The serious business of making games


Manveer Heir, formerly of EA and Activision, had some interesting tweets over the last day. There is a lot there but here are some key tweets:


Wasn’t that the lead dude on Mass Effect Andromeda?


Yep, and he specifically talks about his experience in those tweets. He also talked extensively about his experience on a podcast episode at Waypoint last year:


That game was so bad.


Oh yeah, as a lover of RPGs and Mass Effect, I just couldn’t wade through the bugs and UI to finish it. Such a disappointment.

Do you hear that rumbling?

They are coming…


The game was horse shit.


Is there an obvious reason Unity should want to restrict this kind of thing? Does it let small devs effectively do an end run around Unity licensing costs by going through Improbable?

I really don’t understand enough about the business model and the implications to understand what this dispute is even about.


God. I can imagine it now.

MEA team: We want to use UE4. We’re experts in Unreal and it’s a great engine.
Management: The corporate engine is Frostbite.
MEA team: Frostbite sucks. It doesn’t do X at all. Y is painfully slow, and Z is so buggy we’d rather reimplement it ourselves.
Management: We need you to help make it better than. Think about what’s best for EA.
MEA team: The Frostbite team won’t listen to us because the stuff we want them to do is boring and they’ve already overcommitted to doing impossible things that won’t help us but that will impress senior leadership. And even if they did listen to us they just don’t have the talent the unreal folks do.
Management: Look, criticizing other teams in the company is unprofessional. Everyone in this company is smart and capable.
MEA team: But this will set us back 6 months and its our reputations and jobs on the line if MEA fails.
Management: You’d better make it work then.

[Edited because Activision and EA are only interchangeable when talking about “evil” AAA publisher behemoths, not when talking about the actual companies]


EA using more Frostbite is indeed probably for the best of Activision.


From what I understand, the rumour mill is that unity want to get into the cloud services game themselves, and basically cut improbable out of the picture. Improbable has 170 employees and a ton of VC money, and I guess unity want to absorb that potential market, so step 1 is just to kill them off.

I’m no cheerleader for unity, but tbh the people who I think have fucked up are the likes of softbank who threw $500million to a company (improbable) who seem to be heavily dependent on the goodwill of a company that (to put it mildly) they do not have a good and sustainable long term partnership with.

Anyway, being an indie (INDEPENDENT!) dev, and relying on both improbable AND unity to not fuck you over and keep you in business seems… risky?


My reading is that that does seem to be the crux of it. Improbable was essentially redistributing Unity SDK components as part of their service, which apparently requires a “partnership license” (I think they call it) rather than the license a typical dev would have.

*eta “SDK”


To me, this is a company that was getting away with some grey area legal stuff before, Unity told them to do something about it (pay or partner or something) and they said no.

It is similar to the outcry from the youtube community over the drastic reduction in ad revenue in 2017. When you build your business or career off of someone else’s product or marketplace, they hold a lot of power over you.

I am not on anyone’s side her per-se, just that initial statement from Improbable felt very catty. “We broke up with them, they didn’t break up with us”


Epic Games Store - 88% split goes to devs


Aw, man. AER was a really great little game.


Just as one studio closes another one happens to be expanding. IO Interactive have opened a new office in Malmo, Sweden apparently.


That makes it seem like the issue with Improbable was a trademark issue?

Anyway, good to see it resolved in that manner.


LOL!! Yeah, no.

Unity tried to put a partner out of business because they had forked out $19M to acquire a competing platform (Multiplay) after seeing SpatialOS as a threat. It’s not rocket science.

Unity got busted. Then amid a major outcry, they blinked.

I have four (1, 2, 3, 4) very detailed threads about this; complete with pictures and everything :)


Ah Rocky Boots, even with a freshly minted EE degree I found that game charming.