Packing up the Dragon

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Part 2 of 5, by Jay Watamaniuk
A whole swack of BioWare staff are headed down to San Diego Comic Con to show off Dragon Age: Origins.

Last day before the big show down in San Diego. Evil Chris just headed out to Staples to grab the printed up controller maps for the console and PC versions to help fans get their bearings when they take the controls and see how many times they get stabbed in the head by angry Hurlocks.

Getting ready to do a convention always takes a bit of running around no matter how prepared you think you are. First of all, what are you demonstrating? What did you want to show? Who is doing that? Did you need a special version of the game to do that? What happens if the game crashes?


For example, we are going to be running Dragon Age on both PCs and consoles. That’s doesn’t seem too hard until you realize that game development progresses in an ongoing and relentless series of versions of the game called builds.

Selecting which build, or creating a new one that does very specific things, is one of the major tasks for the developer when preparing for a demonstration of any kind.

So we pick a build. Awesome. Now what? We get it reproduced and shipped down to San Diego. So what happens if the disks break/don’t work/never arrive? We take back-up disks or USB drives. What happens when a console fails? Do we bring a back-up? How many? How about testing the build for PC on the actual hardware that will be running the demonstration? No problem…unless those PC are never coming to BioWare but being shipped directly to San Diego. I guess we run the tests when we arrive. If the build does not work we should bring back-up PCs that are tested here. Did we have time to test the build completely?

What about monitors? We can’t take them from here we don’t have enough. So maybe we rent them. Where do we rent them from? How much per day? Really? Are they are the same? When do those arrive at the convention? What happens if they don’t get there when we need them?

Great- all the hardware has arrived. Do we have all the right cords/plug-ins/power supply to run all this? Did we check on an internet connection? This cord doesn’t work. Who has the cordless microphone? Does it work? Where are the speakers? Your speaker is late/not around/sick with swine flu…now what?

Add hotel bookings, flights, meals, staff work schedules, last minute emergencies, booth conditions not matching diagram, signage needed and you have a busy and complicated process to attend a convention.

Tomorrow- San Diego!