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Featured Lockwood Visits With Ypsh

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by kwoman32, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. kwoman32

    kwoman32 Head Administrator
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    YPSH : Alex Loffstadt, Community Manager at developer Lockwood Publishing, joins us today. Along with Alex, we have Megan, who is the Product Manager for content in the Lockwood Store in Playstation Home. Welcome to both of you to YPSH and thanks for taking the time to talk with us today.
    View attachment 6120
    Alex: It’s great to be here.

    Magan : Thanks for having us.

    YPSH : A quick history lesson. Outso, and its publishing arm Lockwood, was started in 2005 when Joel Kemp, Halli Thor Bjornsson and Justin Johnson met working on the X-Box game MotoGP3. Since then, we all know Lockwood has produced a multitude of spaces, virtual items, and games for Playstation Home.
    Sodium One and Two, the Uncharted 2 space, Saucer Pop, and Blasters Paradise are just a few of the games/spaces, along with virtual furniture and clothing items way too numerous to list. The company is headquartered in Nottingham, UK. Alex, I'll go to you first. How did you get started with Lockwood and tell us what your role is there now.

    Alex : Compared to Megan I’m a pretty new face at Lockwood. The company is nothing if not ambitious, and with Lockwood’s focus on downloadable content, online games, freemium gaming and importantly a really faithful fanbase there was a need to start seriously looking at Community Management and Customer Support.

    My background is very much in online and particularly freemium gaming, and being based in Nottingham when the opportunity presented itself it was a match made in heaven.

    Day to day you’ll mostly find me helping to manage our webpages, facebookpages, twitter feeds, and support system answering questions and keeping all our fans informed of the latest goings on. Although Lockwood and Sodium Fans will probably know me best as LockwoodVoice on the official Sony Forums.

    The great part of the job is I get to read all the amazing suggestions and thank yous that come in. All the support really makes a difference to the team.

    YPSH : Megan, as Lockwood's Product Manager, tell us what you do and how you came to Lockwood.

    Megan :I started out as an artist working on some of the very first components we released in home, so benefitted from learning the whole process early.
    Now we have a team of very talented artists, they are excellent guys and a pleasure to work with. You can see how the variety of content has expanded over time as our team has grown.

    Now my job is to oversee production for Lockwood, making sure we get the right content to you guys, and that we consistently release interesting items on a regular basis. I work closely with the artists on the team with idea generation, planning and promotions.

    YPSH : Megan, tell us about the process, from beginning to end, as to how clothing items and furniture iterms are conceived, produced and finally delivered to the Lockwood PS Home store.

    Megan : The team dynamic is really strong and we sit and work together in the studio 5 days a week.

    Most of the time we are focused and getting on with the job at hand, but we spend a lot of time chatting, coming up with new ideas and exploring Home’s potential.

    Each artist will manage a product right from the initial idea, through design and production to the promotional campaign. To be a part of the Lockwood Team, you need to be multitalented.

    Once the items are published, we spend some time reviewing their success, taking a look in Home and on the forums to see how people feel about our latest content. Then we take what we have learned and feed it back into our production cycle. It’s a fine balance but we hope this results in creating items that Home users really enjoy.

    YPSH : About how many people are now employed by Outso/Lockwood?

    Alex : Understandably we can’t go into too much detail, but Lockwood is about 60 people now.

    We’ve grown a lot since the company first started, but we pride ourselves on putting out a quantity and quality of content that genuinely shocks bigger companies.

    That being said we have managed to maintain that small company family feel. As Megan says, for the artist an item can be a real labour of love as they’re with it from the moment of inspiration, through crafting and production right through to seeing it published. We talk a lot about what we’re working on and share ideas all the time, it’s a real fun place to be.

    YPSH : Does Lockwood just come up with and impelement its own ideas or does it also incorporate suggestions/ideas from Home users?

    Alex : When Halli, Joel and Justin started the company the ambition was always to produce and publish their own games and ideas. This dream came true with the release of SodiumOne and Sodium2.

    But the feedback and suggestions from our fans is never far from our thoughts. Feedback during the Sodium2 Beta was a really important factor in the set-up and balancing of the game.

    As Megan said the moment something hits the Lockwood Store you’ll see the artist popping on to sites like YourPlayStationHome and the official forums watching out for reviews and opinions. I’m sure Megan will happily confirm that calls for more day-to-day clothes for Female Avatars, more hairstyles and more clothes in general for male avatars have played a role in our planning.

    So the opinions of Lockwood fans and customers REALLY do matter to us and it’s one of the key reasons why we saw the need to introduce a community manager to help facilitate the flow of ideas.

    Megan : One of the most rewarding parts of creating content for Home is the amount of feedback we get from you guys.

