Insider Programme Updates


  • Read and join in the discussion on updates directly from the Developers!

  • The home for our series of Insider Hot Topic discussions.

  • If you want to get closer to the development of Sea of Thieves, look no further!

    • By joining the Insider Programme, you’ll earn yourself a behind-the-scenes look at our shared world pirate adventure. Sea of Thieves Insiders get access to a number of perks and bonuses:
    • Regular communications from us, offering developer insights and sneak peeks at incoming game features (and an early look at many of our videos).
    • Entry to a special discussion area of the official Forums, with an Insider badge to make your posts and feedback stand out.
    • The opportunity to jump into exclusive, info-packed Q&A sessions with the Sea of Thieves team
      To sign up, you need an Xbox Live Account and must be 18 years or older. Don’t have an Xbox Live account? Don’t despair! Setting one up is free, and takes about five minutes.
    • As an Insider, you’ll be first to see all the latest news and teases from the Sea of Thieves development team. So if you want to join us and the thousands of other Insiders, climb aboard now and join us for the adventure of a lifetime!

    Join now!

  • This topic is deleted!

    The end of the Technical Alpha means we’re going to be doing some general housekeeping in the Forums, there will be categories that merge, some that have become read only and categories that have disappeared.

    Our goal in this is to open up the forums to use as we noticed that some categories (Technical Alpha and Insider) were used disproportionately more than others as a result we are reorganising the forums. However, we don't want to forget the amazing time we had and bury those threads forever so we're going to be creating a read-only library with those threads (and their comments) saved for everyone to have a look!

    If there are any threads in this category that you would like to save, please post them below with a reason why and they will be considered for the library.

    Please do not link dump, but instead post one topic (with the reasoning) per comment

    Vote your favourites, as we will be sorting this thread by most votes.

    I can't wait to see what your personal highlights are!

  • Afternoon!

    Off the back of yesterday's PC Insider QA, we've decided to spin up discussion thread for everyone to take in and talk about all of the new information that came out of it.

    You can look back on the thread here, although bear in mind that the Q&A is now over and the thread has been locked.

    I'll leave you to it!

  • Ahoy, Insiders!

    It's been a while since our last Q&A session on the Forums and our squads have been up to a lot over the past few months. While development continues, taking player feedback on-board has been a big focus for us and this is especially true since we started bringing PC players into our Technical Alpha play sessions.

    We've had some great dialogue with PC players and none know this better PC Design Lead Ted and our Senior Windows 10 Engineer Ian, who will both be joining us for today's Insider Q&A to answer your PC-related questions. The session is due to start at 5pm GMT today, so in just under half an hour! If you've got any Windows 10/PC-related questions you're dying to ask then this is your chance, so make sure you drop by and have your say!

  • As you've probably guessed from the topic title, another member of the team has stepped in to tell all to our community of Insiders, and what better way to do that than with another Day in the Life topic? In this latest delve into the day-to-day of a Sea of Thieves crew member, Jason ( @MoronicStraw ), who some of you may know from his PC update not too long ago, has decided to let you all in on what it's like to work as an Assistant Producer on Sea of Thieves. Take it away Jason!

    A day in the life of Jason Cross

    Job Title: Assistant Producer

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    “Producer? What do you produce?”

    Thanks for asking! Producers produce a lot of things, if you were to ask an engineer, artist or designer they might say something whimsical. A producer differs from company to company, they fill an important gap which can alter depending on the solutions the project needs. A few words people may use to describe a producer; problem solver, communicator, lightning rod, project encyclopaedia, ambassador, jack of all trades, devilishly handsome (I may have added one myself).

    Whilst a producer has many responsibilities, one of the largest is helping to prepare the roadmap for the development team’s goals. This means working with artists, engineers, designers and marketing to produce the project goals and scheduling what they need. Preparing the roadmap for Sea of Thieves is very exciting, it’s a dynamic roadmap based on the feedback we get from the community. This keeps us producers on our toes as it can change at any moment! I primarily assist the PC Experience team with their deliverables to ensure the correct resource is supplied, along with helping them achieve their tasks. I thoroughly enjoy analysing the PC feedback from the community then working with the team to see what we can implement and when.

