Derek Smart Talks Line Of Defense, Alganon

This is not Derek Smart
The man who made a career out of complex space-sims and controversy is moving on. Derek Smart is now president of Quest Online, and has been rebooting free-to-play MMO Alganon. He’s also just announced an ambitious MMOFPS, Line Of Defense. We talked to him about both these things in the interview that follows…

RPS: It’s been a while since we talked, and it seems like things are changing – can you explain what your involvement with Quest Online is all about? This seems like quite a different project for you?

Smart: Well, it all happened suddenly and quite by accident actually. Having wrapped up my last two projects (All Aspect Warfare and Angle Of Attack) in 2009, I resumed focus on my first MMO game, Galactic Command Online. So I started looking around for partnerships through the various MMO networks (e.g. K2). Then in June 2009, I got a LinkedIn message from a contact of mine about Quest Online. Supposedly this was going to be a network funded by investors and that their first game would be Alganon.

Anyway, in June 2009, I spoke to the then head of the company and then again in Nov 2009 about collaborating. My thought process was that since I didn’t need much by way of support, just a network to “plug” my game into without my having to build any backend (e.g. database, billing, web services etc), I felt that it was more beneficial for me to work with a small startup than with the larger behemoths. If you recall my history in the industry, you will immediately understand why this would be my thought process.

In Nov 2009, around Thanksgiving, I got a frantic phone call from the aforementioned person in which he informed me that he had a problem that he needed my help with and that if successful, there was a possibility of our collaboration as previously discussed.

So I went along. He introduced me (through a conference call he setup) to the majority investors, as well as the co-founder. Most of this is well documented on my website blog at, but by the time the dust settled in late Feb 2010, I found myself the President of QOL and head of the Alganon development team. The rest is history.

Yes, Alganon is a completely different project for me. However, most of what I bring to the company and the game relate to leadership, industry expertise and of course development related experience. Unlike my own games, I don’t write any code for the game at all. Instead, I plot and plan the development path of the game, come up with dev schedules which the teams can act upon, devise various strategies for the game etc. Of course I also run the company as well, having been hired by the majority investors to do just that.

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about how Alganon has changed in the past year? What do you think you have brought to the game?

Smart: Wow! That would span quite a few pages. As is well known, in Dec 2009 the game was released by the previous lead and designer to disastrous results. Once I was made president in late February 2010, I pretty much scrubbed the entire planned dev schedule, design etc and started with a clean slate for how to proceed going forward and under my leadership. The primary goal was to first finish the game. We were able to do this around the end of April 2010. We branded that v2.0 and it was a far cry from the previous Dec 2009 v1 launch.

If you compared the original v1.1.1 (Dec 2009) to the official launch 2.0.0 (April 2010) and then to the recently released 2.5.2 build, you will see that a significant amount of work has gone into the game since that original disastrous launch.

We’ve not only fixed all of the launch problems and actually FINISHED the game’s first generation, but we also implemented a transaction system, a cash shop, went fully F2P, added a bunch of new quests, areas etc but we also made significant UI revisions to the game and added an extensive PvP (which should have shipped with the game from the start) to the game. It has been an extraordinary amount of work that was done in a very short time due to the determination, focus and planning that I brought with me.

Now we’re designing and developing the game’s third generation which will see the game’s first expansion pack launch by the middle of this year. And that will bring a bunch of new technologies, features and assets to the game.

RPS: Why should the average MMO-playing RPS reader care about Alganon?

Smart: Well in the crowded fantasy MMO market, Alganon’s standout strengths are in the fact that the game is a lot more than your standard fare. Even though a lot of people compare it to WoW, if you accepted that comparison – and you like WoW – well Alganon has no monthly subscription fee.

All kidding aside, the game has a rich lore, stunning environments, various unique and interesting gameplay elements such as the Studies and Library systems etc. And best of all it is F2P; and if you like it enough to invest in it, then you have a well stocked cash shop specifically for that purpose.

I accept that a lot of the early adopters were jaded by the original release – and rightfully so. But judging by our increasing numbers, my guess is that the on-going marketing campaign and word of mouth getting out are helping us get the word out that this truly is a very different and unique game.

Best of all, the RPS guys – at least those old enough to have crawled out of their diapers – who know me, know that I never – ever – abandon anything. I’ve had to deal with a broken game before and despite all the detraction and ridicule, I stuck with that very first game. That decision alone got me where I am today. So, it is safe to say that as long as the majority investors (my clients) continue voting to keep the company going, Alganon isn’t going anywhere as long as I’m at the helm. If something is broken, I will make sure that it is fixed. If something needs tweaking, I will make sure that it is tweaked. And as time goes on and the game matures, we will continue to build it up and improve on the gameplay experience and technologies.

RPS: What is it like working in the fantasy MMO market? The competition looks ludicrously tough from where I am sitting… Isn’t the space just over-subscribed?

Smart: Yes, the space is over-subscribed in terms of genre. The majority of the MMO games are in the fantasy genre. Of course everyone has taken notice, so other genres such as FPS and RTS games are making their debut. To be honest, it is not that much more saturated than standard games. The biggest issue in the MMO market is that the barrier of entry is the difference between life and death. With WoW dominating the market, those foolish enough to try and compete with it, rather than compete on their own strengths, have either gone away, switched to F2P or are hanging on for dear life.

When you give gamers a choice, most will vote with their dollars. This is the primary reason why most MMO games that are not WoW or one of the other big names, are going F2P. There are just too many games competing for the same space and gamer dollars. At the end of the day, those that stand out, provide rewarding gameplay and have a minimal (or $0) barrier of entry will survive in the long term.

RPS: Is free-to-play really the future of the MMO space? Are we going to find ourselves canceling all our subs by the end of 2012?

Smart: Yes, I think so. However, there is nothing that says a hybrid model can’t survive. You can still release a game purely F2P but offer some premium for those willing to pay for it. The issue with that is you then have to consider balancing issues. You certainly don’t want to give some guy with money an edge over another without.

I do not envision MMO games that have a subscription only model surviving in the long term. At least not on the PC. On the console side, since MMO games haven’t taken off there, those wanting to offer subscription based MMO games already have a head start there.

In fact, Alganon actually now has a hybrid model. You can download and play the game for free. As in F2P. You won’t need to buy anything until you get to around level 30 or so. But if you want to hit the ground running, you can purchase the SuperPak (which contains a bunch of goodies) for about $20. While it doesn’t exactly give you an edge against other players (PvP) or in the PvE game, it does give you a bunch of nice items and features if you feel that the game is worth the money spent. And you can buy this SuperPak at any time you choose.

RPS: So, you’ve announced a new project – Line Of Defense – what can you tell us about that?

Smart: Ah yes! Basically, when I was designing All Aspect Warfare back in late 2007, I did it because I wanted to move away from the rather complex space/planetary games that had defined my career. As the game design and development progressed and the PC gaming side of things continued the downward spiral in terms of publishing and distribution deals and whatnot, I envisioned it as an MMO game.

However, I was already developing Galactic Command Online based on my long running IP. The problem for me was that in order to launch that game, I needed my own network backend because given the complex and niche aspects of my games, I felt that it was highly unlikely that I would be able to find a decent network for it.

If you follow the story of Eve, you will understand how and why they went their own way and thus are comfortable with a 300K player subscription game. My games in general, eclipse that number in sales. And so I figured that without upsetting the Apple cart or biting the hand the feeds, that I should just stick with my formula and do my own games. So if even a fraction of my install base were on board, we would be very successful. Plus, GCO was envisioned as my last game. I was simply tired of doing the two year song and dance that is the staple of standard game development schedules.

But I had no network, nor the team or expertise with which to actually build one. It is not enough to develop a multiplayer game and push it as an MMO game. The latter requires a LOT more than just having a multiplayer game.

So I decided to do those two 2009 games in order to shore up my cash flow so that I could not only fund GCO but also allow me to build my own network if it came to that. If I had a network willing to host the game, provide backend services etc and take a percentage of the cut as is standard for these deals, I would not have been thinking about building my own at all.

And during the development of the AAW game, it hit me that the game would probably do well as an MMO game. So by the time it was finished and released, I already had the plan to do an MMO version to complement GCO itself. I figured that I could hedge my bets on one niche game and one mass market game. So I set out to design it, with a view to getting it out before the much – much – larger (and complex) GCO game.

When I came to QOL, my focus was on Alganon and on saving the company from going under as a result of the botched launch of that game. During talks with the majority investors, the discussion about my original contact with QOL came up and so talk of bringing my games to QOL – as a network – resumed.

With the MMO version of AAW being a much smaller and faster paced game – firmly out of my staple niche catalog of games, we started entertaining the thought of bringing that [LOD] game to QOL. By the end of 2010, I made the decision to license the game to QOL which would in turn act as the network and provide the back end services which 3000AD lacked. In a standard deal, the network would retain a percentage of the game’s proceeds in exchange for providing said services. Pretty much the same thing that other networks offer.

With that decided – though nothing actually signed to secure the deal – work on the game continued.

