Saturday, October 14, 2006

Stories from Volt

I've gotten a lot of good stories while working at Volt. A lot of these involved material I can't talk about; things like "This game that's coming out late November is going to rock!" or, "This game which is still going to do well because it's from a big name series sucks and is buggy and will clearly mark the fall of that series."

There are some though that are really amusing that I can still tell you.

During a network test we're all using the handles that are assigned to the machines that we're on. The names are incredibly technical so they're not that amusing, but when you're playing against other people in the same room all day it's really easy to get over enthusiastic. The one I was playing as was something like USDescCertFRG20. Everyone was USDescCert something so we would identify each other by the suffixes, and I came to think of myself as "Frog 20." Now it turns out I'm really good at this genre of games, which is surprising because I almost never play them, so there would be moments of dramatic unexpected success for me in which I would yell out something along the lines of "FROG 20 SMOKED YOUR ASS!" This worked well for me, but one of the other boxes was something like X31F5dkhg64dl12, so he won the next thing and turned to me to shout "Dukhig-64-dul-12 smoked... never mind."

It's really hard to stay enthusiastic when you don't have something good to shout and the other guy does.

This next story involved a WWII game, which I'm fairly certain won't be breaking my nondisclosure agreement because there are too damn many WWII games out today. Anyway the game starts off on the European front, and one of the taunts the NPCs would use is "You shoot worse then you fly!" The voice was an overdone German accent, but it wasn't that bad. What was bad was when I got to the Pearl Harbor level. The Japanese pilots use the same phrase, but their voice is like a crude racial caricature off and even less funny Mind of Mencia. It's hard to focus on shooting things when you keep hearing "Yoo shoot wurse then you fry!" over your headset.

The best one though was when I was bug hunting. The team across from us was testing the game without using Debug mode, they were assigned to go through and do everything legitimately to make sure it all worked. The problem was that towards the end of the game it got so difficult that nobody could actually do it. Then, and this is Awesome, then Volt called in an expert. When they told the guys testing about that they began discussing what he would be like. They imagined some kind of badass loner who just calls himself "The Wolf." They joked about that the whole rest of the day, imagining a scenario where he gets stuck at airport security and just waves them down because he's "The Wolf." He would walk by an arcade and people would form a mob following him. He'd walk into a game stop and some ancient game stop regional manager would step forward from the shadows and say "You! The one the prophecy told of!" They imagined the game spontaneously fixing itself in his presence, etc. etc. Well he arrived the next day and he's a fairly short clean cut early twenties kid. He's really nice, not mean about anything, and amazingly good. The thing is that they told him about the Wolf thing when he came in, and they just keep calling him that throughout the day. Even the team leads used it when resolving a hard lock bug and deciding if it was a hardware thing or a software thing. "That was the Wolf's Box."


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