Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Means of Production

We spoke with our Lead Producer, Scottomon, about how he contributed to the development of APB Reloaded. Once we got his attention for long enough, that is - he was busy working on getting 1.12.0 running smoothly and we were the sacrifice he was willing to make. We did eventually steal him away during a free moment to get some answers though...

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do at Reloaded Productions.
I'm Scott, the Lead Producer at Reloaded Productions. I manage the Production team and oversee all development at the studio, which includes art, programming, design, hosting, and QA. In the first instance, I work with the Executive and Development teams to set our high-level goals and deadlines. After those are in place, I manage the Producers and the Development team throughout the process of meeting those goals.

I mainly work on long-term strategy and planning, but the role is quite broad - the simplest description I can think of is that I make sure the team has all they need to do their job and that I work to remove any obstacles in their way, even if that obstacle is a really persistent community manager. (surely some mistake - Jotunblut)

How did you get started as a producer?
I studied software engineering (specifically game development) at university and got a taste for producing during a group project in my third year. After graduating, I joined my first games company as a tester on their in-house tools team and after a year saw that the company was advertising for Assistant Producers. I plucked up the courage to ask and before I knew it, I was the first Assistant Producer on the company's flagship title. Fast forward another year and I was both Associate Producer and Release Manager, responsible for coordinating the entire team to ship the game. I've been in Production ever since.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are the sorts of decision that you make?
Day-to-day I look at our progress towards milestones across all our different projects and make adjustments to any plans (if necessary). This includes things like looking into reported issues and deciding how important those issues are against other issues and even other features. My main daily role is making sure that any issues blocking development or causing us pain get removed so that development can keep going.

What's the decision making process behind what features stay in a release and which ones get held back?
This is a tough one, and there's no hard and fast rule for deciding. Dropping features from a release is always a last resort and can happen for a variety of reasons. Our Executive Team may have news that changes our priorities, we may find issues in the game that make that feature difficult to implement, or we may even drop a feature because the developer working on that feature is unavailable for whatever reason. Before a feature gets dropped or pushed, we explore every possibility that would allow us to keep the feature, including sacrificing a less important feature, extending the deadline, or even pulling in a developer that was working on a future release.

The goal with every release is to ship the most important features within a reasonable time period and to the highest level of quality possible. Using that description is the best way to decide when it's time to hold back a feature for a later release, to extend the deadline, or even push the team harder.

What's the decision making process behind picking what item to release on Armas?
We decide this between what the community is telling us they want along with our own analytics. We saw that a lot of people wanted new, preset weapons so we started to make more preset weapons. We've seen people want new, more fashionable clothing items, so that's going to be a big part of the clothing artists' push over the next six months. We're pretty well sorted for armor at the moment. The goal is always to balance what we have on the store - we might highlight weapons that are underused by players at the moment so people will be more tempted to give those weapons a go, like we did with the NFA-9 and RSA.

What feature are you most proud of seeing in the last 12 months, and which one are you most looking forward to seeing in the next 12 months?
I’m more proud of our combined progress in the last twelve months rather than any single feature. We’ve added a lot of new features and have definitely improved the game immensely while also paving the way for even more new features. We've got lots more to look forward to over the next twelve months, but the one that excites me the most is our brand new [REDACTED] game mode. It’s a whole new way to play APB and definitely highlights APB’s strengths. We’ll release the details painfully slowly over the next few months.

How has development on Reloaded changed in the last twelve months?
In the last twelve months we’ve actually been able to focus a lot more on long-term work that should start making appearances over the next couple of months. We’re keeping quiet on these things just now, but players have already seen snippets, such as the Overkill servers and the early-version Chaos Ruleset. That's just a couple of the things we’ve been working on.

Can Jotunblut have a pay rise?
We've kind of blown the employment budget on Server Hamsters.


  1. Just one last question...

    Do you like apple pies?

  2. I have to agree, I have been very impressive with APB lately. Old bugs getting fixed (including some annoying bugs that over a year or 2 old), stuff that's being added has been asked for or what not. To be honest, earlier on I was losing a little hope for APB, but lately much of that has been returned (even a little extra).

    However may I make a few requests for fixes.

    1) Please fix the holsters.

    When you guys added the ability to wear dual holsters (like a knife and a gun) if messed up how they sat on the player's leg. Now there is empty space between the lag and the weapon. There screenshots help show what I am talking about (it's also a very old SPCI bug)


    2) Please revert the Desert Scarf Mask.

    Right now it's sucking my face, instead of how it use to sit as seen in both my avatar photo and the photo below

    3) Offer the ability to wear a Left or Right item and not both.

    This may seem confusing but follow me here. In RTW days you had the option to wear a L and/or R glove for instance (or earring, and such). Now with some of the new tactical armor you will find yourself wearing two shoulder pads or legs pads. Can there be an option to only wear one at a time? For instance the Armored Armpads. I would really like to only wear one on my left arm and not my right arm.

    4) Fix the layer issue with some of the new tactical gear.

    If someone where to wear the Armored Vest, and wrap a symbol around it and then put the Rifleman Bags on it, there will be huge spots on the vest where the symbol just simply doesn't display.

    5) Changing a vehicles brake colors.

    Okay I know this is weird, but ever since the Jericho's brake pads were changed to blue I just hate it. Especially since usually you'll see red brake pads on a car.

    Okay so I know the list is long, but just some things that have been going through my head for a long time, especially clothing related. Those bug me the most as I love to customize but those issues are annoying.

    Overall though, good work, and looking forward to the future

    1. You...realize people paint their brake pads themselves right? Red is just a common color.

    2. I'm talking a lot of super cars and higher end ones you buy from the factory.

      Not to mention, it's also very common as you pointed out for people who do alter there's.

      I mean a painting option would be nice. I mean we now have the ability do paint Vegas seats, I don't see what this can't be a possibility in the future

  3. tl,dr.

    I was thinking of withdrawals lately but the latest changes made me invest more money to APB:R so you can improve it more with a larger budget and so we could have a better gaming experience. APB:R is the best thing I've ever known to this day, well, second best thing after sex but you get my point, right? So as long as you pause being money-wh*res from time to time and listen to your community, we will never leave you alone. *cough* aimbot *cough* fix *cough*

    BTW, digging the new login page. Awesome job there.

  4. I'd love to see new character hairstyles implemented, anyone ever wonder stuff like that?

  5. How about adding LIVE In Game admins/GM's that have the ability to spectage players in question and also be able to kick/ban them.

    Also a quick fire in game reporting system that distributes the complaint to the current or next available live Admin/GM so they may quickly investigate the issue on the spot rather than waste money and resources on investigating after.

  6. i love every single apb person who takes part in making my gaming experience better. i fuckin love apb. so hard. so very hard. you do great. keep it up. more more more. but uh...uhhhhhhuhuhuhhhhaaaaahaha....


  7. From the moment I saw the post with all the things that you wanted to be changed in this year I commented that you would get more people in the game if you would actually do it. And look at APB:R now.. you have more players again! I'm very glad you guys are still working on this every single day to improve it and we all appreciate your work! Keep it up like this and APB:R will be the best F2P game ever!(i already think it is but you get my point right?)


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