00:00 Intro Welcome to the Player Engage podcast where we dive into the biggest challenges, technologies, trends, and best practices for creating unforgettable player experiences. Player Engage is brought to you as a collaboration between Keyword Studios and HelpShift. Here is your host,
00:15 Brian Mehr Greg Posner. Welcome to the Player Engage podcast. In this episode, we’re joined by Brian Maher. Brian’s journey began in high school, silk-screening punk rock album covers on t-shirts. He later founded M2 displays, specializing in innovative retail displays. Despite their success, unforeseen circumstances led to the closure of the company, and Brian’s story is filled with valuable lessons which he’s ready to share. Driven by a passion of immersive tech, Brian taught himself programming, mastering Unity 3D and C-sharp. He released an AR app and now works as a chief communications officer at Cyrenex, the creator of Odin Inspector for Unity. Odin enables modding at scale, revolutionizing game development workflows for over 100,000 developers. Join us as we delve into the impact of communities and modding on game stickiness. Discover how Odin empowers developers to extend the lifespan of games. Welcome to Player Engage, Brian. Let’s explore the exciting world of gaming and modding together. Is there anything I missed about you or you’d like to share about yourself?
01:14 Greg Posner Well, thanks, Greg. Thanks for the introduction. I would say that I am not a master of Unity yet. I’m a learner of Unity. That would be the only thing I would correct there. But thank you. Yeah, it’s just happy to be here, excited to do this. It’s been cool to listen to the other podcasts that you’ve created so far and I just think it’s great.
01:32 Brian Mehr Thank you. And thank you. First off, I think no one’s a master of Unity. I think every time you get close to mastering it, they release a ton of updates and you have all of a sudden have to start learning again. But give anyone that’s listening, including myself, right? Give me an explain like I’m five. What is Odin Inspector? All of the people I know that are developing on Unity rave about it, right? I am not a developer and to my audience listening, this is going to be kind of a foreign podcast to me because I don’t know the true development side of things. So what is Odin? Who’s using it? So on.
02:02 Greg Posner Good question. And you know, it’s a funny question that I answer, I think differently every time I’m asked it. And the reason is, is because Odin is a very, very big tool, let’s say. And the best way that I like to describe it is it’s a giant toolbox full of tools to make tools. And our core, the core users of it are Unity developers. It currently only works in Unity. And what it is at its essence is it just gives you the ability to customize your tooling. In Unity right now, if you were to use Unity without Odin, you can make custom tooling. It’s just a long process. There’s a lot of code involved. And generally people don’t do it because it’s just too much of an effort. So if you have Odin in your Unity projects, you can add one line of code or one attribute and it’s going to reveal your tooling in the inspector that easily. And it’s so easy that you can see the comments from our community and our users and they really appreciate us for
03:04 Brian Mehr building it. Is there a specific type of engineer that’s using Odin? Are we talking about the EAs of the world? Are we talking about the indie gamers of the world or game builders of the world? Is
03:14 Greg Posner it all of the above? Sure. I mean, yes, it goes from the indie to all the way up to the AAA studios. We have, in fact, we have studios around the world that are using Odin. We are, I think we’re one of the most downloaded tools in the history of the asset store. If we’re not the most, we’re close to the most. At the beginner level, I want to say everybody using Unity is going to be better off having Odin. But if you’re truly a beginner and it’s your first time using Unity, it might be a little bit not the most useful tool for you. I do think though that if you’re a beginner and you use it and you get used to using it, you’re probably going to have a better time using Unity later on. I hate to ever say don’t get it if you’re a beginner because it’s still going to be useful for you and your learning. But the people that probably benefit the most from it are larger teams, lots of projects with tons of data, right? We’re very good at managing data. If you’re using Odin, it’s really great for visualizing and seeing your data, right? Exposing it in the inspector. So yeah, I think that a large team, huge project, that’s going to be the best place to use Odin. But it’s going to be good in any capacity. And people swear by it. People that use it, I think one of our most recent reviews was like, oh, I don’t know what I used to do before I had it. They get so used to using it that if they were to have to use Unity without it, I think it’s very
04:40 Brian Mehr hard for a lot of people. So it sounds like the barrier to entry might be a slight bit higher than just kind of the entry. But once you’re able to do it, it makes the rest of Unity for lack of
04:51 Greg Posner better words easier to understand. So it’s kind of a short barrier to entry, but then life becomes nice. Yeah, yeah. And we’re also coming out with a type designer, or drag and drop method. So that will open it up to a more beginner level when we do have that. I’m not sure when, maybe end of this
05:12 Brian Mehr year. It’s always hard to put times on things. My developers will kill me. Yes, I had to create a game in Unity for our demo tool. And it was a nightmare. And being able to use something that’s drag and drop would make my life a lot easier. So that’s good to know. And this is interesting, because one of the opening questions I always like to ask are what games are you most excited about? But before I actually ask you that question, your background is in printing. Were you a gamer prior to that? Are you a gamer now? And how did you get from printing to gaming? And that’s like
05:44 Greg Posner 18 questions in one. So I’m just gonna sit back and relax. Oh, man. You know what, this is going to expose my age, right? I’m 53, which is, I don’t know, depends who you ask. I don’t feel old, I feel young. But my original exposure to video games was way back in the arcade days, you know, where you drop the quarter in the machine. And we lived at the arcade. So we rode skateboards, and we lived at the arcade, there was a big long red curve right out in front of the arcade. So when you ran out of quarters, you would go out and skate the curb, you know, and ask your friends for quarters to go back in and play a game again, right. But back then, I you know, there was a game called Arkanoid. I remember Dragon Slayer, I think came out and everybody’s like, Oh, my gosh, it’s 3d, right? Like, and we tried to master that game. I have very, very fond memories of that time, you know, I grew up was my whole crew that I grew up with skateboarding. And that’s where we got into the punk rock scene. And you know, all the things that I did in, in my career sort of stems from that, right? I will say, not too long after I didn’t grow, I didn’t heavy into games, you know, even now, right, I do play games now. I’m fascinated by them. I’m more I’m more like interested in seeing the graphics, seeing what the technology where the technologies advanced to, and really just getting an understanding of the the world that I exist in now. Right. I that said, I like farm simulator. I like adventure games where there’s a lot of beauty where I can fly around and just see things, you know, I really enjoy that. I like to play Fortnite sometimes with my kids. I’m not I’m terrible at it. But I it’s a cool way that I get to spend time with my kids, you know. So yeah, that’s about the extent of it of what I do with games. I play chess, I’ve been getting
