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For the term "Shadowbane".

I LOVE LOOKING AT RAPH’S TIMELINE [Author: myschyf]

Nonetheless, beautiful or not, the timeline is very useful and, at times, interesting. Every time I go look at it again I learn something new. Take these series of unrelated events. At least, I think they are unrelated. But they look good together no?

1994 — TEN gets going, with Jack Heistand at the helm, formerly of EA Sports. Funding came from Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins, who merged Outland with Optigon and pumped in $10 million.

1996 — TEN officially launches in September.

1999 — TEN ditches hardcore and persistent world gaming to become pogo.com.

1999 — UO2 announced with Starr Long, Damion Schubert & Jeremy Gaffney. Jack Heistand becomes general manager of Origin. The game is later renamed Ultima Worlds Online: Origin.

2001 — EA purchases pogo.com.

Note: the following is not in timeline — yet:

2001 — Citing a need to downscale after their purchase of pogo.com, EA cancels the widely-anticipated UO2. 85+ people from the UO2 development team leave Origin, including Jack Heistand.

Like I said those are probably unrelated events. I just found the sequence interesting.

Another thing I noticed yesterday in the timeline are development starting and release dates for our favorite three games: UO, EQ, and AC. Lets look at more dates:

1995 — Archetype Interactive begins Meridian 59, with Mike Sellers as a designer and the Kirmse brothers Chris and Andrew as programmers. Mike offers Raph Koster a job, but he declines because of a job offer from Origin. He recommends Damion Schubert for the job instead. Archetype and Meridian are later acquired by 3DO, where Rich Vogel acts as producer for a time.

Note: the following date comes from a Gamasutra PostMortem on AC written by Toby Ragaini.

pre-May 1995 — Asheron’s Call begins development.

Note: Back to the timeline now

1996 — Origin demos Ultima Online at E3 (note: knowing that Raph was Lead Designer from inception and he was hired in August of 1995 and that E3 happens in May, this means UO has now been in development for about six months)

1996 — John Smedley at Sony’s 989 Studios hired Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover to begin development on EverQuest.

1997 — Ultima Online launches commercially and breaks 100,000 users very quickly. Rich Vogel joins Origin before launch.

1997 — A development deal is signed for Asheron’s Call, to be developed by Turbine. Jeremy Gaffney is among those involved though he later leaves before it ships. Toby Ragaini is principal designer.

1998 — Verant’s EverQuest opens in beta.

1999 — EverQuest opens, and quickly becomes the second huge success in the newly dubbed “massively multiplayer online roleplaying game” (MMORPG) genre.

1999 — Nine months later, Asheron’s Call releases on the MS Gaming Zone.

I think sometimes we all forget how quickly UO was produced in relation to its two largest competitors. EQ took 3 years and AC 4 to develop and release. UO was done in just under two years. To give you a sort of comparison Shadowbane started development in 1998 and Horizons, Anarchy Online and DAoC in 1999.

Things that make ya go hmmmm. Hmmmm?

WOLFPACK OFF GODGAMES LINEUP [Author: Lum the Mad]

As noted by J over at Crossroads of Shadowbane, Wolfpack Studios, Shadowbane’s development team, is no longer among GODGames’ gathering of developers. In a statement on the official boards last week, Todd “Warden” Coleman basically confirmed the rumors without confirming anything, thus proving that his kung fu is superior.

You seem to imply that somehow we’re “dodging” some subjects, when in fact the opposite is true — we’re telling you, flat out, that we aren’t in a position to talk right now.

I realize that a lot of people have doubts, and thats unfortunate.. more unfortunate, perhaps, because there’s not really much I can do about it.

In the meantime, beta continues to move forward, we’re hiring new people on a weekly basis, and no one at Wolfpack seems worried. Let me be very clear on this point : Shadowbane WILL be released. We are not concerned for the future of this product.

Even if the worst happens and Shadowbane never makes it to release (not to rabid fanboys everywhere: I’M NOT SAYING THAT) all is not lost, though: Disney’s working on an MMOG!

