And by the bomb, I mean YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and the Forums.
When we created the Theater features for Call of Duty: Black Ops we knew what we were getting ourselves into it. We knew people would use it to capture a particularly cool moment of pownage and share it with others, and they would also use it show something going horribly wrong with the game. Since the theater records every game that ends normally, we knew we would see a large number of videos, not just the small percentage when someone was running a cap card or PVR.
For every â€œI got shot around the cornerâ€ or â€œ...look at this spawn trappingâ€ video I would cringe at some of the lunacy found in the comments or tweets about it.
I was turned off, even frustrated, by the attitude some users take towards the developers of Treyarch. In some cases, the expressed opinions were just ignorant of software development, the reality of the entertainment software business, or lacked practicality in the proposed solution. These were tolerable. In many cases, people are just flat out rude and cruel.
Then I took a step back. I looked at other popular products and services. Not just video game developers but everything from fan sites for car enthusiasts, user groups for all-in-one universal remotes, and the Twitter feeds of popular recording artists.
The level of harshness in the attitude may be varied, but the only thing unique to our situation was that it was new to me.
Now I see every YouTube video, every forum post, and every tweet as an opportunity to learn where things go wrong, where the software doesnâ€™t work as expected, where a process broke, and what â€œperfect stormâ€ conditions can exist you have to protect for.
The â€œ501â€ kills video that is making the rounds right now is a good example of this.
Something catastrophic broke in the spawn system. You should rarely spawn right next to an enemy. It looks like we ran out of â€œbetterâ€ spawns but itâ€™s also possible the negative influencer got turned off. Iâ€™m not sure yet. This is unfortunate. Even embarrassing.
Iâ€™m willing to write about this one and I am going to tell you why. The very top of the video says â€œLIKE please to help Treyarch find and fix this.â€ Itâ€™s constructive. Even if the dozens of messages and comments we got about it werenâ€™t always so.
Iâ€™m still going to block rude people, ban forum trolls, delete â€œFriendsâ€ from Facebook who arenâ€™t civil, and ignore criticism that comes bundled with rage.
Be the change you want to see. Find the good in the bad. Iâ€™ve learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.