07:27 Brian Mehr more and more into chess. I don’t think scam scam podcast about someone scamming the chess world, and realize how big of a revival chess got during the pandemic. It’s a big deal. Yes. Chess is a big deal. And you mentioned your age and just for anyone that’s listening behind Brian right now, he’s got multiple surfboards, he’s got Patagonia signs. So for as old as he says he may, he doesn’t feel old. He said 53. I feel significantly older talking to him just by all the outdoorsy stuff he has behind him. And it’s funny that you mentioned the beauty games, right, the visual scenic games, I think those are fantastic. And I think that kind of meshes with probably your AR VR side when you started thinking about it, because I know
08:09 Greg Posner AR and VR has some great games where you just kind of escape the world throw on the headset and be in a whole other place. Is that kind of what drove you to learning? Unity or not Unity Unreal? I’m sorry. Yeah, yeah, that is AR. You know, it’s funny, I just went back and talked to the first time I saw augmented reality was in 2011. And I just went back and asked my friend, I remember he met me at a coffee shop. He says, I got to show you something. You know, and he was at the time a customer of mine, someone I admire greatly, really wonderful man. And he’s like, I want to show you this thing. I think it’s the best thing you got to you know, I think it’s going to be the next thing. Right. So we go and we sit down at this coffee shop and he puts this paper down on the table, pulls out his phone, opens the app, and then this boot plops down. It was some campaign from Europe that was popular back then. Right. And I’d never seen it. But right when I saw it, I go, Oh, wow, this is amazing. We start looking around at the boot, right. And then you can switch to a different boot and a different boot. And then the whole time, we’re just looking around it. And I’m like, you know, the first thing I thought was like, this is fantastic. This is the future. And then I said to him, and I remember we just talked about the other day, I said, you know, there’s going to be a long time to get this to market. And I don’t have the energy or the capacity to be able to do that myself. I said, thanks for showing it to me. And to his credit, he did he pursued it. And he’s been doing it ever since he’s great, you know, and he’s, we him and I have since worked together in that space. But that’s what exposed me to, to unity in the first place. You know, I started, I never left my mind when he showed me that. Right. And there was a few years later, I started thinking about it more. And I was doing a lot of work with the shoe company Vans. That was my main customer. So we were doing retail signage for them for all around the world. And they were very innovative. They were always looking to innovate. And so I remember bringing it to them saying, Hey, this is a thing. And they were into it. But again, it was still it was too hard to like get it done. You couldn’t get somebody to do it. And if you did, it was not quite what you wanted. You know, and the customer would say, I want this. You would tell the developer, I want this. The developer would send this and it would be like nothing anybody wanted. And it was a communication problem. And that’s what spurred me on to learn unity. I thought, Hey, I don’t know how to communicate this well enough to the customer. I don’t know how to communicate well enough to the developer. Maybe I should learn it myself, at least to the
10:30 Brian Mehr point where I could communicate it better. So that’s what got me into unity. I love it. And there’s a whole connection of everything you said so far. Right. So growing up, you were at skating, you were at the arcade, you were playing games there, you went into printing who ended up working as a customer or client for bands who are making skating shoes and skating apparel and, and then being innovative. I remember their commercials and all their stuff. When I was younger, they always seemed like the willing to take a risk, willing to take a chance type of brand. And now all of a sudden, they took those chances. And you then moved up into learning how to code this AR VR stuff to help build out those tools. So it’s funny how this whole thing actually
11:08 Greg Posner does connect whether you think it or not, but growing up, it all kind of plays a role. Yeah, I love the connections. You know, being 53 now, I can, I have a longer span to look back at. But you do begin to see all those connections going back to your youth. And printing is really one of the greatest technologies that’s ever been right. And it’s changed the world in so many ways. And I think some of the technologies today are revolutionary in the same way. Right. And I just, you know, I’m starting to see connections back to my printing world and all my relationships there. You know, they’re all, Hey, Ryan’s doing AR, he does VR stuff, call him, you know, or he’s doing all this new, this new video game stuff, call him. I, you know, one of the first things I did when I got into this, this space was go to bands and go to all my customers in the print world and say, Hey, you should have a unity department. You know, unity, what’s that? You know, you should hire a couple of college grads, set up a unity department and just do R and D because I guarantee you there’s going to be something there that you could use, whether it be for marketing, whether it be, you build a digital 20 of your business, build some games branded with bands, whatever. But unity makes that quite easy. And if you don’t have that, I think every company should
12:18 Brian Mehr have some, some, you know, it doesn’t end again, it doesn’t have to be unity. Just that’s what I know. Makes sense. It’s almost the new form of communication, right? Back when you were growing up, printing was a form of communication, whether it be billboards or magazines, or some way to just get information from here to there. We’ve adapted, we’ve grown, we’ve, we’ve built technology to allow us to communicate online and print or talking online, talking on VR, talking through games is kind of like the new way to communicate. So, so it’s almost like an evolution of printing of how you get your message across it. And maybe that’s a stretch. Yeah, no, I like those stretches. Um, you are the chief communication officer today. What is your day to day like? How are you spreading the word?