OH YEAH, AND OSI SHUT DOWN UO2, VERANT SHUT DOWN WHINEPLAY, AND DEREK SMART THINKS JEFFK IS REAL [Author: Lum the Mad]

As always, April 1 was an exciting day for news from the gaming industry.

First up, Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 got cancelled. A Canadian web site (using the @IP URL redirect trick) “got the scoop” on that one.)

Thankfully it wasn’t all gloom and doom in the MMO field – Shadowbane has a new publisher! That’s right, Valusoft, maker of fine products such as Floorplan 3D and Wild Turkey Hunt, will surely give Wolfpack Studios the support they need in these trying times. That one from the official Shadowbane forums, so it must be true!

Also, Star Wars Galaxies revealed their newest playable race: Gungans! Meesa no like dat.

And finally, Horizons went on about their quest for rideable mount design, which I’m told is considered funny if you’ve been following Horizons. If you haven’t been following Horizons, the only conclusion you can draw is that they’ve been drinking heavily while you weren’t looking.

When I showed up with his new mode of transportation, he thought I was joking; but once he got going, I couldn’t get him off – “This is awesome! I haven’t felt like this since I was eight years old!” I specifically remember him shouting out strange and unusual sentences during the first hour of testing the device, but the most memorable was “this reminds me of Debbie Reynolds!” Once he bounced off around the corner and didn’t return for five hours, I knew that this was the mount of choice.

Oh, and our moving to a new host and promptly being raped with rusty barbed wire? Not a joke. Sorry.

WARDEN, GOD OF DIPLOMACY, LORD OF TACT, AND KING OF ALL MEDIA [Author: Lum the Mad]

J. had the following to say (excerpted heavily) on the official Shadowbane board regarding the current relative lack of information or screenshots being released:

A year ago, you could have got away with it. A year ago, most of us thought we’d be playing the game by now. This vaccuum of information is intolerable.

The justification for not releasing anything at all for the sake of perfectionism just doesn’t fly anymore. Give us the goods, please. We might not appreciate them right away, but eventually we may.

Warden, in response, had the following to say:

No.

And we were worried that Wolfpack didn’t understand PvP.

eGENESIS BRINGS US A TALE IN THE DESERT [Author: myschyf]

So what kind of game is A Tale In The Desert? Well according to the FAQ, which says it better than I ever could, “It’s a radically different massively multiplayer role-playing game. It contains no combat: no monsters, no player-killers, no swords or armor. Your character advances by completing, participating in, or leading large projects. Negotiation and politics play a very large role. The game has a plot that unfolds in response to player actions, and when the story is over, the game ends.”

The FAQ goes on to outline some of the types of projects you might be expected to complete. Those of you missing the virtues of the original Ultimas will find this little tidbit interesting: “Leadership: The challenge of Trust. As in Know who to trust. To complete this challenge, a player must bury a significant amount of gold in the deep desert, and then get 1 mile away from it. Next, he must reveal the location to ten trusted friends, and allow 24 hours to pass. After the time has passed, he can retrieve the treasure. If the treasure has been stolen, the player loses the gold and fails the test. There is no penalty for the thief.”

That particular quest sounded impossible to me at first glance. My initial reaction was “no way will anyone ever be able to complete that quest.” But after giving it a bit of thought I think these guys might be on to something. Imagine the feeling of satisfaction of actually being able to complete this one. Whoa. Not every project is predicated on trust however, which is good considering how little there is to be found on the internet.

The graphics are not state-of-the-art — or even 3d. They don’t have to be. Frankly I’m quite glad they aren’t. A game predicated on gameplay rather than graphics — wow what a concept. I’m floored that someone actually has the guts to make this game given how consumed today’s developers seem to be with having lots of eye candy and so little content. These people are bringing a badly-needed breath of fresh air to this industry.

If you go over to the website let me encourage you to take a look at the boards. You’ll find the developers discussing the graphics engine, which they wrote themselves based on OpenGL and after doing research into what was currently being used. They have no prior game development experience but have been designing and playing games for fun for quite a while. Normally my warning bells would go off on seeing that but the fact that these guys have been quietly designing their game for three years and the sheer originality of the idea has quieted my warning signals. That and the fact that they only plan on running the game for a year and a half. Then they plan to quit.

