Case #

06.20.12

Researcher

Subject

News, Studio, Team Zed

It Starts With A Lot Of Swearing

I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming. Or, given the ichor and rotting flesh everywhere, I’m probably having a nightmare, but either way I can’t possibly be awake.

How did I get here? How did I wind up with potentially the best community job ever?

Well, it started with a lot of swearing.

Technically, it started with a passion for Golden Age science fiction and fantasy, but I digress. Anyway, at the turn of the century I had a rant site, where I raged about an MMORPG that I loved more than anything. (This is why I never get upset with the screaming guy on a forum. I know exactly where he’s coming from.) From there I moved to writing about games, and from there I moved into community management. I didn’t know what I was doing, but in 2001, neither did anyone else. I figured I’d just treat people the way I as a gamer/sentient adult would like to be treated, and so far it’s worked out pretty well.

All of the great developers are players at heart, and after years of gaming, experienced players have a solid grasp of what makes a good game.I have been managing game communities ever since. There are a lot of ways to do my job, but the way I do it assumes that when it comes to bringing a virtual world to life, players and developers all in this together. It works because there really isn’t much of a difference. All of the great developers are players at heart, and after years of gaming, experienced players have a solid grasp of what makes a good game.

Players and developers working together create something bigger than just a game, and the interaction between them raises a mere product into the realm of art — or magic. It’s why I’m still here doing this job over a decade later. There’s no better buzz to be had.

The development team is building a world, but the players have to live in it.What makes the magic happen is communication. Everyone needs to know what’s going on with each other. Everyone has to be treated with respect, as equals with a vested interest in the success of the project. The team is building a world, but the players have to live in it.

So I’ve always seen my job as the conduit. I’m your representative inside the company, and I’m the company’s ambassador to you. I solve problems, I argue advocate, I bear bad news when I must, and I cheer. I support fansites, wrangle guilds, keep the information flowing, and ensure your voice is heard.

What I’m not is a marketing person. I’m not here to sell you anything. I’m here to make sure you’re never sorry you bought it, and to connect you with thousands of likeminded people.

I’m not alone in holding this non-marketing view of community, but I am decidedly in the minority. That’s why I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming. I have not often gotten to work with a team that shares my philosophy on community building. Undead Labs does to such an extent that I keep looking around my home office for the surveillance camera. I can’t find one, and pinching myself is only resulting in bruises. Ergo, this is really happening.

Many of you reading this have been following Class3 (and drooling over Class4) for much longer than I have, so I’m going to need your help getting up to speed on what has got you excited. The team is highly aware of what you’ve said so far, but there are some mean deadlines looming and everyone’s got to get their nose and every other appendage to the grindstone. No rest for the rotting!

I got to see a kickass demo of Class3, and it gave me the heebie jeebies for three days.Also, because there are no secrets on the internet, I better get this out of the way now: I’m afraid of zombies. They freak me the hell out. If the world we’re building was real, I would be in the fetal position. The first chance I got, I’d fortify some kind of tower, chop down the ladder, and not move until one of you brainiacs built up a compound big enough that I could just stay inside and garden all day. Or assemble explosives. Whatever. Just as long as I didn’t have to look at some shambling, lurching monstrosity liable to rip off its own leg in order to kick my ass.

As such, I haven’t seen any zombie movies. (This is especially awkward on a personal level, because I live with the world’s biggest zombie aficionado, and there are literally thousands of horror movies and splatteriffic games lining the walls of the basement.) I got to see a kickass demo of Class3, and it gave me the heebie jeebies for three days. There’s this thing, with a landmine, and a truck, and the air was just FILLED with zombie parts, and…I think I need to lie down now.

What I mean is that with every game I’ve ever worked on, the community has taught me what really counts. I’m coming to you with no preconceived notions on zombies, or sandbox gaming for that matter, and I am psyched to find out where you want to go.

—Sanya

[Read my introduction post for more about why we think Sanya is awesome. —Jeff]

  1. Researcher: Drew
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    From all of us fans to you Sayna. We welcome you with a very hearty hello :D! this means the end to the silence right?

    • Researcher: Sanya
      Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Definitely. :)

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 5:32 am

      Excited for the update hopefully there will be a release date soon

    • Researcher: seth
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

      demo?!? what demo!!? i want a demo!!?!

      welcome to the team btw hope we get more imformation soon about the game just anything about the game videos construction, zombie types, survival tips, how many zombies can the game engine produce without crashing? thousands? maybe 10? i don’t know hopefully somehwere in teh 100s

  2. Researcher: Pieter Kuperus
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hahaa! Awesome! :D

  3. Researcher: Survivalting
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Ohhh if i could see you right now i would kiss you lol , May i recommend coming over to the MMOZED.com forums we’d love to hear from you :D
    Thankyou Undead labs for shutting all the haters up *cough*facebook*cough* :D

    • Researcher: Vampevil
      Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      its been ages . what you expect. we say???

    • Researcher: Survivalting
      Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      Ages? it’s been 3 months(in this time they haven’t had anyone to post news because they are working there arse’s off making a EPIC game for US and without Emily they haven’t had the time but now with Sanya that will change :D) , if people would of chilled out and been patient without just assuming that they’d gone bust and saying shit like ‘spring ends june 19th where all crying like little bitches give us something or where all gonna go elsewhere’ then it would of been all good wouldn’t it ???

    • Researcher: Rick Grimes hand
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

      i bet you gave your teacher a nice juicy apple every day.