13:00 Greg Posner Well, first of all, like titles are, we have to have them, right? Like we don’t like them. I’ve changed my title three or four times, right? It feels like it puts you in some box, you know, but communications, I think fits the bill for the most part. And, you know, we talk all the time about messaging, about marketing, about sales, about business development. And I want, I think my days consist of all of the above. You know, I often find myself saying, Hey, I’m always messaging. I’m always messaging. Well, how do you do that? How do you measure it? You know, there’s all these things. And it’s like the way that I, I think my day to days exist with meetings, you know, I try not to have meetings just to have them, but I generally have meetings throughout, you know, most days. So I’ll have that scheduled. I’ll, I’ll spend time on events. You know, we were, we’re starting to do more and more events. So I may have to spend some time on the next event that we’re going to be going to. I’m constantly communicating with customers, whether they have, you know, usually around licensing type stuff or, or new purchases or renewals. So that’s a big part of my day. And then also communicating with our team. You know, we have people, we’re all remote, you know, we have someone and we have one person in Montreal, one in Germany, another one in a different state here in the U S and then our team is all spread out in Denmark. So you’re always trying to communicate there as well. So that’s pretty much what most of my days look like. Now, when we have an event, now I’m at the event, right? And so it’s a whole different world. And
14:31 Brian Mehr that’s a lot of fun too. But let’s, Brian’s being a bit modest here, right? We are hosting, Brian’s attending an event for Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, community clubhouse. We’ll have a whole bunch of information on our player engage website. If you want to register, be come check out, I guess we’ll have a whole host of speakers that are going to be there. But Brian, from your day to day job, what is, what brings you the most joy? What do you look forward to most during the day?
14:57 Greg Posner I love the question. I, yeah, I could probably answer this 10 different ways, right? I think what brings me the most joy is, is doing things that make sense and being productive. If I boil it down to its core, I, the easy answer is being with people. I like what we’re doing right now. I really enjoy this. I love talking to people that I do business with or just people in general. I mean, I can enjoy talking to a stranger as much as I can talk to, you know, my wife. So yes, that brings me great joy. I also like just, when I say I like doing things that make sense, you know, when you’re working in a business where you’re making a product that’s, that really is helps people. And you know it, right? That gives me great joy. So it may not be a moment where I’m having that joy, but it’s a sense, this feeling I have, you know, working in this company. And when you see the reviews and you get the, you see the love that you get from the community,
15:54 Brian Mehr that, that’s really means a lot. Yeah. Being able to impact someone’s work by making a better experience, being able to enable them to get more done. I think that’s probably one of the best feelings in the world. It may not directly impact you, but knowing that you’ve done something to help someone that helps empower you to do more, to push a little harder next time. Yeah. You, you mentioned community a lot and I know Odin is known for their extensive community. Can you give our listeners who may not be familiar with Odin kind of an idea of how your community works, where you’re located, how people communicate and help each other?
16:27 Greg Posner So yeah, our community, it’s, it’s, it’s a great question. And it’s a, I look at our company in a lot of ways as unique. I don’t know if we really are, but you know, we’re remote. I mentioned it that we have, you know, people all around the world. Our customers are around the world. I’m dealing with people all in every country and lots of countries every day, right? Which I really love too. I really enjoy that. I’ve traveled the world. I love travel. I love different cultures and learning about them. So the fact that I get to work with all these different cultures every day is really neat. Another way I could answer the, what gives me joy question. Our community exists in lots of places, right? Like discord is a great place. Like we, we do all of our support in discord. We have thousands of members on our discord channel. It is alive. Someone related it to like the show, cheers. Remember the show, cheers. We’re at a bar. So I feel like we’re at the bar having fun in here. And I just, I love when I see people say that we have people that are supporting our community for us for, because they like our product so much. And in fact, that’s how we hired our first guy. You know, he was a, we made a bot in discord called Fenrir, but Fenrir is a Odin’s dog in mythology, right? So it makes perfect sense. So Fenrir is our bot. We, we coded it ourselves. And what Fenrir started doing was rewarding our community members who were supporting the other community members, right? And so we built this little point system and so they started competing. And so when we came time to hire that, why don’t we hire the top point earner in our discord channel? And so we went to him and he was not able to take the position because he has a good job already. So we went to the second guy who is our first employee, Antonio has been fantastic. And it’s so funny, Greg, because when we did approach him, we’re like, Hey, we want to hire you. You know, he’s like, Oh, but I like doing this. I didn’t want, he didn’t want the, I didn’t want to be paid. He just wanted to keep doing it. Right. So we almost had to sort of force him to take the job. And, and I dunno, it’s a cool story, but that’s a really great community story. And I tell it all the time. And I think, you know, you just go in our discord channel. It’s just,
