Mark Rein is a dick, cliffski is awesome

Mark Rein is a jerk.

Glass houses.

Rein started off at Apogee in prehistoric times sending out shareware on floppy disks, so he does possess some indie cred.

I wasn’t there so I can’t comment on the context or just how pompous he sounded, but heckling a game dev board certainly seems like it would be rude.

I’d lean more towards both than one.


I remember placing in a ZZT level contest back in the day, and I play Gears of War now. (My wife is fanatical about it.) I feel like there’s some pointlessly inflamatory generalizing in that blog post, both about Epic in general and about ‘companies like them’.

My guess is that Mark didn’t mean to be condescending, but rather he’s a specific sort of guy in a job that revolves largely around increasing the scale of product sold. He can’t wrap his head around someone who sustains with a small audience and good product without seeking to grow aggressively. Does not compute. I think it was an inherent compliment, because he probably sees products like yours as ones that could reach even more people.

His head was probably boiling over with alarm bell after alarm bell of missed opportunity (as he saw it.) I bet he thought that as someone with deep experience in this matter, he had to speak up to correct those ‘wrongs’. I’ve seen people who are really into their jobs get like this, and I’ve felt it myself about the few small things (I think) I know about.

That or a thousand other explanations would seem to make a lot more sense than “he went there to laugh at the little guy”. That seems pretty absurd. Then again, I wasn’t there. Maybe he really is a giant dick.

Maybe yonder beret sporting indie devs could drop the hipster pose and be respectful of the megabucks game companies?

Considering what I’ve heard about the guy, it’s hardly surprising.

You mean when they are at a presentation and heckle the indies the indies should bow their head in shame? The indies in this case didn’t name-check Epic. There was no reason for Mark Rein to belittle them.

Is there a new meme of respected small studio and indie developers calling bigger developer owners dicks and pricks?

How many more are going to jump onto Tim’s bandwagon I wonder…

(Not that I disagree, but the timing is a bit suspect)

You come across as closed-minded in that blog post. You feel that criticism or even advice from outside sources is not only not worth listening to, but is even worth getting insulted over. You didn’t say anything about how his point was wrong, just that you refuse to listen to anybody and that this guy is a jerk because he works at a big studio.

Really, you sound like the macho one. “How DARE he try and tell me how to run my business!! chest pounding” I get that you assume he wasn’t taking into consideration your vastly different goals, and that his advice may have been missing that perspective. But instead of talking about that, you just ranted about being above criticism. You should have gone into detail about his advice and how it wouldn’t work for your specific situation and goals. Though I’m willing to bet you didn’t even listen to what he said. Especially if he was speaking out of place at a panel like this.

Are you the kind of person who believes criticism shouldn’t be given by people not equal in ability? Like when somebody says a performer sucks at singing, do you tell them “well let’s see you do better then?” You really came across as though you feel outside criticism is totally wrong.

As a student who admires and aspires to become an indie developer, you really kind of come off as a jerk to me. No offense.

I wasn’t there, but considering how Cliffski reacts to differing opinions on these boards on anything that isn’t gameplay oriented (he’s been very good at fielding suggestions for his games) I’d want some unbiased report before believing his side of the story here.

And I do respect him for what he does as an indie developer and I have put more hours into Gratuitous Space Battles than Gears of War, which bored me too much to finish, but him calling somebody else a condescending prick is really the height of irony.

to clarify

Arguments on forums are one thing, sitting in the front row of a panel on indie studios and loudly snorting with derision is quite another.
FWIW, I love getting advice. I actively call for advice all the time, mainly from my blog. I am incredibly open about people telling me what I am doing wrong in terms of game design or programming and do not claim to be an expert in either.
I am, as a coder, not fit to lick the boots of the people who make the unreal engine, and I know that 100%. I am also, as a businessman, nowhere near as succesful as any of the triple-A studios, and I know that 100%.

The subject under discussion was one of those tiny areas where I am 100% certain that I know how to do it better than a triple-A studio*, and that was directly interacting with the people who buy or take an interest in my games.

If I’d sat in the front row of a technical presentation by epic and snorted that they clearly were doing their graphics coding wrong, would people think that was a dumbass thing to do? I would.

*Valve may be an exception to that.

A transcript or video of the panel would be handy here, but if cliffski is portraying it correctly, I think it’s reasonable to say the cliffski knows his customer base better than Epic does. I don’t think I could ever see the modern Epic putting out games like Kudos (or even GSB).

From that, I can see how you’d think Mark Rein is a jerk, but that blog post didn’t even mention cliffyB, let alone explain why I should think he’s awesome.

Then I reparsed the thread title.


“Mark Rein is a dick” just doesn’t scan as well as “Kotick is a dick”.

Did you ever try Horde mode in Gears 2? If you didn’t like the campaign, that mode might be more to your liking.

This. I have no doubt that cliffski found Mark’s comments insulting, but since there’s nothing detailing exactly what was said or how it was said, I can’t really get all rah-rah and pile on Mark.

I love what cliffski does and I respect him a lot for being an indie and going his own way, but I haven’t seen any other evidence that Mark Rein is a dick.

Lots of commentary fun on that page, some that support Cliffski, could shed more light for you on the subject :)

Such as:

It was a ridiculous interjection that he made. I was biting my tongue through it so as not to turn it into his panel discussion.

I should add that last year, my first experience on Develop I was sat near Mark and he was very happy to make quite loud heckling comments during another talk that was about the sort of openness we now have on the web. Which I just half mentioned in passing in my last years blog post about it
I guess its his role in the industry to stomp around like that, though wandering in late to your panel, which was really interesting, and being quite disruptive was out of order.


At the Nordic Game conference last year I saw how he interacted with a poor guy who was trying to sell his lighting algorithm to the unreal engine. Mark’s reply to the guy’s tech pitch: man, I’m jet lagged, bring me some water.


I worked at Epic for 3 years, mixed with Mark quite a bit and found your comments quite offensive. I think you should offer up an apology to jerks everywhere for equating them to this pathethic excuse of a man.

Seems like a nice guy!