RPS: How do you feel the game will stand up against SOE’s revamping of PlanetSide and Red 5’s Tribes-like, Firefall? What is LoD doing that stands out?

Smart: Well, I have always felt that Planetside was a game that was well ahead of its time. Which IMO is the primary reason it didn’t do as well as it should have back then. When you’re competing with an industry in which the FPS genre is one in which you just buy the game and play it, a subscription based FPS game is more of a tough sell. That said, I don’t envision SOE straying too far from the original or they run the risk of alienating the core install base that are still playing it. As a result, my guess is that the game is probably going to be more of the same. If they do that, then they’re pretty much off my list of competitors because they won’t stand a chance against LOD. At all.

Firefall is of no consequence because apart from the fact that it is a different type (and style) of game, I don’t believe that they would fare any better than the likes of Global Agenda. That whole “Tribes-like” push is going to be their first problem. Several have tried and failed to capture the essence that was the original Tribes game. Not even Tribes 2 could pull that off. It looks like a very pretty game though and I’m sure that they’re watching the industry closely. But lets face it, these days we all know that it is irrelevant what industry “names” you have attached to a project, how much money they have or what game they’re developing. It all comes down to timing, opportunity, gameplay and execution. So they’re probably going to be competing with the likes of Earthrise and the upcoming Tribes revamp by the Global Agenda guys, not LoD.

Line Of Defense on the other hand is a totally different type of game. First and foremost, we have no time for silly things like crafting, resource gathering, instanced PvE or any of those grind-related rubbish. The focus is on character progression and pure twitch combat metrics.

So many things in LOD stand out that I simply don’t even know where to begin. But let me highlight the top ones. For starters, we have a massive open world. A typical base in each of the continents is about 2x3km, with each continent being about 16x16km and filled to the brim with atmosphere and amazing environments. Absolutely no playing in a box here. In fact, with a brand new game engine designed from the ground up for this game, we started out with a 256 player per server instance, 500x500km game world, but my dev team quickly talked me out of the latter.

We have full on FPS and TPS gameplay, vehicles, aircrafts (seriously fast movers), gunships, naval units, LOTS of weapons of mass destruction, unique and innovative gameplay, space and planetary environments etc. We also have things like player housing right off the bat. Individual players and guilds – who can afford it – can build in the game environment. From small outposts to large military bases. The game’s inventory sports prefab units ranging from buildings to defense units. So you can pretty much find a plot of land, lease it, go buy your prefabs, deploy them, then buy defense units to protect it etc. We’re doing this because it fits within the game’s overall premise.

And we have a space environment. Yes, the space region above the planet where this conflict takes place is fully accessible. Player characters can move from the planet to the space stations seamlessly because we’re building the inside sections of the space stations as well. The end result is that a battle that started on the planet below, can spill into the space station in orbit, and vice versa. It’s going to be absolutely crazy. And for those with access to space capable crafts, you can also engage in planetary and space combat depending on what it is you want to do. This is however not a full on space combat game. So no cap ships, trading, diplomacy or any of that. I decided to include the space region only for completeness and to somehow cater to my pre-existing space combat fans until GCO was out. So that aspect of the space combat is purely for fighters. There is no trading or any of the advanced gameplay found in something like the GCO game. Plus the space region is much – much – smaller but big enough for the conflict that I envision within.

Though I tend to dream and build big – having designed and developed several massive and niche games, LOD is a departure from that scope and complexity because the game is designed to be accessible to all as a “Jump In, Jump Out” type game. That’s why I decided to make it purely PvP and with absolutely no resource or crafting type gameplay. There is no PvE component at all, no instancing whatsoever – it is all one massive, seamless game world.

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about the roadmap for LoD? When can we expect to see it live etc?

Smart: We are on track for a late 2011 deployment, though depending on schedules, I may hold it until Q1 2012 depending on how crowded Q4 2011 is.

The first game features a small section of the massive planet that the conflict takes place on. Due to how it is designed, we plan to not only open up other surface continents by way of expansions and such post-release but also plan to introduce additional player classes, playable assets, new weapons etc.

RPS: How do you feel about the PC gaming space these days? Still exciting?

Smart: Well it is not as exciting as it was back in the day. Nowadays it is more about survival than it is about the fun and excitement of game development. In other words, it is all business for the most part. If you’re lucky to be working on a fun project, then you’ve got it made. Anything short of that is just a paycheck. For my part, since I tend to only fund and make the games that I would play, the fun and excitement comes with the territory.


  1. brian says:


    • Jinkeez says:

      Oh christ, one post in and the summoning ritual is already complete.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Be fair, it was GOING to be the first post.

    • Pijama says:


    • pipman3000 says:

      derek smart fact #12,634

      if you say derek smart’s name in front of a mirror 25 times at exactly midnight he will appear to you in a dream and grant you one (1) wish. but if you say it 26 times then faeries will steal one (1) year of your lifespan.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I was going to post that. The hive has beaten me to it. I salute you all. Except those that I have a differing opinion to perhaps. And console owners. DRM buyers. And..okay, you know what, that hobo in the corner over there looks like he could use a cookie.
      Hey man! Have a cookie!
      There. Good enough.


  2. Schaulustiger says:

    I have never heard of Alganon. Did anyone in the RPS crowd play it and can tell me if it’s actual fun? And how it compares to its F2P competitors?

    • Artist says:

      At least the story of the douchebag on the helms before Smart is very entertaining! Drama that usually only Eve produces, hehe

    • pipman3000 says:

      alganon is about this really dumb janitor or something who is given this magic potion by a doctor that makes him smart but then he realizes everyone hates him then someone’s pet mouse who was also given the potion dies then the janitor dies too.

      it’s pretty wicked

    • Hallgrim says:

      Alganon was (is?) the cloniest of wow-clones ever imagined. IIRC it was developed by the Horizons/Istaria lead designer, who apparently thought that nobody liked his game because it needed more wow-bell, instead of people just being irritated that the game was released in an incredibly broken state (I remember having to make a phone call to cancel my subscription. You could set one up on the website, but had to wait on hold for 30 minutes to cancel it).

    • Jeremy says:

      I got a genuine laugh out of that pipman… thanks :)

  3. FalseMyrmidon says:


    Well, I have always felt that Planetside was a game that was well ahead of its time. Which IMO is the primary reason it didn’t do as well as it should have back then.

    I’m not surprised that the thinks it failed due to being ahead of it’s time not due to being greatly flawed. I’m sure he thinks all of his games were ahead of their time too

  4. LD says:

    i like derek, sure he can be abrasive.

    haters gone hate

  5. Torgen says:

    So, running a fantasy F2P MMO, and developing a MMO Space Marine game. Not exactly uncrowded markets. I’d wish you luck, but you probably don’t believe in it. ;-)

  6. Artist says:

    The best recent trick of the devil was to let the monkeys believe theres something free in “free to play”-cashshop games… *sob*

  7. CMaster says:

    I like how he dismisses EvE as being small there.
    Maybe his games do sell more than 300k copies usually. I’m not so sure, but even then, I bet EvE has seen millions of players buy it – 300k is the number of current subscribers, not people who ever bought the box.

    • Artist says:

      And also not every subscription in that number is paid with money. PLEXEs anyone? And the tendency to 2nd and 3rd accounts of the common eve player is still strong. Anyway, not a small game, right. But Im sure this is common business speak, too.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Artist: Isn’t that somewhat offset by Eve existing for (if memory serves) seven friggin years?

    • Starky says:

      Eve is free isn’t it? As in no box price you just pay the sub? Or at least it was the several (6-8 or so) times I tried to get into it and then rediscovered that despite the fact I love the genre, Eve is one of the most boring games I’ve ever played… Amazingly designed, but a Elite style mmo without flight control (preferably 1st person/cockpit) is like a roller coaster with an utterly flat track.

      Still glad it exists, it is a game that is vastly more interesting to read about than actually play.

      300k for years though is impressive staying power – and shows just how stable that niche market this game attracts can be. Ironically it is the same kind of niche but dedicated and loyal audience who buy Derek Smart games.

      All you need is 1000 true fans after all (or 1000 true fans per employee for companies).

    • Collic says:

      It does seem to indicate he hasn’t really grasped that a 300k average subscription base over a long number of years is vastly more money than selling a larger figure for a one-off payment. Eve is a hugely successful game. Make no mistake, CCP are a very wealthy company – and deservedly so, Eve is a unique achievement in the MMO genre in so many ways.

      It should also be noted that the people who will spend money on an MMO aren’t necessarily the same people who are already Derek Smart fans. Not mutually exclusive, but by no means assured, either.

    • Starky says:

      I’m sure he grasps it fine – seems to me his comment wasn’t a knock at CCP (who have been an amaznig success for a small company in a niche market everyone thought was dead and buried) – but more that his games (which sell to that same niche decidedness base) sold more than 300k – so if he can convert a reasonable percentage of those into playing his MMO, it will be a great success for him.

      Derek Smart can be a dick with what he says but honestly this thread seems like people are trying to take things out of context to make what he says seem even worse.

      I suppose it is more entertaining that way.

