Home now, I haven't slept since 10am on Tuesday... I'll be happy if I never have to take another train ever.. unless it's back to CA HQ, then I would.
Well, I guess I owe it to everyone who would have liked to have gone to the summit but couldn't to make this thread, by now you guy's know the main headlines, so as I'm writing this I'm wondering what to write about.. I'll basically let you guys into my day, what I did, what I saw and what I thought. I appologise if it gets a bit long winded, I'm about to regurigitate my recent memory and then sleep for a couple of days
Let the story begin... our entrepid adventurer arrives at CA HQ.
I take the elevator up to the first floor, a pretty receptionist greets me and leads me through to the summit room, I take a seat and Will offers me a cup of tea. I'll tell you guys now that it's very sureal being in the company of the people behind the game series that has most influenced my gaming life.
I shake hands with everyone and meet my fellow Modders, bobbin, Daniu and Taw, all great guys. We give brief intro's and Jamie Ferguson, lead designer on Shogun 2, gives me a nod of approval when mentioning The Great War mod and its tanks (he really likes tanks, who doesn't?).
Everyone takes their seat and we get started.. (I'm the guy top right in the blue)
..we start with a talk about the business side of things, Rob (Rob Bartholomew, Brand Director) very much (self admitingly) taking the role of the evil corperate guy at this point explains to us how modding is taken into consideration when looking at the business side of things, he just confirms what I and most others already knew, CA and Sega are comapanies created to make money (oh em gee shock horror), they need to have their main focus being on making money else everything would fall apart, and sometimes that can just lead to things such as helping the modding community or making tools becoming not a feasible or finacially viable option.
One thing I should point out is that these guys were genuine, they turned up as themselves and had no hidden agenda, I believe they really do actually love modding and they want it to expand and grow massive, each of them was excited to have this summit happen.
Next up the much famous Jack Lusted steps up to show us his powerpoint presentation, first announcment is shown to be that there will be Steam Workshop intergration, people will be able to create and upload their own historical battles and have others download them. A nod of approval goes around the room, and you can see all of the modders taking in what it means to have this new frontier of modding now opened.
As we all discuss this Jack fails miserably and misclicks his powerpoint taking it to the next slide, this slide sets the tone for the whole day and as we all remarked is honestly far beyond our wildest expectations of this summit. The slide ofcourse details the release of CA created modding tools.
The first bulletpoint that grabs my attention is that of the model conversion software, having been part of a team that waited a very long time to be able to use new models I know just how massive this is. The next item to catch my eye is the word "campaign", at this point Jack is frantically spamming buttons on his control to go back a slide but to no avail, "a campaign reprocessor" even if at this stage I wasn't 100% what that was, it sounded epic, and then the realisation that we'll now be able to edit the most desired areas of modding, the campaign and the models, sets in. It's quite a shock and it leaves us all quite speechless for a while.
We now discuss with Guy Davidson (Coding Manager) all of the 'extra' formats that are less well known, for the first time I understand the idea behind what a CS2 file is. We talk about LUAC and discuss the scripting aspect of the games.
We talk about BOOB and what it is and does. Oops.. I mean BOB.. (Build On One Click).. They weren't allowed to call one of their tools BOOB, but there is one called Attila, DaVE and one called Terry, basically think of a name, they probably have a tool with that name.
Elliott Lock (TEd creator) comes down to have a chat with us about TEd and how we think it's been recieved and what the Steam Workshop will mean for it. We rather rudely keep him waiting and continue chatting to Guy about various technical things, poor Elliott sits there for ages until we eventually give him a chance to let him do his part.
Next we talk about how we are all very hungry, Ice Cream Wednesday gets its first mention, there is uproar in the summit. Craig and Will shoot off to order us some Pizza. Pizza takes ages to come, so random history discussions break out.
The lead campaign AI guy pops down to answer our questions and say hello, we talk about if factions actively seek to capture their victory conditions, Craig suggests that Turkey should capture Wales, this upsets me. The Pizza's arrive! The reporter from Rock, Paper, Shotgun gets angry because a Pizza has pineapple on it.
While munching on our pizza the computer with the Rome2 demo arrives, we watch the battle of Carthage unfold between two AI in a live demo, needless to say I made a mess in my pants. There was one point where we used the third person unit camera to get right down into the action, at the top of a siege tower we wait with the guys as the ramp is about to drop just like D-Day, you feel the thud of the ramp hit the stone and the guys charge out of the tower, it was amazing. I definatly had goosebumps throughout the entire live demo. And apparantly we were seeing a much out of date version to boot!
Ice cream arrives! We grab a cab down to the mocap studio, there is one seat short in the cab. We give Craig an ice cream and make him walk. Taw finds a replica musket used in the mocap studio and decides to start playing with it near the multiple thousand £ cameras, tense!
We head back up to summit room, Daniu has to leave to catch his flight. The rest of us gather the troops and head down to the pub! First round is on CA, actually come to think of it so was every round.
After a day full of stuff to take in it is really nice to just sit down and relax and have random chit chat with a few pints.
I'd just like to finish by saying I wish you guys could have been there, it was one of the most sureal and enjoyable experienes I've had in, well, ever. I'll never be able to convey to you guys with words how friendly, genuine and amazing everyone I met was. These people love their jobs, and as Will accuratly put it, in some jobs people don't really give a shite, but in this job the giving a shite-o-meter is off the scale, they care about their work a lot.
The truth is that as a modder/tool maker/fan/player there wasn't much we had to do, CA have given us what we've always wanted now, as Craig put it, where we go from here is very much up to us.
It was an honor and a pleasure to be invited, these are truthfully memories I'll keep forever, thank you to everyone who put effort into making it happen and as for the summit..
Modding Summit: Success
Here's to the next one?