I've been hunting for stuff to put in the Sumea wiki for Auran, and I found this little gem which I thought I'd share. I've heard of the problems Auran had back in the day of Dark Reign where developers left in droves (some went on to create Pandemic studios and Evolution games, while others went to Krome Studios etc).
Of course, I do have to say this was back in 2000, and is no way indicative of how Auran are now [;)], but it's an interesting piece of local game developer history and pretty much folklore. This all happened late 2000, around 6 months before Sumea started up. I wish Fatbabies had an archive of this thread by ex-Auran employees.
btw, I read that Greg Lane (CEO) has since left Auran around late 2005. Is he still involved with MyVirtualHome?
Such tales include:
* Banning pool and (computer) games at work.
* "No flexi-time. you HAVE to be there before 9am, and you HAVE to stay until 5:30pm, even if you worked late into the night, or came in at 7am."
* "...3d artist there on $28,000 aus ($14,000 us)."
* Managers listening in on staff conversation.
* Staff are not allowed to open windows, managers claim "Because then they wont get closed".
As a result, staff left in droves. Resulting in a six month situation where managers outnumbered artists and progammers by 7:4. Which has been a boon for gamers as some of the splinter groups include Krome Studios (Kat Burgler), Evolution games (Europa), and staff that was taken into Pandemic Studios (Dark Reign 2, Battlezone 1/2). Currently there are only two staff members at Auran who worked on the orginal Dark Reign.
One of the higher-ups of Auran posted anonymously with their two cents on the situation:
"It's pretty simple. Everyone who is at Auran now is very happy to be there. Most of the people that claim to have left in the past were really pushed, because they just weren't good enough at their jobs. Of course these people are disgruntled, they missed out on a great opportunity. But ask anyone at Auran now and you'll see they consider it a privilege to be part of such a great team."
Which was met with this response from an ex-Auran employee:
I wasn't pushed. The founders of Pandemic Studios weren't pushed. The *entire* founding team of Evolution Games wasn't pushed. Half of Krome Studios wasn't pushed. The *entire* founding team of Pandemic Australia wasn't pushed. The reason they left was because you have absolutely no game development skills, will fuck over people without a care in the world, are a stuck up asshole who thinks they are an industry visionary just because they made a game once, and couldn't be fucked actually CARING for any of the projects you start and then hastily abandon.
Hey Greg, lets go over some of the FUCKED UP things you've done!...
Are there any Australian companies that don't have one form of conflict or another?
Many companies have just as many bad bits as they do good bits, it always just seems to depend what side of the fence you are on.
Managers vs Staff, Programmers vs Artists - where there are creative and passionate people, there is emotion and if not channelled properly, that emotion is bound to create drama.. such as the situation posted above by Souri.
I did an internship at Auran in 2005 and my personal experience was a positive one - For one, they gave me a chance in the industry. For another, people were really friendly and they have a lot of perks including free lunches, a never-ending supply of free softdrink and fruit, and once-a-month drinks night for everyone in the company.
I was an avid PlanetCrap reader back then, used the forum client and everything. That thread was what turned me off applying for a job with Auran. It's a good reminder of how not to treat your staff. I'm glad Auran have turned things around, Fury looks like a fun game to work on, hopefully a fun game to play too :)