    • malkav11 says:

      Eve has a free trial, but you do have to buy an account, currently priced at $20 although I’ve seen several sales that knocked that down to $5 or so. And it’s been tempting every time despite my clear and certain knowledge, based on actual play, that I don’t like Eve.

    • Lightbulb says:

      Lets be honest – the whole interview was about selling. Himself and his games. I have no problem with this since its his job but its not your usual RPS interview…

  8. Torgen says:

    Wait, what? The guy with no pupils has castles growing out of his shoulders?

  9. Kid_A says:

    “Best of all, the RPS guys – at least those old enough to have crawled out of their diapers – who know me, know that I never – ever – abandon anything.”
    Right, so, calling anyone who doesn’t agree with him/like his game a baby. Classy…
    “First and foremost, we have no time for silly things like crafting, resource gathering, instanced PvE or any of those grind-related rubbish. The focus is on character progression and pure twitch combat metrics.”
    Having a massive map and space combat and everything is very nice, but it looks like all this is going to boil down to is a really big space to shoot things in. Bit like APB. You can talk about having vehicular and aerial combat and all that, and hype it as super-innovative and new, but… well, it’s not, really, is it?

    • Artist says:

      Change your diapers, maybe? :p

    • Kid_A says:

      -sigh- Yes, I’m clearly the one being childish here, aren’t I.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think it was a jab at Quintin.

    • Chris D says:

      I don’t think he was actually calling anybody childish, just that if you’re older you’ve probably heard of him but maybe the younger readers haven’t.

      I’m not sure if that’s actually true (I hadn’t heard of him and I’m no spring chicken) but I don’t think it was intended to cause offence.

    • Tacroy says:

      Those of us who have only recently crawled out of our diapers need only take a look at Wikipedia to get an idea of what Derek Smart is like.

  10. salejemaster says:

    what is this Alganon, never heard of it >.> has anyone played recently? what’s it like?

    • Hallgrim says:

      Uber wow-clone created by the man who brought you the Horizons MMO. Need I say more?

  11. Axez D. Nyde says:

    I am still digesting WoW, there’s no way I would touch another MMORPG in the next, let’s say 5 years. Even if it’s free, nothing really innovative is to be expected from Analgon and well even the videos seem to show the same old show we all know. how-how.

  12. darthmajor says:

    “As in F2P. You won’t need to buy anything until you get to around level 30 or so. ”

    I really hate this. This is not Free to Play. This is a trial, champions online had something like this (i think to lvl 5 or something) and they called by it’s name, trial. If you can play for free UP TO A POINT, it’s trial, or demo, not free to play. F2P should mean that you can play the WHOLE THING, access EVERYTHING and can level to the limit, but with the cash shop being there for conveniences…
    I really really hate that recently F2P came to mean trial/demo…BUT LOOK IT’S FREE! TO PLAY! UP TO A POINT!


  13. Jimmeh says:

    Something of an insight into Smart’s delusions of grandeur. I can see exactly why corporate investors would eat this stuff up. Those of us immune to meaningless marketing splurge probably just think he’s an arrogant asshat.

  14. BobsLawnService says:

    I wish there were more single instance FPS MMOs out there. The idea of two huge factions perpetually slogging it out for supremecy appeals to me for some reason.

  15. Derek Smart says:

    I don’t profess that it will be the best thing since sliced bread. But what I do profess is that

    a) As with all my games, I will recover my dev costs and turn a profit even.

    b) I’ll have a ton of fun – as I always do – working on it. Nothing else matters.

    c) I’ll continue to piss off a lot of people who just cannot get over the fact that, well, I’m going to be doing this for as long as it takes and I’m not just not going anywhere. :)

    So fine, I’ll just come back when the clowns-in-diapers show up. Life’s too short. I love to have fun – at everyone’s expense. So don’t hate me.

    FYI, there is an extensive FAQ about the game over here.

  16. Dave says:

    Well thanks for that piece if insulting bullshit Mr Smart. Jesus Jim did you have to sit in the same room? If yes, the fact that you didnt rip off his arm and beat the smug arsehole to death with it is certainly one of the prerequisites for sainthood…

    • Artist says:

      Its common knowledge that its sometimes hard to see your own reflection… Need a shoulder? =)

  17. Derek Smart says:

    @ Dave

    Oh c’mon now. Why all the hate man? Are you one of those who just takes a long hard look at your life and wonder wtf you did with it when there’s a guy like Derek Smart running around out there having all the fun?

    Seriously, I know it’s fun to think you’re ‘kewl’ to insult others – usually those otherwise more fortunate than you – but such vitriol can’t be healthy. But to each his own I guess. Life’s too short dude. Get a grip.

    • pipman3000 says:

      yeah you tell ’em!

    • Kid_A says:

      Novel idea – maybe work on your game instead of coming onto RPS to trade personal insults with those who don’t like your games/modus operandi?

    • Tacroy says:

      @Kid_A: well, this is Derek Smart we’re talking about, inciter of one of the longest flamewars in Usenet history.

      Arguing on the Internet >> Developing games, any day – hell, he even said so himself a couple of posts up :)

    • Kid_A says:

      Ah, right. He’s a troll.
      Wait, wait a minute.
      “My games are no more buggy than any other game.”

    • Xercies says:

      That has got to be the funniest post I’ve ever read. If nothing else Derek Smart is entertaining

    • Vorrin says:

      Life’s too short for just about anything but having internet arguments, whilst bragging you get (hence that is much of…) all the fun (in the U N I V E R S E) ?

      yeh, say it like it is!

    • Dave says:

      Oh Derek, Derek, Derek. For a guy who has been the driving force behind so many terrible games you sure talk the talk. Sadly the majority of the rps readers aren’t in diapers. Incredibly they aren’t clowns either

      As for your terrible troll attempts i recommend you try the “internet” and search on “Google” for “trolls”.

      I have dealt with your kind over and over ad nauseum during my proffesional career as an astronaut superhero, Despite my better nature i have still found your brand of “corporate speak” makes me want to kill myself.

      Please, please for the love of all that is right in the world, sod off into the realm of coporate banking or some other industry that would actually appreciate your shit and leave us poor sods alone.

      Yours lovingly


      p.s the only reson im respanding is beacuase the trolls where pretty good.
      but thats it!

    • Jeremy says:

      Awesome, the anonymity clause in full effect here.

      Let’s look at the more salient issue though: Is Derek Smart related to Sean Connery? Because… look at that icon. Straight up Connery.

    • Kadayi says:


      I’m not too sure what rock you crawled out from under (and nor do I care much either), but last time I checked no one was forcing you to buy Derek’s games (nor to have to read his interviews). So what’s the issue exactly?

    • Dave says:

      Hi Jeremy my name is David Rochelle i live in Birmimgham UK and if you mail me or pm me on the forums ill gladly hand you my home address so we can get the usual oh lol internets anonimity out of the way.

      Guy whos name i cant remember. Surely a public interview and a comments board lends itself to public comment. Who would have thought it eh? I’m not entirely sure in understand what there is to admire about “Mr Smart. or why anybody would defend his particular brand of bullshit. Honestly have you played any of his games?

      I object to one of the biggest trolls in the industry who has failed to make at least one decent game coming onto rps and making out like he is gamings next best thing.

      Also anybody who disagrees with me is a fag.

  18. Voidy says:

    Whoa, DS is back! And his rants are still ten orders of magnitude more entertaining than his creations. Keep up the good work, Derek!

  19. pipman3000 says:

    why is that guy wearing a castle

    • Arathain says:

      He isn’t wearing it, it’s growing out of him.

      I hope there’s a cream for that. It looks uncomfortable.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It’s like the Rook from Demigod. But crappy.

  20. Basilicus says:

    Fact 1: Derek Smart is a smug jackass.

    Fact 2: Derek Smart is a genius.

    I’m comfortable with that reality. It seems that, in the flesh housing that houses Derek Smart’s fiery soul, the one would not be possible without the other. His games display both Facts 1 and 2 prominently. I have no problem with this.

    In a world in which everyone is drooling over Bulletstorm allowing you to shoot a man in the asshole (this is really the brave, indie-influenced future we dream about?), I’ll take Derek Smart 9 times out of 10. Four of those nine times, I would get frustrated with the controls and my own impatience and construct a Derek Smart dartboard for the throwing of sharp things at the face, but the other five, I’d go, “Huh, this is pretty unique and cool.” It’s worth the risk, and makes one really good at darts.

    In conclusion, Smart and his projects are complicated, buggy, genius, overambitious, underdeveloped, ahead of their time, questionably functional, must-be-played, frustrating opuses. Are they worth playing? That’s up to taste. But Smart is neither good nor bad. He just is, not so much in between the two as an outlier to that scale of determining quality. We need our outliers. Not all of them will shape the future, but some of them will, and we won’t know which until we’ve gone through years upon years of dart boards.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Derek Smart vs. Bulletstorm is a bizarre and dishonest dichotomy.

    • Harlander says:

      I think you might be on to something, Basilicus. I’ve long thought that Mr. Smart is like the evil twin of [Dwarf Fortress developer] Tarn Adams.