I doubt this game will get the numbers required for it to be considered massive. The developers say they have a European publisher but I can’t see a publisher being willing to fund the server farm necessary for massive numbers and also being willing to have the servers wiped in a year and a half. But maybe these guys have a trick or two up their sleeve I don’t know about. Nonetheless, the originality of what they are doing is something I welcome with open arms. It won’t be a game for everyone. I doubt this will appeal to the Shadowbane crowd and the opportunities for grief players to ruin this are, of course, numerous. They seem to have thought of that though. Josh Yelon, (one of the developers), states on their message boards, “Effectively, we’ve written the entire plot assuming that around 60% of the players will act in selfish ways, and around 10% will be outright psychotic/destructive. A lot of the plot twists we have planned use these “bad” players as vehicles.”

I’ve written them and asked for an interview so hopefully we will be able to hear more about this game in the near future.

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA WHINEPLAY [Author: Lum the Mad]

Unfortunately, the EverQuest message boards are often a hotbed of exaggerated negativity where only through one-upmanship, melodramatics, and dauntless persistence can one hope to create a big enough thread surrounding an issue as to have it addressed. Posters with the opportunity and time to engage in these tactics at least get to see an Official tell them \’e2\’80\’9cYes\’e2\’80\’9d or \’e2\’80\’9cNo\’e2\’80\’9d, while others with equally valid stated concerns and the same desire to make the game better for everyone see their posts fall off within minutes, only to be overlooked or missed in the end. That, or they simply don\’e2\’80\’99t post at all, avoiding the boards and the negativity found therein (we\’e2\’80\’99ve received a lot of player feedback via email and at Fan Faires attesting to this phenomenon).

Well, this is simply not acceptable. Our original goal for the boards was to have them serve as a place where valid player issues would be addressed and not overlooked. We need and want to hear the feedback of anyone willing to send it. You deserve to know that your feedback is being read, that your issues are being considered by the design team, and that the chance of having your thoughts heard is not tied to your ability to be outspoken and persistent in a public forum. That is one thing all of our goals have in common, and one thing that we need to improve such that we are able to give players the input and feedback they deserve \’e2\’80\ldblquote the current \’e2\’80\’9cpublic\’e2\’80\’9d process.

To that end, we\’e2\’80\’99re making a number of changes, both to the message boards and the procedures for sending feedback.

And what changes are those? Well, the few boards that will remain (the Roleplaying “Harpy’s Head” forum and the newbie help forums) will have draconian guidelines on what can or cannot be posted. General Discussion (what we lovingly call Whineplay) and the QA board (Ester the Tester’s domain)… well, they no longer exist. What replaces them?

The difference here is that attempting to post a message or reply will take you to a special form where you can \’e2\’80\’9cSubmit Comments\’e2\’80\’9d to the Development and Quality Assurance teams. Representatives from each team will read all of the comments submitted and choose several daily to which to reply publicly. Those representatives will then quote your comments if chosen in individual posts under the appropriate read-only forum. These forums will also be used for special announcements, inquiries, and the release of important information as it is appropriate. And we also hope it will be much easier for players to keep track of what is going on in EverQuest.

This is so much more efficient than those old anyone-can-post-any-old-opinion message boards… which is why, of course, Verant was thoughtful enough to build them into the game already. Type /feedback sometime. Didn’t know it was there? Chances are good neither does Verant, any more. And when they did, they casually deleted them as they came in. Too many to read, don’t you know.

Was Whineplay a useless cesspool of, well, whining? Of course. Will this purge and abdication of any responsibility for moderating a discussion board help communication between Verant and its players? Of course… if you define “communication” the same way North Korea does. Verant’s tired of having to defend themselves, and to their credit, they’ve taken a lot of unwarranted crap. The problem is that in the hailstorm of that sometimes unbelievably wacko criticism, a lot of very valid discussion, suggestions, and yes, complaints about Everquest get lost.