    It really does play a big part in what we do, I’d like to say thanks to the Home Community for being such an inspiration to our art team, and keep the suggestions coming please!

    YPSH : Do all of you spend a lot of time in Playstation Home?

    Alex : Some of the team are serious Home addicts and you just can’t prise them off the forums or the latest releases.

    For some of the guys once you spend 8 hours in the development environment playing on Home when you’re out of the office can feel too much like working.

    It can be a little stressful as well, when you work in an online world if someone realises you work for their favourite company, or has a beef with something that they’ve bought suddenly you’re a celebrity when all you want to do is relax and chill with your friends.

    So the honest answer is that it depends who you speak to.

    Megan : We do spend a lot of time exploring Home in the studio, I do go in to buy my personal favourites in my spare time, especially things like the Cauldron active item. It was the team’s first active item was a really fun project to work on.

    YPSH : What do all of you like best about PS Home? If asked, what would each of you like to see added or changed in PS Home?

    Alex : I came into the industry when there was a big debate about being able to carry the same Avatar between different games and whether a console could handle MMORPG style gameplay.

    Home has been quietly doing both for years. The dream that Sony talked about back in 2007/2008 is very much there and you can see the potential.

    We’ve proven that Home can be a serious gaming platform and already handles downloadable and microtransaction gaming well. PS3 is now linked to Steam, YouTube, and titles like DC Universe and Portal 2 have shown that cross platform gameplay is far from a dream. We’ve got a jump on the rest of the gaming world.

    I’d like to see more people giving Home a look to see what we see, and using that support and investment to see a bigger, friendlier community and plenty more titles of the quality of Sodium2. What others have only talked about we are already doing and doing well.

    Megan : The possibilities are what excites me, it’s great being in a creative position, and working with a community that is so fresh and willing to accept new ideas. I honestly can’t think of anything that I would change.

    YPSH : Blasters Paradise is Lockwoods recent personal space release. How is that being received? Any furutre plans for others like it?

    View attachment 6121
    Alex : The moment we released SodiumOne the distinct distressed, desert style was a big hit and we had regular requests for a personal space.

    Blaster’s Paradise was a massive hit, I honestly think the size, style, and quality of the space are stunning. But we never like to do things by halves, and for the dedicated sodium fan the full set of Sodium Teleportals and your own commerce point saves a lot of shoe leather around Home.

    You can’t deny the crowning glory of the space that is Tank Top 1.0. For a lot of Home users the presence of an embedded minigame was a pleasant surprise. The fact that the game is such a high quality genuinely blew people away and we have received requests to link it into the rest of Sodium with its own rewards and objectives.

    While we’re really happy with the space itself, we have to admit that the support of Clubs and sites like YourPlayStationHome, running Tank Top Tournaments and Blaster’s Paradise Tours made a really big difference to us. It was the first time we’d run that sort of promotion, and for our first personal space, and we were understandably a bit nervous.

    But the instant people saw it there was nothing but praise, we had faith in the quality of the space, but seeing the immediate reaction, and Tank Top 1.0 being such a hit really was humbling.

    YPSH : Recently, Lockwood has added "brands" to its store: Figment, Cucumber, Iron Fusion and Fool Throttle. Let's talk about the new upcoming Delirious Squid Brand. Tell us how that idea came about and what items we can expect to see in the initial release.

    View attachment 6125View attachment 6126

    Megan : There are lots of different types of people in Home and we wanted to find a way to communicate available content to different people.

    We created the collections so if you are interested in robots or space suits, you know to go to Iron Fusion, if you want some quirky fantasy dress up items, you go to Fool Throttle.

    Now, if you want so alternative rock clothing, you go to Delirious Squid.

    For launch we have some bundles of clothing planned, with creative graphics in some fantastic colour schemes. Certain bundles come with companion items too, so look out for those!

    View attachment 6123

    YPSH : So we will see male and female clothing items for this line. Accessories? Future additons?

    Megan : Yes there is a selection for males and females, and a variety of components. The high high heels are especially nice.

    We can’t tell you yet what’s next, but we have plans to update each collection in future, so let us know if there is anything in you’d like to see coming up.

    YPSH : If you had to describe in a phrase the designs on these Delirious Squid items, what would you call them?

    Megan : Delirious Squid - For future celebrities, game makers and risk takers.

    View attachment 6124

    YPSH : About how long does it take to produce one of these items once a design has been approved?

    Megan : That’s entirely dependent on the complexity of the item.

    A companion item, like Bunsen which requires animation will take considerably longer than some clothing components.

    I can’t disclose exact information, but a focused and talented artist like the ones we have at Lockwood can produce a high quality clothing item in a matter of days.

