Decoding my Magical Cryptic Journey

 Hello fellow developers!!! It's been a while!?!?

I wanted to take this time to share what I've been up to and reflect on it to update my portfolio!

Let's go on a little Cryptic journey ...

After Telltale Games shut down, I was working at WB Games SF on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. 

So after finding out that Technical Production was even a thing or a path I could take when Cryptic offered me an opportunity to join their studio as an Associate Technical Producer, I was STOKED! I was honored to join their family on the Core Software team, full-time and it was a huge next-step opportunity for my career growth as a Producer!

Cryptic Studios decided to hire me at a very crucial point in my life and arguably saved my career.

Plus, I finally had the chance to work on MMOs and RPGs like D&D Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and what was in development, a Magic the Gathering ARPG. Which was a huge personal career milestone to be working on my favorite genres of games! 

Here are some photos from my 1st day at the studio and Magic: Legends announcement trailers!





Magic: Legends announcement teaser trailer

Magic: Legends announcement gameplay trailer

Whew, there was a TON to learn, however, I had a great crew around me to learn from! With this role, I was to help the studio's Production needs with a variety of Engineering teams/projects on a day-to-day basis for LIVE Ops (all games), Infrastructure, and CoreQA teams. I also assisted with our DevTech, Core Game Systems, and Graphics teams. I worked closely with programmers, game producers, QA, customer service, and engineers to organize or coordinate the development of the Cryptic game engine and servers. 

My main focus was to make sure everyone else could get their jobs done while maintaining the priorities of our studio, which involved daily communication with everyone at the studio. I worked closely with my Senior Producer every day to work in support of our Director of Engineering in all task management and scheduling challenges.

Little did I know, Cryptic was more than what I could have asked for at the time. They gave me an opportunity to utilize my technical background and use it with my newfound passion early in my Production career. Not only that, Cryptic took care of us, my family, and we looked out for each other! I was never asked to work overtime or weekend work, and I was always home for dinner. We got to work on a LOT of cool projects in Core Software for all our games while we were developing Magic: Legends. We even had our first few Closed Alpha playtests of Magic: Legends during this time.

Enjoy some photos and videos of some of the highlights of 2019 and early 2020!

 
It's Cryptic Studio's tradition to hand out nice memorabilia coins for big milestones.
Neverwinter 6-year Anniversary Developer coin.

Star Trek Online 10-year Anniversary Developer coin.

Awesome photo one of our super-talented Artists took of me outside the Studio.

Marley and Me - for real! 
Pet-friendly offices rock! We are BFFs!

 
Cool new Cryptic t-shirts we got in 2019!

 Cryptic Studios 2019 team photo say whhhhaaaaat! :)

Sometimes ya gotta Grill at the office ... 

A gift from my Wife, a bottle of "Love" pills I kept on my desk at work.
There is little a tiny note inside each pill.
I'd open up one every morning when I arrived to work. :)

One of my proudest moments at Cryptic in 2019, outside of our work projects, was getting to contribute to the production of a VERY successful Extra Life Fundraising Charity event that we LIVE streamed at the studio. We helped raise over $12k in 48 hours for our local Children's Hospital! We had such a blast and put on some really fun games where we had a blast entertaining the audience! Everyone who participated in this was a rockstar! 

Check out the photos and videos from our event that year!

















We actually were the top 10 donators for UCSF that year!



Cryptic was always great at celebrating holidays, birthdays, and more! I even won a Robot Vacuum in a raffle that year! I never win ANYTHING. Ever. In my life. LOL! Note: I use that Robot every day still to this day since I got it, hahaha. I love it!

Always decorating the Dracolich for the holidays ... lol

Company Christmas Party 2019 was a blast! 

During this time, while we were developing Magic: Legends along with the Console work, our other live games were shipping amazing new content on a regular basis! Our Magic team even went to PAX East to show off our game! Here are some of the highlights from that and the Seasons/Modules we launched on Neverwinter and Star Trek Online!







Our Magic: Legends team hit up PAX East in 2020!

Then ... the ... Pandemic ... happened .... 

It took all of us in Core Software working closely with our CEO and IT in assisting with getting the entire studio, which NEVER let anything leave the studio before, working from home remotely and securely. This was a JOURNEY! lol ... but needless to say our amazingly talented crew pulled it off!

Bo says "It's gonna be okay, Dad, I'm happy you are home..." ... lol

I was super honored to have been promoted to Technical Producer at this time, officially getting rid of the Associate in my job title. This was a HUGE career milestone for me, and truly meant a lot!


Neverwinter and Star Trek Online kept moving forward working from home, still generating stellar new Seasons and Modules!




While all of this was going on, we also somehow managed to get our games up on a new platform, in preparation for Magic: Legends as well, by getting Star Trek Online and Neverwinter on the Epic Games Store! Huge kudos to our Core Software, NetOps, and Game teams that were involved! Click on each image for more info!




With the new release of the Xbox Series X and the PS5, Neverwinter and Star Trek Online were also playable on them due to Backwards-Compatibility which was awesome to see for our players with new consoles. :)

Cryptic also celebrated its 20-year Anniversary in 2021! It was so cool to be a part of a studio that's been making games for this long. Here are some cool gifts the studio got us to celebrate!





Our Core Software team at this time was fully focused on Console development and performance for Magic: Legends on the PS4 and Xbox One, while at the same time, preparing for PS5 and Xbox Series X. At the same time, we also had 2x more major Closed Alphas as well.