18:29 Brian Mehr it’s fun. It’s fun to be in there. So I love that because discourse becoming more and more prevalent in the community itself. Right. And I feel like it’s bridging a gap between engineering and customers. So far, again, for our listeners, Brian’s tool, Odin is being sold to developers, whereas a tool that we sell at help shifts is being sold to customer support. And they are two separate departments that typically don’t communicate well to each other. Customer support deals with the customers. Engineering doesn’t always want to deal with customers. And yes, there are some nuances here where people will, but, but discourse providing this channel now that will allow consumers directly to potentially communicate with, with their developers or engineers. And it’s opening up a whole new world of kind of workflows and communication between the teams. And I’m just curious. I mean, you built out this bot, you built out Finry or you’ve, you’ve done other stuff on there. Like, have you seen anything? I don’t even know what type of question to ask for this, but, but have you seen any impressive workflows between how your customers work with one another from within that
19:31 Greg Posner or is that all related? Yeah, that’s an interesting question. Workflows are, are so varied, right? Like that’s something we’re always trying to get. We’re always trying to get feedback from our customers. A lot of time we don’t know what their workflows are. And, you know, we’re sort of a workflow flow tool. Like we, we improve workflows, you know, that’s really what our tool does is improves your workflows. And we know it’s doing that. We just don’t often know exactly how. And so companies, sometimes it’s a, it’s a cultural thing, like depends on where you’re at in the world, like how you do business. Yeah. No, no, it’s, it’s a, I can’t think of a specific workflow that I, I, maybe the better way to answer this question would be to like try to link it, right? That, you know, we said it was a stretch earlier, but I do believe, I really do believe that what we’re doing, you know, we’re working with developers. We’re not working necessarily with the game player. And in some sense, we are with modding, which I think we’ll talk about in a little bit, but we believe that it starts from the beginning. It’s just like anything. It’s like a great company. The company started somewhere, you know, and I think there’s some law that says it takes on the personality of the founders are like, let’s say the founders are gone, long gone. There’s still their personality, their artifacts remain, right? I think it’s the same with software. I think it’s the same with games, you know, what is the origin of the game? There’s some, there’s some artifacts that are going to live on. Now, maybe that is a stretch. Maybe people don’t feel it, but I, I believe that if you give your developers a better quality of life, you give them this, and that’s something we talk about a lot. Odin provides a quality of life upgrade, tough thing to market, tough thing to sell, tough thing to share, but it’s true. And it’s, it’s evident in the comments we get, it’s evident in the reviews that we get. And so I like to think personally that if you have a happy development crew building your game, you know, that it’s just going to translate. It’s going to translate with those somehow, some way into the end product.
21:21 Brian Mehr I really do. I think that’s true. I think that’s well said, right? I mean, right? It’s funny. I know this is completely different, but all the commercials for California saying happy cows have happy milk. It’s kind of like happy developers are going to be excited to build the game, going to do good things in the game. And I realize those are very different things there, but it’s kind of that whole mindset of good will produce good. Yes. So let’s talk about the community and let’s talk about modding. So I think about 15 years ago, and people who are listening don’t correct me or not, right? I bought when it launched an Xbox 360, it was very exciting to me. And I picked up a game called Skyrim, which at the time I’ve heard good things about, but I did not know what I was about to enter into. 15 years later, we are still talking about Skyrim. It’s coming out on fridges. It’s coming out on smartwatches. And part of the idea of why this game is surviving is because the game embraced modding. It provided easy to use tools to help build out game workflows, allow anyone to come into mod. This whole time you and I have been talking about Odin for the engineers and for the developers, but let’s talk about it for the modders, because I think more games these days are embracing modding. These games that do embrace modding tend to have a longer lifespan, more legs, because people can create what they want to and enjoy it and share it with others. Back in the day, you probably had to go into registry files and edit stuff and change stuff to try and mod stuff and download shady stuff off the internet, wondering if you’re going to get a virus or the actual mod you’re trying to download. What is Odin? Who are you working with? Who are you partnering with? I don’t know if you can name names, but how do you work with these customers to help enable modding at a larger scale?
22:57 Greg Posner Yeah, so modding, I think it’s hard to say if it’s a trend or not. I can only go by what my customers are saying and asking for. We do have a few modding deals in place. It’s a bit of a challenge for us to broadly provide our product for modding, because it’s a special build, needs to be redistributable. So the people that are actually using it on the other end, we have to make it so they’re not going to have to pay for the asset, or that it’s not a prerequisite, paid prerequisite. It makes no sense to do that. So it’s a little bit difficult there, and we’re working on that, how to more broadly sell that. But the companies that we do do it with, the reason they want it, and the same reasons you mentioned, it makes sense. This is a way that the game could live on longer, and whatever reason they have for doing it, people want it. What I’m finding is that our customers are saying, hey, our community wants it. So they’re coming to us saying, hey, can you help us? They’re using our product to make their own tooling to build the game, right? So they’re thinking, hey, if we’re going to allow modding, we’d like to give them the same kind of tooling, which can’t be done in vanilla unity, or it can be, but it’s just going to take an enormous amount of time. It’s not worth the effort. I like to see it as a trend. I think it makes sense. I’m excited about the creator mode for Fortnite, for instance. I think that’s a big thing. I think that’s going to be a really big thing in the future. Still a little ways before it is, I think. But yeah, I don’t know. Maybe that’s
24:32 Brian Mehr an indicator of the trend, or an indicator of this trend. When you take a look at your Discord channel, is it typically your customers that are the ones that are in there, or do you have some random modders? I’m going to call them modders, and that’s probably not the right way to do it. Those end users who are doing modding, are they in there as well, trying to learn from the community?
