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There are a few jobsworths out there, and then there are some people that just don’t really care at all. Homeless Guy Manages To Get A Bed Each Night By Picking Up Girls42 Perfect Photobomb Moments From Weddings. Back in late 1985, when I was still a very junior reporter on a British Commodore 64 magazine called ZZAP! During his time at Lucasfilm Games, David had a variety of roles, including designer, project leader and programmer. Ron’s first job at Lucasfilm Games was porting Atari 8-bit computer games to the Commodore 64. Peter was Lucasfilm Games’ first employee, and was responsible for hiring the programming and design teams.
While Chip was at Lucasfilm Games, he was best known for being the project lead and co-designer of what is generally considered the progenitor MMO, Habitat. Also known as Behind Jaggi Lines, Rescue on Fractalus was released simultaneously with Ballblazer in March 1984 on both Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64. The game puts you in the seat of a search and rescue dropship on a mission to save pilots who’ve crashed on a hostile alien planet. What makes the game so notable is that it uses fractal technology to render the planet’s surface, creating an environment that was unlike anything else at the time.
The other inaugural Lucasfilm Games release, Ballblazer is a futuristic one-on-one sports game. The game features an algorithmically generated soundtrack that was created by Peter Langston.
Using similar fractal technology to Rescue on Fractalus, The Eidolon puts the players in the hot seat of a piece of 19th century technology that transports them to another dimension. Trapped in a maze-like cavern, the player has to use the machine to defend themselves from creatures that are awakened by The Eidolon’s energy. The last of Lucasfilm Games’ fractal titles, Koronis Rift is en exploration game in which the player drives a vehicle into mysterious rifts on an alien planet. The hulks can be salvaged for technology, which can sometimes be used to enhance the player’s vehicle – or sold for profit. Based on the Jim Henson movie, this 1986 adventure game contains game mechanic and technological elements that formed the foundation of Lucasfilm Games’ SCUMM engine point-and-click adventures like Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island. The late Douglas Adams contributed ideas to the game when the team met with him in London, including many of the word puzzles, and the game’s concept of starting as a text adventure, before turning in a full-blown graphic adventure when the player reaches a specific point.
The first SCUMM engine game, Maniac Mansion features the exploits of a gang of teenagers who’ve entered the abode of an evil mad scientist whose family is being controlled by a sentient meteor that crashed behind the mansion some years earlier.
Loved for its humor, graphical quality, and B-movie vibe, Maniac Mansion was a revolutionary game, creating a new genre – the graphical point-and-click adventure.
Created in 1986 for the Commodore 64 service Quantum Link (which would later become America Online), Habitat was an online role-playing game that was technologically advanced for the time.
In 1993, Habitat co-designer, Randy Farmer, explained the game as "a multi-participant online virtual environment. Activision, who'd just become the European distributors for Lucasfilm Games wanted to fly workmate Gary Penn and I out to the states to visit Skywalker Ranch and check out two upcoming games from the company.
Having reviewed and highly rated both games, I was extremely excited to see what Lucasfilm Games was planning next. What struck me while talking to all of the Lucasfilm Games team members was the unusual vision that they all shared.
Lucasfilm Games had been formed as the industry crested, and during the 24 months of the games business’ precipitous decline had produced just two games – an expensive proposition when many developers were creating multiple games a year.
David added something else that, with the benefit of hindsight, seems particularly significant. While this kind of rhetoric sounds like typical games design talk today, almost 30 years ago, this was seriously progressive stuff. I left Skywalker Ranch feeling that Lucasfilm Games was one of the most forward-thinking and visionary developers of the period – a view I still hold today. One of the surprises for me was learning that George Lucas didn't decide to move into the gaming space because he was interested in games. When I visited Skywalker Ranch in 1985, I'd asked whether George had been involved with the studio's games, and had been given a somewhat ambivalent response from David Fox.
