Author Topic: Early Version of Connor/MoE  (Read 9273 times)

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Early Version of Connor/MoE
« on: July 08, 2010, 06:57:54 PM »
Does anyone else think that the early model of Connor looks a lot cooler than the final one we got in the game:


Also, I wish we had gotten to see the other town of Daventry as shown in the 1997 previews, as well as the underwater levels:





Someone should really do a remake of this game with the look of Connor and Daventry as it was originally with all of the cut stuff, along with perhaps keeping with the original backstory of connor with the same sort of engine and graphics featured in these pictures

--I'd imagine making a game with 14 year old 3D graphics (You could maybe build the game as a Doom WAD** using the Doom engine as the graphics are very similar--A lot of non-Doom 3D fan games, such as Sonic Robo Blast 2 have been made) wouldn't be too hard, seeing as a lot of these shots came out of the Fall '96 InterAction article.

I'd love to help whoever would undertake such a goal.

More info on a Doom WAD here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_WAD

And for reference, here is the Sonic Robo Blast fan game made with the Doom engine--A third person game with graphics very similar to MoE totally fan made:

http://www.srb2.org/media/
« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 07:02:08 PM by TheReturnofDMD »

Offline liggy002

  • Staff
  • Royal Heir
  • ***
  • Posts: 333
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 07:50:04 PM »
A remake or someone should port the game over to Windows 7/Vista

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 08:55:43 PM »
A remake or someone should port the game over to Windows 7/Vista

That too.

I'd love to see a 'remake' moreso though..Like the 1996 version of KQ8 reconstructured.

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 12:47:12 AM »
Ya, those are pics of Connor, during the "Connor mac Lyrr" phase of the game, when he was supposed to have been a fisherman, of a line of fisherman. Later, on they changed him into a 'tanner', and dropped the name, "mac Lyrr" about a year before the game's release.
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Haids1987

  • Phoenix Groupie
  • **********
  • Posts: 7515
  • Gender: Female
    • Pinterest page
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 12:51:22 AM »
He looks like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker when they're in Hoth.
STATUS:
-Drinking water
-Checking the forum. 

Perpetually. ;D
Erica Reed is Katie Hallahan.
Leader of the "I <3 Doon" Fanclub

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 01:37:05 AM »
I don't think they had any ideas for armor change at that time either. He apparently would have worn the same clothing throughout the game. You can see him standing around the "Hotlands/Lands of Fire" level as well...or at least they could just move him anywhere in the prototype build.

One more interesting detail is that they were using a different engine for the "Connor mac Lyrr" phase, it was a modfied version of the Dynamix flight sim engine. They switched to something else in the end apparently. Since Dynamix's development of the tweaked engine was taking too long.

BTW, does anyone know any program that can look at the files in the MOE? I've been wanting to see if there are any more hidden textures, or voice overs that were cut from the final game.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 05:47:29 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline oberonqa

  • Great Oracle
  • *****
  • Posts: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • Go now and claim your destiny....
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 03:37:43 AM »
I believe the engine used in the production version of MoE was the "G Engine", which went on to be used in Gabriel Knight 3. 

Not sure if that is of any help in figuring out if there are any tools out there for viewing the source files... but at least it'll give you someplace to start...
 
Chronicling the history of Sierra through the conversion of it's premiere magazine into an easy-to-use, searchable wiki format.

Offline atec123

  • Crystal Dragon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2963
  • Gender: Male
  • THERE'S A WAR GOING ON FOR YOUR MIND.
    • Save TSL
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 07:08:20 AM »
I was kinda working on a remake (turned out to fail pretty bad though.  announced too soon, lack of team, skills, etc.) and I remember you helping.  thing is, while I loved the game, and like this idea, I really just want to see it in the format of KQ6/AGS style.

I just love point'nclicks.

I wish you luck though.  maybe you can get this going before I get my remake going again.  I am still planning to make one, but I don't have the time/sweet hookups I need at the moment. :P
Official maintainer of TSL in linux via Wine. TSL AppDB page
Maintainer of TSL in OSX via Wine
TSL IRC Chatroom Maintainer
We are the Defenders of Jazz Ballet
People say, when they see us:
Hey, folks! It's the Saviours of Jazz Ballet
Fearless heroes of kick and spin

Offline Enchantermon

  • Magical Genie
  • *******
  • Posts: 2463
  • Gender: Male
    • Hit me up on Facebook
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 07:51:24 AM »
I am still planning to make one, but I don't have the time/sweet hookups I need at the moment. :P
I know this guy named Pedro. His cousins have some sweet hookups. ;)
Sorry, couldn't resist.
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

Offline atec123

  • Crystal Dragon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2963
  • Gender: Male
  • THERE'S A WAR GOING ON FOR YOUR MIND.
    • Save TSL
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2010, 10:45:25 AM »
I am still planning to make one, but I don't have the time/sweet hookups I need at the moment. :P
I know this guy named Pedro. His cousins have some sweet hookups. ;)
Sorry, couldn't resist.
love that movie!  glad you got the reference.
Official maintainer of TSL in linux via Wine. TSL AppDB page
Maintainer of TSL in OSX via Wine
TSL IRC Chatroom Maintainer
We are the Defenders of Jazz Ballet
People say, when they see us:
Hey, folks! It's the Saviours of Jazz Ballet
Fearless heroes of kick and spin

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2010, 11:09:38 AM »
I don't think they had any ideas for armor change at that time either. He apparently would have worn the same clothing throughout the game. You can see him standing around the "Hotlands/Lands of Fire" level as well...or at least they could just move him anywhere in the prototype build.

