Jamie1342> Thank you for letting me kick off this chat! My Question is: What are your views on Computer games piracy?
Alex@Relic> Well, piracy is really more of a human nature issue than a crime issue...
Alex@Relic> Really, the casual pirate is more interested in the thrill of discovering some way to work around the system than to actually steal from developers...
Alex@Relic> Unfortunately, the discrete issues of many individuals add up! We as an industry lose a ton of cash to piracy and it's a constant battle we're fighting...
Alex@Relic> If we give up and let the pirates have their way, we're going to go out of business. The thing that really makes me mad is the professional pirates who make a living like parasites off what we do.

Jamie1342> how do you feel about homeworld?
Alex@Relic> If you mean how do I feel about Homeworld being pirated?...
Alex@Relic> Well, I'm glad that people got a chance to play the game before we released a solid version...
Jamie1342> yes....(It is sad that people cannot wait!)
Alex@Relic> We've actually got some good feedback from the people that have pirated the game...
Alex@Relic> I am very angry at the companies in Russia and Malasia who pirate the game and sell it for cash...
Alex@Relic> And I am seethingly angry at the primordial ooze that leaked the game...
Alex@Relic> But I can't blame people for wanting to try it out early. I never want to do that personally, but that's just me.

CableCow> Alex, how did you start of programing? right now all I know is some visual basic... I want to make wicked games too :D
Alex@Relic> Well, I was lucky enough to get started in the industry very early. I was friends with Chris Taylor from TA fame. Chris taught me everything I know about programming. Practice man, that's all it is. What about Mark and Tim?
Mark@Dynamix> One of my mom's friends would come over when we got our Apple 2 and teach Logo to my sister and me. Programming really interested me and I went on to learn BASIC and 6502 assembly...
Mark@Dynamix> When I got to high school my cousin told me I should start learning C... I just picked stuff up over the years and eventually went on to study CS in college.
TimZ@MS> I started programming BASIC on the Apple IIe and then in Jr. High and High School, I learned PASCAL, COBOL and then finally C...
TimZ@MS> I think Visual Basic is a good way to start. Try to make some simple games like tic-tac-toe or something and then slowly move into more advanced graphics programming.

Middlename> Inventing something is 10% inspiration and 90% prespiration... is this true with game creation such as the games you all have worked with? Could you all give us some examples?
Alex@Relic> Well, I'm assuming I'm supposed to jump in with this first...
Alex@Relic> The idea for Homeworld came to me in about 10 minutes, but it took 20 people 2&1/2 years to implement. Simple enough equation no? Sorry for jumpin in!
TimZ@MS> In AOE, it's the same thing as Alex is referring to. The concepts are simple, but they can take many man-years to actually realize.

Gilgamesh_6_6_6> I have recently finished my token year doing MS Games Tech Support. What does it take for someone to get into Games Testing? Can one of you tell us about the job or give some advice?...
Gilgamesh_6_6_6> As far as programming games is concerned, what is the number one piece of advice you can give a starting programmer? What kind of languages should I work on? Formal education?
Mark@Dynamix> As far as programming goes, my first piece of advice is read as much as you can on various topics... you never know when OS paging algorithms may come in handy, especially in games.
Mark@Dynamix> as far as formal education, if you're a self-starter and don't mind poring through books and web pages yourself, it's probably not necessary, but a good CS program will fill in the gaps...
Mark@Dynamix> and for games you will use everything you learn in CS.

m54> how much money do you all make a year and what kind of computer and programs do you make your games on?
TimZ@MS> At work, I currnetly have a Dell P2-450.
Alex@Relic> Well, I get paid in seashells. Lots of em!
Alex@Relic> They're tough to use at the store though. They keep calling security.

Goiter42> Hello guys, I've already typed this out so I'm going to cut and paste it. Its al ittle longer than the other questions, but its a quick read.
Goiter42> I am a recent graduate from college, majoring in Computer Science, and am I very long time game fan. I went to E3 the last 3 years (Saw Alex there the last two showing Homeworld *drool*) ...
Goiter42> and have noticed that nobody will even look at you for hiring unless you have a lot of game experience. I have a job with a Defense Contractor making Submarine Simulations in which I started in May. ...
Goiter42> ...I have also been learning OpenGL on my spare time. I was wondering what you folks think a good job would be to acquire the skills of a game programmer in order to catch the eye of a game company? Question is for all you guys!
TimZ@MS> Certainly experience is key, but it doesn't necessarily have to be at a job...
TimZ@MS> Another way to do it is to prove your skills through a demo of some sort....
Alex@Relic> The best way to get a job at a game company is to show off what you've done. Keep learning OpenGL and D3D. Do some skookum demo that shows off your skills, and send it to every company you can think of. Try to impress them. That's the best way to start

