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Arxel Tribe (1996-2003)

Ring of the Nibelungen I approached Arxel Tribe in 1996, initially to become a 3d modeller and animator, but I was then hired to help them with the coding of their first game, "Pilgrim". Their coding team was fairly green and their experience came mostly from various multimedia projects, so they needed a real programer to break some ice.

I set up the initial architecture for the game engine, coded some UI routines and the game’s interactive encyclopedia, based on my previous work with hypertext. I also supervised the code and offered assistance with other programming tasks.

Faust (aka Seven Sins of the Soul) The game was first published by Infogrames. Based on a story written by Paulo Coelho, and graphically designed by Moebius, it was a big enough success among adventure fans and a loud media boom, but unfortunatelly the publisher seemed to be at that time more interested in the forementioned media boom to promote itself, than in the game itself, so the comparatively small number of copies was printed and therefore sold out almost immediately. The game was not reprinted until much later on.

For their next game, "Ring", another step away from pure multimedia and quite ambitious for a small company like Arxel Tribe, I designed and coded most of the engine core elements, among others the 360 degrees rotating view, sound, and low level resources, while the engine itself was based on Pilgrim and therefore similar in architecture and design.

The last good quality game made by Arxel, in my opinion, was "Faust". Using an updated 360 degrees engine, we spent most of our time and energy on the scripting and little fancy features that made this game really neat. The story itself makes it worth playing.

Casanova: The Duel of the Black Rose After that, Arxel went 3D. Unfortunatelly, the first game, "Casanova", got permanently scarred by the combined effort of bad luck, poor project leadership, and last but not least, an entirely flawed playability concept that pretty much doomed the project in the start. As a result of the disagreement between me and the company leadership, an alternative coder was hired to lead the project, while I was assigned to low level rendering and special effects. Our freshman ‘leader’ fled three months before the deadline, letting us discover that his ‘engine’ was a total mess in its very core... Fortunatelly for the team, I had an alternative engine that I was developing in my ‘garage’ at the same time, so we used that to patch it up. We would’ve succeeded too, if the game designers had not insisted upon adding more and more action elements into the otherwise perfectly okay 3d adventure/rpg game. I probably don’t have to say twice that it flopped, both due to its poor playability, and an abundance of bugs resulting from hasty development.

Having learned just a little bit from the experience, Arxel redesigned the Casanova engine, dumping the buggy action code that was added in haste, and published two more games based on it, mystery adventure "The Final Cut", inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, which turned out okay, and “Ring II” which is hardly worth mentioning.

Hitchcock: The Final Cut To freshen up its portfolio, Arxel decided to go fully 3D. A series of first person shooters, adventures and rpgs were planned, but eventually, the production started on role playing game "Mistmare". Although eventually published, the project was basically doomed when the owners of Arxel went bankrupt and the funds ran out in the middle of development. In a desperate attempt to recover some of its budget, the game was distributed in a severely bug-ridden state. As there was noone left to finance the development of patches, the game flopped and Arxel went down.

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charon/past/arxeltribe.txt · Last modified: 2015/11/18 07:37 by matija
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