      Keep on keeping on, Derek. The world needs overambitious projects, even if they’re doomed to a crippled, flawed existence – just so we can know someone tried. I just hope never to have to hold a conversation with you.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I would like to point out that I, for one, am not looking forward to nor financially supporting Bulletstorm, because I do not want to be restricted in the ways I shoot someone up his pooper.
      I want over 9000 guns, not 2.

      DOOM wisely foresaw this gamer’s dream of over 9000 guns, and as a tribute named their bestest and biggestest gun after it: the BFG 9000.
      Now where was a FPS making team that knew what FPS games were about: Big Friggin’ Guns. And ideally, over 9000 of them.

      John Carmack is a hero, a god and: a gentleman.

      Thank you ladies and sirs, that will be all.

  21. Derek Smart says:

    @ Tacroy

    Oh look!! Ye Olde “…’e made teh buggy gamez back in 1996!!” song and dance.

    You’d think that almost almost 16 years later, ye olde fools would find something else to crone about. Especially considering

    a) what came before and after my game

    b) that we’ve all – foolishly – moved on

    My games are no more buggy than any other game. Of course my FIRST game which was ambitious enough – not to mention the fact that I created it almost single-handedly and with zero game development training, experience or expertise to speak of – was of course buggy due to the fact (a well known one at that) that it was released by the publisher (Take Two) while in Beta, against my wishes and for which a lot of legal shenanigans (which gave me the money to continue on) ensued.

    But no. Let’s harp on that shall we?

    Fact is. I love making games. Sure they’re not great games, but who cares? And why do they have to be great? As long as I have fun doing it and making money from it, everything else is just noise really. In there, all I can do is continue to learn and maybe one day I’ll make a game that 100 people instead of 70 people will like. But as long as 70 people like, buy and play them, I could care less about the other 30.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      “Sure they’re not great games, but who cares?”
      The consumers.

    • Basilicus says:

      In point of fact, Smart is one of the best examples at staying with a game and supporting his community, patching BC3000 for two years solid and, after procuring the rights, releasing it for free. I thought that was pretty classy of him.

      It’s the kind of Valve- or Paradox-level after-release support that we constantly bitch most other developers fail to think about, let alone provide.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Are those accurate sales figures?

      I kid, I kid.

    • Tacroy says:

      Actually, I think this is a really good move for both you and Quest Online – your main problem was that you’ve never been able to self-edit, which means that you either needed 1. Strict requirements or B. To only make major design decisions. Since I doubt your ego would ever take kindly to someone else handing requirements down, B is really the only option :)

      The thing is, in general the ideas you have for games are very very good – freeform open space exploration? Sounds good! Continuous space-to-planet gameplay? Awesome, if you can manage to pull it off! A user interface that makes you feel like you’re really on the bridge? Excellent! … until you realize that in practice it looks like this (and that’s in an “accessible” game!). Control schemes that require using more of the keyboard than Emacs? Uh, not so great.

      Even then, though – even when the publisher says “fuck it, it’s been three years, we’re releasing anyway” – you have the determination to continue to support Emacs in Space, the vision to keep on making other games, and the business acumen to release stuff for free after it has no more commercial value (but acts as advertising for your next games). That is definitely impressive.

      So really, as long as you’re just in charge of overall project direction and not nitty-gritty implementation details, you and the company should do really well together – assuming you manage to keep the scope down to something that’s actually doable in a human lifetime :)

    • Love Albatross says:

      To be fair, Tacroy, that interface is no more or less confusing than the X-series or countless other space games and flight sims.

      That’s not to say it is any way a playable game, not if the other dreck he has shat out is any indication.

    • jonfitt says:

      @Tacroy this is just a comment on your “complex UI” comment.

      Actually, compared to a flight study-sim that cockpit is fairly straight forward, especially when you look at real spacecraft controls:
      link to
      He has presented quite a large amount of information in a small amount of space.

      The problem is the learning curve, and I’ve seen no documentation or tutorial which really smooths that out. You’ve got to want to get over the hump.

      There will undoubtedly be discovered a method of relaying large amounts of information more intelligently in the real future (probably involving contextual information based on a machine’s estimation of your current focus), but if DS had cracked that he could be making much more money in another industry.

      Anyway, side issue.

    • Tacroy says:

      And real guns are actually really, really hard to fire compared to game guns. I mean the kickback is an actual physical force, and anything larger than a pistol is basically punching you in the chest; the noise is more than startling, it’s another physical force all on its own (there’s a reason why people at shooting ranges tend to wear ear protection). Furthermore, actual guns are freaking heavy – which makes sense, when you consider that they literally have to control a small explosion.

      Does that mean that we should start making every manshoot require a chest-punching apparatus*, a full speaker system, and a 10 lb control device that has to be held all the time? No. It’s a fucking game. You make things more simple, not less. Chess, which someone brought up earlier and which was unfortunately dismissed rather lightly, is a perfect example – you don’t have to deal with all of the normal army bullshit that has stymied Napleon wannabes for untold ages, like logistics, recruitment or morale – all of that gets simplified down to you’ve got some units, they move like this, go have a bit of a war. There’s a reason why chess is still being played four hundred years later, but Derek can snidely remark that younger RPS readers would not be familiar with his work. Can you imagine Shigeru Miyamoto saying the same thing with a straight face?

      That being said. That being said. Derek is still an awesome person; you have to be, to continue to support a game that was released in such a state. You have to be, to have that much ambition, and to keep on tossing it in the face of your detractors. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to turn Alganon into a modern-day Spelljammer – his ideas always seem to end up in space.

      His problem is that, so far, he just hasn’t managed to actually release a game that would serve as a fitting legacy. He has the ambition, he has the drive, he just always seems to flub the execution somehow.

      And that’s why I think it’s a very good thing that he’s in a leadership role. He’s basically perfect for it; you wouldn’t let Steve Jobs actually near a production design (just look what happened with the iPhone 4 antenna!), but having him at the helm turns middling products into insanely great ones.

      So yeah. Moral of this story: Derek Smart = Steve Jobs – turtleneck + trolling. Oh also minus the, you know, actual wildly popular accomplishments. And pancreatic cancer. But hey, you know what? He might still get there. And if Derek Smart ever makes the real game of his dreams, we might never need another space game again.

      And when he inevitably fails at that, hey, we’ll probably get something pretty good out of the deal regardless.

      *Though now that I think about it, a chest-punching apparatus doesn’t sounds kinda awesome.

    • 7rigger says:

      “Chess, which someone brought up earlier and which was unfortunately dismissed rather lightly, is a perfect example”

      I didn’t feel that it was – unless you are arguing that chess is an interface for the game of war. Chess isn’t complex, it’s deep. Easy to learn, hard to master and all that. Flying a spaceship is not going to be easy to pick up, like flying a plane isn’t.

      I understand you are arguing that it should be like chess, easy to dive into and deep enough to keep you playing – but that’s your personal opinion. I like my games to be on the silly side of realism: with 50 buttons (Steel Battalion FTW), pointless controls (Window wipers and such) and an interface that needs to be learned. It seems Mr Smart likes his games like that too. It’s just a pity it took so long for me to discover them.

    • Dworgi says:

      “But hey, you know what? He might still get there.”

      You’re right, pancreatic cancer can happen to anyone and turtlenecks aren’t impossible to find either!

  22. Derek Smart says:

    @ Teddy

    If consumers only bought “great” games, we’d all be out of business. So what exactly is your excuse?

    • Kid_A says:

      Actually, if consumers only bought “great” games, arguably we’d see a lot less rehashing of franchises/genres and a significant raising of the quality from the derivative FPS/MMO dreck currently occupying the sales charts.
      But hey, good luck with your MMOFPS.

    • Xonolerp says:

      Are you really so insecure about your success as to defend it (with harsh words to disbelievers) in the middle of a totally irrelevant interview & then that interview’s comments?

      I’ll give you the “inside scoop” on what actual gamers think of free-to-play cash shop games, Derek, and why they’re never going to be dominant (and neither will you, on the games market, unless you clean up your act)
      Free-to-play games encourage cheating, and – assuming you intend to make money from them – offer horrid imbalance and the illusion of fair play. I don’t care if I have to spend $15 per month on a game as long as the cruiser pulling up alongside me has the same chance of being destroyed as I do, as opposed to playing a free-to-play model of the same game, except the pirate commandeering my pod has a cash shop diamond-shooting sodomy cannon which gives me no chance to fight back.

      By the way, speaking disparagingly of technical masterpieces like Planetside are fantastic ways to tarnish your credibility (not that I’m implying you had any to begin with.)

    • Starky says:

      No Derek is correct, if people only bought great games/movies/books/music, pick whatever media you like, the industry any industry would collapse.

      Imagine if cinema only had “great” movies – well first you have the issue who who the fuck gets to judge “great” (to some Inception is great [I’m one of them] to others it is trash), but assuming that everyone had the same taste in this perfect world, and that taste was the best and most critical taste possible.

      Where would new talent rise from?

      Almost all the best talent in any media rise from utter mediocrity, if not complete crap. Great cinematographers starting their career filming low budget erotica (see – Roger Deakins). Great directors start with budget crappy “genre” films (pick almost any of the great directors and you have an example). Little mediocre indie flicks that get seen by a few thousand people – maybe sell a few thousand on DVD, but it’s enough.

