Artix Krieger | Thursday, December 15, 2022
Greetings and salutations,
Artix here. How about we catch up? Engage... story-time mode!
Hard to believe it has already been a month since our 20th anniversary special event, which was hosted by Elvira. You know, a long time ago, when I first started asking bands and special guests to be in our games, they did not quite understand what I meant. So I always said, "You know how the cartoon Scooby Doo had an episode where they drew Elvira as and put her in the show?" The first person I ever said this to was Aurelio Voltaire (Side-note: Did you see his new Black Labyrinth album yet?) which turned into our first ever live music event. So, it is crazy that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy with our real-life achievement of having had THE REAL Elvira in our game.
We were grateful for all of the returning special guests. It was a lot of work putting together everything for the event. I will never forget we were still down to the wire, writing the final script together remotely during Hurricane Ian. It was our last shot to get approvals in time, and... I lost power at my house. The manager asked, "If you lost power, how did you just send me this!?" For the record, I was surprised that my mobile phone's internet still worked too, LOL.
The week that the event went live felt so good. It was the equivalent of 6-ish weekly releases, and happened in two different games. The response from our community was overwhelmingly positive. It was refreshing to scroll my Twitter feed to so many happy and excited comments. Reminded me of the good old days.
Then, we threw a real-life party. 20 years of non-stop game making is a pretty major thing after all. A lot of the staff flew in from across the USA and from Canada. It was the first time a lot of the team met each other in person. I hope they had fun. We made a toast to you and the other players, along with all the team members who were with us in the past, those who are with us now, and those we look forward to working with in the future.
After the party... I did something that I never do.
From September's Talk Like a Pirate Day until New Year's Eve on the last day of the year.... we go non-stop. Which makes sense. On top of our normal weekly game releases, there are tons of holidays. Also, nearly all of the games were "born" in October. So it is 3.5 months of crazy non-stop releases across our games. It is the one time of year I can never take a break.
I took a break.
Maybe after 20 years, you earn a little thinking time, right? I drove up to Pennsylvania to visit family and friends. Driving up alone for 15.5 hours was... the best vacation ever. It was an uninterrupted time that I do not normally get to experience. Just the road and my thoughts. I really got to think. I did a slow crawl through my memories. Everything we ever did together. All of the good, the bad, and especially the funny. I thought about the future and what we must do together next to be happy. I think the world is filled with so much hurt. Our mission should be to make it a happier place.
Made a lot of warm memories... and a few cold ones. On my drive up I stopped for the night in the mountains. Was shocked to discover white stuff on the ground and my car covered in ice the next morning. Bought an ice scraper.... led to the headline "Florida man with ice scraper and gloves helps little old lady from Lake Erie unearth her car from snow so she can drive home."
My kids flew up to join me the next weekend and saw snow for the first time! 5 seconds later our first snowball fight erupted.
There are too many stories from this trip to cram into one post. From playing guitar with my Grandfather, to climbing 1,000 Stone Steps up the mountain with my Uncle, to a kind stranger allowing me in to look around my childhood home (the place where I first played games and learned how to use a computer), to visiting all of my old haunts, my first martial arts school, drawing and coding with my little cousins, endangering Altoona's coffee supply by drinking it all with my cousin, to showing my kids the places all of the terrible stories I tell them at bedtime actually happened, or that super awkward selfie I took standing in front of the abandoned store in the mall where I had bought the video game MechWarrior II. I really loved that game. (Single tear forms on cheek). Almost as much as I loved this trip.
One of my little cousins (12 years old) had been teaching himself Unity & C# programming. So I cleared my schedule two of the days to work with him. He asked me what we were going to do and I pulled a bag of Dungeons & Dragons dice out of my laptop bag. (Never leave home without dice!) We built and played a super simple RPG combat system on paper. Then I replied, "We are going to program the combat system we just came up with."
I have a couple extra funny & weird stories from the trip. Maybe we can do one of those Twitter Spaces chats for those if you or anyone else wants a good laugh or two.
During the drive back, I was really focused about thinking of the future. There are A LOT of things I still want to do. Fortunately, the vast majority of those things involve making stuff for you to enjoy. Building games is my passion and lifelong goal. I love video games, art, coffee, anime, and creativity. Every truly great memory I could think of involved building something crazy in the games and hearing that you loved it. If you are reading this and you have loved things I have made, thank you for giving my life purpose. If there is one thing I really learned on my trip home, it is that life is pretty short. I am grateful to be spending it here with you, doing what I love.
Completely random side-story. Anytime I am asked what my "exit strategy is" I always reply that my plan is to die at my keyboard. So, at the party while talking with J6 and Reens.... I started choking on a pretzel. J6 ran to grab my keyboard. #FunnyNotFunny
Do you have any fun moments from the last few weeks to share? Let me know on twitter @ArtixKrieger.
P.S. I have new posts coming on AdventureQuest Worlds: Mobile Progress this week. Excited to show you the new loot bag feature.