24:50 Greg Posner That’s a great question. I don’t know. I think, I want to say, I’m going to assume yes, right? But they’re not identifying themselves as modders, per se. I think in our world, I don’t know that they know, right? The customer’s making it for them. They’re making all this tooling for their modding community. They’re not necessarily selling us. So maybe those modders don’t, maybe they don’t know, or if somebody, maybe they might be an odin user in their free time, and they recognize some things, and they might say something, but I’ve not personally seen that
25:22 Brian Mehr myself. When it comes to kind of where you are today, right? Again, with Odin, and coming from printing, if you could go back to yourself 20 years ago, and tell yourself a message, and give
25:31 Greg Posner yourself a message, what would you tell yourself? This is another one where my age comes into play, right? So I was 33 20 years ago, right? Not necessarily a young man even back then. But I think what I would tell myself is to learn more, just be learning more all the time. Learn to code, you know, learn to program, you know, and pursue it, and continue to pursue it. And then I would have taught myself about cash flow, I think. I think cash flow is a something you don’t learn when you’re young, or maybe you don’t learn until you experience it. Yeah, those would be the main ones. And then I would, I think I’d also tell myself to balance. I would work on balancing things more, meaning my health, my health, my, you know, I was, when I was that age, everything I thought was growth, just growth. I just had this growth mindset of just, you start a business, everything you do, you just grow it, you grow it, you grow it. But I never really had like a goal of like, where does, to me, it was this never-ending growth, and I never, you know, so if I were to go back, I would say, okay, set a goal. What does that mean to you? If you’re just going to grow, what do you, what do you want to grow into? What do you want to look like 10 years from now? What do you want to look like 20? I was just like, just grow. And we did. It was great. But then I woke up one day in a cash flow problem,
26:58 Brian Mehr which I got through. I got through that, but it wasn’t pleasant. Yeah, some of those things you just got to kind of learn by, by having your feet to the fire, and it’s not always the best way to go about that. But you also said continuous learning, and I find that interesting because you did teach yourself Unreal and you taught yourself C-sharp, and that’s no small feat. How do you go about, are you one to pick up a book and start reading? Are you going to go online? You’re going to YouTube
27:24 Greg Posner it? So when it came to Unity and C-sharp, again, I’m still learning, you know, I’m always going to be learning. That was the point I was trying to make, just keep learning. And I read all the time. I love history. I’ve been learning the guitar, you know. Same time I went to learn Unity, I started learning the guitar at the same time, right? And I’ve fallen in love with it. But here’s a really great tip, and this is what worked for me. I was reading a book by Tim Ferris, actually, Tribe of Mentors, great, fantastic book. But one of the parts of that book, a guy was talking about learning, and he was saying one of the ways that he learns is to take 30 days, one month, take one hour a day to learn a skill, right? And spend those 30 days, one hour every day learning that skill. And the point of it is, is that when you’re done with that 30 days, you’re going to either decide if you still like it, if it’s something worth pursuing, are you good at it, you know, or you’ll put it down, right? And so I thought, yeah, I could do that. So I started with Unity and I fell in love with it. I thought, hey, I love this. I made an app. After 30 days, I made a phone app. And I remember putting it, it was an augmented reality app. And I think it was my head. I had in my head scan, and I put my head on my floor in my house, on my phone, and I was over the moon. I was telling my kids, I’m like, look at this, look at this, I made an app. You know, I put something on my phone and I was so excited. I’m like, that’s how it works, I guess, right? So the next one I did was the guitar. I said, okay, I’ll take one hour a day. And I’ve been trying to learn the guitar for years. And I did that. And by that 30 days, I learned enough that I could start to play a few songs. And so, yeah, I’ve just tried to do that. Now, you can’t learn everything and do everything all the time, but you can always be learning and like you can decide, hey, do I want to pursue this or not? Yeah. So I think that’s a great, you know, everyone can try to find an hour a day.
29:20 Brian Mehr Yeah. And especially, I mean, you could speak for Unity’s side of things. Within an hour a day, they have so many tutorials online and how to get started, how to build that simple app, whether it be a race car app or a shooter app. It’s a joke how easy it is to get started, but it could take a lifetime to become an expert. So there’s never the wrong age or time to get started. It’s when you’re ready and you can dedicate that hour a day to that project that you should get started
29:45 Greg Posner because there’s nothing that should be holding you back. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And you know, it is wonderful. And you know, I’ve made hundreds of prototypes. I’ve made so many apps. I’ve actually made real apps too for a couple of companies that are out there. I learned enough that I don’t want to make apps. I don’t really enjoy them. I don’t enjoy the app stores very much. And it’s a lot more work than I anticipated, but I was able to learn that, you know? And it’s just a, it’s quite amazing really. And you know, now I travel, like I’ll take surf trips and stuff. And sometimes we’re in areas where it’s quite poor, right? And I’m sharing, like I was recently on a surf trip in Mexico and our guide, you know, he was a real entrepreneur, you know, his name’s Sam. And I love the guy. We’ve been down there twice now. He’s been our guide both times. I got to talking to him and he’s saying, Hey, I teach jujitsu in the community to like people, to some of the kids. It’s good for them. I’m also a, like a fix it man. I’ll go around and fix people’s stuff. And I go, you know, he was telling me all this. He’s a surf guide, you know, and I’m like, Hey, you’re, you just seem to pick things up and learn them. And you’re a real people person. I go, you should consider learning unity, right? You