Update! I wanted to add something at the top here in case he’s reading. Sgt. Michael Grimm of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion sent me a Rangers Lead the Way hat, and T-shirt along with an awesome letter. Thank you Sgt. Grimm and every other man and woman serving in the Armed Forces of the United States and every other freedom seeking country on this planet. You make this world a better place! Hello as well to SOSH’er Baghdad Jamie and his wife Kristine! Hope you got a chance to see the post game shout out!
So the first day of Free Agency begins. I cannot divulge names because the teams involved asked that I not do so at this point, but the first day resulted in initial contact with 3 teams. Kind of weird to be doing this with no agent but at the same time pretty cool. All three discussions were very informal, with the clubs expressing interest in potentially working together next year. Two of the teams were on the list of teams mentioned earlier, one was not.
I made it clear to all three teams that my intent was to do whatever I could to resolve this and remain in Boston for the final year of my career. The only question asked beyond the initial conversations were to my desires about the contract, and whether or not I truly wanted a one year deal or was looking for more.
That has not changed, we are still only looking to sign a one year contract and I can’t envision a scenario where that would change.
My second full day back in the office at 38 Studios was, as usual, full. Meetings about any and everything. We are making our final decisions on an engine choice(s), and the final steps right now have us talking to a bunch of different developers and publishers who are, or have, worked with the engines we are looking at. Getting an in depth review of what other companies think about the engine, or engines, we will ultimately partner with to create this massive ‘thing’.
Our priorities in looking for a partnership in the middleware dept. are extensive and thorough. While the tech is pretty much far and away the most important thing, when you quickly realize that no company offers a total solution you come to grips with the fact that no matter who you license from there is much work to be done. They all seem to be falling on an extreme side of the fence. Some offer immensely deep and well done client side solutions, with minimal work or work not well done on the server side, or vice versa.
Many companies out there are telling us that while they don’t have the solution on one side or the other, it’s on their ‘road map’. When you are sitting where we are, and you are looking at the capital outlay for a modern day MMO, as a startup, you quickly realize that counting on someone else to produce something for you, on their road map, is about as far from possible as flying pigs. The phase we are in right now is about risk mitigation as much as anything. You mitigate risk from the get go through your people, and once they are in place you look for risk mitigation in your technology every chance you get. Counting on another company to meet deadlines for their product, so that you can utilize those features, is asking for heaps of trouble.
But we have an immensely talented, albeit rather small at the moment, group of engineers in place. These guys know their stuff and we’ve basically evaluated every potential engine solution available to the MMO space, and some that are not yet there but on their way. We are going to be deciding rather quickly on the route we take and when we do I am sure that will be accompanied by a press release from the company(ies) we end up choosing.
We’re also in the midst of hiring, or recently hiring, a few more incredibly talented, passionate, and well known people. We’ve recently hired a concept artist in Jeff Murchie (LotR fame!) who’s made a seamless transition to the 38 Studios family. We are close to announcing 2 more hires filling incredibly important positions that further enhance our ability to make this IP something incredible.
On the business front we continue to meet and talk with potential partners on the business side. We are excited about the prospect of partnerships with companies that are not currently in the space, but bring new and immensely deep ideas to help promote and participate in the creation and life of this incredible IP R.A. has created. If you haven’t already done so, check out www.38studios.com
The next 14 days mark the time of year when Shonda and I try to fulfill our off season commitments to ALS, and Shade. Usually we plan this a month after the season ends to allow us time to recharge the batteries and get back into the family life. We played a litte later this year so that’s not really possible.
On Saturday we will be at the Curts Pitch for ALS Post Season Reception. A chance to meet the fans who were part of the Curt’s Pitch Program here in the North East US. Check out http://www.curtspitch.org/curtspitch/site_default.asp?tab=32
Next week I will be in Philadelphia on Monday for the 14th Annual Curt Schilling ALS Golf Outing. Please check out http://community.alsphiladelphia.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=215&srcid=215&cid=1&ceid=47&cerid=0&cdt=11/5/2007
On Thursday of next week I will be in Phoenix for the Sprint 7th Annual Schilling Fore ALS Golf Tournament. Please check out http://www.golfinvite.com/events/index.asp?eventID=906
On Friday I will be in New Orleans, having the incredible honor of being able to speak at the “When Baseball went to War” and being able to honor the incredible men who served this country abroad during World War II. Check out http://www.nationalww2museum.org/calendar/dayView/1194588000
On Tuesday of next week Shonda will be in Springfield to launch the 2008 Survivors Calendar that the Shade Foundation created this year. Check out http://www.shadefoundation.org/meghan_rothschild.php
A huge thanks to anyone that clicks on the links above and contributes time or money to any of these causes.