    • Researcher: Collin
      Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 1:00 am

      I heard that at the tokyo game show last year you guys said that the game had 500,000 zombies and no two are EXACTLY alike. And that there are 4000 fully-voiced survivors. Is that true ?

    • Researcher: Sanya
      Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

      I think you might have been at the end of a very long game of Telephone, man. Sorry. For starters…we weren’t at the Tokyo game show.

    • Researcher: DerpAlert
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 4:32 am

      Sorry Collin, i think that was the Serious Sam HD Supermercial. And I must say that game did have a staggering amount of polygons per krundle.

  4. Researcher: Renny
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Really..REALLY GLAD to see this project hadnt been vaporware’d ! this has (sadly) made my night! cant wait to hear everything thats been going off i just hope we’ll be seeing more game play/development and a time frame for class 3 release

  5. Researcher: MrZombieMan
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    OH SWEET JESUS! the long silence is done i liked the part about the truck and landmines and zombi- ok fine I LIKED ALL OF IT!!

    • Researcher: captelmo
      Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      I second this outpouring of pure relief! Welcome to the lab. If you’re looking for sensible people to talk to you’re fresh out of luck but when you get bored we’ll still be here. :D

  6. Researcher: Roark
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Hey! Good to see ya here! I thought you were doing a great job back in the DAoC days. Wish ya the best with Undead Labs!

  7. Researcher: Burt Gummer
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Bout time!! I’ve killed 35 graboids and disassembled,cleaned,and reassembled all of my guns since the last times you guys posted.I can’t stay mad at you guys though, you’re giving me a new challenge.ZOMBIES.Looking forward to it! P.S. Welcome Sanya! Now get to work!;)

    • Researcher: The survivor you never known
      Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Same here. I think I am one of the guy’s she was talking about on the forums, I been patient for so long and then suddenly I just snapped during the last few weeks of spring. I’m so glad you(UndeadLabs) made Sanya part of y’alls team and I want to apologize for my sudden impatient raging. Its just fantastic to know Class3 is still alive.

    • Researcher: Brant
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      It was frustrating for us too. We are a very small team and we didn’t have anyone to concentrate on getting the word out for a long time. We are so happy that Sanya is on the team now.

  8. Researcher: JohnSmith
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Great news! So when to we get to see this Class 3 Demo ;D

  9. Researcher: MarleyTheMongolianMoose
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    (Double post – Accidentally posted it in the wrong place. My bad.)

    You may or may not remember me Sanya (I found some security vulnerabilities in the website for Prime Battle for Dominus and we e-mailed back and forth).
    Welcome to the UndeadLabs team.
    Is Prime dead? Or did this job just intrigue you more than theirs?
    It was sad when the slated release for that game was before XMas originally since they disliked it when games came out with info too soon and then didn’t release for 3 years, but it seems like the path they are going.

    • Researcher: Sanya
      Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      This isn’t reeeeeally the place to talk about the last gig, Marty. ;) I blogged about it a little, so we can chat there. I hope your exploit hunting skills extend to the Xbox!

  10. Researcher: WildPhil
    Date Recorded: June 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Welcome….been following this game since it was announced!

    Two questions need to be answered ASAP: 1) When does Class3 release? (release date seems way over due at this point) AND 2) Is Class4 coming to Xbox 360 or Next Xbox (Xbox 720)?

    • Researcher: K-Man
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Come on, please, they’ve been saying it all along that the release date is not going to be announced, so there won’t be delies in the “birth date” (oh, no good english today…sorry)
      And wheter it is for Xbox360 or the next one, does it matter? I would buy the new one only to play THIS game!

    • Researcher: Mephster
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 6:45 am

      LOL afraid of zombies, that is awesome. Welcome aboard! :)

    • Researcher: RetroMutt
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

      1. Release date isn’t gonna be comfirmed until they know when the game will be done for sure, I bet. Mainly because I’m sure people will start freaking out if they delay the game from the date they said it “Might” come out. People would shout “YOU PROMISED!!” Lol sorta like how it happened when they went quite the past few months.

      2. Even if class 4 gets released on the next xbox, it’ll should still be on the 360… why? Well, it’s a wider player base. No matter how awesome the next xbox will be, it’ll still have a pretty small amount of users compaired to the 360, at least it’ll be like that for the first few years.

      So expect it to be on the 360, well I’m pretty sure it’ll be on the 360!

      Also, I replied cause I wanted to see if mah avatar worked :3

    • Researcher: Bobby
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      What are the weapons looking like at this moment? Are we expecting actual names for guns? Or knock-offs like the “Lock 17″ compared to the “Glock 17″?

    • Researcher: Brant
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      We do not have licenses for branded firearms. You shouldn’t have a problem identifying the inspiration for each firearm in the game though! More on this later. Enough about guns, let’s dance and celebrate Sanya’s arrival!

    • Researcher: DAVEoftheDEAD
      Date Recorded: June 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Happy to see someone is taking over I hunger for this game like a crack head wanting his crack rock. I always ponder what roll drugs would take in a undead world.. muahaha!

    • Researcher: Nick
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 8:06 am

      All this news is really building up, and the game is starting to sound more and more amazing. But I’m not too keen on how overly-bad ass it’s sounding. I can understand a character swearing after getting hit or falling, but I feel like just continuous cursing gets to be tiresome and annoying, so id there any way there can be a swear filter, where it will replace normal swear words with other words (crap, heck, etc.)? I’m no pussy for this, but I’m thinking of the mental effect from it.