Posts Tagged ‘Making-Of’

Making Of Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative

It is a Spacey-ship
[With Jumpgate Evolution incoming and Space week entering its final quasar-packed moments, I though it an opportune moment to dig out an Old Making Of I did about the original Jumpgate. I spoke with their Ryan Seabury at an AutoAssault press-event, way back then. The article originally appeared in PCF and has been slightly edited.]

You never know what to expect at a press event. Sometimes it’s simply you being locked in a tiny room with a sinister east-European man for eight hours, demonstrating the unique merits of their ultra-special hexes. In this case, I’ve spent the last five hours running around obstacle courses and similar outdoors pursuits in the company of NetDevil’s Design Director, Ryan Seabury. It’s an actual press junket. Sadly, there’s little chance to actually point a dictaphone in his direction and talk like gentlemen. Just before we’re whisked in separate directions, I manage to grab five minutes of recorded chat with him. Luckily, Ryan speaks and with enough passion, enthusiasm and speed to fit thirty minutes of normal talk inside this relatively brief frame.
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Making of: System Shock 2

Yeah, see what we did here.
[Since it’s Space Week, it’s a good time to pull my Edge-commissioned Making Of System Shock 2 feature out of Stasis. The material for this was drawn from the lengthy conversation I had with Ken Levine last year. So, yes, before Bioshock. I’m quite fond of this piece, if only as it reveals the secret origin of the Psychic Monkeys…]

The lights are low. Everyone’s panickedly fighting against a seemingly impossible, oppressive deadline. At every turn there’s a crippling lack of resources. Viewed by any objective criteria, the small inexperienced team doesn’t have the skills to achieve their aims. They’re all crammed into a single room – in fact, half of one, since it’s one room bisected with screens. When you look at where and how Irrational worked on their first game, it’s easy to think of the claustrophobic horror of RPG/Shooter System Shock 2 as a pure product of its environment.
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Making Of: IL-2 Sturmovik

[This interview took place in a Manchester Hotel Bar, with Oleg chain-smoking and chuckling to himself all the while. He was also agreeably outspoken against most Flight Sims – usually while doing that chuckle – in a way which not many developers are about their peers. I have to applaud. This interview originally appeared in PC Format magazine, in the lead up to Pacific Fighters]

License to IL-2.

Assuming we put aside all the ones about giant harems and chocolate syrup, it’s arguable that the flight was man’s oldest fantasy. It took thousands of years to achieve, following the efforts of some of humanity’s greatest minds. Then, for some, came the next challenge: successfully making something which offered a convincing facsimile of real flight. “It was my dream to make Flight Sims from the very beginning,” says the softly-spoken Oleg Maddox, whose English is far better than my Russian, “In 1993 though… the power of the PC just wasn’t enough. It was possible to make some little thing like Wing Commander, for example… but that’s not really a flight sim, because there’s no real physics and no real simulation of the movements.”
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Making Of: Stronghold

[Way back when Firefly were revealing Stronghold 2, I had a chance to talk to Simon Bradbury about the genesis of their big-in-Germany management RTS and its demi-sequel, Stronghold: Crusader. As usual, this originally appeared in PC Format. All sales stats referenced are circa then.]

Strong!

It’s easy to underestimate something like Stronghold. We shouldn’t. As far as a games go, it’s been an incredible success. Ask our colleagues in Germany about it and you’ll receive a voluminous response. Over there it outsold Grand Theft Auto. It did it with nothing more than be a good idea (i.e. Make a castle, defend it and knock down someone else’s), well executed. Unique enough to attract an audience yet familiar enough not to confuse, it’s no surprise that it found an expansive and devoted fanbase. However creators Firefly have a far longer history, whose lessons directly contributed to their later successes.
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Making Of: Soren Johnson On Civ 4

We're all about the arty cuts in our photos, us.
The Interview I did with designer Soren “Ex-Civ, Now Spore” Johnson in December could be roughly divided into two parts. The bits which were not about Civ 4 and not about Spore. We published these in January, where we talked about the future of the PC being Punk Rock. The second half were the bits about Civ 4, which we publish below, where Soren talks extensively about Firaxis’ desires for the project, why Civ multiplayer had never worked in the past, and the difficulties of moving the old warhorse into 3D.

The non-existent part where we talked about Spore will never be published, as it didn’t happen. Pay attention.
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The Making Of: The Conflict Series

[With Conflict: Denied Ops running jokes reaching critical mass, I thought digging out this interview with Pivotal’s Stuart Poole about the genesis and development of the series may be a good idea. It was done just before Conflct: Global Terror was released, but their mind were clearly on Next-Gen. It deals with both Desert games – which I think were neatly designed, actually – and the disappointing Vietnam.]

Men in a desert.

Pivotal rose from the ashes of Bath’s Pumpkin Studios, who made the ground-breaking Real-time strategy game Warzone 2100. Despite being the first true-3D RTS and receiving some of the best reviews of Eidos’ history, it was a commercial flop which killed the team. While being ahead of the curve can pay off handsomely, it can just as easily lead to disaster. What now?

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Making Of: The Sims

[Our Making Of series returns! Since I’m starting to run low, I’m working on another string of articles to mix in with them on Fridays. It’s a series of interviews with some of my favourite Indie-game stuff right now – basically, all the RPS favourites. However, in the meantime, here’s what I think is good one – Will Wright, on the Sims, in typically expansive and intelligent mood. This remixed version features considerably more matieral than the original which appeared back in PC Format. Oh – and I’m using a mix of Sims and Sims 2 grabs, for decoration’s sakes, though this is 100% about the original.]
Wright makes right.

In our time sitting down with Will Wright, the prime mover behind the Sims games, we talk about many things. The game’s origins, its development, its trials and tribulations and its success… but the one question that we really wanted to know remained unbroached. “So… Will,” we’d grin, “Exactly how grotesquely rich are you?”. You have to wonder. There were 29 million copies of the Sims and spin-offs sold at the time of the interview [And 70 million now – Ed], and you have to presume there’s some serious green in the man’s pockets. But not that he hasn’t had to work for it. The Sims is a game that simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for his faith in the project. And its gestation lies well back in the history of a much earlier game. Though probably not the one you’re thinking of…
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