Wow it's been quite some time, since I've posted, my every day propelled in an endless orbit around the dense cluster of wonder-eyed cartoon pets and treacherous travails of game development that was my universe for the past year. Today our MMO-lite star was borne (not born) to the public, and in some ways the work has only begun. If I'm being overdramatic it's because this project has really felt just that cosmic.
Littlest Pet Shop Online officially launches today although it's been online for the past month in various beta phases. I firmly believe that while there is so much more I know this game can be, it has the best production values of any Light Persistent World out there, and certainly has the foundation for us to build upon it all our production dreams. That is the great game changer about an online game. I remember mulling about how MMOs were services not games before, but now I'm really face-to-face with just how much the capacity for dev-to-customer responsiveness ends up requiring more responsiveness from all.
My personal involvement has ran the gamut from game design to production to mentorship to padawanship to press monkey to DARPA think tank... too much to define. Sometimes I felt like I was part of everything, sometimes like a part of nothing anyone else could recognize. Towards the end of the project my Sr. Producer was removed from the project and that made it even more nebulous for me. It's quite a realization to accept that your project is really a living organism, not the vision of any one (or few) creators but a sentient mass of decisions, tweaks, features, design, and code that you must constantly redefine the vision of for yourself and your customers.
I can't talk about the lessons learned from this project because the lesson is only at the semester midterm exam, you know that one you wake up just before, in a cold sweat, fearful that all the preparation you did was lost in a previous dream? But no, regardless of much dream stuff there is, when I log into the website and see our client waiting there for real kids to make real accounts and meet real friends as we push real content out in real patches... certainly something wonderful was achieved. It sits on a bed, not of passive dreams, but clever threads, being weaved by hands that disregard real or not real, because the endless space of kids out there demand their days fulfilled.
It took the past year to get here. Now, we entertain.