One more interesting detail is that they were using a different engine for the "Connor mac Lyrr" phase, it was a modfied version of the Dynamix flight sim engine. They switched to something else in the end apparently. Since Dynamix's development of the tweaked engine was taking too long.

BTW, does anyone know any program that can look at the files in the MOE? I've been wanting to see if there are any more hidden textures, or voice overs that were cut from the final game.

Is there anyway to get the source files of the Dynamix flight sim engine? That might be best, seeing as it was the engine being used in those photos. But a Doom WAD would be easier and could end up looking exactly the same if done right--That's what I'd want--Not for it to look like a modern 3D game but exactly like the game we would've gotten in 1996, in those photos, if not for Phantasmagoria.
I really know nothing about programming, sadly, but I'd love to help anyone out who does in some way.

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2010, 11:53:46 AM »
Does doom even allow for 3-d characters? I think it only allowed for 2-d sprites. Probably better off using something like Quake, or Quake 2.
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Enchantermon

  • Magical Genie
  • *******
  • Posts: 2463
  • Gender: Male
    • Hit me up on Facebook
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2010, 11:57:24 AM »
love that movie!  glad you got the reference.
Yessssss. ;)
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2010, 12:24:34 PM »
Does doom even allow for 3-d characters? I think it only allowed for 2-d sprites. Probably better off using something like Quake, or Quake 2.

Hmm. The look I'd be going for would essentially be an exact replication of those shots and the gameplay style shown in the "Making of" videos from 1996/1997.

Also I think the original Mask cover would be much cooler than the one finally used as the opening screen background. Along with the Connor as Marble Stoned turned to Life idea--That perhaps he starts off as a stone monument to some ancient hero in Daventry's past or some ancient (To the people of Daventry) legendary hero, whose statue is brought to life when the Mask shatters as per the Prophecy of him being the "Champion Eterna
l."

Can you try to see if Mark has any of the design documents, excerpts, or exact ideas or scripts from the '95/96 era of the game's creation? I know he's told you some snippets about the cut levels, but perhaps he could tell more exact details--about the underwater Level, the Hydra, the Daventry Woods and Town-- I imagine development started not long after Phantasmagoria was finished so probably development started sometime in 1995 or early 1996--and it is that version of the game-- the much larger and more detailed '96/early 97 version--That is the era that needs to be shown--A KQ8 as Roberta originally intended before other parties started pushing their ideas over hers.


(Posted on: July 09, 2010, 02:10:28 PM)


I was actually thinking too of using a lot of music of the period--the more gloomy music--to color the game rather than the traditional instrumental music. Sort of to really place you in the mood of 1996--Both in general and as far as Sierra--Sierra in 1996 was now a doomed beast, beginning a long, slow, painful demise. I'd like the remake to capture both Roberta's original intentions as far as the expanse of the story, graphically as well as the general feeling that colored Sierra and Sierra fans in those years. Here's one example song:
The song has a very nostalgic, desert sort of sound--Dreary, and it's about ''the anxious disease''--A disease I'd say that a lot of Sierra fans experienced in the turbulent and bleak years of 1996 and 1997 while waiting for KQ8 and watching Sierra morph into something it wasn't:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezUDNKUmSA8

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2010, 05:07:56 PM »
The models of the characters in the original MOE version were in 3-d, as opposed to the 2-d sprites of Doom wad :p...

He said all he has left of the game files are on his website already. All that really includes are map scans, and debug codes really. Nothing else unfortunately.

Quote
-A MoE as Roberta originally intended before other parties started pushing their ideas over hers.
Don't know how much of that is fan speculation, or wishful thinking. What I've been learning was she was in it until the very end, and everyone was forced to cut things because to quote Mark, they went over budget, and ran out of money. This was hugely the fault that Dynamix hadn't finished the engine, and they had to switch to something else as quickly as possible. Some of it was purely on design board, and they had never even completed the material very far. Like most of the swamp witch material apparently. They apparently got as far as making the model for her "human form" but hadn't actually finished most of that dialogue (if anything exists maybe its in the files hidden somewhere?). They apparenlty also had elaborate ideas for extended ending where Connor would have been acknowledged by King Graham, but never were able to see that due to the budget limits.

