has his own company to run and never planned for this) have ended up *running* QOL in order to keep the investors assets secure and the company running.
During all this, while he was complaining about not having enough money to operate, he was negotiating a buy out of his remaining shares in a ploy to abandon the team (who worked hard to make this game) and the company. We have all the emails and letters he was passing around the investors in order to get a golden parachute OUT of the company and AHEAD of the Mar 1st disaster he knew was going to come. I put a stop to that when I told the investors not to give him a dime and that the QOL team needed the money a lot more than Dave Allen did. Of course they listened to me.
For the record, David didn’t write a *single* line of game code for Alganon. I have access to all the SVN logs.
You’re a designer – with *near zero* experience. I’m a snr. developer who has actually developed engines (lots of them) and shipped games (lots of them). So unlike you [in-experienced] three, you can’t fool me – and that was David’s first mistake once I got involved in all this and at the request of the investors who own the company.
He flat out lied to me when we were talking about COLLABORATING in order to bring my games to a NETWORK because I didn’t want to build my own. He said you guys had tech that you clearly DID NOT HAVE.
There are thousands of MMO games out there that “plug in” to a network at no upfront costs to the developer.
THAT was what I was looking for. Thats what he told me you guys had. He lied about that too.
And spare me the ego trip by telling me that I have access to “technologies” and whatnot. This is barely a *game* that I’m trying to save and in turn keep the HARD WORKING folks who built it, in their jobs for as long as I can and it has NOTHING to do with my games because if QOL dies, there is no network (which is what we’re now looking to build) and no game.
So go ahead, take pot shots, the facts don’t lie and more you three try to twist this, the more of it I will reveal in order to show a clear picture and pattern of conduct as to how you guys brought a company and millions in someone else’s money to the brink of disaster.
For the record, I am *not* proud to be making these posts but there isn’t anything here that isn’t already public knowledge either in legal briefs, police filings or elsewhere. I am not going to let David destroy yet another company by leaving a cloud of doubt, speculation and conjecture in his wake.
So yeah, go ahead and make it about Derek Smart; I could do with the added exposure so I can cut down on marketing costs.
Heck, I have team members flat out calling you a hack and having seen your working code and the mess you left behind, I have very little to disagree with. In fact, the entire networking layer (ACE!?!? who the frack uses ACE for a real-time game??!) – the staple of an MMO game – that you’ve been hacking for God knows how long, is going to be ripped out and tossed at some point because it is just a mess and the #1 cause of player angst in terms of gameplay sustainance. You can’t play an MMO game if you can’t connect, stay connected etc.
And just so you know, we had already decided to fire you right off the bat. You just made it happen quicker when you – against Greg and my instructions – gave David credentials and caused us problems. The plan all along was to fire you after the April launch. So don’t kid yourself. There is a reason why your termination notice said:
1.Insubordination. Ignoring directives from President & LLC Manager.
2.Breach of security protocols.
3.Lack of industry experience in the performance of a project of this scope.
You didn’t want to work for me, but when it came down to it, you were the one who came back to me asking to pay you when David – after having raided the bank accounts – refused to even pay you and Hue. So yeah, rail on me all you want, I could care less.
I HIGHLY recommend that we just stop now before someone really gets hurt.
But I don’t expect any of you to actually know any of this because if you had any experience in GAME DEVELOPMENT it would be obvious that you’re not going to be licensing out tech that is patently useless outside of the game that it was developed for. What were you guys going to do, go into the source code and doing a global S&R op to replace all occurences of “Alganon Editor” with “Awesome l33t QOL Editor”, build it and call it a day? Yah, I’m sure Jason would probably do just that.
In five months, come back and see how it’s done, m’kay? The team is going to FINISH the game and we’re going to help them do just that. And best thing is, they don’t have to go lying to investors to get the money to do it.
That all backfired because he severely underestimated me and the fact that I’ve done this for so long, I can see right through my eyelids. Blindfolded. In the dark.
Derek Smart: THE GODDAMN BATMAN.
(In case you haven’t kept up with gaming soap operas over the years, David Allen, before his tenure on Alganon, was the original lead designer of Horizons, which had a…. somewhat troubled past. Derek Smart, before his tenure on Alganon, was Derek Smart.)
Dave Allen didn’t “depart”. I fired him back in February for insurbordination and for acting against the best interests of the company. Shortly after the investors of the LLC unanimously voted him off the LLC. So yeah, he has been gone since Feb 22, 2010. I am not at liberty to go into any further details at this time but only to say that eventually everything we do can and will catch up with us. It is only a matter of time. I also fired Jason Blood – his long time buddy – shortly after that and for the same reason.
The Dec 1st launch of the game should never have happened. It was a mistake that has not only cost the company money but has also cost people their jobs and put an otherwise exceptional product at risk. As a game developer, I know all too well that if your game is not finished and you release it, thats just asking for trouble. No matter how great the game and technology are, it can and will fail. Especially in this industry climate. The average gamer is as finnicky as a hummingbird on acid, with a very short attention span and a penchant for being largely unforgiving. In other words, pulling a stunt like that is the death knell for many a game and company.
This whole “WoW look-a-like” rubbish, is gone. I’ve essentially asked them to throw it all out and for the artists to come up with the game’s own unique look and feel for for both the web UI as well as the game UI itself. You don’t go competiting with WoW when you don’t have a WoW sized budget or the manpower to match. But thats what David wanted to do and I’ve pretty much tossed it all. The team was unable to actually do this previously due to David wanting it that way, even though they knew it was a terrible decision.
You know, I’m tempted to subscribe just to keep reading these posts. Oh wait. I don’t have to!
We’re also getting rid of the monthly subscriptions. They are currently suspended, but will be gone for good. I put that plan into place since Dec 2009 with a view to making the game “subscription free” but supported via sales (I was the one who had the client price reduced to $19.95 as well btw) of the client as well as micro-transactions. It is not a traditional F2P game, but if thats what we have to do in the long run, then so be it. For now, we’re taking baby steps.
Derek Smart: the last community manager you’ll ever desire.
I’m not going to be at GDC this year, because, well, I haven’t been to GDC for years now. Why mess with success?
(If you have any cool SXSW parties that don’t have a trendiness requirement, let me know, that’d be spiffy!)