      Same for games. Derek Smart’s games may not be the toast of metacritic (which I hope we all know is worthless and stupid anyway), but they are not trash either.
      They’re very niche games that don’t appeal to many people, but those they do appeal to enjoy them enough to pay the man for his work – there is nothing wrong with that.
      I personally didn’t love the games of his he played, they weren’t bad though – a friend of mine does enjoy them. Which is fine.

    • Consumatopia says:

      You have to make crap before you make greatness, true. You don’t have to make money on the crap though–there’s always student films, fan fiction, flash games and garage bands.

      But I suppose if the attitude regarding the consumer is “who cares?”, then one might as well make money on the crap.

    • Hallgrim says:

      “technical masterpieces like Planetside” wtf? Which masterpiece are we talking about here? The lag, the imprecision, the speedhacks, or the door hacking bug (which was in the game for at least 12 months)? Or do you mean the design decisions like the MagMower, the population imbalance, the playing in the same 3 zones all the time, or the forcing people to buy the expac and play in the stupid tunnels? Or do you mean the STUPID GIANT ROBOTS?

      Planetside was nothing like a “masterpiece”. Great idea, bad game.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      wait what

    • Jeremy says:

      This entire argument falls flat on both sides, because the concept of “great” is entirely relative and based on a per user understanding. Not only that, the concept of “greatness” changes even in the midst of a culture. How many artists and musicians only became great after they died? But I digress. If 90% of gamers think a game is “great” that doesn’t make it “great” to the other 10%, it just makes the 90% feel better about their individual tastes :)

    • Kadayi says:

      @Kid A

      “Actually, if consumers only bought “great” games, arguably we’d see a lot less rehashing of franchises/genres and a significant raising of the quality from the derivative FPS/MMO dreck currently occupying the sales charts.”

      I must of missed the meeting where humanity apparently lost its free will.

  23. CoyoteTheClever says:

    Derek Smart is awesome in interviews. Those evasive half answers that happen in every other interview RPS or any other site tries to give when talking about competitors and their games? Not happening here at all. Say what you will about the guy, he is honest and always makes sure to answer questions to the fullest at least.

  24. Derek Smart says:

    Additional shots showing some of the other classes are up. Enjoy!

    • Mungrul says:

      Erm, I know pointing out spelling mistakes is a bit lame but you may want to change the headings on that page to read “PRE-ALPHA” instead of “PRE-APHA”.

    • Wolfox says:

      Mungrul, you should know that APHA is a new designation created by Derek to express the real stage of development. This outdated and irrelevant “alpha” thing should be kept to mainstream, dumbed-down games that even monkeys can play.

      Also, his websites have no bugs. You’ve been warned. If you report any other “typo” (which isn’t a real typo, mind you, just bait for people who hasn’t left their diapers yet), you’re a detractor.

      Commander out.

    • jonfitt says:

      It’s looking pretty so far, and a F2P massive sci-fi shooter has got to be worth a jiggle.

      Just keep dreaming big, but sell realistically.

    • omicron1 says:

      Hey Derek, if you’re reading this, you need to change your shadow depth bias just a bit. That should help to eliminate those ugly shadow-free edges where world objects connect with the ground.

      Also, you can never have too much procedurally-generated grass, dirt, and rock details.

  25. terry says:

    Oh boy

  26. Eclipse says:

    Am I the only one that actually liked Battlecruiser 3000 A. D.? It was hard as hell but was something quite impressive. The fact that was done by a smallish team if not someone alone was impressive too.

    Also, ’90s are the past, I can’t understand who people can still complain about games like Daikatana or BC3000AD. Half the people here probably never played a Derek Smart game anyway.

    Ok, he’s not very polite but at least he say what he thinks and he actually reply to you if you mail about one of his games

    • Wolfox says:

      I liked the idea and ambition of it. Hated the execution, though.

    • Archonsod says:

      I enjoyed BC3000AD too. It never quite fulfilled it’s promise, but it wasn’t a bad game either. Plus it was I think the only space sim around at the time focused on capital ships rather than an arcade dogfighter.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I believe the issue wasn’t that the games were crap, but that the makers spent years of interviews, posters and clips essentially saying “I am the lord your saviour and nobody has the awesome game-making peen as I, so bow before me and suck it down”. And then produced the biggest steaming pile of poop of their generation.

      That’s the kind of thing that not only invites, but necessitates life-long ridicule, to stave off further egotasticness.

      Not that it worked, as we can see here.

  27. Derek Smart says:

    @ Tacroy

    It always nice to be on the outside looking in and making faces. Everything you said there, is rubbish. Pure and simple.

    There is a reason why some people like flight sims, complete with 300+ page manuals and others like a game with a 4 page manual.

    ALL complex games come with an equally complex interface because it comes with the territory. Go ahead and tell me that the interface for something like WoW (!) is any less complex that any of my games. When you’re done, pinch me so I can stop laughing.

    And anyone who can’t play a game (e.g. GCES which you linked to) that has tooltips, a detailed manual and a point-and-click interface, has no business playing it anyway.

    • Basilicus says:

      Derek, I understand your responses to folks who just come to rain on the parade and have possibly never played one of your games, but Tacroy presented a pretty well-considered – not to mention somewhat complimentary – perspective on your games.

      You might want to consider that not everyone on the board are attacking your work and that those of us who can discuss it in some detail and discuss its highs and lows can do so primarily because we are appreciative of and have enjoyed it. The games with which I’ve spent the most time are also the ones in which I can point out the most flaws, not because they’re bad, but because I’ve played within their worlds so long that I can discuss them to a greater depth than other titles I find less interesting.

      Tacroy – and a few others here – sound like they’ve spent some time with your games. That means that we’ll take the opportunity to discuss them – the good and the bad. Trying to shut down discussion on games that we’ve obviously spent enough time with to appreciate past a surface level…it doesn’t help.

    • Chelicerate says:

      i don’t know who you are, but your attitude has ensured that i will never, ever, buy a game with your name attatched.

      Good job.

    • Basilicus says:

      Chelicerate, that’s a real shame. “Basilicus’s Real Trophy Wives Simulator 2.0” is going to be the best simulator about what it’s like to live in Miami as a record producer whose life has been derailed due to coke addiction. It’s going to include real-time day-night cycles, procedurally generated club hussies who react to motion-controlled dance moves, a branching narrative with real consequences, an inner monologue voiced by Bruce Campbell, and space combat. I really hope you reconsider.

    • Lambchops says:

      @ Basilicus

      Oh, well played sir. I never though anyone would be able to fit in space combat with a game about a burned out record producer but finally this dream is now a reality. Hooray!

    • Xonolerp says:

      Will there be a hundred-page manual to go with it? Oh, the joys of reading about a game as opposed to playing it!

    • 7rigger says:

      @Derek Smart

      The first 3 times I read that I saw GSCE instead of GCES.

      You knockin’ my schoolin’ Smart guy?



      Seeing as I reply-failed, I’ll sum up here. The problem with your chess example is that chess has a natural interface – pick up and play. If you had to design a way to play chess with robot arms outside the space station, it may be closer to what designing a game interface is like.

    • JackShandy says:

      “ALL complex games come with an equally complex interface because it comes with the territory.”

      I’m not so sure about this. It’s possible to make a deep, complex game that doesn’t have a huge amount of buttons, surely? Just look at chess.

    • pipman3000 says:

      civilization 4 is a reasonably complex game with an easy to use interface.

      dungeon crawl has a great interface and it’s a roguelike! (i.e: game designed to kill you)

    • Tacroy says:

      Achievement unlocked: Get flamed by Derek Smart.
      +10 oldschool Internet points!
      You leveled up!
      Lost: RPS diapers!
      Gained: Nothing :(

    • 7rigger says:


      Civ 4 is a good example of a complex game that requires a streamlined interface, but it’s interface spans several screens of buttons. If you had never played it (or any civ) before, and saw screens of the interface, it would look confusing too.

      Personally I think Del (Only I get to call him that) should have used the word simulator instead of game, as that seems to be where BC3000 and the others are aimed.

      Also, it doesn’t look that confusing at all to me, but then again I love flight sim and ARMA2. Those are some confusing ass interfaces.

  28. Michael Hoss says:

    Derek: Can you just reply in the thread of the person who asked the question instead of making a new post? this way it’s kinda hard to read all the stuff when it’s messed up.

  29. Jimbo says:

    If the best thing about the game is the payment model then I think I’ll pass.

    I think there’s still a sizeable untapped market out there for subscription MMOs, it’s just that expoiting it would require somebody to make a good one that isn’t WoW. I think it’s a mistake to judge the market based on the (almost) universal failure of the (almost) universally shitty subscription MMOs that have come out in recent years.

  30. Seth says:


    Hey, I’m from Hard Light Productions, and in spite of all the hilarious history between that community and your person w/r/t to the notional FreeSpace 3 (man can they get upset over there), I gotta say I kind of respect you. You seem to know what you’re doing, why you do it, and how to keep doing it.

