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CyberStrike 2

John Donham - Producer of CyberStrike 2

John Donham contributions to Simutronics included producer and designer for many of its products, including DragonRealms, GemStone III, the original CyberStrike, and Hercules & Xena: Alliance of Heroes.

This archive is a running journal of his work on CyberStrike 2.


  OCTOBER 28TH, 1998

After several grueling weeks, we're moments away from being finished. The last few bugs are being squashed, the pizza boxes are being lugged out to the trash, the stacks of coffee cups are cleared off desks.  And just to prove that lack of sleep won't make us psychotic, we're jumping right in to the last phase of the multiplayer game!


  OCTOBER 15TH, 1998

CyberStrike 2 single player ships to Sony in 8 days.   Sleeping, eating, seeing the sun - forget it - we're working.  Aieeeeeeeee!


  OCTOBER 1ST, 1998

We made it into Multiplayer Alpha last week. The first couple of days were rocky - there were a lot of bugs. We didn't have a stable game that lasted more than 10 minutes. But the server programmers have been working extra hours the past few days, and yesterday we had a 20 person game that went on for an hour. Pretty good - we're closing in on that one.

We've sent our first pass at the single player alpha to the Sony testers. The good news is that we fixed over 80 bugs on the lastest version. The bad news is that they found 50 more. Two steps forward, one step back.


  SEPTEMBER 21ST, 1998

Bugs, bugs, bugs. We're into alpha on the multiplayer side, and pushing to reach alpha single player - tying up a couple of loose ends to get us there. We've got 43 of the 45 missions working, the last two are the training mission and our Golos mission. Multiplayer we're moving to bring in our staff this week - we've just about got the version ready for them to use - perhaps Wednesday or Thursday we'll be all set. Roger (Senior Technical Writer) is finishing up some documentation for them to ship along with the version. If all goes well with our staff testing, we should be ready to bring in our current CyberStrike1 customers in a few weeks.

The installation system is completed and working. Besides the trouble with the two missions we're working on, we've also got the cyberpod arming screen (where you pick out what weapons you'll carry into battle) to finish. We had a beautiful interface that was very difficult to use, and based on our focus group testing knew we had to fix it. Unfortunately, it's dragging a little longer than we'd like, and hopfully we'll have it done tomorrow. It's not as pretty, but a lot more functional and easy to use.

About two thirds of our team has now been shifted to work on nothing but bugs - most importantly, our lead programmer John Ratcliff (688 Attack Sub, Seawolf, Scarab) is working on bugs full time. We have a list of 517 bugs right now (ugh), with 174 currently fixed after 2 weeks of effort. Bugs are split into 3 Categories, A, B, and C. A bugs are those which cause crashes, stuck conditions that the player can't recover from, or otherwise situations that keep you from playing the game. These are the most severe and most important to finish - we have 8 open A bugs, with 60 fixed.

B bugs are those which are graphic glitches, mispellings, incorrect information given in a mission briefing, etc. We have 445 of these, only 114 of them fixed. Finally, C bugs are those which are suggestions from the testers for improvements to the user interface or the game functionality. We've got 3 of those.


SEPTEMBER 18, 1998

Got the report back from the testers that 38 out of 45 missions are now approved. The last 7 are somewhat problematic, though. One of the missions is the training mission - perhaps the hardest to make. Another is in the city Golos - which still is having some model adjustments, and that makes it difficult to finalize the mission since the city may change underneath us. Blech.


SEPTEMBER 15TH, 1998

Started a developers journal. Perhaps we should have started this at the beginning of the project? Oh well, better late than never.

Today we've just gotten the approval from Sony on our 30th mission, out of a total of 45. Our last 15 missions are all scripted and ready to test - but there are bugs that will take a week or so to fix. Gave Elonka (General Manager of Online Games) the heads-up that we'll be trying to bring our current CyberStrike1 staff into our alpha testing next week. With a little voodoo and some small animal sacrifices, this should happen.

 

 
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