I've never found anything supporting the theory, that Roberta was threatened with litegation or anything like that. Might be an urban myth, fans trying to speculate why its not as good as other games, when it may just be possible most of it actually was Roberta's fault for some issues (like the combat) or the fault of limited budget for other cuts. We still don't knwo why Roberta chose to write the dialogue in english, but best I've been able to find out, that was her idea, she was the one who wrote the character dialogue, and story.

If you had been around at the time, and kept track of Roberta's various interviews in various gaming mags, she seems to give the impression that it was her idea, to change him into a citizen of Daventry, to more or less emulate King Graham. The whole statue to life thing actually was very early concept, she dropped it pretty early. It was even pre-Connor mac Lyrr phase. We learned about the Connor mac Lyrr phase around spring to fall or so, 1996 (in various mags). Mid 1997 they dropped "mac Lyrr" and changed his background further. Best I can tell they were settled late 1997 on the story. But there were things that were cut from the "Connor" final phase as well. The witch for example made it as far as that phase of the story, before they were forced to cut the scene due to budget restraints (and very little work had actually been done on it). Actually the changes drop statue and mac Lyrr names happened long before Cendant took over Sierra (1997). It was actually Cendant that they had trouble the trouble with, and wanted them to released that year (due to budget concerns, and that forced them to cut things further, mainly affecting the witch, and maybe 1 or 2 other levels).

I was told apparently the Redcap goblin became one of the other enemies near the castle. Apparently either the model was modified and used for the basic Zombie model, or it became the Spriggan Leader at the top of the castle. Still trying to find out more details about that though.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 05:31:16 PM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2010, 06:22:06 PM »
The models of the characters in the original MOE version were in 3-d, as opposed to the 2-d sprites of Doom wad :p...

He said all he has left of the game files are on his website already. All that really includes are map scans, and debug codes really. Nothing else unfortunately.

Quote
-A MoE as Roberta originally intended before other parties started pushing their ideas over hers.
Don't know how much of that is fan speculation, or wishful thinking. What I've been learning was she was in it until the very end, and everyone was forced to cut things because to quote Mark, they went over budget, and ran out of money. This was hugely the fault that Dynamix hadn't finished the engine, and they had to switch to something else as quickly as possible. Some of it was purely on design board, and they had never even completed the material very far. Like most of the swamp witch material apparently. They apparently got as far as making the model for her "human form" but hadn't actually finished most of that dialogue (if anything exists maybe its in the files hidden somewhere?). They apparenlty also had elaborate ideas for extended ending where Connor would have been acknowledged by King Graham, but never were able to see that due to the budget limits.

I've never found anything supporting the theory, that Roberta was threatened with litegation or anything like that. Might be an urban myth, fans trying to speculate why its not as good as other games, when it may just be possible most of it actually was Roberta's fault for some issues (like the combat) or the fault of limited budget for other cuts. We still don't knwo why Roberta chose to write the dialogue in english, but best I've been able to find out, that was her idea, she was the one who wrote the character dialogue, and story.

If you had been around at the time, and kept track of Roberta's various interviews in various gaming mags, she seems to give the impression that it was her idea, to change him into a citizen of Daventry, to more or less emulate King Graham. The whole statue to life thing actually was very early concept, she dropped it pretty early. It was even pre-Connor mac Lyrr phase. We learned about the Connor mac Lyrr phase around spring to fall or so, 1996 (in various mags). Mid 1997 they dropped "mac Lyrr" and changed his background further. Best I can tell they were settled late 1997 on the story. But there were things that were cut from the "Connor" final phase as well. The witch for example made it as far as that phase of the story, before they were forced to cut the scene due to budget restraints (and very little work had actually been done on it). Actually the changes drop statue and mac Lyrr names happened long before Cendant took over Sierra (1997). It was actually Cendant that they had trouble the trouble with, and wanted them to released that year (due to budget concerns, and that forced them to cut things further, mainly affecting the witch, and maybe 1 or 2 other levels).

I was told apparently the Redcap goblin became one of the other enemies near the castle. Apparently either the model was modified and used for the basic Zombie model, or it became the Spriggan Leader at the top of the castle. Still trying to find out more details about that though.

Ken Williams had said as much on his website, that  when he was President, the designers ideas went unadulterated but after he left Roberta didn't have as much creative autonomy as she had had. Ken was the one who originated the story about litigation.

http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/m/634063/bbs/Topic.3825.530202

''I think I answered this somewhere on the forum. Maybe it was deleted for
political correctness.

Roberta had her vision for what MoE should be. Additionally, as on every
project, every team member has their own separate vision as to what the game
should be.

I always considered my #1 job to protect the vision of the designer. A game
MUST represent the vision of one author. There is no such thing as a "team
effort" when it comes to game design.

