the deerveloper saga
12 june 2022

it was 2020, and we were a few weeks away from shipping the Quest port for The Line, ARVORE’s virtual reality short story about miniature dolls.

at that point, production sent the porting team an online document with all the credits, so we could implement it into the game, and also make sure we were properly represented.

i briefly joked with the team about how it didn’t say i was the team’s mascot deer, as it should; somehow that joke got a bit too far, and silently, Deerveloper was born.

the credits scene of the game, seen in VR; the role for Luna Olmewe is stated as Deerveloper

it took a while for everyone in the team to notice that change, be it in-game or in the credits document, but we all kept quiet about it. for me that ended up being part of the joke.

a few months later, the game got nominated for a Primetime Emmy award, which was a nice surprise for the team! in other news, during that time, the game was to be localised to like, 6 more languages, and so the credits scene eventually had to be refactored, because hard-coded credits with two separate text objects for English and Portuguese just weren’t it.

sadly, this meant that we had to have an unique key in the localisation system for Developer (which actually became Development just so we could keep it gender-neutral in a few languages).

this means that either every developer in the game would become a Deerveloper, or no one would. adding a separate localisation key for Deerveloper would spoil the joke too, because this would bring the attention of the translators, who honestly deserved better than this.

but you know it just had to keep going at that point, so an exception was added! and soon the localisation system saw a new feature, where if a key was written with a !deer modifier, it would change in the English version so that Dev would be replaced with Deerv. yeah.

so my entry in the credits panel code looked like

Luna Olmewe: $development!deer

and i don’t think that was ever changed again. Deerveloper lives on.

another few months go by, and to another surprise, our Primetime Emmy nomation became an actual award!

that’s when the game director messaged me, mentioning the Deerveloper joke for the first time, asking “hey, by any chance, do you want your certificate to say Deerveloper?” which to my surprise he was totally on board with.

we went with that, and within a few weeks the Emmy people replied back asking “are you guys sure,” to which we just replied yes. another few weeks go by, and this arrives to my mailbox:

an award certificate, written "Television Academy; 2019-2020 Primetime Emmy Award; Honors LUNA OLMEWE, Deerveloper, For Contributions To The Emmy Award-Winning Program; Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media: THE LINE"

i might have one of the most unprofessional Emmy certificates ever, all because of an inside joke that was taken too far by almost everyone in that studio, and you know what? yeah. that’s what it’s all about, i think.