We're proud to bring you a brand new interview this morning with Sony Online Entertainment's Jason Good, who is currently serving as Senior Designer and Project Manager on the awesome free-to-play shooter PlanetSide 2. Jason is responsible for both managing the team working on PlanetSide 2 as well as acting as senior designer on the game, although he tells us that his work definitely focuses more on the management aspect.
This interview is the first in a series we will be releasing, in which we chat with folks working on PlanetSide 2 about various aspects of the game and the development process.
You can read Jason's answers to our first PlanetSide 2 Developer Q&A below. Enjoy!
Hey Jason, nice to speak with you today, so first off let's get you introduced to our readers. So, who are you and what do you do for SOE?
My name is Jason Good, and I’m Senior Designer that is currently masquerading as a Project Manager for PlanetSide 2.
If you don't mind, can you give us a little history of your work for SOE or PlanetSide 2 in general?
I’ve worked at SOE for almost 10 years (yeesh, that’s a crazy statement to write). Many of those years I was with the Quality Assurance department, working on games like EverQuest, EverQuest II, Champions of Norrath and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. Around the time I had worked my way toward the management end of the spectrum in QA, the opportunity to move into development opened up, and I took it.
Keep reading for from our discussion with Jason Good on all-things PlanetSide 2!
"One of the biggest challenges with making these types of fundamental changes is that we don’t get to stop forward progress to do it."
Since then, most of my tangible work as a designer has come as a writer. I wrote the majority of voice over lines for PlanetSide 2 and Clone Wars Adventures, and did a significant amount of writing and editing for the quests and lore in Free Realms. Beyond that I’m usually more involved at the high level design/organizational elements of a project - stuff like writing design documents and overseeing the development of new features.
On PlanetSide 2, I’ve also had the opportunity to fill in as a Project Manager for much of my time with the team, which basically boils down to making sure everyone is working on the right stuff and helping to clear out any obstacles that might be getting in their way.
So talking specifically about PS2 and with the launch behind you, what is your biggest project currently and maybe your biggest challenge right now as well?
For the moment I’m still wearing my Project Manager hat, so the biggest task in front of our group is to figure out the logistics of how this team works as a ‘live’ game. There was a big procedural transition required when we opened up the beta, and there will be another one now that we’ve launched. There are a myriad of details and decisions to hash out about what our day to day operations will look like moving forward.
One of the biggest challenges with making these types of fundamental changes is that we don’t get to stop forward progress to do it – it’s sort of like making alterations or repairs to a speeding train.
What responsibilities do you hold as SR. Game Designer for PlanetSide 2? Do you work with the whole design team?
With PlanetSide 2 my role has been pretty weird since I’ve been doing a lot of non-senior-designery-stuff. As a PM, its more about running meetings, facilitating communication between various groups, making sure tasks are tracked and monitored, helping to manage builds, and triaging and assigning bugs. In that capacity, I’ve definitely worked with everyone on the design team, though not necessarily at a very deep level.
Typically though, a Senior Designer would take ownership of one or two broad sections of the game (Combat, Vehicles, UI, Social, Facilities, etc), write up the appropriate design documentation for that area, and work with the coders, artists, and the group of designers assigned to that section, to help turn those documents into reality in game.
In that situation you’d work very closely with the other designers assigned to that system, but probably less so with the others that were working on different areas of the game.
And last but not least, what are you all working on soon or anything you can share with us about the future of PlanetSide 2 with regards to what you do?
We've got the wheels turning on a number of additions that we think will make PlanetSide 2 even better. Things like new continents, improvements to the new player experience, and a player generated mission system are all already in various stages of development at this point.
Further down the road there are even bigger, crazier plans, but our focus right now is to get PlanetSide 2 as polished, balanced, and fun as we can make it.
Special thanks to Jason Good at SOE for taking the time sit down and chat with us! PlanetSide 2 is available now on Steam and directly through Sony Online Entertainment at http://www.planetside2.com/.
Check out the PlanetSide 2 wiki at http://www.ps2wiki.net/ for more information on the game, including information on classes, factions, vehicles and much more!