However, once the company was sold, the new owners felt differently. To be
more accurate, the new owners didn't even understand the issue. Everyone on
MoE pitched in ideas. Roberta was powerless to protect her vision. There was
no one in power (with me gone) who was willing to say "Listen to Roberta -
and, only to Roberta". The project became a free for all, and everyone,
including Roberta pitched in ideas.

Any one of these people might have been able to design a great game. But
there is no way a great game could come from ALL of these people
collectively, nor was there any chance that anyone other than Roberta could
design a TRUE KQ game. It would be like me writing a Steven King book. Only
Steven King writes like Steven King.

Roberta refused to let the project ship for months, as she tried to make the
game into a true KQ game. Unfortunately, Sierra wanted the revenue, and
chose to ignore her opinions. After threatened litigation, a settlement was
reached and the game shipped. One side effect of the negotiation is that
Roberta has said she would never deal with Sierra again, and is still angry
over what occurred.

It would be wrong to blame anyone on the project. They did what people will
do, if management doesn't step in. I place the blame squarely with those
that bought Sierra.

-Ken W''

and a larger version of the story, also by Ken:

''KQ8 is a wild story.

KQ8 was in development at the same time that the company was sold. Basically, Sierra went through changes during the development of the game, and those changes are reflected in the game. During the first half of the game, I was the CEO - during the last half of the game my status shifted to "reasonably nice guy who used to work here". My way of doing things was different than the new way of doing things.

My #1 issue was always to maintain the "clarity of vision" of the game designer. A Sierra project, like KQ8, has nearly a hundred highly creative people on it. Many of these people were working at Sierra because they wanted their shot to be a game designer. It was not uncommon for everyone on a project to seek opportunities to "put their mark" on the game. This is a delicate issue. I recruited people who could be designers, and I was a huge supporter of creativity. Roberta wanted ideas from the team, but at some point, if you accept too many ideas, the product can become a muddy mess. There were dozens of people on KQ8 who could have been the designer, any of which would have made a great designer. But, unfortunately, if this tendency, on the part of developers, to add their creativity to a product, isn't carefully controlled, the product starts to veer into "design by committee". Roberta had her vision for the product, as did almost every person on the project.

When I lost control of Sierra, Roberta's ability to maintain her control over KQ8 was also eroded. The product that shipped is very different than what would have shipped had the company not been sold.

There was another issue at work on KQ8. Roberta is a perfectionist (I'm guilty of the same sin). Whenever she would play the game, she would turn in lists of hundreds of "bugs". Perfectionist can be a pseudonym for nit-picker. When a development team gets a long list, the natural tendency can be to look at some bugs as nit-picky. I always supported my designers. I wouldn't let a game go until the designer was happy (with a couple of exceptions that I regretted later), even when it seemed like we were spending lots of money to fix stuff no one cared about. It was critical to me that the game our customers played represented the game our designer wanted produced. When I left Sierra, Roberta's ability to get bugs fixed diminished.

Ultimately, the last year of KQ8 development was a tough one for Roberta. For a long time, she refused to let the game ship and there was threatened litigation floating around.

This is not to say that the game that shipped isn't a good game. Roberta was reasonably happy with it at the end - but, it reflected a much wider product vision, than Robertas alone. People other than Roberta influenced its development, in a greater capacity than in her previous products. There will be some gamers who see the change as positive, and some who wanted a Roberta product more consistent with her prior products.

There is an example I used to use on this point. One of my favorite authors is: Steven King. I also like Peter Straub. Each alone is a bestselling (mega-selling in Kings case) author. They cowrote a book; the Talisman, which bombed. Either alone could have sold plenty of copies, but together, the whole becomes less than the parts. KQ8 had wonderful people on it. This message should not be construed as being derogatory to anyone (other than that I am definitely critical of the management changes that took place.) My belief is that if the new owners had taken a couple of days to ask about "what made Sierra special" in the days after acquiring it (they could have asked me, or better yet, its customers) before dramatically changing things, things would have gone a lot smoother in the transition.

-Ken W''

http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/blob2/blobpage.aspx?msgid=634063&bbs=Topic.3846.530202
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 06:29:22 PM by TheReturnofDMD »

Offline Enchantermon

  • Magical Genie
  • *******
  • Posts: 2463
  • Gender: Male
    • Hit me up on Facebook
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2010, 06:25:32 PM »
Wow...
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2010, 06:52:16 PM »
Also, Baggins claimed that

''If you had been around at the time, and kept track of Roberta's various interviews in various gaming mags, she seems to give the impression that it was her idea, to change him into a citizen of Daventry, to more or less emulate King Graham. The whole statue to life thing actually was very early concept, she dropped it pretty early. It was even pre-Connor mac Lyrr phase. We learned about the Connor mac Lyrr phase around spring to fall or so, 1996 (in various mags). Mid 1997 they dropped "mac Lyrr" and changed his background further. Best I can tell they were settled late 1997 on the story. But there were things that were cut from the "Connor" final phase as well. The witch for example made it as far as that phase of the story, before they were forced to cut the scene due to budget restraints (and very little work had actually been done on it). Actually the changes drop statue and mac Lyrr names happened long before Cendant took over Sierra (1997). It was actually Cendant that they had trouble the trouble with, and wanted them to released that year (due to budget concerns, and that forced them to cut things further, mainly affecting the witch, and maybe 1 or 2 other levels).''