    I’ve never played one of your games and I’m not honestly sure I ever will, but in an industry dominated by titanic uberstudios churning out yearly sequels, it’s pretty cool to see an iconoclast keeping on doing his own thing (and attracting some decent flamewars in the process).

    Keep it up. It would be a poorer world without you (and yes I actually unironically un-facetiously mean that.) I hope your games continue to find small but dedicated player bases and receive surprisingly dedicated support well after their release.

    • Premium User Badge

      theleif says:

      Hear hear.

    • Schmung says:

      This. I don’t agree with everything he says, but this statement pretty much hits the nail on the head :
      Fact is. I love making games. Sure they’re not great games, but who cares? And why do they have to be great? As long as I have fun doing it and making money from it, everything else is just noise really.

      I really dislike the general air of nastiness that pervades any discussion about games and it seems to be becoming worryingly more prevalent at RPS as well. Heaven help anyone who should say something positive about consoles or Call of Duty here..

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, and people complaining about his attitude in that regard further proves that you just can’t please people. Either you’re a money grubbing evil empire churning out sequel garbage, or you’re some chump who just likes to make video games for fun. Sounds like being a game developer is a lose / lose situation when it comes to popularity.

  31. Xercies says:

    “As a result, my guess is that the game is probably going to be more of the same. If they do that, then they’re pretty much off my list of competitors because they won’t stand a chance against LOD. At all.”

    Over ambitious much? That’s funny.

    • Xonolerp says:

      No, in fact, I hear that making a game which outpaces, in sales, a game which Derek Smart oversaw (in the same genre) is qualified as cheating and probably means you’re in diapers. Doubling or tripling his sales is even worse.

    • Starky says:

      Dunno, I kind of agree with him, Planetside was amazing – for the time – but I don’t think that magic will be recaptured. making the same game with updated graphics won’t cut it.

      Planetside was ahead of it’s time in many ways, but a relic of the past in so many others – the industry and audience taste has moved on and I have serious doubts that Planetside 2.0 will be any good.

      If it is good and sells great, and D. Smarts game only gets 1/3rd of it’s sales numbers, then I’d be willing to wager him and his team will be popping champagne and laughing all the way to their big fat bonus cheques.
      SoE will probably dump 75 million plus into Planetside 2.0, and will be lucky to top a million sales, and if subscription based 100k subs after 6 months.

      I’ve no idea what the budget of his game is but I’d wager it is a fraction of Planetsides.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Starky: I’m pretty sure Planetside 2.0 is just going to be Planetside reskinned, possibly with a F2P model. I really doubt they would put that kind of money into an MMO without having a big media runup beforehand. Didn’t Smedley say it was coming out this year?

  32. jonfitt says:

    Mfkng reply button.

  33. gulag says:

    @Derek Smart

    I for one am glad to see someone enthusiastic and risk-embracing still working in game development. Keep on trucking.

    • Xonolerp says:

      Yes, I agree. Having bland, unoriginal developers like Derek Smart spamming the market with trash helps to keep those enthusiast, risk-embracing developers like Valve Software on their toes.

      Well said.

    • Torgen says:

      Wow, I must have missed all the Battlecruiser 3000 clones out there.

      Frankly, after years of building niche products, trying to stretch the market and getting his teeth kicked in, I don’t begrudge him taking a job with a “mainstream” product. And seeing how there’s been *one* “Space Marine MMO” (Planetside,) calling LOD “spamming the market with bland, unoriginal trash” is just plain silly.

    • Urael says:

      My feelings are similar.

      The Battlecruiser series has never managed to match it’s vaulting ambition with the same level of execution but it was still a fascinating glimpse into how such an idea could look and work. I had great fun with Battlecruiser Millennium but eventually tired of the game and moved on, never quite making it back to see how it developed.

      However, I’m eternally grateful that the game existed and that the series as a whole was in development for as long as it was. The entire landscape of gaming would be poorer had Mr Smart not made the attempt so for that reason alone he deserves credit.

  34. 7rigger says:

    What’s with all the ‘keep on truckin’ comments? Did the internet fall into a wormhole?

    Note that I’m not knocking anyone, I just don’t know how this ’70s phrase came back… Is it something you only say to Mr Smart?

    Also, I don’t like Derek’s attitude on this thread – but I really want to. Is that weird?

    *edit* Upon re-checking the thread, I can only find one person who actually said that. It’s obviously all in my mind.

    • Starky says:

      “Also, I don’t like Derek’s attitude on this thread – but I really want to. Is that weird?”

      No it isn’t, I’ve been reading RPS for a few years now and witessed a few Derek threads oh doom, and the hate he generates is quite amsing.

      he’s an opinionated man with a horrible attitude, rants, flames and doesn’t give a shit what people think – and can act like a total and utter cock.

      But I have to say I kinda like that he is – in an Industry filled with corporate shills, PR bullshit and endless meaningless interviews that say nothing at all. It is refreshing to see a flawed human but honest (in his own way) guy taking on the internet.
      He’s by far the most punk Dev I’ve ever come across (in his fuck you if you don’t like it attitude), and that is kind of awesome.

      He’s successful by normal person standards, made a decent living, runs a company now – has the most awesome collection of games I’ve ever seen ( link to ) and has gained all that doing something he enjoys and some people enjoy enough to pay him for doing.

      That he’s an utter jackass on the internet at times just makes it all the more entertaining.

    • 7rigger says:

      I have to admit, you’re right. He does seem more real than most shadow-dev’s hiding behind buzzwords.

      But I think I also like the fact that he does bring the BIFF when it’s needed. Passionate, in a way that is much demonised on the web.


      A thought occurred after I’d posted that: How would you react if people were attacking something you’d created?

      Judging my own reactions I have now decided that I like Mr Smart. I’m going to check out that FAQ.

      Keep on truckin’ Derek! (Can I call you Del?)

  35. noom says:

    I wonder if this comments thread will go the same way as the All Aspect Warfare one: starting off with bilious rage thrown in all directions and ending up with all the moist mutual joy-making of a glorious nude love-in.

  36. Richard Clayton says:

    Jesus, guys. Jim has just interviewed Derek. Jim has invited him over to talk. Jim thought it a worthy piece to post on this site. Ripping into Derek with no provocation is kind of like pissing on RPS’s carpet here. We’re all guests too, you know. Have a bit more respect for this site, it’s contributors and its guests.

    • meeples says:

      Hi, I think you were looking for lollipop lane, you should have turned left at the sugarcandy glitterdust T-junction.

      This is the internets.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @Meeples: No, this is RPS. We’re all registered users here. We (should) do things differently here.

      I’m very aware of Derek and his reputation but he didn’t jump into this thread with fists aloft shouting “rumble!”, as he sometimes does, and then everybody piles in.

      The man is passionate about what he does and has been asked to talk about it. Give him some space to do so.

      So sod it. This is a city street. Some people drop litter here therefore let’s ALL drop litter here.

  37. Scandalon says:

    Note: I’ve never played or purchased any game affiliated with Mr. Smart that I know of.

    Thought exercise – Remove the name on all his posts with a blander name, say, Bill Gamedev, replace the picture with a puppy. Now compare his posts with those of the the “haters”, with those of “Bill”. Which one would you rather meet in person, maybe have a beer with?

    Me, I’ll take the dude that had the right combination of determination/balls/skill/learning/discipline to *profitably* create many games over the years that continues to have a dedicated fanbase, over the guys that take potshots on internet messageboards any day.

    *(Not to mention the integrity to continue to support/patch them after being screwed over by others…)

    • Basilicus says:

      “Note: I’ve never played or purchased any game affiliated with Mr. Smart that I know of.”

      You’ve missed out. Battlecruiser 3000AD was pretty awesome once it got all patchified.

      “Which one would you rather meet in person, maybe have a beer with?”

      Any women here? What, no? OK, I’ll choose myself. I’m pretty awesome, and women dig twins, so with two of me at the bar, we’d do pretty well.

      “Me, I’ll take the dude that had the right combination of determination/balls/skill/learning/discipline to *profitably* create many games over the years that continues to have a dedicated fanbase, over the guys that take potshots on internet messageboards any day.”

      He’d make a good second choice. He’s got money, so he might buy me a pretty good beer.

  38. Derek Smart says:


    Oh well, until next time, I guess I’ll just pack it in now then. Life’s too short and I’m all out of string.

    • Jezebeau says:

      Well, if you pop back in, quick question. It appears as though you’re saying LoD is going to have 256km^2 continents with a population cap of 256 players. Does that really seem like a good idea? Planetside, a game you claim was a failure, had a much higher population density on its continents (IIRC, up to 600 players on much smaller landmasses), and they needed to be fairly full to get sense that it was more of a battle than a skirmish.

  39. 7rigger says:


    Is this my first reply fail? Am I in the club?