A possible answer to this problem is obvious – and, unfortunately, the reason Verant won’t do this is also painfully obvious. There’s quite a lot of third-party message boards for EQ already. Many of them are very, very good. They’re moderated well, the signal to noise ratio is low, and it’s easy both for newbies to get help quickly and for ubers to brag about their +50 Codpiece of Lordly Might. You’d think it would be a no-brainer for Abashi or Absor or even Aradune himself to collect feedback and bat around a few ideas. After all, the board moderators themselves would have an interest in maintaining the atmosphere – which, interestingly considering their “amateur” status was always more “professional” than EQ’s own boards – even were these august personages to pay a visit.

The problem is one of control. Verant is very big on control – it’s no accident that every Everquest-related product has in its credits a shout-out to the “good” websites. The ones that don’t post spoilers – what Verant calls, you know, the basic rules of the game. Verant has made a joke out of banning users who post opinions that they don’t agree with on their own boards – and, in one particularly celebrated case, even for posting things they don’t like outside their own boards. And what we’re seeing now is a typical exercise of control. You can’t behave nicely? Fine – we’ll show you, then. Submit your petitions to the Gods of Gaming, and perhaps we may smile upon them and grant a representative, carefully chosen few our attention.

They’re simply overwhelmed. They tried throwing personnel at the problem – it didn’t work. They tried hiring a nice guy – it didn’t work. They tried just hiding and hoping it would all go away – it didn’t work.

Because in the end, it’s their world. Their rules, their server, their toys. You are but a customer, and one whose opinion, overall, tends to distract people from important work. Sit down, shut up, and send in your $9.95. For god’s sake, you got Medtris, now STFU.

Unfortunately, this attitude is all too prevalent in the industry. Not everyone’s wardrobe is so laughably made up of nothing but brown shirts as Verant’s seems to be – most have a bit more tact, appear a bit lower on the radar. But they all have control over their world. And if you think your opinion really, really matters, well, you’re just deluding yourself, aren’t you.

Until someone else realizes that the role of a game company is not that of benevolent dictator, but unseen caretaker. At that point, well, it could get interesting. You think?

UO2 KILLED: THE COMMUNITY REACTS [Author: Lum the Mad]

I, like Rico here, also hope EA goes under for their mental shortcomings. It is unfortunate they dont quite grasp the concept of “learning” yet. How they make money is beyond me, but hey.. they do it, and I applaud them.. because its hard to make money when your not very bright like that.

Malt Refund, uo2.xrgaming.net>

No, UO is not going to crash and burn right away but it will eventually. In case they have not noticed, there is a hell of a lot of competition coming out with games in the next year or two. Games that were made after learning from UO\’e2\’80\’99s successes, and more importantly, its mistakes. At least one game with fans at least as rabid as Ultima fans (and you can bend your Wookie too). Obviously, this was a calculated business move except nobody here understands the reasoning behind it. Is it to slowly force a shut down of any remaining OSI activity? Because nothing else makes sense to me. UO isn\’e2\’80\’99t going to be the breadwinner forever and now there is nothing to take its place. UO Third Dawn is nice. New lands, new monsters, a 3d client with new and improved bugs. However, new 3D wrapping paper on an old game doesn\’e2\’80\’99t make the product appealing to the market that would have been brought in by UWO:O. Unless I was wrong in my assumption that bringing in new gamers to your product is considered a good thing…

…They\’e2\’80\’99ve lost something much harder to overcome today. Loyalty from Ultima Fans..scratch that loyalty from paying customers. We\’e2\’80\’99ve heard it, said it and meant it before. But this time they took away all the hope and excitement for the future of a game with fantastic potential. And now, not only will we not believe you when you say “TRUST US”, we won\’e2\’80\’99t even trust you to get a game out at all. This time they took away from the core of a deeply rooted fanbase that, if nothing else, was devoted to the lore of their games…

Its time for the cynic to cancel her UO accounts. I\’e2\’80\’99m finished.

*GAME OVER*

Niobe, uo2.xrgaming.net

How can any thinking person expect UO to retain its current customer base once the “second generation MMOGs” start coming out? How many UO players are just biding their time until “something new” comes out? Without another game to pick up UO’s slack, what’s to become of OSI?