Just wanted to correct--Sierra was sold to CUC on July 24th 1996, not 1997; The sale was entered into in February 1996 and finalized in July. Ken has said on his forum that he stepped down as the CEO of Sierra exactly when the sale finalized (this was part of the sale terms, all of which CUC ended up violating)--Which meant, as he's said later, from that point, he had little influence, and thus Roberta's influence over the game gradually lessened.

Phantasmagoria, which Roberta had been working on all throughout 1994 and 1995, came out finally in August 1995--I don't think she would've truly started work on KQ8 until sometime after August '95, as Phantas was her brainchild and a very important pet project of hers--she had been tinkering with it and developing it since at least 1992 and wanted it to be her masterwork, I think. If she didn't start work on MoE until August 1995 or after, that means there was only about 6 months of pure Roberta development time like in the old days until the chaos of the sale began.

There's a lot of quotes from the subject of how radically Sierra changed not long after the sale was completed. It was a part of CUC Software effectively July 24th 1996 and Sierra was de facto under the control of a guy named Bob Davidson (CEO of Davidson & Associates, an educational software company which owned Blizzard, named CEO of CUC Software, meaning Sierra's President, Mike Brochu, reported to him), who wanted to institute some radical changes at Sierra--for example he wanted to end production of the LSL series as it was too risque. There was a lot of chaos during this period.

In 1997 things got even worse--In January 1997, a guy named Scott MacLeod, who never had any experience in software was made the new head of CUC Software. In November '97, Michael Brochu (who had been Sierra's President since 1995) resigned and MacLeod broke Sierra (effectively) into three parts, all of which reported to him--The division which MoE was being developed at was run by Scott Lynch.

Cendant didn't enter the picture until December 1997, when CUC merged with HFS (one of the largest, if not the largest hotel franchise owners in the US)--The name of the two merged companies was Cendant, and this also resulted in more chaos.

From March-November 1998, Sierra was in chaos because of the Cendant Scandal--The heads of the CUC section of Cendant, which Sierra had been bought by in '96, had for years been ''cooking the books'' and as soon as Sierra was required they began to use Sierra's name in their illegal actions--This led to a lot of layoffs, a power vacuum as first Cendant considering spinning off the Cendant Software division as it's own company, shutting it down, and finally decided to sell it--Disney, Havas, and others were prospective buyers-- and the scandal resulted in the loss of many long time employees and a loss of many innocent people's 401Ks and a loss of Sierra's profitability as a company.

 All of this craziness happened while MoE was in development, along with a sort of vacuum of power--Sierra had no true CEO from November 1997-June 1998, and a new very bureaucratic management that didn't understand either the gaming industry or what Sierra, as a unique entity, was, nor their way of doing things, nor the spirit of Sierra and didn't understand the importance of the designers vision--Leading to MoE becoming less and less KQ and less and less Roberta's ''baby.'' All the new guys at Sierra/Cendant cared about was the bottom line.

In June '98, David Grenewetzki was named the new President/CEO of Sierra and we know how his reign went--He was responsible for "Black Monday" in '99 and the gutting of the adventure game development crews from Sierra and the policy of "No more adventure games." He also broke Sierra down further into I think five different divisions--Including "Sierra Studios" (Which produced MoE), "Yosemite Entertainment" (Oakhurst), Dynamix, "Sierra Home", "Sierra Sports" from June to October 1998. Finally in November 1998, Sierra was sold to Havas. MoE finally came out in December 1998, I believe--after all of this chaos.

Also:
The first pictures and articles about MoE came out in the Fall 1996 issue of InterAction, after the sale had occurred.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 07:13:39 PM by TheReturnofDMD »

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2010, 03:26:02 AM »
thanks for the links.

I've been told things got even worse for Mask when Cendent came into the picture, but with what you have shown, it had problems as early as CUC time frame.

What we need to do is find copies of all the magazines that ever talked about the game. When did they start talking about the game in InterAction (I don't know if they even mentioned much about the game when it was first announced in InterAction). What source the whole statue turned to life idea originated from. What point they started talking about Connor mac Lyrr, and then later 'Connor' phases.

As we are getting alternate reports from various places, it is making difficult to tell how much we should actually be reading or assuming into them...

As for that 1996 issue of InterAction, Ken was still the publisher, and a writer for that issue, and apparently still the CEO.

That InterAction issue was apparently worked on before CUC was taken over, when Ken was still in charge. It may or may not been published after the take over (I think I got the fall issue mid-late summer, but that's a long time ago). He is still referred to as the CEO in the issue, and the following issue (and talks about Sierra as if it is still his company). If this is the case, then it seems that the Fall 1996, issue may actually represent Roberta's most "up to date" vision for the game.

