Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A visit to id Software

Ever wondered what it was like at the office of id Software (Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake) back in the days? Ever wished you could go back in time and see what the guys were up to? Well, you can! In this video uploaded to Vimeo by John Romero himself, we get an exclusive behind-the-scenes peak at their office in Mesquite, Dallas, Texas, one day in November 1993. At the time, id Software were busy finishing up Doom, which shipped just a month later.

Romero writes:
In 1993, Dan Linton, owner of a hugely successful BBS called Software Creations, visited Texas and made his way to id Software. This is the footage he recorded one night in November 1993. Shown are several of id's employees at the time: Jay Wilbur, Shawn Green, John Romero, Dave Taylor, Sandy Petersen and Adrian Carmack. Bobby Prince was visiting to finish the music and create the sound effects. This video has 21 minutes of me playing DOOM before the sound effects were put in as well as some early deathmatching with Shawn Green.

You can also watch this video on YouTube, here.

We Play Doom With John Romero

Here's some more John Romero goodness. In this one hour and thirty minutes long video, Ryan McCaffrey from IGN sits down with Romero for a co-op playthrough of Doom's original episode, "Knee-Deep in the Dead". Romero shares some interesting stories and secrets about its levels, and we get to learn some fun trivia about the game (for example, how to properly announce "gib"). This is a great video both for fans of the game, and for people interested in level design.

If you enjoy watching this video, make sure you also check out John Romero plays the first episode of Doom.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The complete Another World with Éric Chahi

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Another World post-mortem with Éric Chahi

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The making of Another World with Éric Chahi and Jean-François Freitas

Here's something I found on YouTube just yesterday. I think I may have seen it before, but it wasn't in my bookmarks. In this short documentary video, Éric Chahi, the creator of Another World, reminisces about the process of developing his all-time classic. Chahi, a true artist, is almost a little uncomfortable while doing so, as he explains: "I don't like talking about Another World. The pictures speak for themselves". Which is actually true - the entire story of the game is driven by the imagery and the player's imagination. There isn't a single sentence, word or dialogue to be read in the entire game.

Also featured is composer Jean-François Freitas, who wrote the memorable intro music for the game, and also helped create the game's sound effects. We learn some interesting tidbits, like for example how the sound of an old dot matrix printer was turned into the sound of the lifts in the game, or how nuts became the sound of bones exploding.

I also found the video on Vimeo. You can watch it here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Tim Cain on Matt Chat

In 2012, Tim Cain was another great guest on Matt Barton's Matt Chat show. The videos are a little short (I believe Matt was fighting some YouTube upload restrictions at the time), but very interesting to watch. Cain talks about how he got started on the Atari 800, how Fallout came to be, working on the game at Interplay, working on his other games Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and Temple of Elemental Evil, and also gives his opinion on Fallout 3.

Fallout post-mortem with Tim Cain

This is probably my favourite of all the GDC post-mortem videos available online. Tim Cain is probably best known to gamers as the producer, lead programmer and one of the main designers of Interplay's post-apocalyptic RPG Fallout. Prior to Fallout, he was a programmer at Interplay working on various games. In this GDC 2012 post-mortem, Cain explains how his engine he began working on in 1994 evolved into the now classic RPG. He also talks about the popular culture that influenced the game, and shares some hilarious anecdotes about the game's development (the one about the Windows NT installer, for example, is simply priceless).

You can also watch this video at the GDC Vault website.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Llamasoft And The Space Giraffe

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The history of Llamasoft with Jeff Minter

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Julian Gollop lecture at GDS Bulgaria 2011

At the 2011 Game Dev Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, Julian Gollop gave a lecture on how to get your career started in game development. This is not directly related to old school game development, but I felt like including it anyway since it's interesting to watch. In this video, Gollop talks about how he got started making games on the ZX81 and BBC Model B, and then proceeds to give advice for programmers, game designers and level designers.

The making of UFO: Enemy Unknown

Edge Online has a making of article on UFO: Enemy Unknown which, again, is a little short but still fun to read. Julian Gollop explains how he and his brother Nick pitched the game to MicroProse, and also talks about some of the problems that arose during its production.