Does anyone really think “Third Dawn” will help? IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK.

No, I haven’t thought too highly of EA/OSI in the past. Yes, I see this as justification of what I’ve said for more than a year. But no, I didn’t want it to turn out this way. There’s no humor in kicking a dead dog.

J., Crossroads of Shadowbane

As a public service, we here at The Corporation would like to give EA a little bit of friendly advice, one gigantic, soulless company to another.

Put the fucking bong down.

The human mind recoils in horror at such a decision. Apparently, a stuffed suit somewhere at EA-HQ was getting bored making little log cabins out of pencils on his conspicuously empty desk and decided, “Hey, we’re making too many games! We need to make less games, especially ones that might turn a profit!”

Mr. Poppinfresh, the Corporation

The majority of UO players were NOT going to drop x years of gameplay just to go to an EQ/AC hybrid set in a Techno-Britannia and, if they did, chances are they would quit UO altogether. With such a mass exodus, neither game would be paying for itself.

EA took the safe, wise course, to go dance with the girl that brung ’em, and not try to find a new one at the prom. Good call from a business perspective, possibly not good for the gamers who wanted to play it, but gaming is a business, and money drives business.

Paladin_VT, uopowergamers.com

Corporate wide, EA has big plans for PSWs (persistant state worlds) in other studios. It’s not like Origin was the only studio working on these.

David Swofford, Public Relations Manager, OSI, in interview with wellrounded.net

“WAIT A MINUTE – YOU THOUGHT WE CARED ABOUT THOSE POSTS?” [Author: Lum the Mad]

Thanks to a server upgrade, Wolfpack’s forums timewarped a month (the most recent backup Ashen Temper had made). Some folks were a bit miffed about this, to which Warden responded:

We don’t consider these forums to be critical applications, and we don’t make any attempt to manage them as such. We don’t backup our voice mail, either, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

To be honest, I’m actually suprised that Ashen even HAD a backup. It certainly wasn’t outlined anywhere as one of his job duties.. or anyone elses, for that matter.

In the midst of UO laying off forum administrators and Brad McQuaid publicly suffering angst about Whineplay, this was… refreshingly honest?

Discuss: I’d make a forum link here, but I don’t consider it a critical application either.

WARDEN TEACHES YOU HOW TO RANT [Author: Lum the Mad]

In case you were confused on how to be a ranter, Warden the RETARDED MONKEY!!!111!!1! gives you five easy lessons. Well, only one, but it has the strength of five because his heart is pure.

What a terrible rant! That’s your point? Haven’t you learned yet that sarcasm doesn’t carry over in a text message very well?

Here, let me fix it for you. You really have to push these things if you want to get your effect across :

oooohhhh NOW i see why the Noble House, the Military Legion and the Mercenary Band even exist — Because they provide different titles !!!! Good job WP, you had THE idea there, OH YEAH WOW THAT REALLY beats all expectations. One could have guessed that bounty-hunters get some perks from a mercenary band, or MAYBE just MAYBE that a commander from the military legion or a knight from a noble house got SOME GOD DAMN benefit from choosing it… but OH NO, GOD FORBID!!! you have made the best of it again THIS TIME, YOU LOSERS. WHO DO YOU HAVE DESIGNING THIS CRAP FOR YOU, A RETARDED MONKEY?! Really a good show there. NO REALLY!! it’s great that we can choose a guild that is NOT IN ANY SINGLE WAY different from another but carries A TEXT DESCRIPTION so that everyone knows how he has to roleplay. WOW HOW LONG DID THAT TAKE YOU MORONS TO CODE?!!
….

See what I mean? I think you’ll agree that the overall point comes across much more effectively if you add in a few exclamation points, capitalize for dramatic effect, and make at least one retarded monkey reference.

Alternatively, you could just come out and state your opinion, which appears to be something along the lines of : “I don’t like stuff that’s been added into the game just for flavor. If it doesn’t affect the actual mathematical equations of ToHit and damage, I couldn’t care less. Please remove it from your design immediately.”