We don't know exact date when the Connor mac Lyrr phase began, exactly. If we knew what magazine announced the game first (might have been PC Gamer, but I don't really remember exactly), and could break down at least earliest reference to Connor mac Lyrr, it would be a big help to finding out ballpark range when that phase began. Most of the team quotes from that phase come from Roberta herself (mentioned in said magazine articles). So again we would be stuck having to ask Roberta to clarify. Not that we could get her into a position to do that unfortunately, lol :P

Actually considering how long it takes to put a magazine together, and for articles to be written my guess is that the Fall 1996 issue was put together long before CUC bought out Sierra, and was written when Ken was still in charge (as stated in the issue, Ken was still CEO when that issue was published).

Ken was still the publisher, and had a minor article in the Holiday issue 1996, on state of 3-d hardware, that may have been his last article. There are no scans for the spring/summer issues 1997 (if they existed). Yes, in that issue, he still said to be the "CEO" and founder of Sierra, strangly enough.

Granted, the Fall and Holiday issues may have been released back to back within a month of each other (I can't remember when I got those issues exactly), so it may have been again written before Ken Williams stepped down. That would make more sense.

I know for certain as far as scanned issues we have, Ken Williams wasn't the editor nor was he CEO by the time the Fall 1997 issue was published (I think if there were spring and summer issues those scans are missing).

Generally speaking you get the issue for a month near the end of the previous season, or very early the season the magazine is issued for, so its is prepared long in advance of when it actually reaches your mailbox, and goes to print not long before its sent out.

By Fall 1996 issue we know they were already into the Connor mac Lyrr phase of the game. Seriously it would help if somone could convince Roberta, in her own words to tell us what parts of her ideas where dropped (without her concent), although considering that that issue was apparently still published while Ken was CEO (it may have still been 90% or more of her idea).

Also does anyone remember which issue of InterAction Roberta's son, talked about the game? It also had a few of the early Connor mac Lyrr phase pictures, as well, IIRC. It might have been spring or summer issue 1997, but I don't remember exactly.

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080110160016/kingsquest/images/6/6a/GraveyardMoE.jpg

Here is a picture from the article (with her son's picture), it was either, from Connor mac Lyrr phase, or an intermediate phase between the 'mac Lyrr' and the released version. Notice that the area more or less looks like the released version of Daventry (and also note the witch's model), so apparently using the G Engine, but neither of those grave stone models exist in the game.

We have other pictures from the intermediate stage in other issues as well, at that time there were still trees and bushes in the world, and Daventry still had a skybox, instead of the pitch darkness. The gnomes looked way different. Connor's starting outfit was a bit different. The underworld was a bit different, still had broken pillars, and possibly still some of the Mesopotamian architecture. But more or less looks like the G Engine. Most of these pics come from Fall 1997 issue (as I recall) long after Ken Williams stepped down;

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Landsoffire2.JPG http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventrycloudy.jpg http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:UndergroundMoE.jpg http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Templeofthemask.jpg http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Undeworld3MoE.jpg
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 05:50:27 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

TheReturnofDMD

  • Guest
Re: Early Version of Connor/MoE
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2010, 05:13:52 AM »
thanks for the links.

I've been told things got even worse for Mask when Cendent came into the picture, but with what you have shown, it had problems as early as CUC time frame.

What we need to do is find copies of all the magazines that ever talked about the game. When did they start talking about the game in InterAction (I don't know if they even mentioned much about the game when it was first announced in InterAction). What source the whole statue turned to life idea originated from. What point they started talking about Connor.

By Fall 1996, they were already into the Connor mac Lyrr phase of the game (so that really doesn't help understand particulars of what was going on then, as far as how much was Roberta's idea, and how much wasn't). Seriously it would help if somone could convince Roberta, in her own words to tell us what parts of her ideas where dropped (without her concent), and what ideas were her own changes (as she started develop her ideas). Because as it is we are getting alternate reports from various places, and its difficult to tell how much we should actually be reading or assuming into them...

We don't know exact date when the Connor mac Lyrr phase began either. If we knew what magazine announced the game first (might have been PC Gamer, but I don't really remember exactly), and could break down at least earliest reference to Connor mac Lyrr, it would be a big help to finding out ballpark range when that phase began. Most of the team quotes from that phase come from Roberta herself (mentioned in said magazine articles). So again we would be stuck having to ask Roberta to clarify. Not that we could get her into a position to do that unfortunately, lol :P

As for that 1996 issue of InterAction, Ken was still the publisher, and a writer for that issue, and apparently still the CEO.