Monday, February 02, 2015

NowGamer interview with Julian Gollop

NowGamer had a very interesting interview with Julian Gollop (Chaos, Rebelstar Raiders, Laser Squad, UFO: Enemy Unknown) published in August 2011, which can be found here. In this lengthy interview, Gollop talks about how he got started programming on the ZX81 and Spectrum, his love for board games, the many innovations in turn-based combat games that he and his brother Nick came up with, and the incredible success of UFO: Enemy Unknown.

UFO: Enemy Unknown post-mortem with Julian Gollop

Here's another excellent post-mortem video from GDC 2013, in which Julian Gollop, creator of Rebelstar Raiders and Laser Squad, revisits his biggest hit - the 1994 MicroProse tactical game UFO: Enemy Unknown (also known as X-COM: UFO Defense). This game spawned several sequels and also had a pretty successful remake of it released about two years ago, which I unfortunately haven't played much. The original game, however, is an absolute classic which me and my friends played a lot on our 486 PCs back in the days.

You can also watch this video at the GDC Vault website.

To see the game in action, or if you enjoy watching let's play videos, check out Kikoskia's Let's Play X-Com UFO Defense on YouTube.

The making of Alone In The Dark

Edge Online has a making of article on Infogrames' classic horror adventure Alone in the Dark from 1992. It's a little short and not very detailed, but tells the story of its creator, programmer Frédérick Raynal, and how he designed the game mostly by instinct. The game was a huge success, but the article ends with explaining how Raynal felt betrayad by Infogrames, and eventually decided to leave the company together with the rest of his team.

Alone In The Dark post-mortem with Frédérick Raynal

The various GDC post-mortem videos that can be found on YouTube and in the GDC Vault are truely awesome. In this post-mortem, presented at GDC 2012, designer and programmer Frédérick Raynal goes into great detail about the creation of his most famous game, Alone In The Dark from 1992. He is also the creator of Little Big Adventure (1994). Raynal talks about the 70s horror movies that inspired the game, early polygon graphics, the special 3D editor he had to program, and many other interesting things.

You can also watch this video at the GDC Vault website, which I this time recommend, because the YouTube version has some problems with the audio.

Maniac Mansion post-mortem with Ron Gilbert (again)

About a month after the post-mortem of Maniac Mansion at Game Forum Germany in January 2011, Ron Gilbert did a similar post-mortem at the Game Developers Conference in California, San Francisco. Again, Gilbert talked about what inspired the game, the famous SCUMM system, and many other things.

Unfortunately, the GDC Vault website won't let me embed the video, so you need to click here to go watch it. Once again, great stuff, and a must-see for fans of the early LucasArts adventure games.

Maniac Mansion post-mortem with Ron Gilbert

Exciting news struck retro gamers in November last year, when Ron Gilbert (creator of Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2) announced that he and Gary Winnick (co-creator and lead artist of Maniac Mansion) is developing a new point-and-click adventure together. Not only that, but a truely old school one with 16-bit era graphics! The game is called Thimbleweed Park and you can follow the development in detail at their website.

In this post-mortem, presented at Game Forum Germany 2011 in Hanover, Gilbert talks about designing Maniac Mansion, early ideas, his frustration with text adventures, the SCUMM system, technical limitations, the hamster in the microwave oven, and much more. Great stuff!

Doom post-mortem with John Romero and Tom Hall

Here's an hour long post-mortem video on Doom, which I find very interesting. This post-mortem was presented by creators John Romero and Tom Hall at GDC 2011 - the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

You can also watch a slightly more interactive version of this video if you head over to the GDC Vault website. It won't let me embed the video, and I'm having some issues with their video player, so I prefer YouTube.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

John Romero on Matt Chat

Matt Barton, host of the excellent Matt Chat show, did a lengthy interview with John Romero about five years ago. In this interview, Romero talks about how he got started programming games, the early days of id Software, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and the troubled production of Daikatana.

And if you can't get enough, there's also a two-hour long UNEDITED version of the same interview. This version is audio only, and the YouTube video found below is accompanied by slides. You can download the original MP3 of this interview at the Armchair Arcade website.

John Romero plays the first episode of Doom

Let's kick off this blog with something that was uploaded on YouTube just recently!

John Romero (creator of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake) sits down with BioShock level designer Jean-Paul LeBreton to play through the entire first episode of Doom, all while commenting on the level design.


And here's a bonus part, freshly uploaded less than a day ago, in which Romero checks out JP LeBreton's Doom remake of his BioShock level "Arcadia".


This is just another post in case I need this space for later.

testing testing

My first blog entry!