By Edwin DeNicholas
Producer, Paradox Development
There were plenty of late nights during the development of Backyard Wrestling. We did late nights before just about every milestone. Typically late nights were stacked up on top of seven-day work weeks. Some of us didn't get a day off for almost two months until we were basically forced out of the office and told to spend the day enjoying some free time. For most of the year, many people only took one day off each weekend.
Just before E3, for instance, we did several weeks in a row, culminating in a 24-hour day. I remember copying PS2 and Xbox E3 demos on our 1x speed burners from about 4:00am until 7:30am, then taking a one-hour nap before driving to the convention center at around 9:00am. Good times!
A lot of this time was spent incorporating new features into the game due to consumer and editor feedback. The create-a-wrestler mode was one example of these features that "the people" demanded, and we gave it to them. Even though time was short, and the pressure was on, we still put together a great CAW system that I'm sure players will enjoy.
As developers, we want people to play the game and see it as a combination of several genres. BYW has a heavy wrestling presence, complete with grapples and pins, along with an addictive reversal dynamic. There is a fighting-game element as well, evident in the stun and combo system. We've tried to incorporate as much of the phenomenon of Backyard Wrestling as possible in the game.
By Mike Schmitt
Long Days, Late Nights, Weekends...and Road Trips
During the development process we (Eidos as a publisher) normally start increasing our internal QA efforts as the game reaches the alpha/beta state. Most of the hardcore testing is done at this time as we prepare final versions for the various hardware companies (Sony and Microsoft). One of the challenges with Backyard Wrestling is the huge number of combinations available to the player: 30-plus wrestlers, various environments, different game modes, three difficulty settings, bonus games, and finally a create-a-wrestler feature that contains another zillion combinations! During the months of July and August seemingly all of our test resources were on Backyard Wrestling. In order to cover every combination, it took a team of 16 people nearly 48 hours to complete our test plan. Needless to say, the team at Paradox and the QA folks here at Eidos logged a lot of hours and saw way too much of the office as the game wrapped up.
It was also beneficial to spend time on-site at Paradox during the final stages of the test process. Our lead analyst, Ralph Ortiz, and I became quite familiar with the Moorpark area (where Paradox is located) over the summer. We also got some support from our UK office (visits from Luke Valentine and Ghulam Khan) as we tackled issues specific to the European versions. Thank goodness for the hotel bar in Thousand Oaks. It was always nice to unwind a bit after a long day/night before heading back over the next morning. We're just glad that Backyard Wrestling is such a fun pick-up-and-play game. It definitely made the hours much more enjoyable for everyone who was involved with the project.