know, and I’m like, you know, the idea was like, you’re living in an area of the world where, you know, it’s, you can’t, you don’t have a ton of opportunity to make income. Even as jujitsu, he couldn’t charge. He wouldn’t charge people because they didn’t have money, but he’d still do the classes anyways. Like that’s really great. And I’ve heard stories like that over and over around the world, right? And so I told him, I said, Sam, you should learn unity. I go, think about it. If you learn this, it’s not that hard to learn. I could teach you, you could start making stuff. And now the United States is your customer. The people, the people in the United States who have money are your customer. Right. And he thought it was a great idea. I thought it was a great idea. I even shared that with unity. I thought, Hey, this is what this is something, you know, and I went to some friends of mine in India, same situation. I started sharing with them, but the problem I was facing was the language barrier. Like, you know, he says, Hey, I would share YouTube videos with them, but he would say, Hey, they’re not in Spanish. He understands English, but he said the English that is not good enough to translate to programming. Right. Okay. There’s, there’s something there. Maybe there needs to be
31:58 Brian Mehr some more Spanish speaking YouTubers. I don’t know. I think, I mean, the big point I feel like I’m getting from that is that a unity is not just for gamers, right? It’s going to be for anyone that can build an app. It’s going to enable you to globalize yourself and put yourself on a larger scale. It’s just, then there’s going to be those other challenges you may not be familiar with, right? Things such as localization, making sure you’re speaking the same language as that person, making sure that they can understand you. And even when it comes time for currency, being able to convert currency, that all becomes a struggle. But there are tools out there that can help you do that type of work and that stuff as well. Going back to Odin for a second, because again, engineering questions coming in here are with help shift. I know the KPIs and the measurable stats that people are looking for, right? Things like first touch, average handle time. How do you, how do you measure Odin? How does a developer look at the tool and determines if it’s successful or
32:55 Greg Posner not? I think it’s a tough one because it’s hard to compare it. There’s not, there’s not, there’s almost nothing else out there like it. You know, there’s one other like open source asset that has like a handful of attributes similar to Odin that people will reference sometimes, but it’s so limited compared to Odin that it’s almost not comparable. So that’s a difficult one. And that’s something we’re working on hard actually. We’re trying to like measure what is it that you’re getting? If you adapt Odin, what is it that you’re getting? And so I have to sort of make this case that look, you’re not making custom tooling because it’s too hard, right? Like, or it takes too long, or you have to devote a department to it, right? Yeah. Well, they already have a workflow established. Like you’re trying to introduce something that they didn’t know they needed. You know what I mean? Now that said, the developers who use it, this is how we get, I think we get most of our business, especially at the studio level or enterprise level, is that we’ll have an advocate, somebody who’s using it as a hobbyist, as an indie. And like I said before, we have so many people have downloaded it over the years that there’s a lot of people that are just used to using it in their everyday Unity projects environment. And so they’ll get into a studio and that studio, they’ll get hired by the studio. First week on the job, they’re like, there’s no Odin. I can’t use any of my stuff I’m used to. And so I’ll get a direct message or they’ll start talking to their boss. And so that’s a lot of times how I get it. Right. And so then at that point, I’ve already got somebody in there who’s an advocate saying, Hey, this is going to save me so much time. The boss might be like, Hey, we’re doing great. We’re doing great. Why do I need to pay for a new thing? So it’s always a challenge. But I will say this, I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody complain after the fact, after they purchased it. I’ve never heard someone say, yeah, you know, we bought it, but it’s not really doing that much. I’ve never heard that. I know it makes an impact. I mean, that’s a hard thing to do. It sounds like arrogant sometimes, right? Like you need this. I don’t really do that. I think we just let the tool sort of speak for itself a lot of times. Yes, we’re messaging a lot, but when we’re messaging, it’s like, we really just try to give our community information that we think they should have. Right. I’m trying to sell them, not trying to give them something they don’t necessarily need. But if it’s like a new attribute, if it’s a new part of Odin, or if it’s a new product, of course we need our community needs to see all that. And it’s such a big tool too that we don’t like sometimes they’re only using like a fraction of it. Is there any way you can measure things like time saved? Like, yeah, we’re trying. I love the question. And we ask the question to ourselves all the time. There’s just not an easy answer. There is a good example recently, the guy that does our videos for us, Jeremy, he actually works full time as a Unity developer for a company. It’s not a gaming company. I think they do something to do with tractors and stuff, tractors. But anyways, he’s been doing that too, trying to convince his boss, right? And the boss is like, I don’t know. And then finally, what he did is he made a tool, and then he gave it to his boss and said, look, here’s how our project looks without Odin. Here’s how it looks with Odin. And he made all these little buttons in the inspector so that even the boss could work with it. And he saw it, he saw it right then. How do you turn that into a measurement into time? Like, was it three hours before and now it’s two? It’s guessing, right? Like we often use the example, like it might take
36:33 Brian Mehr three developers one week if you didn’t have Odin. Now, if you have Odin, it might take one developer five minutes. That’s a pretty maybe fair example, but I can’t show it to you on a spreadsheet necessarily. Yeah, it’s like a quality of life improvement that you just feel it, you know it’s helping you, but how do you really show the value there? It just makes sense and it works.
