Theseis: Post-mortem – Part 3: Trying to salvage the effort

After almost everyone was fired  a few meetings took place.

In the most important one we decided we were going to:

  • hire a programmer with multiple releases on his CV to help asses the situation and progress of the engine
  • make a version of the script that would be manageable by a smaller team and possible to complete in 12-18 months max

We did both, we got a few CVs. but the best one was that of David Horachek, he was in North America at the time and agreed to come to Greece and help us asses the state of the game, engine and discuss any other possibilities.

Meanwhile Nektarios, Thodoris and I chopped the game up, reduced the number of locations and monsters and introduced gun play to lengthen the game, aiming to make something closer to the Lara Croft and Uncharted games in terms of gameplay.

David came to Greece and looked at the engine, his conclusion in summary was: that the Theseis engine was basically an (impressive) graphics engine, but the tools we needed to make gameplay without being coders were not available and this would not allow us to finish the game in time with the current team.

This was of course true, since we did all our level creation, lighting etc in 3dsmax and gameplay was handled by programmers per case (hard coded) up to that point.

His extensive experience with tools informed his conclusion that developing such tools – that would allow non-programmers to make the gameplay – would take too long and we wouldn’t be able to start testing fast enough, neither would we be able to complete the game in the aforementioned deadline.

Instead he proposed we look into the commercially available engines, which would allow us to start creating content as soon as possible.

We evaluated:

  • Quake 3 engine – not as easy to bring in assets as we wanted,
  • Unreal engine – too expensive,
  • Gamebryo Engine – good asset pipeline, SpeedTree implementation
  • Jupiter EX – the code name for Monolith’s Lithtech engine
  • Unigine – we had looked into this one while in production as well

We looked into a few more tools and combinations of tools, but nothing worth noting.

We ended up using Gamebryo to create a new proof of concept demo using the Ruined House location. We imported our assets easily, even loaded our custom lightmaps. We had Phebe walking around and able to pick up objects in a couple of days.

So the time came for evaluating our prospects, we would adjust our estimation on asset creation costs, based on the excel sheets we had created and then chopped up script and David would estimate the cost of making a full featured demo and estimations for a full game.

The cost proposed was a bit too much, we tried chopping up the game further, by then Kyriakos saw it as a shadow of it’s former self and thought it best to kill the project.

That was it for Theseis.

David went home, but the rest of us tried to put together a graphics service studio, we created a website, demos and portfolios of our work and called it track7GFX, but this wasn’t able to support all of us.

In August 2009 we shut down completely. One of the last things I was doing in the office was evaluating the Unity3D engine, which had just been released for Windows – (previously available only on MacOS).

Our assets worked without a hitch, lighting was exactly what we needed, there were 3 options for coding and visual editors as well. Everything was there, but we weren’t… I now have been using Unity for 7 years.

Three of us went on to form our own studio, our first project together ‘Archetype’ went on to be game of the month for IGN, reached the AppStore Hall of Fame alongside Angry Birds and other early successful iOS games.

Archetype in the AppStore Hall of Fame

One Response to Theseis: Post-mortem – Part 3: Trying to salvage the effort

  • akalest0s says:

    Ευχαριστώ πολύ για την άμεση απάντηση με το 3ο μέρος.
    Καλή συνέχεια στις δουλείες σας!

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