Updated Fri, Jun 29, 2007 by Cody Bye
But perhaps the most impressive piece of paraphernalia in the entire building stood on our right. As we turned, most of us tilted our heads backwards to see the top of the 12-foot LEGO brick that was solidly stationed to the side of our walkway. The enormous red block was big enough that later on in the day there was a heated discussion about how heavy the thing was. For those developers taking bets on whether it could be lifted or not, my wager is on that it can be lifted with the threat of a herniated disc.
Next on our tour of the studio was the LEGO blocks area, where thousands of pounds of LEGO building material had been shipped to NetDevil and had been sorted into yellow and green bins. According to Scott Brown, president of NetDevil, and Ryan Seabury, producer of LEGO Universe, they have two LEGO Builders (the coveted position that builds models for any LEGO attraction) as part of their staff. One builder works mainly as a liaison between the team and the LEGO community while the other creates LEGO models for the NetDevil team.
The crowd begins to gather for the opening ceremonies.
After our brief aside with Hermann Petersheck, producer of Jumpgate, and Ryan Seabury, we made our way to the basketball court (yes, the NetDevil team has a concrete basketball court) where the opening ceremonies were getting ready to begin. All the invited friends, guests, and press filed onto the court and found places to sit or stand. By my estimates nearly 150 people were piled onto the basketball court.
To officially start the celebration, Scott Brown, Peter Grundy, and Ryan Seabury – the three initial developers of Jumpgate - relayed all the highs and lows of their ten year existence, telling entertaining stories of keeping the original Jumpgate servers aloft over the sinks in Ryan Seabury’s house with a piece of plywood. While many development studios have humble beginnings, few have come as far as quickly as NetDevil’s success has. “We built the Jumpgate server out of Styrofoam and duct tape,” Scott said jokingly. During the opening speeches, there were some tears, but it was all because of the incredible atmosphere the team has with each other. Sacrifices are made at any successful company, but Ryan Seabury, with a tear in his eye, thanked everyone for “making so many.”
Ryan and Quinn duke it out Guitar Hero style.
Following the opening ceremonies, all interested members of the press, friends, and family all gathered in a small conference room to listen to the progress of the three upcoming projects NetDevil is offering. Even with all the press in the room, the NetDevil leads were laughing and joking, and Scott Brown even suggested that Chris Sherland work for free. Humorous moments aside, the entire group was more than eager to talk about their respective games, and more than once I heard a developer on one project talk about their excitement for another project that NetDevil was working on.
In the end, there was a lot of fun had by everyone involved in the evening’s festivities. Between games of Guitar Hero 2, Yahtzee, Wii Sports, and Warmonger; performances by the well-versed company cover band, the Deviled Eggs; and arguments over the weights of the 12-foot LEGO brick; everyone in attendance was having a stellar time. By the end of the night, nobody wanted to go home and the entire event didn’t shut down until well after 2 A.M. It was a night that no one wanted to end.
I’d just like to thank Scott Brown, Peter Grundy, Ryan Seabury, Hermann Petersheck, Chris Sherland, Darrin Klein, Matt Shaffer, Jeremy Brown, Paul Jackson, Dane Johnston, Grace Wong, Eric Gonzalez, and Quinn Wageman for chatting and relaxing with me. With the help of you and the rest of the staff, NetDevil will continue to succeed for another ten years and more.
Ten Ton Hammer is your unofficial source for LEGO Universe, Auto Assault, Jumpgate Evolution, and Warmonger news and features!
Make sure you check out the rest of the articles from NetDevil’s 10th Anniversary / Open House event!
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