Here are some of our Highlights during that time and our Open Beta announcement with our Epic Games partnership:





After battling getting the studio set up working from home with the Pandemic, and continuing development on Magic: Legends, 2020 was a very stressful and draining year for us all. With everything we learned in 2020, we were able to go into 2021 knowing what challenges we were going to face with working from home and launching this game into Open Beta on the PC.

Star Trek Online kicked off the year with an 11-year Anniversary celebration and new Season. While Neverwinter moved forward with its next big Module, Sharandar! And much more so far this year in 2021!




Here are some highlights from our Magic: Legends Open Beta (PC) launch on the Arc and Epic Games Store platforms. Also some photos of some of the Developer gifts we got! 


Custom MTG: Legends cards were super cool ... sad we couldn't keep these ...
Official Magic: Legends Launch Developer coin.

Gotta show off those in-game Credits! :)

Everything seemed to have been going well...until one day I came into a complete shocker ... just weeks before we were going to be officially launching on all platforms, including Steam, and taking the Open Beta tag off our PC build.....

Magic: Legends was being canceled .... AND came with layoffs ... :( and of course, the news broke out...fairly quickly.


 


Needless to say, I was having some major Telltale Games PTSD during this time. I was very fortunate to be safe from the layoffs this time around, but most of everyone on the Magic team, and even others across the studio were affected. Even a few on our Core Software teams.

Regardless of what happened with the Magic project, how Cryptic handled the cancelation and layoffs was very impressive. They gave everyone who was affected 2x weeks before officially giving folks their severance packages with benefits. Something that DID NOT happen for me at Telltale. We also refunded all of our players the money back that they spent inside our Free to Play the game. Which honestly, I am so glad we did. It shows the true heart of Cryptic Studios and that we really do care about our player's experiences and not their wallets. Cryptic Studios is a studio built by gamers for gamers!

After networking over the years at GDC, conferences, and after Telltale Games shut down, I knew I had to step up and utilize my network to help my Cryptic family who was affected by this.

I guess you get what you ask for because my industry friends DID NOT disappoint! I absolutely LOVE my network! <3 I had nearly 70k views, 753 reactions, and 310 comments on my post!

To everyone who reached out and offered their support, THANK YOU AGAIN!

After all, was said and done, I had over 300+ people reach out to me who was looking to hire! It was absolutely stunning and incredible to see all the support for those affected. I really hope it helped everyone with finding their next opportunity!

Cryptic has kept on moving forward though! Lots of R&D, WFH improvements, Tech Debt cleanup, and more have been going on. All things that were kind of on hold with the studio fully focused on Magic development. Neverwinter and Star Trek Online continued on with their new seasons and was excited to be able to start tackling some of the issues we had put on hold prior, due to MTG. 



I was also recently promoted to Staff Technical Producer at my studio! It's been an incredible journey during my time at Cryptic so far and I am humbled by my peers' acceptance!


My amazing Wife got me this as a gift for my recent promotion! :) <3

It’s crazy to think that I started as an Associate TP nearly 3 years ago, because it sure feels like 10 years! Hehe I tell you what though, I HAVE LEARNED and GROWN a TON during my time here and I had too, quickly! It was an honor and privilege to get to work with and learn from each and every one of you! Seriously!

Which makes my next announcement SUPER bitter sweet and sad ...

The reason I am reflecting now is that, well, it's with a heavy heart that I have announced that I will be parting ways with Cryptic Studios for an exciting adventure that presented itself recently. My last week will be the last week of September. My decision was SUPER tough and had NOTHING to do with the recent events. I very much love working at Cryptic and am super confident in the studio's future. I wasn't even actually job-searching to begin with, I just had some interesting opportunities knock on my door, and well, with wanting to start a family, I had to hear what they had to offer. My decision for leaving was purely personal, as my Wife and I are moving to LA to start her career and a family regardless, it just made sense to accept this next quest in my career. More news on that in my next post! 

This place is oozing with talented and passionate individuals, and I absolutely love how different we all are! There is not only just a lot of talented people at Cryptic, there is a lot of respect and super high level of care for one another. I feel very lucky and grateful to have been with a studio that took care of us throughout this whole mess of a pandemic too. It took a huge effort from every single person to get this studio working remotely full-time!

I am going to miss all the teams across the studio very much! All the shenanigans in Infrastructure and Live Games we had, the amazing Extra Life event we had in 2019 raising over $12k,
the wonderful BBQs, Birthday celebrations, playing Rock Paper Wizard, team outings, the movies, all the fun we had while in the studio!, the wonderful relationships I’ve built with everyone, and so so so much more!

Here are a few more highlights...

My 1st GDC Panel, representing Cryptic Studios.

Probably my favorite playtest at the studio - the Bard! I named her after my Wife's band. 
Rockin!


That 1 time IT helped find the Screw that was lost to my PC fan ... they return it properly. lol

But have no FEAR! If you are reading this, and you are a Cryptionian, you can’t get rid of me that easy! I’ll very much still be available via the Socials to chat anytime and we'll be sure to visit the Bay Area from time to time. I know a lot of us will cross paths at events and more too!

Cryptic will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart and I will forever recommend this Studio as a great place to work and share all the socials I can!

I am extremely confident in everyone and the current leadership to drive Cryptic Studios forward and I very much look forward to being a cheerleader on the sidelines!

Goodbye, for now, Cryptic Studios Family...






Until next time…

keep on ‘Living the Dream’ and ‘Rock on’!!!


It's been great Bay Area ... time to head to LA!

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