Bob wanted to know more about this, and asked, "I've heard George Lucas being described as a well-meaning figure who didn't really understand games that much. A question I'd asked during my original 1985 visit was one that was probably asked by everyone who came through Lucasfilm Games' door – which was why wasn't the team working on any Star Wars games? The story and invention aspect of the original Lucasfilm Games' titles was one of the questions I never got to ask in 1985, so I made it the first one I asked when we sat down together following the presentation.
David Fox jumps in immediately, "With Rescue on Fractalus, I wanted to be in a Star Wars movie.
Laughing, Peter adds, "We pretty much did have an Ewok Hunt during the time when they were filming the Christmas special. I move the subject onto The Eidolon, one of the games I'd seen being developed back in 1985. Chip chips in, "Charlie just kept incrementally optimizing and refining that renderer, month after month. Peter explains, "Research places like Bell Labs work really hard to make this kind of thing happen. Something I've always wondered with Lucasfilm Games' fractal graphic products is that they were very different from the voxel and more traditional polygonal graphics that are now very much the norm today. David continues, "About four or five years ago, I got the team together and pitched LucasArts to do a sequel. Bob Mackey, a huge fan of the early LucasArts games, asks, "Right now I guess Disney owns everything you guys created at Lucasfilm Games. He continues, "In our presentation just now, someone asked a question about the challenges of doing humor in a game when you had a tiny amount of memory. A computer graphic specialist, Loren was invited to join Lucasfilm's Computer Division after he'd demonstrated a two-minute fractal-generated landscape at SIGGRAPH in 1980 called "Vol Libre," which was given a standing ovation. Incidentally, Lucasfilm's Computer Division eventually become Pixar Animation, where Loren is co-founder and chief scientist.
Chip points out, "If you have awesome technology, it's easy to fall back on it instead of designing a compelling experience. Bob asks, "Lucasfilm Games started with a number of different types of games in different genres, but eventually became synonymous with graphic adventures. Peter adds, "During the period I was familiar with – I dropped out after a certain period of time – the game choices and the emphases were entirely the personalities of the people involved. Ron continues, "There was never a mandate from the company to do adventure games, or go, hey, the adventure game market is big, we should be in that market.
The day before this interview, I went back and re-read my old reviews of those early Lucasfilm Games titles just to refresh my memory.
David explains, "The hard part wasn't so much the three people that you had, but the initial selection process, because that meant there were all these combinations of people that you could end up with, which hugely complicated the game.
Ron explains, "Gary and I created a little map of the mansion on this big sheet of cardboard. Peter reveals, "I wanted to do the peer thing because that had worked so much better for me in life, rather than having a hierarchy. As the company grew, I wondered whether there was any kind of competitiveness between the teams.
In a nearby parallel universe, somebody is reminiscing about these Lucasfilm Games that never made it into production in this universe. Bob asks about a slide that was featured during the Lucasfilm Games postmortem that showed several unused concepts for games.
David says, "I don’t remember a lot about, ‘Here's your budget.' Do you remember any of that? These days, to keep the money rolling in, companies tend to create franchises with many sequels. Peter says, "Inherently, some ideas make sense to sequelize, because you haven't used up the idea.
One of the more innovative ideas to come out of Lucasfilm Games was Habitat, the very first online persistent world.
They may never have been able to touch Star Wars, but their Indiana Jones games were some of the best I ever played. Such irony here, but I wish a measure of this philosophy had remained as the company grew and matured.


A real shame, and an example of how important it is for one'e boss to share his team's drives and perspectives.
Another seeming irony--one generally associates Disney with creativity, but yes, all the company really wants here is another franchise (Star Wars) to pull apart. How true, and perhaps this is a problem of modern gaming--the budgets are too bloated, the canvases too wide, the expectations too high.
Although true, it seems a shame that the great technical work and finesse these guys employed to make their games and tech shine go unappreciated today. I've said this before but with the Grim Fandango announcement, I don't think Disney will be as unwilling as people seem to think.
It's also easy (and a mistake) to think of Disney as a single entity, instead of thousands of creative people who have the same fondness for things we do.