    YPSH : The Dolly's Diner items seem to be a hit. Will we see more additons to that line? A diner personal space perhaps? A jukebox? Waitress uniform?

    View attachment 6127
    Megan : It’s great to see such interest in a furniture pack. If you like the Dolly’s Diner set, check out the Cucumber tile in the store for more quality furniture bundles. The Diner set allows a greater depth of customisability, which might explain its popularity.

    You can really set the scene with this stuff! We would definitely like to make some more interior design packs, if you have any suggestions, then you know where to go.

    Alex : We’ve seen a great response, particularly from clubs turning clubhouses into diners. :)

    YPSH : Alex and Morgan, I want to thank both of you for giving us a glimpse into Lockwood today. I could ask you many more questions since Lockwood has developed so much for PS Home! I'm sure we will be talking again in the near future with you about Lockwood's many new and cool creations for PS Home.

    Alex : It’s been a pleasure.

    Megan : Thanks Karen!

    © www.yourplaystationhome.com - All rights reserved - Copying is prohibited without written consent of the author
     
  2. Heavyn

    Heavyn ~The big and the bad~
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    :wub:Great interview, and Love lockwood a lot can't wait to see what they have planned for the home community in the near future.:wub:
     
  3. Joanna

    Joanna Well-Known Member
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    Very nice as always! :) Love it!
     
  4. Diamond_Dust

    Diamond_Dust ☜(⌒▽⌒)☞ Innocent ☜(⌒▽⌒)☞

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    Great article, I love hearing directly from developers like that, it's nice to know they really do care about us! :p
     
  5. boxerlady

    boxerlady Member

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    WOW! I'm so impressed by this article. Very nice to know that the artist's are excited and interested enough in our comments and suggestions to keep an eye out on forum's and YourPlayStationHome.com. So much information given to us in the article about future products. It really sounds as if we are being listened to by Lockwood! Can't wait for the new products tomorrow. Very nice job Karen!:thumbup:
     
  6. boxerlady

    boxerlady Member

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    I was incredibly excited to see such an in-depth interview. To know the artist's that are developing at Lockwood's take an interest in what we say about the products they have developed was very satisfying! Also looks like there are many new items for us to look forward to no matter what "genre" we are interested in! Can't wait to see that lizard! Very nice job Karen!! A BIIIG thumbs up!:thumbup:
     
  7. Kimilicious

    Kimilicious Well-Known Member

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    Wow.

    Really Nice Interview Karen!

    I Love The Fact That Developers Communicate With Home Users ;D
     
  8. Mika40

    Mika40 Active Member

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    Yes new shoes its about time I mixing and matching now:)
     
  9. Firefly

    Firefly Survivor of Sword Arts Online

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    I Really enjoyed the interview Karen! I'm surprised how you are so good at reaching out to developers and establishing a relationship. Btw, you mention they did the uncharted 2 space. Is that the public lounge or was it the apartment? Both were exceptional for their detail. It was reallly gorgeous. I think they should be the standard for Home. I wish all spaces were of that quality.I REALLY miss the uncharted public lounge.
     
  10. K-rolyne72

    K-rolyne72 Active Member

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    great article, great job, thanks for everything and happy to see that people from one of my favourites home brand items are reading ypsh ^^
     
  11. ZeroRyoko

    ZeroRyoko Bad Sailor Girl

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    I love the content Lockwood has been putting out (I have got enough of it, lol), and I see we are getting new shoes this from them soon as well. Woo Hoo! :eek:
     
  12. ZeroRyoko

    ZeroRyoko Bad Sailor Girl

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    Oh, and Karen that was a wonderful interview.
     
  13. sam_reynolds01

    sam_reynolds01 Well-Known Member

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    Another great interview :thumbsup:
    Lockwood are one of my favorite developers, so it's nice reading about the process they go through to provide such great content and they clearly have a lot of passion for home, which is a great.
     
  14. gary160974

    gary160974 I adore Uzi08

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    I still wanna know why they would call something you sit on a cucumber lol
     
  15. C.Birch

    C.Birch Site Owner
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    Great interview again :)
     
  16. kricky31

    kricky31 Rayman's #1 Fan

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    Great interview, Karen!
     
  17. stevev363

    stevev363 Milkshake Maven XD

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    I love articles about the dev's and what they do. um, so what about that jukebox? I really want to see that happen myself. Thanks for the great read Karen!
     
  18. kwoman32

    kwoman32 Head Administrator
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    Thank you all for your kind comments. It's my "paycheck" :) Nice to get feedback. Helps guide me towards future efforts. Just a side note... You can always PM me your ideas or suggestions for future articles. Also many thanks to Lockwood for their kind support.
     
  19. Glen Courtney

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    Lockwood should introduce free awards :D :wink1:
     
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