While I still wouldn’t agree with your opinion, at least it would read better.

“BUT DUDE, HIS HEAD LOOKS LIKE ASS!” [Author: Lum the Mad]

This is that game’s story. A game called Caeron 3000 AD. Not related to Battlecruiser 3000 AD. No, this game, my friends, has achieved the impossible – it makes Dr. Derek Smart look completely sane. I mean, hell, at least Smart actually releases games. With code. And stuff.

That’s no longer required in the MMOG market. Now, all you need are some really weird Unreal Tournament-influenced pen and ink drawings of Klingons with heads of ass, and you too can get a Gamespy Industries blowjob. Or, as Thomas Scott, one of no doubt THOUSANDS of Caeron3000 coders and coincidentally Lead Programmer, Lead Designer, and President of the company put it,

I am excited about our Real-Time Global Persistence (RGP), Simulated Sensory Perception (SSP), and Life-Link AI and World Management.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t excited about RGP, SSP or LLAIWM, so I just shook my head at the endless gullibility of Gamespy’s editors and/or readers and moved on. However, you, our loyal readers, did not move on. Something about Caeron3000’s dynamic world generation, peerless PvP design systems, or intricate world history and backstory drew you to discuss the game further. Or maybe it was just all the heads that looked like ass. I don’t know.

The truly scary thing, though, is that Mr. Scott joined the conversation. After other board posters idly tried to guess the various 3D art programs the “in engine screenshots” were rendered in, Thomas Scott leaped blindly in where angels fear to tread:

Hmmm…faked text box? I must admit that all your posts are very amusing, but seemingly designed just to amuse by way of senseless slander rather than fact.

Caeron3000 is indeed in alpha testing and yes people are actually logging in and talking to each other while testing the software. And if anyone doubts it here, just submit an alpha test application and state that you saw the Lum the Mad thread and I’ll have you in there testing as well.

But please remember that this game is in extremely early alpha. Very little is done at this stage, but we are making improvements every week.

We are currently working on a direct3d port that will take full advantage of directx 8.0 features and will be able to do some amazing things on a geforce3 card.

Thomas Scott

President, Magique Productions, Ltd.

So far, so good. Maybe he was just new at this, used to other gaming news sites treating him like the GOD OF GAMING that he is, and really expected us to be better behaved. Unfortunately, alas, he was wrong. And he wasn’t terribly happy about it.

I wonder why none of you flamers have the guts to post on the Caeron3000 forums.

ROTFL. Dan doesn’t know how to get into a public forum.

One forum habitue, SaintNW, took Mr. Scott up on his challenge, and actually entered the Caeron3000 alpha/beta/gamma. Here’s his after-action report. Amazingly, there was actually sort of a game-type entity to log into.

I now have a copy of the alpha, and I’m STILL not sure there’s really a game here.

Here’s the bug documentation in the readme:
-Escaping from the game and re-entering will cause your avatar to be invisible to other players
-Right Clicking can cause a program crash
-Holding a button down and dragging off the button will cause the button to remain active until clicked again

Yup. Right clicking crashes the game. I can confirm that.

I started it up, and was forced to listen to THE FUCKING WORST midi music I had EVER, EVER heard. I tried to create a character for 10 minutes, and then I heard Win95’s email sound effect and quit the game. The creator told me that that he forgot to tell me, you can’t create charachters yet, and to just hit the “Enter game” button. So I did.

I was put control of a alien Hawkeem warrior named “yourname,” who enjoys red jumpsuits, chainmail bracers, and jogging in the desert.

After playing with the controls and figuring out that there’s NO gui (just a chatboox), I figured out that ALL I can do is chat, walk, and jog. Since there was no one to chat to, and walking is exponentually slow, I ran.

I quickly found out that I can walk through the red tree things. And rocks.

So I ran towards the nearest hill.

The nearest hill turned out to be a 15-minute run away.

Finally, after nearing scuicide (twice) I made it to the hill. “Thank God,” I thought, “Now I can see what’s on the other side!!”

You can walk through the hill too.

There’s nothing on the other side.

As in, you clip right through and are running in midair.

