Monday 8 April 2013

Return of the king

Richard Garriott joined the kickstarter frenzy with his game Shroud of the Avatar. It was a success in terms of funding, of course. It's as nostalgic as you can get. Ultima-series touched even me and I'm pretty solid person, a fan of few things. Ultima IV and V were influential games and I even had plans to do something similar, but roguelikes had more power so they took me into the dark side.

Shroud of the Avatar is not that interesting, although wonders may happen and it's going to be a great game. What I find interesting are the Youtube videos of Portalarium channel, a company that was founded by Garriott and some other developers. The video where Garriott and Warren Spector are talking is revealing, because of the body language both are expressing. Spector is both afraid of Garriott and also hates him. It's almost like he is forced to chat with Garriott in order to increase the credibility of the project.

I guess they have different personalities. Spector is a new generation (even he is older than Garriott) designer with less commercial thinking. He is more artistic. Garriott is like most old school game developers who joined the scene simply to get truckloads of money. It was different than now when a huge number of people is creating free games like roguelikes. Back then commercial success was an important part of game development and games itself were formed in certain direction and still today live under those rules. It's obvious when you look at what type of games are released in the commercial sector. They hope it's something people will buy.

Sometimes I feel envy of those early pioneers of game developers. It was easier to program some kind of blobs of sprites moving around and for that you got more money than you could dream of. And in 80's Internet had not yet destroyed social relationships which made it much easier to get in contact with real women. So they got money and women (and drugs judging from the games they made) like rock stars. What did we got? Nothing. I mean it. Nothing and on top of that people laugh at me when I talk about Kaduria.