36:59 Greg Posner Yeah, and I have three deals right now, three things that I’m talking to very large companies, and it’s the exact same situation where the developers like, hey, sometimes they’ll beg me. I had a person from Facebook begging me one time, can I just have the license because it was so hard for them to get it through the channels they have to order stuff? Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s neat. It’s a neat problem to have. Do you keep up with the world of generative AI and is Odin asking or customers asking for are you guys doing anything with that to help generate assets automatically? Is that a big no-no because people may not want to see jobs cannibalized by that? Yeah, you know when it came out, it threw us a little bit, like maybe a lot of people, right? I think it was like, I don’t know, last November when it was first starting to get a lot of press and we started playing around with it a little bit and all of us were on a call thinking, sort of quiet a little, like what are we seeing here? What is this going to, how is this going to impact us? Could this be something that someone just, could someone be in unity and say, hey, make me a custom inspector that does this and will it do what Odin did? Right, and so we started playing with it and trying to do that ourselves and what we’re sort of realizing right out of the gate was like, well, yeah, it probably can do that but it’s going to source our stuff because there’s not really anybody else that’s made the parts, right, to make Odin work. So it’s going to, in order for it to work, it would have to sort, which is a little bit flattering, like because you’re like, okay, that’s great, that’s good, but then what does that mean revenue-wise? And so we don’t know. We don’t know yet but what we’ve determined over the last several months since that time is that I think we’re okay, right? We, no one knows for sure. You know, as we started to put Odin inside the, I mean, CHAP GPT inside the Odin with some prompts and we weren’t really thrilled with it. We didn’t think it was better than what we have now but so we’re just looking at it, exploring it, waiting for the next updates, just like everyone else. It’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s all of those things, you know,
39:09 Brian Mehr I mean, it depends who you listen to when. Yeah, I’m actually, we’re doing a podcast with our VP of technology here to kind of understand how we’re approaching it, right? Because I think to your point, it’s a new technology. There’s a lot out there. A lot of people want to throw something together real quick to be the first one out there with a product but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good product. So I know there’s some companies and I’m just interested how they’re looking at baking it in, whether it be CHAP GPT or Mid Journey or one of the other tools out there to help generate things real-time. But again, I realize it’s kind of a gray area right now until
39:42 Greg Posner things start getting worked out, that privacy, security and all that type of stuff. It’s the wild west, it really is. I love it. You know, we use it too, like, so we’re using the AI. It’s always an interesting conversation. It’s being had all the time. I’ve had this conversation many times and always interesting to hear how people are using it, right? And I use it. I cautiously use it, I should say, right? Like, and I’ll use it to write a little bit. I can do a lot of content writing and, you know, I’ll use it to check my emails but I never, like, paste it. I never, like, usually take anything it actually does. I’ll just look at it as a reference and then type it or write it because something in me is like, I care. Like, I feel like if I offload that work, I stop caring all of a sudden. I don’t know, that’s just me. And, you know, I had a friend of mine, good friend of mine, reply to an email recently and he replied with CHAP GPT and it was obvious to me. I saw it, right? And I didn’t like it. It really upset me, actually, you know? I’m like, here’s my good friend. This is a guy, like, I feel like a family member almost, right? And he doesn’t care enough about me to actually respond to my email with his own hands. And the other thought was that, hey, if he’s just automating his email responses, how’s he ever going to get my message? And so it just bothered me. And I told him, I knew it, right? He didn’t know I knew. And when we got together in person, he says, Hey, I used CHAP GPT. I go, I know you did. And I didn’t like it. I told him straight up. I’m like, I didn’t. And he looked at me like, I go, in fact, I recommend you don’t do that. You know, don’t don’t do that for the rest of your relationships
41:18 Brian Mehr either. You know, that’s what we always talk about using it as a starting spot. Don’t copy and paste it. But like, I’ll write an email, throw it into CHAP GPT and see what it comes up with. And I’ll take pieces that I like and that I don’t like. But it still is my email. I’m not asking to generate it from scratch. So it’s still my verbiage. But some ideas and some pointers is what I look for. But yeah, I think even now, it’s getting more robotic. And it’s kind of getting, anyone knows when you go on LinkedIn, you scroll down, you know, which posts are from CHAP GPT, and which ones are real posts that someone made it. It’s not that hard to identify.
41:55 Greg Posner It does what someone’s recently said this, it’s starting, the results that I’m getting are starting to be like what I would expect. And that’s interesting, right? It wasn’t like that at first. It was a shock at first, you know, everything it did, you’re like, oh, wow, you know, and still, I’m still discovering things. And it’s, I mean, it’s great. It really is. Like, for me, more than anything else, it’s sort of like a confidence booster. Like, you know, I’ll write something, and I’m just not sure the tone, maybe the actual words I’m using, like, how’s that person going to receive this? I really want them to receive it in a certain way. So I want to write it, you know, it’s not making stuff up. It’s really me caring. And so like, I’ll put it into the CHAP GPT, and it’ll say, you know, the feedback is quite good. You know, it’s, the other thing I notice is, I’ll write more, I’ll be more free in what I write, right? Like, so like, when it comes to technology, especially like my, the developers that we work with are so smart, their geniuses, and by every measure, in my opinion. So when I’m talking to them, I’m often intimidated, because I won’t, I know what I want to say, but I don’t have the terminology, the right words for the tech, right? And so I get intimidated, and I’ll hold back. But if I’m talking to CHAP GPT, I know it’s not another person, something in my brain knows, so I’m just free to write, like, I’ll say the stupidest things, you know? And I don’t know, that’s helpful. That helps me learn, right? Helps me be a better
43:18 Brian Mehr communicator, which is really what I want to do. Yeah, kind of articulate yourself a little better than that. And then again, don’t copy and paste it, because half the time, it might not even be right. But I mean, it’s just cool, because what are we maybe seven months in with this technology, not even, and this is where we are. So kind of similar to how years ago, you saw that AR, VR technology, I think this is the forecoming of the next wave of big technology that that’s, at least that’s my feeling towards it, and how it can really revolutionize the work that everyone’s doing. You have to use it properly. It’s not going to replace you, it could just help enable you.
43:54 Greg Posner It’s an exciting time, exciting time to be alive. It really is. We keep saying that, you know, you could get a little bit sad about it, which is, I think everyone’s going all over the place. But at the end of the day, I just love it. I’m so glad we’re to be around at this time, working in the
44:08 Brian Mehr space that we’re working in, working on the stuff that we are. It’s just neat. It’s real neat. Well, speaking on this, and this typically leads to my next question, it might be that same answer, what trends in the industry are most exciting to you today?