Regarding the tax avoidance aspect, I think I read in a Steve Jobs biography that Lucas founded the division which later became Pixar for the same reasons. Currently the Mayor of London, he previously served as the Member of Parliament for Henley-on-Thames and as editor of The Spectator magazine.
Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House School, Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Literae Humaniores.
On his father's side Johnson is a great-grandson of Ali Kemal Bey, a liberal Turkish journalist and the interior minister in the government of Damat Ferid Pasha, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who was murdered during the Turkish War of Independence.[5] During World War I, Boris's grandfather and great aunt were recognised as British subjects and took their grandmother's maiden name of Johnson. Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious.
He wrote an autobiographical account of his experience of the 2001 election campaign Friends, Voters, Countrymen: Jottings on the Stump. Johnson is a popular historian and his first documentary series, The Dream of Rome, comparing the Roman Empire and the modern-day European Union, was broadcast in 2006. After being elected mayor, he announced that he would be resuming his weekly column for The Daily Telegraph. After having been defeated in Clwyd South in the 1997 general election, Johnson was elected MP for Henley, succeeding Michael Heseltine, in the 2001 General Election.
He was appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education on 9 December 2005 by new Conservative Leader David Cameron, and resigned as editor of The Spectator soon afterwards. A report in The Times[22] stated that Cameron regarded the possible affair as a private matter, and that Johnson would not lose his job over it.
The Conservative Party hired Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby to run Johnson's campaign. Johnson pledged to introduce new Routemaster-derived buses to replace the city's fleet of articulated buses if elected Mayor. I believe Londoners should have a greater say on how their city is run, more information on how decisions are made and details on how City Hall money is spent. Ken Livingstone presides over a budget of more than ?10billion and demands ?311 per year from the average taxpaying household in London. Under my Mayoralty I am certain that London will be judged as a civilised place; a city that cares for and acknowledges its older citizens. The Mayor’s biggest area of responsibility is transport, and I intend to put the commuter first by introducing policies that will first and foremost make journeys faster and more reliable.
64, I was handed an assignment so plum, I didn't actually believe it until my boss showed me the letter confirming it.
He contributed to many games, including Rescue on Fractalus, Labyrinth, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. He later co-created the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, aka the SCUMM engine, and was also co-designer of that game.
He wrote the music for, and contributed to the game design of Lucasfilm Games Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus. Flying over and around mountains trying to locate crash sites was truly exciting, even if it does look crude by today’s standards. Players enter an arena in hovering “Rotofoils,” and battle to capture and take control of a plasma ball that’s fired onto the playfield. The concept was called “riffology,” and it’s designed to create a constantly changing soundtrack on the fly by using a series of musical parameters in a similar way that Jazz players riff on the music they’re playing. These include large boss-type dragons that can only be destroyed by finding specific energy orbs hidden in the maze.
Inside these are “hulks,” abandoned ancient alien technology that’s defended by a central AI system somewhere on the alien planet. Each participant uses a home computer as an intelligent, interactive client, communicating via modem and telephone over a commercial packet-switching network to a centralized, mainframe host system. The prior year, George Lucas' nascent developer had produced two games – Ballblazer, and Rescue on Fractalus.
The trip was indeed a memorable one – my first ever to the US – and we were shown The Eidolon and Koronis Rift. Something important to remember is that this was 1985, a historically challenging time for the American video games industry. I talked to many developers during this period, and their focus was almost always on making fun, entertaining and enjoyable games. I also left with several unanswered questions – I simply didn't have enough time to ask them all. Lucasfilm Games was actually set up so that the parent company could avoid the massive tax penalties it incurred due to the vast amount of revenue generated by the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. At the time I was given a fairly curt explanation that the team was focusing on its own ideas.
We had the brand of Star Wars, the credibility of Star Wars, and the franchise of Star Wars, but we didn't have to play in that universe. It used similar technology to Rescue on Fractalus, and I wanted to know whether the game was more of product of wanting to squeeze more out of the engine, or whether there was a creative vision that drove it. They put people's offices in strange places so they all meet at the water cooler and that kind of thing.
