JOSH: Hello Lambda and thank you for taking time out for this interview today.
LAMBDA: No problem.
JOSH: So, a few weeks ago everyone here at Podcast 17 celebrated the third anniversary of the podcast with Episode #156 and we also gave away a ton of games. You were instrumental in securing many of those games.
LAMBDA: I suppose you could say that.
JOSH: Well I for one am very interested in how you went about contacting the various developers, and I’m sure others who want to know how to go about something like this would like to know as well.
When you first heard about the event, did you immediately think “Hey I want to contribute”, or did the idea dawn on you at a later time?
LAMBDA: It was a pretty “quick” reaction I would say…
It started out with me giving William/Nic a laundry list of ideas for a contest. Some were better than others (I think the idea for the cook-off was better than giving away games if Billy played Amnesia)
Next, I had the “brilliant” idea to contact a few developers to see if they would give games.
At that time I was contacting more people I knew in the industry, people who had close ties to Valve, such as Tripwire, and people who had ties with the modding community because they may have started out there or that was just the way they worked.
The first few emails I did not get a response back for two or three days; therefore, when I got the email and they responded that they would be glad to give I was stun-shocked. Once the responses started pouring in, I started going H.A.M. and that is when everything started to fall into place.
JOSH: It’s obvious that you already possessed a large amount of contacts within both the modding and gaming industry in order to get as far as you did. So did you obtain many more through the experience and do you think they’ll provide for you in any future events like the third anniversary?
LAMBDA: To be perfectly honest with you, I do not nearly have as many “contacts” as it might seem. The majority of the people that donated I became friends with through emails and then would proceed to donate a game.
In fact some have realistically already provided for a future event because they sent us keys (sadly too late to be included in the 3rd year anniversary), promised us keys for next time, or promised some merchandise for next time.
JOSH: Do you feel like you formed a strong bond with the public relations reps that you talked to throughout the trial?
LAMBDA: I think I formed a pretty strong relationship with most of the PR people that I talked to; however, just like people in the real world, not everyone was nice and not everyone was who they seemed to be. For example, one companies PR responded to my email in a harsher tone, almost questioning why someone as myself, was emailing them in the first place. Another PR, whose company usually is seen as extremely generous, basically made me email a bunch of different people going around in a circle and then concluding with no one ever getting back to me.
But those experiences were few and far between… most of the PRs I met were extremely nice and willing to help at any turn. It was even better to see this coming from big companies such as Frictional Games or Bohemia Interactive.
I’d also especially like to give credit to the indie developers who not only think up, design, make, and market their game but also have such a small team that their President would personally answer my inquires about donations.
You see in these guys more than anyone, that you are talking to real people not just automatic robots. This is especially true from all the games that came from Desura as these guys are as hard as indie comes.
JOSH: Good to know we don’t have robots behind the counter making our games, although that would explain the Call of Duty franchise.
LAMBDA: Yeah, it was shocking to find that one part of our lives was not controlled by those zombie/vampire things in that movie with William Smith. I think it was I Am Legend.
JOSH: Alright, and on average, how many emails do you think you sent out once it was all over, and about what percentage of them were responded to successfully?
LAMBDA: I would say that approximately 75 emails were answered, and close to 200 were sent out.
JOSH: There must’ve been some immense pressure on you, with so many people to contact, William and Nic waiting on you, and only a week to sort everything out. So how did you manage to organize all your work in a coherent manner, and how did all the stress affect you. Also, were there any moments of irritation between you and William during those final days when you were trying to meet the deadline.
LAMBDA: I would say the only real pressure that was felt was in the last 36 hours “crunch time”… but that was mainly brought upon myself and Nic (and William too :P… i guess) because of not being prepared.
Before then it had been no pressure, since these guys weren’t expecting me to get anything for them; therefore, I have pretty much free reign. However, three-two days before the prize list closed, I decided that it would be a great idea to go and email pretty much every person on Desura. I woke up the morning of the contest and I had about 20 emails of people promising us games and as the day went on I had more and more people sending me emails about keys. Even during the show I was still getting emails about keys (William makes reference to it), and even in the weeks afterwards, I was still getting people emailing me stuff.