Reifleman> What is your opinion of the sudden increase (I consider unnecessary for a good game) in foul language and violence in games in the last five years and role does it play in the effect on ALL ...
Reifleman> players, especially those well under 17 (consider recent events in our society). Also, in your opinion, why has the industry quietly removed the parental lockouts (for those who wish to ...
Reifleman> instruct a high standard of behavior) that use to be in place when this element started creeping into games. Nothing would be removed from the game. Only an opportunity for an expanded user base.
Mark@Dynamix> Well... we tried to limit offensive language in tribes to the occasional Shazbot! or Ah, Crap! - Gratuitous violence, gore and language don't add much to a game for me personally...
Mark@Dynamix> but then it also depends on the type of game you're making...
Mark@Dynamix> we're more focused on teamplay and cooperation with some bloodless killing... others go for the dark, super violent aspect.
Alex@Relic> Yeah, for instance, Homeworld has no grat. violence, but it's not centered around that. Kingpin has TONS, but it's strangely appropriate considering it's a voilent crime sim.

Tender_Arson> Alex, I hear there's a secret game being developed by Relic...
Tender_Arson> A very MAD, secret game. Very VERY ambitious. Can you tell us more?
Alex@Relic> Well, tender...
Alex@Relic> no. :)...
Tender_Arson> awwww. c'mon!
Alex@Relic> Actually, the NSP (Next Secret Project) will be coming out from under wraps soon so hang tight. :)

CStryker1> Why has there been a lack of HW news this week. Are you hiding a delay or are you taking yer no hype, all game slogan to the next level?
Alex@Relic> Oh... that's pretty funny actually...
CStryker1> uh thanks
Alex@Relic> Basically, HW almost went gold yesterday, but the QA vikings found some more last minute bugs. We're trying another candidate tomorrow. The lack of news is us all working at full burn right now. :)

MachineHead_> Alex - why did you decide to work under Seirra instead of forming an independant company?
Alex@Relic> Oh! Well that's interesting!
Alex@Relic> ...
Alex@Relic> Relic is a totally independant company from Sierra. Relic is 100% independant. Sierra is publishing Homeworld, but that's it. Sorry about the confusion!
MachineHead_> the guys at #homeworld wanna know :)

DaZ_XG> What are you doing to try and prevent piracy?
DaZ_XG> The question is meant for all of you
TimZ@MS> We are working with a company called Macrovision to use their technology that encrypts the CD's. They cannot be copied with conventional CD burners and software.
Mark@Dynamix> We're adding a login server for managing unique player accounts - one per CD for online play.


Dark_Molten> Thanks to the Zone for this magnificant opportunity for speaking with the pionners of computer entertainment. My question is a fairly simple one. I think I speak for the majority when I say gamers are reveiving some form of education...
Dark_Molten> And there's something about playing these marvelous games that makes one wonder what it would be like to be on the other side; to create them...
Dark_Molten> I've noticed that each and every one of you has started programming since a very young age but I've also noticed first class college degrees....
Dark_Molten> Please tell us your views on the importance of a formal education with classes like history and physics as opposed to tons of time in self programming...
Dark_Molten> What is the school cirriculum that would best suit one with their sights set on a career in the gaming industry?
Mark@Dynamix> Well... my college education was pretty narrowly focused in EE and CS... I didn't really start to broaden my literary horizons until after I left school...
Mark@Dynamix> As far as curriculum, it really depends on what you want to do...
Mark@Dynamix> a narrow focus on programming will help you in that aspect, but may limit you as you work your way into more managerial roles.
Alex@Relic> I dropped out of High School, so don't ask me. :)