Why did computer graphics evolve in the way that they had, and why didn't fractal-generated graphics take off? It was more about how to connect these points on the grid with a line that would stay consistent as you got bigger and give you more detail. It allowed you to have a small amount of data from which you would generate a great amount of detail. And there hasn't been any word about making these games available via services that distribute old games. He would go on to create the "genesis effect" scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, that featured an entire fractally-landscaped planet. We even saw that in our day, where people who were pushing the state of the art, which we were, would often get that as pushback – well, it's all just technology.
We did adventure games because I was interested in it, David was interested in it, so we just pushed forward. I tell this to the team, "What stood out when I was reading my review of Maniac Mansion was that the game was a new concept, and I had to explain how it worked to my readers. I completely had Monkey Island designed using these dependency charts, just because you knew everything.
I wondered whether they ever got into a situation where they worked themselves into a corner, or ran into a problem that they had difficulty in solving.
Getting stuck and then walking over to Ron's office or Noah's office and saying, hey, here's this situation. I really didn't know what the rest of the computer division did, because basically, when I arrived, I was hiring. Because there were a bunch of things in Maniac Mansion that Chip wrote – animation systems and memory management systems – and in Eidolon. Ron says, "One of the things I really liked was, we'd often write these little one-page design documents and we'd just pass them around.
When I had to start doing budget stuff for other things, I was like, I have to budget this? In others, you have used up the idea, but it did really well, and so the decision to sequelize it is based entirely on the market, and it's a strain. It essentially set the groundwork for the MMOs that would eventually follow a decade later. Lucasfilm licensed it to Fujitsu for the Japanese market, and later on they brought it back to the U.S.
Even Nintendo, who used to frown on sequels and repeating ideas too frequently, has succumbed to the "make money through sequels" philosophy.


There is a good chance there is someone working on a way to bring back our old favorite games, as long as they see a need for it. At least some of us here would love to jump in and "re-imagine" our old games, or create a sequel or two.
I don’t really have much experience with the old Lucasfilm games, outside of Maniac Mansion. In reference to his cosmopolitan ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" — with a combination of Muslims, Jews and Christians comprising his great-grandparentage.[6] His father's maternal grandmother, Marie Louise de Pfeffel, was a descendant of Prince Paul of Wurttemberg through his relationship with a German actress. They have two sons—Milo Arthur (born 1995) and Theodore Apollo (born 1999)—and two daughters—Lara Lettice (born 1993) and Cassia Peaches (born 1997).[13] Boris Johnson and his family currently live in Holloway, North London. In 1999 he became editor of The Spectator, where he stayed until December 2005 upon being appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education.
He is also author of three collections of journalism, Johnson's Column, Lend Me Your Ears and Have I Got Views For You.
On 2 April 2006 it was alleged in the News of the World that Johnson had had another extramarital affair, this time with Times Higher Education Supplement journalist Anna Fazackerley.
Yet Londoners have little confidence in the Mayor spending their money with care and prudence.
It was here that David Cameron and all his supporters gathered to congratulate him on becoming Mayor of London.
At least their inability has provided us withs some humour, probably their best achievement to date.
The ball can be shot or pushed between the opponent’s moving goalposts – or stolen by an opponent through a well-timed collision or interception of the ball in flight. The client software provides the user interface, generating a real-time animated display of what is going on and translating input from the player into messages to the host.
Released on Atari 8-bit computers and the Commodore 64, both were critically acclaimed as innovative and imaginative. Three years earlier, the games industry had peaked, generating an colossal $3 billion in revenue. However, little did I imagine that almost 30 years later, I'd finally get the chance to ask a few more. By investing in his own company, Lucas could dodge those fees, so he created Lucasfilm Games and the Lucasfilm Computer division. It's his company and he's essentially the senior designer and developer of any project that happens here.
Steve Arnold explained during the presentation, "The joke with George was that when we were presenting to him, he would look at something and consider it very deeply and say 'great!' and that was it. It seemed like he would show up, demand some changes, but not understand the amount of time and money that would go into it. He had seen what the computer division had done with the technology in the area that he knows about – film.
