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Subject: Re: Please tell me you're still a Mac zealot ( 6 of 9 )
Posted by Douglas Adams


I currently have four computers in regular use - a G3 Series Powerbook for most things, a B&W G3 (just arrived) for high end multimedia work, an elderly PPC 9600 for running network services (such as Retrospect) and a Twentieth Anniversary Mac for radio,tv and CD playback in my workroom.

As for the development of Starship Titanic, I've gone over this issue many, many times, but here - once again - is the story.

We started out - at my own instigation - developing the game in mTropolis, an object-oriented authoring system on the Mac with a runtime version for Windows. After struggling along for too long with this we were forced to the realisation that the game was completely overwhelming the authoring system and that we were going to have to write our own. When I say 'we', I mean that Tim Browse, our technical lead, was going to have to write our own. This was a little like being in the middle of preparing a vast banquet and realising that you are going to have to rebuild the kitchen from the ground up, while carrying on cooking. At the same time were we writing our own highly ambitious natural language parser. It was a question of writing the development tools, and hence the game itself, for one platform at a time. Either that, or the company would collapse and die.

A word about the company. At this point in our development the entire company, launched on a wing and a prayer, was about a year old. Or to be more precise, a year earlier it had consisted just of an office, a secretary and a telephone and no games experience whatsoever, beyond the fact that 12 years earlier I had collaborated in creating a text-parser game based on the Hitchhiker's Guide. And now we suddenly had three dozen freshly hired people and were in the middle of creating what is, by common consent, one of the most technically complex games ever built. We had pulled off the most amazing stunt of getting Simon & Schuster Interactive to fund the development of this hideously complex and expensive title by an unknown and hitherto non-existent company a whole continent away. We had achieved this by a potent mixture of screaming and grovelling, a tactic we were going to have to resort to again more than once before we were finished.

So. We've already made some mistakes - prime amongst them being the selection of mTropolis (a fine, but at this point very immature product which has now, sadly, been abandoned) as an authoring tool, and now we have to tell S&S that, at huge extra cost in time and resources, we are going to have to write our own authoring system as well. Now try adding this into the mix: "Oh, and by the way, because we can only now do one platform at a time, we've decided to go for the Mac first because even though it only has 5% of the market and shrinking, it's Douglas's favourite computer and he wants to support it. And anyway it's only money."
The simple fact is we had no choice. We had used up whatever room for manoeuvre we had because of my early insistence on using a very particular Mac-based product which turned out to be inappropriate to the job.

Bottom line - we had to do the PC version first, and then do the Mac version as quickly as we could after that.

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