My time on Space Marine has ended. My first game as a professional game developer launches tomorrow night in North America (though street dates seem to have been broken in Europe already), and I must admit I am glad to have a break from being build guy. The last few months have been very intense: running release candidates, preparing submissions to MS/Sony, dealing with several 11th-hour emergencies, and all the extra hours of finaling. I knew finaling would be tough, but I definitely underestimated just how tough it would be.

I hope Space Marine does well – general reaction to the demo from those who have played it, as far as I can see, is quite positive. The people claiming we’re a Gears clone are finally quieting down, and a following seems to be starting up. I hope it translates into more sales.

What did I learn? Well, I certainly put my Distributed Systems course to work, as I took the build farm from a fault-intolerant eight-node system to a significantly more tolerant 33-node system. The biggest nagging issue I was unable to solve was that for some asset types, on a blade server with no physical GPU, a tool would occasionally fail on a given asset (and then succeed in subsequent executions), and the logging I had in place was not sufficient to track down the issue. Then we went into pipeline lockdown and we let the issue lie.

Besides that, I learned a bit about the file systems on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and the different methods of distributing content on those platforms. I learned how to publish on Steam, and while I think Microsoft has the best publishing tools of the three, I have to give Valve credit on how approachable they were for any publishing/distribution issues I had. The PS3 and X360 discs, as well as the Steam digital download, are my largest user-facing contributions.

I learned a bit about Flash too, as I fixed some UI audio issues in the endgame.

Overall, Space Marine was great to work on. I proved myself as a programmer, rose pretty quickly from junior to intermediate, and will be moving into gameplay on my next project, on what looks to be a pretty cool feature. I won’t say what, yet, until I’m sure it’s fine to talk about it. THQ has announced and shown it, so it’s probably fine, but I want to play it safe.