I kept it organized in what may seem like an incredibly simple way, GMail and Notepad. I wrote a bunch of notes in Notepad, who promised what, wanted what, and gave what and followed up on every email every 3 days if I had not heard a response. And of course I would make sure to thank everyone when they did give (like my mother always told me…)
JOSH: Yea, your mother always had me thank her afterwards as well.
LAMBDA: If there was an unsung hero to this (I was sung praises enough) it would have to be Nic. He did a lot of work especially at the last minute to put this whole thing together. Pretty much everything that you see (minus the gifts) was done by Nic and for that he should definitely get some credit. William too, for creating the podcast and for having the sense to do this event, for him to get through 3 years of podcasts, every single week, is a huge accomplishment. So yea, he deserves a lot of credit as well, and as for the stress, it didn’t really affect me… except I started smoking.
JOSH: Smoking huh? My grandpa died from that.
LAMBDA: …that’s a joke btw.
So um, I would say the the only moment of irritation I had was when I was still getting games and William told me to stop. Not to stop accepting them (why would we ever do that, free games are awesome!) but to stop giving them to him, because there wasn’t enough time with the contest and everything to add them all.
JOSH: I’m guessing you still have a good amount of gifts left over then. Are you saving them for future Podcast 17 giveaways, like maybe one game a week for a little while, or are you going to hold on to them for a little while *wink wink, nudge nudge*
LAMBDA: Well that information is classified and if I tell you, I would have to kill you. But Podcast 17 is currently up to date on all game keys (as in they have all the keys that I have gotten), plus I really have no idea what William wants to do as it comes down to his call with all contests related to Podcast 17
I have a few ideas for what I want to do, and I think in the back of his mind he has a few ideas that he is keeping quiet until ready; as of now, Podcast 17 will take it one contest at a time as the 3rd year isn’t even over yet.
JOSH: So what did you think of the actual anniversary day? Was it everything you expected it to be, and did you enjoy the thanks you received?
LAMBDA: I thought it was awesome, it was better than I could have originally hoped for. I mean I was laughing so hard at the shenanigans between you guys that it was hard not to love it. From the hosts editing the Google Doc at the last second, to William’s mispronunciation of almost every single game that he has never heard of, to the hosts trying to figure out what was better Billy vs. Willy, or the Portal 2 ARG, it was a blast to listen to.
JOSH: Haha, yea….Glenn made fun of me a lot.
LAMBDA: and yeah the thanks was way over the top; however, i understood it… but I really do like P17 (the whole lot) and what these guys do, so I found no trouble at all helping them and that’s why I never really hesitated to help out.
JOSH: Yea, we’ve got a pretty good lot, except Glenn that British son of a…oh right um. Yea, I know everyone enjoyed it quite a bit, and I’m sure everyone enjoyed baking those birthday cakes, along with the consuming of them which most likely followed.
So any closing comments or anything you would like to address before we close this up?
LAMBDA: Yeah I got a few complaints
JOSH: Alright, I’m prepared to disregard them.
LAMBDA: Right, so you really have to think about the effect of what has happened here. Podcast 17 is not a PC Gamer, not Kotaku, not IGN. It’s not a big name company.
It would be considered the “indie” of the reporting scene for video games especially because of the niche it covers and its viewership. The fact that companies would see Podcast 17 and be willing to donate to help us out to basically celebrate its birthday I think is an amazing thing.
JOSH: This is very true, am I’m proud to be a part of it, as should you be. In fact, every viewer/listener of Podcast 17 should be proud to belong to such a great and interactive community.
Now, since this is an interview about you, I might as well indulge you a bit and end by letting you describe your background as well as what you do.
LAMBDA: Well, I have been a member of a few communities (DNR representin’) and used to do a lot of Garry’s Mod work and sprays. Now I do more gfx designs, PR for stuff like this, gift games (if I have the money), and work on mods. Currently I’m creating Uneventful Conversations with Unimportant People (which is a mod) and when it’s done I plan to move onto a more “advanced” mod if the first one is a success. I am a big supporter of freeware, indies, humble bundles, open source, and non-drm policies.
I still only have Episode Two of the Half-Life series (though I have played/finished all of them, except I haven’t finished HL1)
JOSH: Whaaa, you’ve never beaten the first Half-Life? Wait a minute, what am I talking about…neither have I.
Well, that’s Thelastlambda. One of the main contributors to our third anniversary, and Podcast 17‘s current official Public Relations Representative.