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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Bill Dugan - From Wasteland To Spiderman 2 21

Posted by simoniker
from the long-time-comin' dept.
jvm writes "Curmudgeon Gamer has posted an interview with Bill Dugan of Treyarch, producer of the new Spider-Man 2 console game, due to launch alongside the movie of the same name this summer. But, that's really just his latest project in an 18 year career in the video game business. During that time he has designed maps (for classic PC RPG Wasteland), programmed (Out of this World), designed a manual (Dragon Wars), voice acted (Stonekeep), and been the producer for several games (No One Lives Forever 2, Descent 3). In this interview he discusses the precise role of a game producer, the history of Wasteland, and perhaps most interestingly, why the game industry is making better games today than it was twenty years ago, despite the complaints of the nostalgic to the contrary."
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Bill Dugan - From Wasteland To Spiderman 2

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  • Well, related to Spiderman 2, anyway. Major League Baseball sells its soul to the devil (and Spiderman): http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news /story?id=1795742
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @11:43PM (#9070410) Journal
    why the game industry is making better games today than it was twenty years ago, despite the complaints of the nostalgic to the contrary.
    Yeah, that's not actually what was said. He said:
    • "The ratio of gems to crap then was probably about the same as the ratio is now."
    To which I, as a collector of old video games, agree.
    • "On the bright side, video games today are way, way more polished than they ever have been, and the production values are sky high."
    This, I do not agree with. Many modern games are cookie-cutter crap with the same lack of attention to detail as ever. 3D models passing through walls and other 3D models is a good example. Production values were probably highest just before the Playstation was released.
    • "Multiplayer games of all kinds are much more fun now than they were 20 years ago."
    If you want to go back 20 years that might be the case, but I was playing Populous over a null-modem cable 15 years ago and it was just as fun as many multiplayer games are now. My current multiplayer fav is Diablo II -- four years old in a month. Give me a good few rounds of hunt [netbsd.org] over any FPS any day.
    • This, I do not agree with. Many modern games are cookie-cutter crap with the same lack of attention to detail as ever. 3D models passing through walls and other 3D models is a good example. Production values were probably highest just before the Playstation was released.

      Umm, I dunno. 3D engines are just difficult problems...it's much easier to consistent polished results in a 2D world than a 3D world.

      I think the presentation is a big part of it. One interesting example is the GBA, which is a good way o
  • by baylorhawk (650925) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @11:46PM (#9070426)
    He makes a good point about the quality of games today versus classic games. I would disagree that the ratio of good to bad games is the same today as then, however. It's probably higher today.
    These days, games have to go through a great deal of tweaking and whatnot just to work, much less be playable and fun. So for a game to even be released, there has to be a huge time investment for the corporation.
    Bad games back in the day had major bugs, some of which made the games almost impossible to play.
    • But on the other hand, today's 3D games have exponentially more stuff to be tweaked. Nor am I convinced they actually spend more time tweaking gameplay than in the past--the precise timing of a characters jump doesn't show up well on box art. Console games today are certainly buggy than they were in the 80s/early 90s (Enter the Matrix comes to mind as an infamous one...) Still, the real question is: why should gamers give a crap about the ratio of good to bad games? All I care about is the raw number of
      • First of all, they must spend more time tweaking - the sheer complexity of games is much higher today. Think about a huge RPG or RTS. There is a lot of balancing that goes on there between unit types, items, etc., not to mention the graphics.
        The reason that gamers should care about the ratio is the health of the industry. The ratio of quality games is going up, which means that producers making good, non-buggy games are being rewarded with high sales. There are, of course, exceptions...you mentioned so
        • RTS, yes, there's lots of tweaking there.

          RPG, yes, there SHOULD be lots of tweaking there, but it's been a long time since I've felt I've played a well-tweaked one...

          In any event, that was actually my point--today's gaming experiences are rarely quite as fluid and precise as they were in the past, just because the problem of making games is so fantastically more complex.

          I don't deny that they may be more efficient (I DO deny that they're less buggy, especially on the console.) But I still claim the

  • Downtown Needles (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:38AM (#9071122)
    Bill talks about his Needles map in Wasteland:

    In Downtown Needles, then, the howitzer blew up building walls, but in the end, doing this was not terribly meaningful to progress in the game. I think the only real reason to fire it was to get a little loot that was exposed when you blew up one wall over to the west. In retrospect the whole map should have revolved around the howitzer.

    I'm glad it didn't. The howlitzer was one of the highlights of the game, because it didn't have anything to do with the overall story... it made the Wasteland game world more realistic and added to the "anything can happen" mentality.

    As I recall you could blow up half the Hobo Dogs stand, permanently. That's so cool.

    • by bckrispi (725257) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @05:18AM (#9071637)
      As I recall you could blow up half the Hobo Dogs stand, permanently. That's so cool.

      Ahh, yes... The Hobo Dogs clerk looks at you, and with his dying breath says, "Would you...like...fries with your...order??"

    • Hobo Dogs stand
      "It's people. Hobo Dogs are made out of people!"
    • I've never played it, but I have a really old copy of Wasteland, in a tattered box with the manuals and stuff. It's got a set of 5" diskettes.

      Question is, do you think it would be worth the time to get an old computer to play it on, or would it be better to play it on some emulator? I'm sort of afraid the disks might get corrupted and stuff if I tried to use them, but I wonder if using vintage equipment would get the "feel" of the game much better.
  • man, that really takes me back. I still remember having a great time playing Wasteland on my Apple 2. Anyone else remember the URABUTLN puzzle?
  • by Quinn (4474)
    Great to see some new insight into how Wasteland was made, although somewhat disappointing to hear most of it was a bytecode scripting language. I guess we'll never see leaked source code for this old gem and port it to Linux. (But that would be so awesome my brain would explode like a blood sausage.)
  • Wasteland was great, but towards the end, someone gave me a character editor. I ruined the ending for myself as I gave my guys powerful weapons and didn't finish it correctly. (Good ole RedRider BB Gun)

    It was one of my favorite games for the c64, for RPG's go, I really enjoyed the skill based, non-magic game. Which we had more of these today in RPG's.

    I played that what game 17 years ago? Wow.

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