id Software's Community Liaison
|Author: Roger LaMarca
SyncError is the latest member of the id
Software team hired within the last month to serve as id's personal contact
inside the community.
To accompany this interview, I have written an article to highlight some of id Software's achievements in their long history of community support.
PlanetQuake4: Please introduce yourself, tell us your official job
title, and what your responsibilities include at id Software.
SyncError: My name is Donnie "SyncError" Domino and while everyone here at id holds many jobs, I'm officially the Community Liaison. My job entails interfacing with the community so that id may better understand and address the concerns of players. This includes gathering information about bugs, the demand for new features, and strengthening community awareness of clan and mod team organizations
PlanetQuake4: Tell us the process of how you went about getting the
job at id Software?
SyncError: The process was long and quite stressful for me, taking several months to complete. I made several trips from out of state to spend time in interviews and talks, primarily with Marty Stratton, id Software's Director of Business Development. Over the passing months since Quake4's release, id grew concerned over their own lack of connectivity with the community. This was something that greatly bothered them and they knew they needed to resolve. They specifically were looking for someone who could manage several technical fields including maintaining the website, online store, online game servers, resolving technical network, hardware and software issues in the office, while interfacing with the community as to open up that channel of communication where bug fixes could be properly addressed and community feature requests could be gathered and implemented.
My feet happened to fit the many shoes they had me try on. Prior to joining id, I owned my own web hosting & design company, acting as a server admin, web designer and a pc technician. I have been an avid Quake player since QTest was released in Feb '96, having acted as both a highly active player and clan leader in Q1/QW/Q2/Q3 and now Q4. I've played in many leagues, ladders and LAN competitions (all under a different handle with the exception of Winter CPL). While I am a "decent" player I am perhaps more proud of some of my accomplishments as a clan leader, having instructed many players who have gone on to perform well at PGL, CPL and QuakeCon. I was part owner of a LAN Center a few years back, at the time the largest in the nation, that was highly successful and a great experience for me. In addition, my entire family (wife and kids) are all active Quakers, so I have many contacts within the community whether they be from my own participation or my wife's (a former QGirlZ member). Even my daughter has gained somewhat of a following as she won the Fatality shootout (at age 7) at last year's QuakeCon. I can only assume that id appreciated my enthusiasm and dedication to the game over the past decade.
I feel incredibly at home at id, the team has done a wonderful job at welcoming me in. Everyone has been helpful, kind and incredibly open to hearing my opinion, allowing for community requested changes and improvements.
PlanetQuake4: Since the release of the Quake4 1.1 Beta Patch, you have
been bombarded with tons of comments and suggestions of what Quake4 should and
should not be like. Have you found it hard to decide what ideas should be
brought to the coder's desk?
SyncError: The feedback and participation from the community following the Quake 4 1.1 Beta Patch has been outstanding. With the vast majority of the suggestions being valid bug fixes there has been little need to do any sorting. Every suggestion that comes my way is organized into spreadsheets categorizing them as legacy bugs, new 1.1 beta bugs or community requested features. All items on the list are then discussed between myself, the company owners, designers and coders. Only recently this week have we began receiving large demands for features that are still often debated within the community itself. These features must be carefully considered by the community before we can seriously evaluate them.
PlanetQuake4: Who is your superior at id and who are you interfacing
with the most when reporting new ideas and bugs that need to be addressed in
SyncError: My primary superiors at id are Marty Stratton and Todd Hollenshead. Everyone at id pretty much "interfaces" with everyone else quite often. On any given day I may have several casual meetings with Marty Stratton, Todd Hollenshead, Tim Willits and Jason Kim. I discuss almost all bug reports and new feature ideas with them as well as going the reports with the design and code teams as I receive them. We are in no hurry to potentially destroy the game by throwing in every request and alteration that comes our way. We will however listen with a sincere ear and attempt to address people's concerns in the best manner possible. Everyone at id has been very open to change, but at the same time we will not make hasty decisions.
PlanetQuake4: Will you have any responsibilities related to the
planning and organization of QuakeCon 2006?
SyncError: I've been told that the majority of the QuakeCon organization will be handled by myself and Marty Stratton, however, we have not yet had any opportunities to begin such discussions. I hope to begin diving into QuakeCon soon, perhaps after we get the final 1.1 point release or 1.2 patch out the door.
PlanetQuake4: You have been a member of the online QUAKE community of
many years now, just recently competing in a Quake4 tournament in Dallas. How
excited are you to have the opportunity to be working at id Software and how
important do you think it is that id hired someone like yourself that can be
their voice in the community?
SyncError: I think the only thing that outweighs my excitement for my newly obtained position would be the need for it. I've been dedicated to expanding the Quake player base as long as I can remember, unfortunately there has never been such a dire need as there is now. Quake over the years has not just had competition from other FPS games, but perhaps even more importantly, has become refined and renowned as a highly competitive product. There has been a shift within the Quake community from a casual FPS game with a "competitive vocal minatory" to a game whose multiplayer field is dominated by competitive players. This shift has made many competition friendly features more important than in previous titles. Such features could never be implemented without close communication with the players to build Quake 4 into the product that everyone desires.
PlanetQuake4: While you are addressing the concerns of hardcore
Quakers, does id have any plans that would help Quake4 multiplayer appeal to a
broader audience that does not seem to be there for Quake4 at the moment?
SyncError: id Software and other development teams considered "Friends of id" have been hard at work at adding additional content that many casual gamers will find appealing. You can expect to see expansive changes in the coming months adding new maps and gametypes to the Quake universe
PlanetQuake4: Currently, things are pretty hectic with the release of the beta patch and the official patch being worked on as we speak. What do you see yourself doing during less busy times at id?
SyncError: Due to my position being multifaceted, I don't expect to see any "down time". But when things aren't incredibly busy it is part of my job to be playing, so you'll be able to catch me every-so-often during work hours on a 1v1 or CTF server most likely. It's very important that I remain a member of the community and not just become a "normal" id employee. I plan on continuing to play in leagues, LAN tournaments, as well as help out with the mod and mapping community. I cannot let myself depend on one forum or merely the opinions thrown at me. It's vital that I remain an active player in all of the games id needs feedback from.
To help make Quake4 modifications more mainstream, would
id be open to advertising mods and other Quake4 enhancements on idsoftware.com
and the official Quake4 site in order to show the general public what exciting
add-ons Quake4 has to offer?
SyncError: Definitely, this has been in discussion since my hiring. While there is still much discussion to be had about it, you can expect to see both players and mod teams receive recognition on the idsoftware.com website. I hope to begin delivering such interviews and news reports to the company site in the near future.
Check out all our QuakeCon 2009 videos including the John Caramck keynote and the id Software press conference.
Julie Stepan mingles with the nerds waiting in the BYOC registration line. If you haven't been to QuakeCon before, you'd be surprised of the amount of crazy people which turn out for the event. We have some costumed crazies and a guy who looks like John Carmack.
Video from all around E3 2009. You will see booth babes, the Nintendo, Activision, Microsoft, and Sony booths along with many others. There are also special appearances by Mario, Sonic, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Videos from the first ever QuakeLive tournament at QuakeCon 2008. All videos, which include expert commentary, are available for streaming and download in High Definition.
A look inside the company that brought us Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein. Experience id with High Definition video and pictures.