Thursday, 28 March 2013

Appreciate your developers, before it's time for the naked gardeners

Someone needs to create our monsters...

I learned something new today: apparently it's Developer Appreciation Week ("DAW").

I'm usually not a sucker for events that memorate a special group of people. Mother's and Father's day (not to mention Valentine's day) cause spontaneous nausea ("I think it is silly and I know she says it is silly as well, but won't she just say that to be nice to me and secretly be disappointed when I don't bring her a present?" etc). And then there are these events that nobody does something about and which I had to look up, such as Secretary day, Programmer's day, World Smile day and World Naked Gardening day. (Yes, World Naked Gardening day, it exists. If you're interested, it's in two weeks.) So what then about Developer Appreciation Week?

Well, for a starter, DAW isn't organized by some huge organization and you're not supposed to wear a silly ribbon to show off how considerate you are. Rather, it's an (originally) small-scale initiative that was started in 2010 by a blogger, Scarybooster from Scary Worlds, to show his appreciation of developers (and perhaps to make up for all the stuff he posts the rest of the year!). I thought that was sympathetic, so here I am, doing what a blogger's gotta do for DAW: write a post in salutation of developers.

I've been bad

However, I just found out that I'm a very bad person. Apparently, in order to participate in DAW (yes, you need to do things, I told you it was better than the ribbon stuff) you need to "1. Tell the blogsphere about your favorite developer(s) in at least 1 post next week." And it just dawned to me that I could not comply: I don't know a single developer by name.


Just think about it. These people spend hours thinking about how that boring reward system is supposed to work. How many seals/coin/points/marks you get for doing that thing. What your character can and cannot do. Basically, how YOU are going to spend your time in-game. And in return we barely notice their work, and only shout out on the forums if something doesn't suit us. We don't even remember their names (or well, I should speak for myself, but I usually don't).

Okay, well, in that case perhaps they're happy we don't.

We ride through it without noticing, but even this grass was developed. And not by a naked gardener.

Staying positive

I consider myself as generally being fairly positive about the games I play and changes that occur within them, although even I have my weak moments (e.g. the barter wallet, the diminishing level of difficulty in LotRO). I really don't want this blog to be just full of rants. I want to show the beautiful things in gaming, and at the same time I don't want to be without any critical thinking either. It's a balancing thing.

The place of horror for developers may not be blogs, but rather their game's official forum. This is where players spit their dismay at whatever they don't like in their game. When changes are announced, players overrun the forum with complaints about 'nerfs' when they fear their class will not end up in the best spot. Developers are left with the though job to balance gameplay and need the forum for feedback. And on that forum it's hard to filter useful comments from all the trash. I find myself avoiding gaming fora because the general tone just makes me sigh all the time, so I'm happy I don't have a reason to hang out there. I usually keep up to date by hearing out Tiger and friends. But devs don't really have a choice.
...and someone our heroes


What I'm trying to say is that 'we gamers' aren't always so nice and thankful to our developers. We tend to only bring back the bad stuff (even while it might not actually be that bad) and forget about the positive things. Perhaps it's not a bad idea to show our developers our appreciation of the wonderful worlds they have created for us, you know, just for a change. So, whether one will read it or not, participate in DAW and write a post for your favourite dev(s)!


  1. Hm. To be honest I don't think it needs to be an specific developer that you show appreciation week for. I think you could do so for a game company or even a game (as Stargrace did this year). As long as it stayed in the spirit of it, it should all be fine, in my opinion.

    In any case, I agree wholeheartedly with all your points. Specially about blogs not being the place of horrors for developers. That is something I didn't consider before but you are right. Blogging takes a lot of work and I don't think people in general would want to put that much effort into a negative endeavor. Forums and similar ventures are so much easier to just dump whatever emotions we are going through at that time that is easy to feel like those places are hostile to anyone who disagrees with its denizens.

    ~ Rakuno

    1. Thanks, I hope my post with a general thank-you to devs will suffice. I agree that it's about the spirit, and I think it's a good call for people who are a bit hidden in a way. I love my games, but I usually don't think about the devs in particular. I haven't seen many DAW posts yet, but perhaps I'm floating around in the 'wrong' circles. Will you be doing one? Either way, it will be interesting to see in Scarybooster's wrapup what people came up with.

    2. Excellent contribution to DAW. Thank you. Many of my posts over the years have been generic appreciation posts, at most for some game companies and specific games, instead of individual developers. In fact, I've met and interacted with a couple of folks in person, and then only very briefly. Stephen Reed, the former community manager for SWTOR, comes to mind. When I started blogging and first heard about DAW, I had no idea what any individual dev's name was.

      Hey Scary! We should totally do ribbons next year!

    3. *chuckle at ribbons*

      I really wanted to write a DAW post for Bioware, but I'm lacking the time. Perhaps I'll have to procrastinate that to next year! I'm so bad at writing the newsworthy stuff in time, if I'm making any sense. But I'm really glad you liked it.

      I once met the community manager for LOTRO, but most conventions are in the US (I live in the Netherlands), and I found those things aren't really my thing.

  2. I think it did. :)

    I don't think about the developers in particular either unless it is someone that for someone reason called my attention. For instance, Domino (who dropped that name and returned to being Pentapod) when she worked on Everquest 2 she would be very active in the forums and she did a ton of great work for the crafting there. I think she was responsible for a lot of good stuff for carpenters and decorators there too (at least she was just as loved in those corners as in the crafting ones :)

    Anyway, I haven't seem many DAW posts either. In fact yours and Stargrace are the only ones I've seem so far. I won't be doing one since I have been in an anti-social mood for some time and just now getting out of it. That means commenting is fine now but playing MMOs and writings posts are still a bit too much for me.

    1. You surely are totally in an anti-social mood. *cough* Leaves long, nice and thoughtful comments everywhere. Nr. 1 commenter on this blog *cough*!

      You're doing it right by only playing and writing while you feel like it. I'm religiously reading your blog either way. And in the meanwhile, it's good to know you're still around. :)

    2. Ack! I didn't see this reply until now!

      Anyway, yeah, my anti-social mood is pretty much gone now. Partly because it was already naturally going away. Then certain things happened in Guild Wars 2 which obligated me to login and do stuff there... and that cured the rest of it.

      As for leaving thoughtful comments, well, I try to add something to the interesting discussions I find. :)

      And as for being number 1 commmenter... I didn't say it in the other post's comments (actually I did in the attempt but that end up being gone due to technical issues on my side) but that was unexpected and it is an honor.

      I also read your blog religiously (and check for new comments too. *coughs*). What can I say? I just like reading good stuff. :)

      By the way, I don't remember where we were talking about weresheeps... But check keep an eye for Divinity: Original Sin. They are contemplating having a weresheep in the game. They also said you will have to make a tough moral decision about a sheep at some point. And the rabbits. And a cow.

      You can check that (and more) on the notes here that they did of the video interview one of their developers did (also linked there):

      ~ Rakuno

  3. Aww, good article Ravanel. I hadn't really thought about it before.
    I cant say that I know any developers by name... but... I don't know people by name who made the fuel for my car, toilet paper for my bathroom, or farmed or processed the green beans in my can of green beans. I'm thankful for them all also though! :)

    1. Next year we'll also celebrate GBIMCP-week! (Green-beans-in-my-can-processors-week!) ;)


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