    “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise”, a quote by John Adams and a large part of any producers job. Producers have to be ready for any issue to arise and react with the best process to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Problem solving is great fun. It means working directly with our test department to understand the issue, communicating it to a developer and assisting them in any way possible (often; “Oh dear Jason… I need more coffee”). With problem solving, communication is key, and communication is extremely important for any successful company. Producers have to ensure that communication always flows, keeping it clear and to the point whilst keeping all relevant parties informed. Some producers use e-mail for this, however, I find the personal touch produces clear results more efficiently. I take pride in the fact that I always make time to speak with someone directly. When communicating directly with someone you can resolve issues faster and read the persons mood; are they stressed, happy or confused and then use that knowledge to help them the best way I can.

    Producers need to be the encyclopaedia of project knowledge. If someone needs to know when a feature will arrive, what a feature does, or who’s working on it, they ask a producer. Not only must a producer know these facts, they also need to understand them. Which means you need to learn to be a ‘jack of all trades’. Great producers often don’t specialise in an area, they teach themselves how each area of a project works at a high level so they can truly understand what it means to deliver a feature. This takes time to perfect but is an extremely useful talent for the developers as producers can ask less questions about delivery time, estimations and workload. Whilst producers do not specifically lead a team, they protect them. I like to use the analogy of the ‘lightning rod’. The ‘lightning rod’ is there to protect the team from outside issues. If someone comes up to a team with a new problem, the producer can analyse the issue and see if the distraction is necessary. The producer always has the interests of the team at the centre of their mind. They want to make sure the team’s morale stays positive whilst keeping efficiency high. This also means producers hold the blame for many decisions, which is perfect if it stops the team from being distracted from their tasks. I like to think of myself as an ambassador who can deliver information for teams whilst they stay focused.

    Over time a producer builds a network of problem solvers, these are the people who they know will have a general idea of an issue, requirement or design without bringing a large group together. These networks are incredibly useful. I have a set group of people I can rely on for a quick bit of knowledge to resolve a problem and I’m pretty sure they now hide when I head to their desk each day! Whilst the producer has a large amount of responsibilities, an important one is meetings, meetings, meetings. Meetings are useful, they get key stakeholders together to discuss ideas and create actions. However, producers need to make sure meetings are always worth developers’ time. With the talented developers here at Rare we are really sensitive of using up their valuable time, so if a meeting does not utilise them efficiently, we simple cancel it. Often a talk over a coffee or a quick walk around the scenic grounds of the studio is enough to get the information that people need.

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    How did I get here:

    I drove to Rare, like I do each day… oh you mean how did I get to be a producer? I started my career in test which was a fantastic way to learn the development process and work with everyone in the company. Whilst working in test meant you generally came to a developer with a bug and bad news, it did mean I got to speak to pretty much every developer in the company. This was a great segue to learn how to be a producer, I learnt everyone’s names, learnt how to communicate with diverse personalities within the industry and learnt the skills required to communicate clearly. This was a great start, but I knew from the beginning I wanted to be a producer and I needed to learn more skills to move into that role. In my spare time I took it upon myself to teach myself programming (C++), design a few games then learn to concept and model them.

    I started by giving myself a challenge of making 1 game a month for 6 months which was interesting… I had a lot of failures, a lot of issues and a lot of very, very late nights. However I started to learn what it really took to create a game, what really goes into each step of the development process and how hard the real professional developers must have worked to achieve what they do each day. It gave me the drive to try and be the best producer possible so I could help these developers each day to achieve their goals! I knew communication was the next step on making myself an efficient producer, so I have started teaching myself a range of psychology skills which I have already seen help in my day-to-day work, but I still have a lot more I can do to improve.