  40. Derek Smart says:

    @ Jezebeau

    Well, if you pop back in, quick question. It appears as though you’re saying LoD is going to have 256km^2 continents with a population cap of 256 players. Does that really seem like a good idea? Planetside, a game you claim was a failure, had a much higher population density on its continents (IIRC, up to 600 players on much smaller landmasses), and they needed to be fairly full to get sense that it was more of a battle than a skirmish.

    link to

    The game supports up to 256 players per continent. This means that across the entire game world a single server session instance can support up to 2048 players.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      @ Derek Smart

      Yo so i think im one of those diaper clowns or whatever you said, i have heard of you but have never actually known anything that you produced. So my question is if i were to try one of your games what would be your first choice (of the games you have made) to play. i have always loved open world space sims (Freelancer, freespace, wing commander, X-series ect).

  41. DJ Phantoon says:

    Well, he’s no Paul Barnett or Peter Molyneux.

    • Jezebeau says:

      It’s true. Peter Molyneux’s games are successful despite their failure to live up to his hype.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Peter a delusional arse.
      There, I said it.

  42. august says:

    Just a heads up: you guys made a pretty serious error in the article title. It should read “Doctor Derek Smart Talks Line of Defense, Alganon.”

  43. pipman3000 says:

    i am a dumb fps playing sheeple with no attention span thanks to years of video games. sell me on line of defense.

  44. SolCommand says:

    I have to admit some of these comments posted here are hilarious.

  45. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    I was initially very excited about LOD, as it’d the type of game I want play… Now I feel sad. I have begun to doubt this Derek Smart person can actually deliver. I accept that the “making a good game” skill and the “not sounding like a _complete_ idiot on the internet” skill are mostly unrelated but surely they both stem from baseline intelligence?

    Also, _having fun_? Successful games? I dont give two twats about these things. Sure, whatever the game industry might need its bulletstorms – just please leave me out of it. I just want a game that is good.

    Can this person make the game I want to be made? …Now I am sad.

    At least I’m relieved of the agony of waiting for the release of the game. You know, as they say: “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment”.

  46. Tacroy says:

    You know what, I just realized something.

    Jim must’ve known that any post involving Derek would inevitably turn into something of a flame war.

    So he made sure it was the last post for the day, in order to give everyone time to pitch in while the story was on the front page.

    Well played, sir. Well played.

    • Urael says:

      Well considering you and others like you (Kid_A, Tacroy) seem to have been prowling around this thread baiting Derek to show up, and then gleefully descended on him like wolves when he did make an appearance, is it any wonder these threads all turn into tedious flame-fests?

      I’m have no strong opinion on Derek Smart either way despite being perfectly aware of his contentious history, but you people are seriously WORSE than he ever is.

      I come to RPS to read informed and fun articles on games, and particularly enjoy when a developer takes time to outline what they are doing. It’s very special indeed when that developer goes further, for whatever reason, and decides to chat with the commenters. I subscribe for the privilege of this continuing. Therefore I hope idiots like you realise you’re having your juvenile fun at my expense, and the expense of everyone else in my position. What could have been a lively exchange of information between those in the the know and those with questions has, in this instance, been spoiled by your childish need to pick on someone merely for the sake of doing so.

      I hope you’re pleased with yourself but I see no need to tolerate this behaviour any more. Take that how you like.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @Urael: Nice one. You must be a fellow grown up.

    • Kadayi says:


      Agreed (fellow subber here). I was having a discussion with Jim the other day about how over time the site seems to have become more and more of a haven for deeply unconstructive trolls using the comments to promote their prejudices (‘EA are evil’ ‘DRM sucks’ ‘Kotick is a cunt’, ‘Well guess I’m getting my copy from Pirate bay’ etc, etc), none of which do the perception of the PC gaming community (of which this is one of the top sites) any favours.

      Anyone would think judging by the vitrol directed at him by some of the commentators in this thread that Derek Smart has murdered their parents or taken them for everything they own in some elaborate Ponzi scheme, not maybe just made games they didn’t like (though in many cases I suspect have never even played).

      Please get a grip people, and bring something other than ‘all developers & publishers are lying sacks of shit and that’s why I’m feel justified in being obnoxiously rude to/about them or will advocate stealing their work at any given opportunity’ attitude to every comments thread. It got old, about 18 months ago. Time to evolve.

    • Tacroy says:

      Well considering you and others like you (Kid_A, Tacroy) seem to have been prowling around this thread baiting Derek to show up, and then gleefully descended on him like wolves when he did make an appearance, is it any wonder these threads all turn into tedious flame-fests?

      My only response is to quote from the actual interview, before Kid_A or I (I’m surprised you included him, he sounds like a confused bystander) had a chance to post:

      Best of all, the RPS guys – at least those old enough to have crawled out of their diapers…

      Well no that’s a lie, here’s some more responding: Derek Smart is not a saint. He is a classical troll. He is the progenitor of one of the largest flamewars in Usenet history, one that probably had more posts than the total number of comments ever posted to RPS articles*.

      If you think that he himself isn’t knowingly fanning these flames, you are way, way mistaken – and also haven’t been reading his own posts in this very thread. Seriously. I respect him for what he’s managed to do, and I think he might be able to accomplish better things in the future, but to think he’s somehow the victim here is simply laughable. Further, equating the Derek-bashing in this thread to other people’s threats of piracy (as Kadayi did) is simply nonsensical – part of the reason why I respect Derek despite his trolling is that he’s been releasing his games for free after their shelf-life expires.

      *RPS has been around for approximately three years, assume a reasonable average of 150 comments total for all posts per day (after all, there isn’t a Derek Smart interview every day) which gives us a total of ~55,000 comments. The flamewar over BC3000AD clocked in at over 70,000 comments.

    • Nogo says:

      It would seem that flame war has yet to end thanks to brash soldiers like you. Keep up the fight!

    • Kadayi says:


      “Best of all, the RPS guys – at least those old enough to have crawled out of their diapers…”

      Only the truly uptight and insecure could construe that as anything other than an amusing comment on his long service in the gaming industry. If people were less prone to take mock offence at the drop of a hat, maybe they’d have got that.

      Also what part of I’m making a general comment (and/or) about the falling standards of poster input on the forums didn’t you quite understand /Fail Troll?

      “The flamewar over BC3000AD clocked in at over 70,000 comments.”

      That fact that you’re apparently proud of that is pretty tragic really. I’d say get a life, but clearly that’s beyond you.

  47. vodka and cookies says:

    I thought it was an interesting interview with some insight into the games industry, dont understand all the trolling here so what if you dont like his games, clearly others do.

    I think it’s a British thing as well Derek (there’s a strong contingent on RPS), the Brits despise people who are confident and assertive so unless your self deprecating they basically hate you.

    • Urael says:

      “the Brits despise people who are confident and assertive so unless your self deprecating they basically hate you”

      That’s the biggest load of xenophobic bullcrap I’ve ever read. And coming from someone who used to frequent the Digg forums that’s saying something. Please engage brain before typing next time.

    • pipman3000 says:

      but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true :D

    • Urael says:

      Actually…that’s precisely what it means. :D

      And don’t think we haven’t noticed your own gasoline contributions to the flames above, Pip. Everything I’ve written to Tacroy applies to you too. Please give serious consideration to finally coming the rest of the way through puberty, and let’s not spoil this amazing website any further, eh?

    • pipman3000 says:

      ok cool thanks

    • Kadayi says:

      @vodka and cookies

      I’m fairly sure that where people are likely from really isn’t any excuse of justification for them acting like a bunch of childish twats tbh.

  48. RegisteredUser says:


  49. JohnH says:

    Derek Smart is my favourite game dev. Not because I love everything he’s ever made, but because he got the balls to speak his mind.

    Very nice interview with some unusual insights into the industry.

    • Catastrophe says:

      I wouldn’t say being arrogant and offensive is the same as speaking your mind.

    • Urael says:

      Neither would I. But then neither did JohnH.

      Yet another cheap shot at an obvious target, Catastrophe? We should be better than this, mate.

    • Catastrophe says:

      JohnH suggested Derek “speaks his mind” where all I see him doing is being offensive to others and arrogant.

      Also; a cheap shot at an obvious target? If I was known for raging on the internet and then raged on an internet forum, I’d expect to get people who disagreed with my attitude on said forum.

      Don’t join the bandwagon of Whiteknighting for him, he brings it on himself.

      He essentially said “I’m better than anyone who disagrees with me or the games I make, you’re all in diapers if you disagree with me, I have an awesome life, I love making games and making money from them, who cares if the consumers hate the games aslong as they’re buying them”

      And you wonder why he gets shit?

      Its what people accuse Bobby Kotick of being like, apart from the fact Kotick isnt stupid enough to go spouting it on forums. If he did, he would get shit for it.

    • jRides says:

      Your just making stuff up now Catastrophe, arguing for argument sake.

    • Stromko says:

      Derek Smart is the Paris Hilton of game developers. He’s got such a reputation that everything he does is granted massive amounts of free publicity, he’s had ample opportunities to create something of value, but instead he maintains his lifestyle by putting out crap while more talented and lesser known people can only dream of his success.

  50. Urael says:

    You show me where JohnH suggested that Smart was “arrogant and offensive”, or that this was not the same thing as speaking your mind – point to the words, please, because I cannot see them in that comment. John did NOT state that Mr Smart was arrogant. John did NOT state that Mr Smart was offensive. YOU introduced that associative link.

