December 5, 2006

My Ritual Legacy

I spent some time last night looking over my legacy at Ritual, and I actually feel pretty good about what I managed to accomplish before I left.

I managed to test a AAA-title with a QA department one-fourth the size of the one on "Bookworm Adventures" and with a five-figure budget. I managed to handle all support calls and forum posts for the first three days after launch by myself, and by the time I left, had total support contacts across all methods of contact under 1% of units sold. On an unannounced project that we were working on with a publisher, our milestones were never rejected, in part because I looked at the milestone deliverable lists we received from the eyes of the publisher, not the letter of the contract. Ritual was also the first developer to publish any sort of Vista compatibility lists for its legacy catalog.

I did a lot outside of my department as well. I wrote two full manuals. I wrote a patch for "SiN 1.12" to add functionality that we promised to the community. (Whether it will be released or not isn't up to me anymore.)

I did a lot on this blog as well to help out on the PR front, although sometimes the accompanying flare-up was so much that I didn't get the backup I was supposed to get. I was asked to go forward with the piracy stats, and it succeeded in getting people talking about piracy. Unfortunately, the pirates were louder and Something Awful decided to be the assholes they normally are, so I was essentially hung out to dry on that one. It's too bad, too, because if you look at some other employee blogs, you'll see that Ritual's employees have never been ones to shy away from controversy. You'll see discussions of everything from asset theft by former employees to some items that shouldn't be discussed on a (relatively) family-friendly blog.

Of course, there was also "YAUSB." I worked hand-in-hand with PR on that one to get the message out.

If I had to say that I had one success while at Ritual, it was that I added a human face not only to the company, but to quality assurance as well. I tried to keep a conversational tone in all of my communications because I believe that talking to someone and teaching them about a topic is more effective than just talking at someone.

Oh, well...such is life. Back to looking...


Sarkie said...

We appreciate everything you did Rom, I hope your search is fruitful.

Rob said...

Well, I have to say this was one of the things I expected least when I opened up Thunderbird.

You certainly gave Ritual a more human aspect, and it made the long wait since 'Emergence' far more bearable, as I knew that there hadn't been a Zombie Outbreak™ at the offices. (I'd also ask you about Ep2, but I'm assuming you're still under NDA)

Well, good luck to the future, Mr Russell, we'll be reading intently.

P.S. The conspiracy-theorist in me wants to ask whether your leaving Ritual is connected to that of Steve Nix?

Andrew said...

Frak. This was unexpected, to say the least.

Well, I hope that, wherever you end up, you're happy with it. I appreciate all the work you put into Emergence (and even Sin 1); any company should be grateful to have someone as attentive to the job and to the community as you are. (I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that I've learned more about how the industry really works thanks to this blog than from everywhere else combined.)

Best of luck to you and your family in getting settled down once again.

Tale said...

We love you, MikeR! Your blog does not just put a human face on QA. For me, it helps to realize the humanity behind the entirety of game development.

Good luck finding a new job.

Zachary said...

good game.

GFree said...

At least you're in good company:

In any case, you were definately the public face of Ritual, and provided a perspective of the gaming industry a lot of us never thought about. GG.