    Typical morning:

    Mornings for producers means catching up on everything that went on the day/week before and starting to plan what is happening today and the rest of the week. We review the previous day’s changes and ensure they have efficient testing. We then give the new features a high level check to make sure they are working the way design intend. Next is a series of quick catch-up with each team to make sure they know what to tackle today and review their progress from the day before. After this we can review what needs to get done and how we are looking towards our deadlines, then we can analyse if anyone needs extra support or a push in the right direction.

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    Typical afternoon:

    After the morning we have all the information we need to start getting things done. This means keeping developers on task, protecting any outside issues from affecting the team and helping to keep the developers focused on their current responsibilities. We then work on the many, many requests, issues and process changes that come in on a daily basis. This can be anything from new design ideas, community feedback, fixing processes or even writing a Forums post. When a feature is coming to its deadline we start looking at breaking down what is required for the next set of work, this involves sorting out a plan, timeline and setting up tasks based on the estimations from engineering, design and art. Then there’s bugs. These are slippery things, they aren’t specific to afternoons, but we spend a lot of our time sorting through them. Bugs are a by-product of any project and they do like to come up at inopportune times, but we work hard to make sure these are scheduled around feature work. Quality is extremely important here at Rare so we work every day on analysing each bug individually to see which developer can fix it and when!

    Best part of the job:

    Easy, the people! I love the fact that I get to work with these incredible artists, talented designers and intelligent programmers every day. They all have diverse personalities which means every interaction with an individual developer is different and the developers at Rare are awesome to interact with (Press X to produce). Another fantastic part of the job is getting to see a feature grow from concept to full implementation, getting the team to work together for this one unified goal and seeing it get completed and then the wave of feedback from the community, it’s an incredible feeling.

  • With E3 behind us and a chest full of new features in the game, you may be wondering more about the daring developers who made all of it possible. If you are then you've come to the right place! In our next Sea of Thieves Forums Q&A, we'll be with Principal Software Engineer Andy Bastable and Lead Engineer James Thomas, here to answer your questions about just what goes into programming a game like Sea of Thieves. Both Andy and James have worked on a variety of features currently available to players, including skeleton AI, shark AI, the radial inventory and gave the players the ability to fire themselves out of cannons!

    The Q+A is due to kick off tomorrow at 5pm-6pm BST. For those of you not within the UK, you can check out what time this starts in your timezone using this extremely handy converter so that you don't miss out.

  • It's been a couple of months since we had Joe and Mike sit down and answer your burning Sea of Thieves questions in our first ever forum Q+A! It went so well that we decided it was about time we did another one. For today's session, we'll have Head of Music Robin Beanland and Audio Director Jon Vincent answering your questions about the sounds of Sea of Thieves.

    The Q+A is due to start in just a couple of hours and will be held between 5pm-6pm BST. For those of you not within the UK, you can check out what time this starts in your timezone using this extremely handy converter so that you don't miss out.

  • Ahoy!

    Between 5pm-6:30pm GMT we'll be hosting our first ever forum Q&A Session with Sea of Thieves Executive Producer @JoeNineTee and Lead Designer @MikeTheMutinous! Over the course of an hour, both Mike and Joe will be personally picking and answering questions from you, our Insiders, while @Muse986 and I post their responses in this thread.

    So, if you've got any burning questions about Sea of Thieves, or just want to sit in to see what the team has to say about the game then keep your eyes on this thread, kick back and look forward to the festivities! For those of you not within the UK, you can check out what time this starts in your timezone using this nifty converter so that you don't miss out.

    @OpticalMatrix said in Sea of Thieves Q+A with Joe Neate and Mike Chapman! - **ENDED**:

    Our first Sea of Thieves forum Q&A is now over. There were some great questions in here so thanks to everyone who came in an contributed! Mike and Joe are still looking at questions that were sent in so there are a few more replies incoming.

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    Watch this space.