Profile: Scotland's Realtime Worlds

Profile: Scotland's Realtime Worlds
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

August 28th 2009 at 10:00AM

A look over the All Points Bulletin developer's history

Year founded: 2002

Headcount: 258

Key staff:
Dave Jones (creative director)
Gary Dale (CEO)
Ian Hetherington (chairman)

Previous projects:
Crackdown

Currently working on:
All Points Bulletin

The core of Realtime Worlds emerged from DMA design, which Dave Jones founded. 15 former staffers from the studio behind the first Grand Theft Auto joined Jones’ new project, which rapidly grew to 70 as development on Crackdown peaked.

“We have two development teams at the moment,” explains studio manager Colin Macdonald. “About 150 folk working on All Points Bulletin, and another sizeable team working on our unannounced project. Each of those is fairly self-contained, split into code, art, design and audio, with each of those disciplines further split into logical departments filled with experts in those particular areas.

“Our titles are so bespoke that we now have everything created for each project developed within the project itself, and almost everyone in the studio is solely focused on a single project.”

Clearly unperturbed by ambitious goals, the studio describes its mission as one to create groundbreaking games and, where possible, entirely new genres. While it’s a philosophy that might sound slightly tinged by PR hyperbole, the developer points to the likes of Lemmings and GTA as evidence of potential to innovate.
The studio attributes part of that success to its internal tech, of which Realtime Worlds is rightly proud.

APB

“As hopefully anyone who’s seen an APB demo already will attest, we’ve got some amazing proprietary technology – the one most talked about on APB being the character customisation system which has been in development since the start of APB, for about five years now,” says Macdonald. “In terms of benefits, I think being the envy of the industry is a pretty good one.”

Realtime Worlds attributes part of its success to the emphasis it places on the rewarding staff; something evident in the studio’s benefits package, which includes profit sharing, share options, flexitime, private medical insurance, life insurance, pension package, income protection, relocation assistance, childcare voucher scheme, and discounts on PCs and bikes, as well as paid overtime.

And the studio’s proudest achievement? “We are delighted that our first game, Crackdown, did so well despite a bit of cynicism as it was in development,” says Macdonald. “Considering it was single-platform, and there weren’t that many of those platforms out there at the time, it’s a huge achievement to have sold well over 1.5 million copies for it, and to have been honoured with so many awards.”

CONTACT:
Realtime Worlds
152 West Marketgait
Dundee
DD1 1NJ

W:
www.realtimeworlds.com
E: enquiries@realtimeworlds.com
T: 01382 202821 (UK)