44:22 Greg Posner Well, that one for sure, right? I think another way to maybe say it too, is like, okay, I’m a creator. I like to create, identify myself as that, like I’m a creative type person. I think we all are. I think everyone has a creative ability in their own right. And I think at this point in time, the history of the entire world, there’s never been the ability for an individual to make an impact that never. I mean, yeah, and I think what you have to do is do the work, learn, do the work. And if you explore these tools that we have, that are, I’m amazed sometimes, it’s a little scary, because like I have access to tools. I feel like can like, destroy the world, or like, you know, change a government or something. And I’m thinking, I’m just a guy on a laptop, learn, just discovering some of this. And I’m like, what about the people who actually understand this stuff, if they get access to it? It’s powerful. And it’s like, sometimes you realize there’s this precariousness in the world, but somehow it works, you know, somehow it works. And, and I often think that, you know, every technology is going to be used for good and bad. And we’re just at that time again, right now, it just seems maybe a little more powerful than
45:41 Brian Mehr ever before. And everything’s moving faster. It’s a scary future with that, right? It’s a more adventurous. I like to say it’s an adventurous future. It’s not, you know, from when I was a few months ago, they tried to have a few of the leaders stand up and say, we should pause the continue, the advancement of the AI. And there was the Elon Musk, because the world’s saying that, but people aren’t going to pause. It’s just going to let other people catch up and expand further. Like, like you said, it’s going to be used by good people and bad people. You can’t block it. It’s what people are going to do what they’re going to do. And enabling anyone to do what they want to do. Right. I mean, this is again, how much do you want to learn? How much effort do you want to put into it to start doing stuff? It’s a cool time. It’s just
46:23 Greg Posner scary future. Another one, Greg is, and maybe this is the opposite of that question is like, what would be, what are some trends you see that are a little concerning, right? And I think software like this, this is something we’re actually working and involves what we do is software, like the idea that software sort of breaking down and, you know, there’s this abstraction with software, you know, we have all these libraries that sit on top of libraries that sit on top of libraries that, and then we have all these things down at this lower level that are breaking. And so everyone up here saying, Hey, something’s broke, but no one can see it. No one can down here. No one can get down here anymore. Right. And what that’s causing is this effect over time where, you know, you have to restart your computer all the time, right? All these things that we experience on a daily basis on our computers that we don’t even realize we’re experiencing, how long it takes to load text, how long it takes to load a platform, all those little screens, you have to wait for the timer, right? That really shouldn’t be because hardware is so great, but software is like eating it, right? So all that said, that’s a problem. And I think that problem is not getting better. It’s probably getting worse. And that’s something that we’re working on, actually. That’s a new product that we’re going to be coming out with
47:41 Brian Mehr that we think will address that problem. Remove that abstraction. That would be very neat. So kind of removing specific layers to allow you to move faster. Yes. Performance. All right. We’ll get some insight information. Last bit of questions. Care to give any shout out to the community clubhouse? Explain to people what it is.
48:03 Greg Posner Yes. I’m glad you brought that up. So that is our next event. When I mentioned earlier that, you know, I got to work on events. That’s one that we are currently working on and it is going to be awesome. We did it for the first time at GDC and it was a huge success, hugely attended. In fact, we had to turn people away from the list because we had so many signups. And the fact that, you know, we actually ran the event and by the end of the event that day, I think we tapped into something. We tapped into a need in the community. And that is for the community to be together, to have a better understanding of what players are experiencing. And so the talks and the topics that we have in it are just fantastic. And so I’m looking forward to the European version of it. We were in Germany last year for Gamescom and the fact that we get to put this conference on the day before is just going to make it that much more awesome. And yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I think we’re live streaming it as well, right? So I think people will be able to see it that are
48:57 Brian Mehr not going to actually be in Germany. So I’m looking forward to this next version of it. Yeah, it should be great. And for people that are listening, if you’re going to be in Cologne for Gamescom, we’ll have speakers at Community Clubhouse from Supercell, from Rovio, from Sega, by Netflix Games, by Kloravi Games, by Niantic. It’s going to be hosted by Odin, by HelpShift, by Keyword. It’s going to be a fantastic event. We’ll have information on the Player Engaged website again, in case you want to learn more or register to be a guest there. It’s going to be a full day before the true event even begins. So I highly recommend checking it out. Brian, before I let you go for the day, any last words you’d like to share about yourself
49:40 Greg Posner or by Odin or by something else? Oh, wow. You know, I don’t know. Just thanks, Greg. Thanks for having me. I love working in this space. I love the community. Game developers are amazing. I pinch myself all the time. I came from the print world. It’s a bit of a dog-eat-dog world there in the print business. Difficult, stressful business. I come into this business and I think, man, there’s a lot of young, smart, super happy people. And I just love it. I love being around them. And yeah. And thanks also, HelpShift, for your guys’ partnership and your relationship that we’ve been building together. It’s been really great. Yeah, great. And actually, one last question is, how do you feel about this kind of semi-revival of punk rock? Is that a thing? You know, it’s funny. A lot of my friends are still in bands and they still play, right? The same bands. And I grew up in Fullerton, California. I went to the same high school that social distortion went to. And so, I don’t know. Yeah, I love it. It’s a great genre. It’s a whole different thing now
50:45 Brian Mehr than it was back then, but it’s awesome. It’s great. Yeah. Awesome. Glad to hear it. Brian, thanks again for joining. I hope you have a great day. And everyone, thanks for listening.