Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Midway for PS3 Home (release report pt1)

Thursday July 1st.

Breakfast time…. (7:45am)

I woke up all excited, it was my 15th Wedding Anniversary and a day I would normally have had as vacation from work. However this was also launch day for The Midway. A public space in the PS3 Home online community. This was gonna be an exciting day as I had been nervous the several previous days. Anticipation was the major feeling I had before breakfast. I had of course woken early with the intention of getting to work earlier than normal. My boss gets in especially early and I wanted to be there for the initial excitement surrounding our area going live.

Going to Work… (8:30am)

On my to work my excitement and trepidation grew. It is thankfully a short journey to work (about 10 minutes). In that journey though I managed to go over all the things that could go wrong. This is a live space on the PS3 network and In all honesty it is just not possible at the moment for the whole experience to be tested in anywhere near the way or to the degree of a boxed game. There are simply to many variables. Also half the solution or problem set id Sonys. We are a set of games built into a black box that Sony produces in London England. We just take advantage of this environment called home. This means there are a lot of things we have no control over. Add onto that the possible server issues and you might understand how come I ma nervous. The excitement is easy to explain. We were going to be the first place that people in Home would actually be able to see and therefore co-experience with their friends. All of our games in The Midway are spectator friendly. We have made them show what a person playing is doing. Of course this caused us many challenges, but oh boy was I excited to hopefully see some full spaces and all that activity. In our own testing at Mass Media we only had about 12-16 people in a space at one time, and this isn’t quite what it is designed for, it is a bit empty with that number.

At Work…. (8:45am)

The boss David was there along with the co-designer of The Midway. There sitting excitedly in the conference room watching what was going on inside one of the (I am told 50 instances) instance of The Midway, which was full of people milling around with some playing the games. David was talking to the occasional person helping them out. My first impressions of the space on the Big screen tv we have was one of joy. There it was, live with a full complement of people running around in it. This is a way I had only dreamed of. Also nothing at this time appeared broken, which was an amazing relief.

First Hmm… (10:30am)

Reports are coming in that a lot of people cannot play any of the games :(. This is not good, also we are talking to people in our instance about this same issue. They go back out and reboot and they still cannot play the games. This is now getting bad as the number appears to be about 10% of the people in the space. The forums are abuzz with people having the same issue. We have no idea what is going on, then we find out that people coming into The Midway are not receiving the free item of a personal space. I know personally this can only happen if the Scene script has crashed. PS3 Home is made up of minigame scripts and a single scene script. They interact and make it all work. At this point we were hopeful that the issue was a server issue and therefore one that Sony would need to solve. Then while we were busy playing the games ourselves.

Then second Hmm came about, though this one was more panic inducing….

More to come tomorrow...

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