    You need to have a reputation for a certain bad behavior before a clear example of it can be picked up on? That’s some…bizarre…logic.

    I’m not joining any bandwagon. Kindly stop labeling me with internet-debating buzzwords. Nor is this on Mr Smart’s behalf. It’s on mine. I’m simply heartily sick of the rampant childishness threads like this bring out in certain people, that diminishes the overall experience this fantastic website provides. As a paying subscriber I don’t want to see what happened here – developers hounded out of commenting by people determined to make pointless attacks of a personally insulting nature. So yes, I’m going to pick on it whenever I see it now, as gently but firmly as I can, in addition to my more positive contributions. Unfortunately certain people seem to need reminding of how adults are supposed to behave.

    I don’t care what “HE” said. YOU don’t have to rise to it yet you – and others – have chosen to (some with much more relish than you, which is why I was fairly gentle with you). And if I sound like a parent berating a child you should ask yourself why that is.

    I don’t wonder why he gets shit. His story is one I’m very familiar with. I just want it to stop on RPS. It’s gone beyond a joke. It’s not funny, it’s not doing anyone any good, and it’s just ruining it for everyone else.

    • Catastrophe says:

      Huh? JohnH suggested Derek was speaking his mind, I said I wouldn’t say speaking your mind is the same as being offensive and arrogant? You seem to be reading something else here…

      And you’re saying its childish replying in a thread where a game developer acts offensive and arrogant by saying hes offensive and arrogant?

      I really think you need some lessons in comprehension… or maybe its just me, completely missing the obvious here?

      Maybe my wording in my first post wasn’t clear so I’ll verify what I meant? – “I wouldn’t classify what Derek is doing in this thread as “speaking his mind”… I’d say he was simply being arrogant and offensive.”

    • Urael says:

      No, you seem to be misunderstanding the written language you are using. I’ve made it perfectly clear. Not my fault you still can’t comprehend the blatantly obvious.

      “And you’re saying its childish replying in a thread where a game developer acts offensive and arrogant by saying hes offensive and arrogant?”

      Yes. That’s it. Exactly. Oh, and by the way – there’s nothing wrong with a little arrogance. It’s not a negative trait in itself, although it often gets mistaken for one. The word arrogance stems from the latin ‘arogo’ which means ‘to claim for one’s self’. As for offensive, I see a developer responding to VAST provocation with some admirable restraint. He had a go at Tacroy, sure, and that is also something I’d like to see stop, but to be fair Tacroy has been the most obnoxious and poisonous element in this entire thread to date. He earned those rebukes. And Derek smartly avoided taking them too far or being too rude, most likely out of respect for his hosts.

    • Catastrophe says:

      No, everything you just stated should be ended with “in my opinion”.

      Fortunately for me in these discussion threads I’m also allowed to state my opinion.

      Right, you say Tacroy earned the rebukes because hes been the “worst in this thread”, yet poor old Derek shouldn’t take any critical opinions because hes been the worst in 1000’s of threads, including this one.

      You’re not biased at all are you?

    • Urael says:

      From my comment above (emphasis added): “He had a go at Tacroy, sure, and that is also something I’d like to see stop

      Still think there’s bias? That line meant I’d call Mr Smart out if he was being a dick, too. In this case he was but not without some justification for it. The attackers were revving up for a mockery session before Derek even arrived.

      Clearly you’re being deliberately obtuse now, so that’s me done with this little conversation.

      One last thing: Your right to free speech is not under issue here. I’ll defend that to the death. You just have to understand that free speech does not free you from the responsibility of the words you use, or how you choose to express them. If you’re going to be a jerk: expect to be called out on it.

    • Catastrophe says:

      Yet you seem to believe Derek holds no responsibility in the words he uses simply because someone mentioned his name + past sillyness.

      Derek was a jerk so I called him on it, do you not see your hypocrisy?

    • Urael says:

      Look, I don’t quite know why this is not going into your head but look at what I’ve JUST TOLD YOU about my willingness to call Derek out if he’s being a dick, to hold him to the same levels of responsibility for what he says as I am for anyone else on this thread, then write your comment again.

      THERE IS NO BIAS. THERE IS NO HYPOCRISY. Do you get it now?

      And it’s deeply insulting to my intelligence to suggest it was just a case of calling his name and pointing out ‘past sillyness”:

      Dave wrote: “Well thanks for that piece if insulting bullshit Mr Smart. Jesus Jim did you have to sit in the same room? If yes, the fact that you didnt rip off his arm and beat the smug arsehole to death with it is certainly one of the prerequisites for sainthood…”

      Defend that, if you can!

      Also, you called him out on it by being a jerk in return. Your crime = his. This is why I said to you, right at the start, WE HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN THIS.

    • Catastrophe says:

      But, you call me out for calling him out for being a dick.

      You haven’t called Derek out for being a dick.

      Do you not see your logic failing here?

      So “my crime” is me saying Derek is being offensive and arrogant… this is not me being a jerk, this is my opinion on his actions in this thread… which is a comment I stand by.

      It seems you seemingly jumped on my comment for no reason, I merely pointed out Derek was being arrogant and offensive, ironically you then jump on me… surely we’re better than this?

      ALSO Dave was replying to Derek’s previous insulting comment, not just randomly having a go at Derek!

      Fred: I’m awesome and you all suck.

      Cat: Thats a bit offensive and arrogant Fred.

      Urael: Cat, grow up.

      Cat: Huh?!

    • Urael says:

      No, I haven’t called him out for being a dick. I wasn’t here during the conversations above – check the timestamps – and he’s not here now to call out. Duh.

      You didn’t call him out either, you insulted him by calling him arrogant and offensive. AND NOT TO HIM, either. In response to someone else! That’s not the same thing at all!

      My logic is fine. Just the same as my bias, my hypocrisy and my patience.

      Yes, it was. And it’s a dumb comment to stand by; it’s inaccurate in its first noun, arrogance really isn’t that bad a trait, as I’ve explained (and he’s not really been that arrogant either), and the degree of offense he’s caused seems to be slightly exaggerated in your head. I don’t feel insulted by his “wait for those with nappies line” because he’s CLEARLY talking about the pile of detractors hooting and snarling above his comment, not decent civil commenters like me.

      And yes I did. You happened to post beneath the wee diatribe I’d written to Tacroy, after I’d made my conscious decision to start doing a bit more to bring RPS back up to a decent level of civility. How does it feel to be my second? :)

      I AM better than this. :D It behooves me, then, to educate those of us that aren’t. And lets face it, I didn’t exactly brutally savage you with it, now, did I?

    • Catastrophe says:

      So how would one call someone out for being arrogant and offensive without “being offensive?”

      I mean my comment was pretty succinct in that it contained the words “Arrogant” and “Offensive” and also suggested thats how I felt he was acting.

      You’re clearly not “better than this”. You’re simply one of “those” who cause the issues you complained about, you aggressively jumped on my opinion because you didn’t share it and attempted to defend your actions by saying that I was being a jerk.

      “”Yes, it was. And it’s a dumb comment to stand by; it’s inaccurate in its first noun, arrogance really isn’t that bad a trait, as I’ve explained (and he’s not really been that arrogant either), and the degree of offense he’s caused seems to be slightly exaggerated in your head. I don’t feel insulted by his “wait for those with nappies line” because he’s CLEARLY talking about the pile of detractors hooting and snarling above his comment, not decent civil commenters like me.””

      I never said anything about good or bad traits, I simply said I wouldn’t consider being arrogant and offensive the same as speaking your mind.

      Here is my exact statement you jumped on

      “I wouldn’t say being arrogant and offensive is the same as speaking your mind.”

    • Urael says:

      Hahahahah! Do I REALLY need to explain to you how to be polite to someone??! Seriously?? I’m not your parent, sonny. If they haven’t done that for you already then you’re on your own!

      Your comment, the one where you “called him out”, (but much later on, in response to someone else)? It was succinct. It was beautifully written English, clear and concise. Just…not what we should be writing on RPS.

      Oh yes I am “better than this” (Your turn now – “Oh no you aren’t!). :D

      Are you saying I’ve caused this thread? That my actions are directly responsible for Dave’s comments, or Tacroy’s or Derek’s? even though my actions have come in RESPONSE to this thread?? You are delightful in your capacity to surprise! One never knows what’s going to come out of your mouth next!

      I did jump on your opinion, as I’ve already admitted, and I’ve told you why. It wasn’t that aggressive. No, I don’t share your opinion – that should be a given. Of course I’m defending my opinion. It’s the better one. :)

      Do I win this yet? :)

    • Catastrophe says:

      Ermm, I wouldn’t take any advice from you on being polite… do you even read your posts?

      All i’m saying is re-read what you’ve wrote.

      Oh and heres my opinion: You’re an idiot.

    • Kadayi says:


      *tags in* Leave it now


      Where exactly is Derek being a dick?

    • Dworgi says:

      20 posts later I can confirm that Urael is actually the biggest troll (or counter-troll, I suppose) in the thread.