I emailed the creator (that’s you, Tom) and we have had a little exchange. Here’s what happend (my text is in italics, his is in bold.)

Ok… I tried it… Don’t you think it’s a bit EARLY for an alpha test at this point…? I mean, you can’t even DO anything. This doesn’t help my opinion of the game. Is there anything but desert? Is there anything I can DO?

It’s important that you saw what you saw. That is what alpha in early stages is. Alpha means incomplete. And early alpha emans very incomplete. That’s the whole point. People are flaming a game that is very, very early in development. Kind of ridiculous eh?

But you won’t have to wait long if you stay in the testing. New things will be added very soon and you will be able to do all kinds of stuff.

And he sent another right after that one:

Also, remember that this is a very rare thing being able to participate in an alpha. You are not testing a completed game, you are actually watching and helping as it’s built piece by piece. Our beta phase won’t open until September of this year. Not until then will you see things to the level of completion that you may have been expecting or that the others are looking for.

I’m sending him this now:

First of all, the main reason people are making fun of your game is that it looks REALLY stupid.

Responding to your emails: That’s BS. In an alpha you normally have some sort of GAMEPLAY that you can test out. Why are you even letting people in the alpha when all you can do is WALK AROUND? You are REALLY jumping he gun here. You never should have let anyone into an alpha like this in the first place! You literally have NO game systems in place – all you have is charcters that can walk on a flat plane and a bunch of really amatuerish concept art.

I still don’t believe you will ever produce a game. You have something here that any idiot can, and has, come up with in a month of programming. There is no feasible reason to be holding an alpha test at the mind-bogglingly early point your game is at.

By the way, your concept art is laughable and your music REALLY sucks.

Well, perhaps you’ll revisit the game when it goes into public beta this fall. It’ll be at the stage you feel it should be at now. And I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with what we will have done between now and then.

Shitty concept art never dies, Tom…

I only wish it was over at this point. Alas, it wasn’t. While SaintNW and Tom kept trading emails that more and more descended into “Am so making a game!” “Am not!” “Am so!”, DanSTC took Tom up on his challenge of posting better concept art than the head-like-an-ass pics we’ve seen so far. Tom’s capsule review of Dan’s work?

OMG. That picture which you laughably call art is unbelieveably bad. Rick Marshall has won awards for his art at legitimate art fairs. You’ll be lucky if you get that scotch taped to the wall at a kindergarten class. ROTFL.


Art Tom Scott likes

Art Tom Scott doesn’t like

OK, so I think we’ve successfully made fun of the heads that look like ass. Now, in true Jerry Springer style, it’s time for the Final Thought.

Yes, Caeron3000 is a joke. It’s funny, sort of, but in a way they really may be trying. Just like some other folks are. What’s funny is how people don’t get the joke.

I’d go on about wondering why Gamespy put up two feature pieces and a hosted site about Caeron3000, thus giving it more publicity than, say, Shadowbane, another independently developed game with some unfortunate concept art – but thankfully lacking both in heads-looking-like-ass and in unrealistic expectations. Clearly, Caeron3000 and Shadowbane are in different leagues. Shadowbane will actually be on store shelves at some point (whether with GODGames or not only your rumor mill knows for sure). And at some point, you think someone at Gamespy would have looked up from their opium pipe and said “um, wait a minute. This game’s never going to be released. For god’s sake, the head looks like ass!

But then I remembered. According to Gamespy, pointing out that the Emporer has no clothes is bad.

It seems, then, that it doesn’t really matter whether the game is a hoax or not. You had fun either way, made friends, and most likely learned something, like better Web coding. If the game makes it out and just flops because of lack of financial support or poor design, it may even be possible for the community to pick it up, and improve or finish game.

This really opened my eyes. Because, you know, Gamespy would never post something like this to justify their own total lack of editorial control over their own content. Naw. They, you know, mean it. For the community. And stuff.

So ya know, fuck journalistic integrity, fuck editorial discretion, fuck actually pretending that you have an opinion on what babble spews forth from your word processor. From now on, we’re not writing any more stories about games that don’t include heads-like-asses.

For the children.