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Mistmare (2001-2003)

I am not going to spend much time or words on this one. You can still find all the relevant information up on the ‘net. Being that Sinister Systems was making both game design and development of this game, this is so far the one and only

Official Mistmare Post-mortem

Even though the game had issues and bugs, we could easily pin a large portion of the blame for its ugly downfall on the press and reviews. If another proof is needed, consider this: the majority of (negative) reviews found on the net find the game’s biggest playability problem to be in its ‘lack of keyboard control and forcing the player to point & click interaction’ even though if the game, when published, not only allowed the standard keyboard (wasd) control, it even had it set as default.

The other large issue was the bug that caused major slowdowns on high end machines. Since in most reviews, developer (Sinsiter System) is blamed for premature release of the game, I think a brief outline of what actually happened is in order.

About 2 months before the game was initially supposed to come out, Sinister Systems (as the developer) had a fully operating, smoothly running and mostly bug free version of the game (official Beta). It had been tested and the demo received a generally positive feedback, however the players demanded keyboard control of the character.

We started up working on a patch when suddenly, the producers and publishers (Arxel & co) presented us with a list of changes and additional features (numerical display of stats, clickable map, different dialog box, lots of gui gimmick stuff, game mechanics and even story alterations) that we were now required to implement or otherwise, our game wouldn’t be published at all. All of this without ever informing us that the owner of the whole production was essentially on the brink of bankrupcy. We were, however, given additional 4 months development time... Comedy, I know. 8-)

Implementing the new features as fast as we could, we suddenly noticed the whole production environment around us started to crumble away. The reason why that slow-down-on-high-end-machines bug was never even noticed is pretty simple - the producer never provided us with a testing machine fast enough. That’s quite right. I, as the ‘lead programmer’ (mark the irony) coded like 80% of the entire game, solo, on a 0.8GHz PC.

And so then, just before the owner of our producer suddenly went bankrupt, they made the last (futile) attempt to cash in and so published the game that hadn’t been properly tested.

Oh, as for the dialogs and the typos: the publisher (Arxel) took it on themselves to organise proof-reading and correction. This happened two years before the game was published. When roughly a year and a half later, the script was returned to us, it contained three corrections or so...

Anyway, I am only telling this story to illustrate the inside workings of the gaming industry. This industry, which mostly lives off by preying on other people’s creativity, is made up of producers, publishers, managers, distributers and marketing experts... but also gaming magazines, journalists and reviewers.



Next: Alfastreet (2004-2006)

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