That InterAction issue was apparently worked on before CUC was taken over, when Ken was still in charge. It may or may not been published after the take over (I think I got the fall issue mid-late summer, but that's a long time ago). He is still referred to as the CEO in the issue, and the following issue (and talks about Sierra as if it is still his company). If this is the case, then it seems that the Fall 1996, issue may actually represent Roberta's most "up to date" vision for the game. Actually considering how long it takes to put a magazine together, and for articles to be written my guess is that the Fall 1996 issue was put together long before CUC bought out Sierra, and was written when Ken was still in charge.

Ken was still the publisher, and had a minor article in the Holiday issue 1996, on state of 3-d hardware, that may have been his last article. There are no scans for the spring/summer issues 1997 (if they existed). Yes, in that issue, he still said to be the "CEO" and founder of Sierra, strangly enough.

Granted, the Fall and Holiday issues may have been released back to back within a month of each other (I can't remember when I got those issues exactly), so it may have been again written before Ken Williams stepped down. That would make more sense.

I know for certain as far as scanned issues we have, Ken Williams wasn't the editor nor was he CEO by the time the Fall 1997 issue was published (I think if there were spring and summer issues those scans are missing).

Generally speaking you get the issue for a month near the end of the previous season, or very early the season the magazine is issued for, so its is prepared long in advance of when it actually reaches your mailbox, and goes to print not long before its sent out.

Also does anyone remember which issue of InterAction Roberta's son, talked about the game? It also had a few of the early Connor mac Lyrr phase pictures, as well, IIRC. It might have been spring or summer issue, but I don't remember exactly.



Here is a picture from the article (with her son's picture), it was either, from Connor mac Lyrr phase, or an intermediate phase between the 'mac Lyrr' and the released version. Notice that the area more or less looks like the released version of Daventry (and also note the witch's model), but neither of those grave stone models exist in the game.

We have other pictures from the intermediate stage in other issues as well, at that time there were still trees and bushes in the world, and Daventry still had a skybox, instead of the pitch black sky.

As far as his "Inside View" publications and position as publisher of InterAction, his Inside View column continued until the Summer 1997 issue of InterAction, long after he had quit as CEO (His last article was about the sale to CUC, referring to it as having happened 'a year ago). I had asked him about this once, and he made it clear he stepped down from Sierra as of July 24th 1996 and asked to be transfered away from CUC's Software vision and instead he continued to work for CUC as a "Vice Chairman" (which he says he had little power or influence over the games division despite the title) and head of their "NetMarket" (a venture similar to Amazon.com) project. He continued writing for InterAction from Summer '96 to Summer '97 as there was an in effort by CUC to keep the fact he wasn't running Sierra anymore 'hushed up' for some reason--They didn't want the fans knowing. I think he also said he kept on writing for InterAction making it seem like he was still running things to make the fans feel better about the new changes.

 It's a very muddy period and technically while he was no longer an employee of or the CEO of Sierra from July 1996 forward, he was still an employee of CUC, Inc. from then until November 1997, at which point seeing the company be torn apart and since he was no longer in the games division powerless to do anything about it, he left the company entirely.

There was a lot of very behind closed door stuff we'll probably never know about. However, his story about the sale to CUC, after negotiating were this:

''At the time of the acquisition of Davidson and Sierra, the two companies were flying high. Sierra was dominant in entertainment and Davidson was dominant in education. Actually it was a perfect marriage in that Sierra lead the market in education outside the US, and Davidson had an entertainment hit in their Blizzard subsidiary. Together, the two companies should have been unstoppable.

Unfortunately, it sounds easier as a theory, than it was as a reality. When first approached by CUC, about being acquired, I was fine. But, then when CUC spoke about their strategy of consolidating us with Davidson, I worried that it was a 'marriage doomed to failure'. There were companies I could envision being teamed with, but Davidson wasn't one of them. I had tremendous respect for Bob Davidson, and thought he was a brilliant businessman. But, I didn't think he was the right guy to run a combined Sierra/Davidson, and I didn't think he would be willing to subordinate his company to Sierra. On this basis, I refused to 'do the deal.'

My fear had to do with Sierra's product line, rather than anything personal. Sierra published a wide range of products, including both entertainment and education products. Davidson also published both entertainment and education. That Davidson could publish children's education AND Warcraft was a positive. However, during the negotiations, there were rumors that Bob and Jan Davidson were concerned about Leisure-Suit Larry and Phantasmagoria -- two of Sierra's biggest hits. To me, it was clear that they were non-supporters of the products. Putting Davidson in charge of selling these products, which were a huge percentage of our revenue, I felt would be a mistake. I just didn't think it would work.

During the negotiations, CUC convinced me that the 'Davidson Issue' was a 'non-issue.'    CUC put a structure in place which created a consolidation of non-product related functions, such as manufacturing, while leaving Sierra and Davidson independent for the purpose of creating product. In other words, I was assured that only non-product related groups would be merged. Davidson would not be dictating product strategy at Sierra, and neither of us would be reporting to the other. This is quite different than what actually happened.

