So, speaking of developers not getting enough credit, I thought I'd go through and give props to the Spidey team, here. (Where almost nobody will see it.) Of course, I have a biased view of the effort that goes into the game, so I'm undoubtedly leaving important people out - in particular, I didn't work with the artists as closely as the designers and the coders, so I'm probably giving a lot of them less credit than they deserve. If somebody who worked on the game isn't on this list, it doesn't mean they're not awesome. If you read this and notice I've forgotten someone, let me know and I'll amend it. Writing this list makes me realize how hard it is to handle game credits. I imagine the only people who are interested in this list are the people in it and head hunters...but I think the risk of losing someone to a head hunter is worth it for giving them proper respects.
In no particular order:
Tomo Moriwaki is the best creative director I've ever worked with; he truly loves games and respects gamers--while most executives are saying "You've got to dumb this down for the masses" he's the one saying "You underestimate people, they're going to love this"--and he stands up for what he believes in, things like getting rid of the kick button from SM1. (I could write a whole article about that. Maybe I will.) Also, he's not just a "stay on top of things" guy - he'll get in there and prototype levels in MAX and write scripts and tweak gameplay numbers until things feel just right.
Ian Peter Hosfeld was our concept artist - he provided us the vision for how the city, characters, and levels should look.
Pascal Sahuc & Peter Akemann were instrumental in making the city-in-the-distance look as good as it did. Before they came along, our low-LOD was city blocks, not buildings, and when you stood on the tallest building in Manhattan it just didn't look right. They spearheaded a plan to make things look better, and pulled it off. (And then Peter added the zoom-out map, which people love.) Leo Zide and the Tools & Libraries coders (Paul Edelstein, Wade Brainerd) were the ones who got so much city rendering so fast.
Matt Rhoades was our Marc Laidlaw; our Tim Schafer; our Sami Jarvi. He wrote the story, wrote *all* the dialog for the entire game, directed the voice acting, and was a designer to boot: he managed to make a few of the missions.
The swinging was a collaborative effort (something I'm going to talk about in an upcoming issue of *Game Developer*) - Jason Bare, Andrei Pokrovsky, Jim Jenista, and I all worked on the code while the designers (Tomo, Aki Akaike, Matt Rhoades, Eric Pavone) experimented with level design that made it work, tweaked parameters, and told us what to do to make it more fun - Greg Taylor was the one who figured out how to get two-web swinging on one button - Andrei Pokrovsky was really the one who brought the whole thing home with the two-web IK and fast web-collision detection that felt good. Andrei also implemented our animation compression system (using an algorithm recommended by Paul Edelstein), which is why Spidey can have so many animations. He also rewrote our collision system to make it more robust...is there anything that guy can't do?
Greg Taylor developed our data streaming technology: he and Jason Bare went through and made every single file-related data structure in the game streaming-friendly (we're talking hundreds), and then he developed asynchronous load stuff and a scheme for partitioning the city and, basically, if it wasn't for him, Spider-Man would still be running around in tiny levels that are three blocks by three blocks. Toby Lael maintained and optimized the system after GT switched teams.
Bob Parkinson was our tools and script-language programmer extraordinaire. The script language, which he took over from Chuck Tolman years ago, is the best I've seen in the industry. It has arrays. It also has a debugger and a fast track so we can recompile and see our changes without restarting the game - we just have to restart the mission. (Now we just need tools for our artists that good.)
Michael Vance got our new camera system off the ground. (Reviews agree, much better than the old system.) Then he became our technical director, freeing me up to make missions (One of which was loathed by at least one reviewer. Sorry.)...and I have to admit, he's a better technical director than I was.
He really knows his shit. I was always playing catch-up. Eduardo Poyart maintained the camera system.
Jeremy Parker got our traffic system up-and-running, and then switched hats and designed missions. Evan Olson brought the traffic system home.
James Chao seemed to do everything art-related; whenever there was a snag getting city or vehicle data into the game he solved it; whenever something code-side changed that meant the whole city had to be re-done or re-exported he handled it; he led the special fx team (Mike Bambino and Darwin Dumlao) and made a bunch of the fx himself; he ended up pretty much running the show when it came to art.
Alex Bortoluzzi is another great technical artist, and incredible when it comes to lighting. His attention to detail is astounding. He was also the first to recognize that we needed to cut content - unfortunately, we didn't listen to him until nearly too late. (Dave Stohl deserves the credit for making us listen.)
Chad Jones, Jake Santa Ana, and Arnold Agraviador grinded out all the city geometry while Chris Erdman, Karine Fortin, Manny Salazar, and Greg Simkins textured it.
James Zachary animated Spidey - 'nuff said. He also directed Tim Smilovitch, Ryan Duffin, and Adam Rosas, who are all great animators. Tomo + Zachary + Bare pretty much did the entire combat system along with their other jobs.
Beth Culter and Zenta Aki were the front-end, user interface team. As much as they hated being constantly interrupted, we could pretty much go up to them and say, "Sorry for the short notice but we need this whole new widget, stat," and they'd get it done - the two of them alone did the work of several people.
Tong Chen modeled the final boss fight room and the burning theater. Cameron Petty took over the burning theater and made it his. I'm singling these guys out because I worked with them; all the interior modelers did great work (and a lot of it.)
Bryan McNett came in and saved the particle system at the last minute after multiple tragedies. Each programmer who came on to that system decided it needed to be rewritten and then left or were laid off before finishing it. Bryan showed up and got it into shape (after alpha) and all the special effects were added during our final bug-fixing and polishing phase, which made us all very nervous. (It looks like we're going to rewrite the particle system yet again for 3. I'm terrified.)
Greg Taylor, Chris Strickland, and Rey Samonte made Black Cat work: trying to get her to move through the city was a lot of trouble.
Hmm...it's hard to give producers appropriate credit, because you don't see the results of their work...Robert Sanchez is the Michael Jordan of associate producers...Nick Doran handled all the localized SKUs and dealt with all the foreign offices...Bill Dugan was a guy who made things happen...Greg John was The Man.
Robert Sanchez and Toby Lael owned the Xbox version; Leo Zide and Kevin Tomatani owned the PS2 version; Joe Valenzuela (and his cadre of coding assistants who managed to make it all fit in the last minute) and John DeHart owned the Gamecube.
Eric Pavone and Chad Proctor did the entire random mission system and all the random missions. Rich Bisso did most of the Quentin Beck / Mysterio storyline - one mission of which was reviled by critics, but that's not his fault, that was a failure of focus testing to catch a shelf level event. If we had done just one more round of focus testing... Anyhow, all these guys were tireless workhorses who'd rather stay late over and over than see a feature cut.
Hans Wakelin and Jason Bryant did the challenge marker system and all the challenge markers. Hans did the insane challenge markers to please the hardest of hardcore fans - and the pizza and MJ missions - and he was the one who actually put people in the bathroom stalls in the Daily Bugle. Jason did the challenge markers that are actually completeable...
Adrian Balanon, our lead tester, was invaluable. It's a shame that everyone sees testing as a step in a career path that leads to other things, because when you find a good tester, you really want to keep him as a tester forever. Somewhere after we were 'feature complete' he organized his team to drill through the game as rapidly as possible in search of all the crash bugs that made playthrough impossible, wrote those up as highest priority, and repeated until that happy day when we finally had a burn that one could play start-to-finish...which was later in the project than I expected.
Well, that's all I can think of for now...I'm sure I'm going to piss somebody on the team off due to my bad memory...I'm like the guy in Memento sometimes...why did I do this? Oh yeah, because MTV's *Making the Game* didn't do these guys justice.