We're still very involved together on the work that we started when I was working at the company. Were they born out of technological innovation, or were they stories that the designers wanted to tell? If they had a legal way for people to purchase them, I think people would do that, rather than trying to cobble them together with pirate downloads and emulators. Or was that a company directive – this is the best way to advance storytelling, the best way to advance narrative? I ended up describing it in this really clunky way, because I had no vernacular to describe it. We had six or seven sheets, and we'd write all the objects – where it was picked up and where it was used – and then each of the characters were on a different sheet of acetate. After we did the Indiana Jones game, Steve asked me to be the director of operations for a year, and I would try to bring in some people to manage the art group, customer support, QA. It was always looking at cool stuff that people were doing and saying, how can I use that in my game? It would get a certain amount of feedback and fleshing-out and turn into one or two or three pages. I was curious to know if Habitat had continued to evolve, where would the team have taken it? Through Prince Paul, Johnson is a descendant of King George II, and through George's great-great-great grandfather King James I a descendant of all of the previous British royal houses.
His comic first novel Seventy-Two Virgins was published in 2004,[16] and his next book will be The New British Revolution, though he has put publication on hold until after the London Mayoral election.[17] He was nominated in 2004 for a British Academy Television Award, and has attracted several unofficial fan clubs and sites. In 2004 he was appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for the Arts in a small reshuffle resulting from the resignation of the Shadow Home Affairs Spokesman, Nick Hawkins.
In a period when the majority of games were clones of coin-ops, Lucasfilm Games' releases were technically ambitious, and impressive in scope. Two years later, it had cratered to an all-time low, garnering just $100 million in video game sales in 1985. However, Lucasfilm Games was thinking with a mindset far closer to today's big-budget game designers than their video game making peers of yore. Which is what happened when Bob Mackey and I sat down with five of the original Lucasfilm Games team at this year's GDC in San Francisco. It was like, okay, we know we have a way to render 3D landscapes, so what else do we want to do?
At lunch, discussing what was going on, you discovered things you could use in what you were doing, where you wouldn't know to ask that.
It was so unrealistic that you immediately accepted it for what it was and it started to be very expressive.
We just wanted to make a game that was this dumb campy horror movie about teenagers going into a house. We did not think about how complicated it was, to have three characters out of a choice of seven, and all these different endings. In 1995 a recording of a telephone conversation was made public revealing a plot by a friend to physically assault a News of the World journalist. There were few major players left in the gaming industry, most retailers had written off video games as a fad, and the only light at the end of the tunnel was an upstart console that had just hit the shelves from a company most people thought only made arcade games - Nintendo's Entertainment System. It was really quite inspiring, and gave an insight into what games would become in the decades to follow. They'd all just given an incredibly interesting presentation that was part of GDC 2014's Classic Studio Postmortem series.
I don't remember whether Zak was the first, or Maniac, but we used some project planning software – if this happens, then this happens. I agreed to do it, if I could do it for only a year, because it didn't sound like a lot of fun. He had a file cabinet in his office, literally a file drawer, with all of these different crazy ideas.
Home computers were also present in the market, but they were still very much a niche product compared to Europe, where they were booming. Hosted by Noah Falstein, David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Steve Arnold, Peter Langston, and Chip Morningstar, we were given a fascinating insight into the early days of the studio. I think when you add the production value costs that you have to do now to make a game, that makes that kind of game much harder to do. You could plot out the whole thing on a big printout, a fancy chart, so you could see where the chokepoints were in the game.
He was looking for ways this new technology was going to expand the way that people engaged with stories.
The people in Grand Theft Auto are really creepy, and not necessarily because they're doing anything creepy. And what we got out of it at the end was something really cool, because we didn't really think about it. David and I were doing the script on it, realizing, okay, this choice is not going to work. When people would come sniffing around, potential business partners, he'd have an inventory of stuff to try to pitch at them. We started doing things like the Indiana Jones games or the Labyrinth thing to try to experiment with that intersection of the story from the movie and the story from the game.



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