One the deal was done,Bob Davidson was put in charge. However, even this had problems -CUC and Davidson had their own conflict, which resulted in Bob Davidson leaving the company. By the time all this occured, I had been transferred out of the software business, and neither CUC nor I wanted me to get reinvolved. At the time, I used to say 'Put Bob Davidson, or myself in charge of software, but don't ask us to co-exist. Either of us could do the job, but WE can't do it together.' Bob won the short-term battle to run the software business, but then he and his new bosses didn't get along. My personal theory is that it's possible that they didn't get along because Bob sensed that things weren't completely right at CUC (several members of CUC's management have been found guilty of, or admitted to, 'cooking the books'.)"

When answering a question about Phantasmagoria, he had this to say which also gives some light on how chaotic and twisted the atmosphere was at Sierra:

http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/m/634063/bbs/Topic.7324.530202
''Lastly, both Phantasmagoria and Phantasmagoria II were harmed by the sale of Sierra. The distribution of Sierra's products were taken over by Davidson Software. For those that don't remember, Davidson was a major educational software publisher. It's owners, Bob and Jan Davidson, believed Phantasmagoria was an evil product, and should be abandoned. I had to argue behind the scenes just to keep it on the order form. The sales force, and even the customers, had no trouble figuring out that Phantasmagoria was not supported by Sierra management, and sent back their inventory, rather than pushing the product. Momentum for the product flipped overnight."

And here:

''reat question!

CUC put me on the board as Vice Chairman, and also into the Office of the President, in response to my fears that Sierra would be ruined by being part of CUC. They also formed a software board, which I was to be part of, that was to make the important decisions for the software business. I wanted to know that I had the power required within the organization to give Sierra the maximum chance of surviving. I refused to support the transaction unless I thought there would be a viable software business post-transaction.

Unfortunately, they were just telling me what I wanted to hear, to get the deal done. My titles gave me no power, and I dropped almost all involvement in the software business immediately after the acquisition.

It was a very painful time.

-Ken W''

http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/m/634063/bbs/Topic.13497.530202

And finally:

''
At the time we were acquired, the company wasn't for sale. Walter Forbes had been on our board for a number of years, and blindsided me after a board meeting with the offer of acquisition.

In the weeks following his (Walter's) proposal there were intense negotiations, and the deal almost fell apart several times. Price was certainly an issue, although the price was the simplest issue negotiated. We resolved the price almost immediately.

The huge issue was the management of the company post-acquisition. I needed to believe that the company would retain its independence after the acquisition and be able to continue producing great product. After intense negotiations, a structure was put in place that I believed would result in a major win for Sierra's employees and customers.

Walter Forbes vision was to roll together  all of the larger software companies, creating one huge entertainment company. The acquisition of Davidson (Blizzard) and Sierra was really intended as just the beginning.

We agreed that the non-creative groups, such as manufacturing and distribution would be consolidated, but that the product groups would retain their independence. A complex structure was put in place that not only gave me clear command of Sierra, but also visibility and influence over all of the products across the consolidated company. This would allow me to focus on what I did best (product) while creating a distribution company that could deal with the operational issues.

The deal would not have closed were I not convinced that it was in the best interests of ALL of Sierra's employees, customers and shareholders.

Almost immediately after the deal closed I realized that things were not going to be as we had planned, and not all of the problems were with the acquiring company. Sierra's sales force was consolidated with Davidsons, and there were problems with the Davidson sales force selling Sierra products. They had been selling educational software which had a very different sales profile than computer games. There were also issues with a cultural difference between selling preschool software and Leisure-Suit Larry. Some of our biggest hits were offensive to some people at Davidson. It was an issue no one had expected.

Prior to the acquisition, the potential for these kinds of problems had been discussed. A structure was put in place to deal with them, and it was all ignored. A software board was to have been created, but it never had a single meeting. I do not know why. Also, Bob Davidson, who was running all sales for the consolidated company suddenly left the company. I felt that I, or someone from my senior management team, should have been installed to run the company, but CUC brought in a member of their senior management with no experience in software. I was frustrated and unhappy, and wound up leaving the software business entirely.''

Seeing as the sale was announced publicly in February, the actual discussions and perhaps even the idea of the sale could've happened as early as December '95 or January 1996. And on another page on his forum, he said right after Phantas 1 came out, within a month it was a hit and he tried to convince Roberta to start on Phantas 2 right away but instead she wanted to do another KQ game--Which means the earliest development of KQ8 could've happened around September/October of 1995. You have the sale occurring in February-July and most of Ken's energy was probably focused on that and signing on other games--He recalls one of his last acts as CEO was to evaluate and end up deciding to publish Half Life.

So really with everything going on, there was very little real "Roberta" time as MoE. I think when Ken refers to ''other people'' putting their vision in the game he's referring to Mark and others. In one of the Making of KQ8 videos it's clear Mark's vision is leading here, he says, to paraphrase, "The game takes place in the King'd Quest world, but it's not exactly King's Quest."