FoX_HW> Hey guys. What are your / your companies stances on interaction within the community. I know Relic has been keeping up with the community on some of the boards (although you dissapeared Alex :( ) and of course....
FoX_HW> ...everyone on #homeworld says hello and are waiting for ya Alex :)
Alex@Relic> OK... I'll take this one first the the rest of you can get roasted... :)
Alex@Relic> FoX, man! I'm so sorry I've been absent lately. I'm so swamped with stuff outside of HW even that I'm having a hard time justifying spending another hour or so at night online to chat. I feel like a boob considering how supportive you guys have been...
Alex@Relic> but hey... what can one man do? :) Erin Daly and Quinn Duffy here at Relic are trying really hard to keep on top of things. Wait till the game ships and some other secret things get taken care of then I'll be around more man. Thanks for the patience!
FoX_HW> Well, we expect you to have a rl too ;)
Alex@Relic> your expectations are unfounded...
Alex@Relic> :)

Zipper7_7_7> What drives you nuts about developing from the business side?
Mark@Dynamix> Getting everyone involved in a project pointed in the same direction...
Mark@Dynamix> Making sure marketing, sales, and even the team know what it is that you're all supposed to be making and then communicating it to the outside world.

Postal_> Heh, so much to say... this is all directed at Alex. First, my brother heard that you and the people at Relic might leave out Internet play "out of the box." Please, say it ain't so - I'd rather have basic Internet play awhile later...
Postal_> ...than see you try and make some arbitrary ship date. Anyways, I really like that hilarious photo of you using headphones like some freaky VR helmet...
Postal_> ...and would there be any possibility that Relic (or Dynamix, or Microsoft) would need a writer or PR person anytime soon? :-)
Postal_> I have some university experience, I actually know how to write, and I live in Canada (so no extra permits needed)!
Postal_> :-)
Alex@Relic> ok...
Alex@Relic> Well, a) Homeworld is going to ship WITH internet support and LAN support and multiplayer and single player and skirmish and the kitchen sink...
Alex@Relic> regarding the writing, go to our website and apply there (www.relic.com). We're always looking for talented people.

Shaiar> I read recently that game industry is becoming more and more professional and so hires people more and more specialized. Do you agree ? and wich skills are the most looked after currently in your respective companies ? I recently got my AI Sc.D ...
Shaiar> What else should I know to get a job in game industry?
Shaiar> (please forgive my english btw :) )
TimZ@MS> For the technical positions, they are definitely becoming more professional....
TimZ@MS> I would say that on the technical side, graphics, AI and communications programmers are the most sought after but....
TimZ@MS> good game designers and art directors are also very hard to find. These latter tow are typically people with years of experience.

Abadon_> Come on Alex, PLEASE tell us, when is the demo of HW going to be comming out? I realize that the entire Homeworld team is working...
Abadon_> very hard to get the full version out the door, but could you possibly find a way to get the demo out before the full version, without delaying it. ...
Abadon_> Maybe release the first single player mission and the beta 1 multiplayer to the public? Thank you for your answer.
Alex@Relic> ... hmmm....
Alex@Relic> well, the demo should (if we're lucky) go out to QA early next week. Please don't hold me to that because we're doing the best we can, but that's the best estimate we have.
Alex@Relic> ...

KingsRevenge> ok
KingsRevenge> I'm going to ask some multiple question
KingsRevenge> just 4
KingsRevenge> How much time is spent making the game engine and how much time is it making the game?
Alex@Relic> Well, a AAA PC title studio typically costs about 1M US / year to operate per team...
Alex@Relic> homeworld was under development for about 2 & 1/2 years, so you do the math. :)
KingsRevenge> I'm starting 9th grade and at my highschool they offer some computer classes, they skipped me up a boost because i know some C and C++ because I am learning those languages, the class I'm in now is Pascal will this language help me any
Alex@Relic> Pascal is great for learning structure. The more languages and OS's you have experience with, the better programmer you will be. Go for it!

JediArchon> Mark, can you explain some of the new transport units in Tribes 2 and maybe let us in on something that will be an eye attracter in the game?
Mark@Dynamix> We're putting in several vehicles capable of transporting other players... the ground APC we have in now carries two passengers, a gunner and a driver...
Mark@Dynamix> We haven't finished speccing out all the vehicles yet, but we're getting closer...
JediArchon> Ok, anything that will make Tribes 2 different from the other line of online-games?
Mark@Dynamix> um... which other line of online games?
JediArchon> Quake 3 Arena
Mark@Dynamix> Uh...
JediArchon> Team Fortress 2, etc.
Mark@Dynamix> Well, Tribes 2 will be indoor and outdoor, have pilotable vehicles, oceans, fog banks, voice chat among other features...
JediArchon> Wow