Picking the Scab
More on EA.com
For the past two month I've been wondering aloud about the strange phenomenon that caused all the executives at Electronic Arts to stop taking their medications and start gibbering like lunatics exposed to some Lovecraftian horror. I've been wondering because EA seems to have created a business plan based upon first investing heavily in massively multiplayer and Internet gaming, and then firing everyone who knows anything about the subject.
I was particularly struck by the fact that Westwood, which has shown an ability to make precisely one (albeit good) game over and over again for five or six years, has been tasked with creating a new online space combat game (Earth and Beyond) from the ground up, without any brand-name recognition or proven skill at making online 3D games.
Why is this so striking? Because EA owned Origin and sacrificed the developer on its unholy altar, while Origin was at work on a Wing Commander/Privateer online game. This game was under the guidance of Any Hollis, one of the most respected names in simulation. So you have a recipe that includes a) a team with years of 3D space-combat experience, b) a company that acquired a vast store of massively multiplayer development experience the hard way, c) a producer with a shelf full of sim awards, and d) one of the three or four most lucrative game licenses in history, and you pitch it out the window in favor of a new 3D game from a company with lots of experience making tiny 2D guys walk in the wrong direction.
Ater all the effort it took to brainstorm this business plan, EA celebrated by sacking everyone at Kesmai and maybe killing a puppy or two. Oh, and by pissing away a hundred mil on a dopey Harry Potter title that will never, ever, ever earn out even if it somehow spontaneously reveals the location of the True Cross.
After reporting that story, I got word from my Deep Throat (no kidding, it was Linda Lovelace herself who tipped me off) on what happened inside What Used to be Origin. My source had this to say:
"Andy has left EA and Origin permanently. the Wing Commander massively multiplayer game never got off the ground. Eventually it turned into Privateer Online, which ultimately got canceled. Andy went to work with EA Sports on some of their products. He started to work on the Harry Potter game here at Origin, which never saw the light of day. Andy was and is very well thought of by EA and Origin. However, he just didn't want to leave Austin for opportunities EA had for him in other parts of the world. So he elected to move on and remain in Austin."
-Thomas L. McDonald
While i was playing with decompressing movie sounds, i think i came across a few movies that the game doesn't use (well, at least i don't remember ever seeing them). I've taken the audio with a tweaked version of MGI2WAV, and put them below so you can hear them yourself:
http://student.dei.uc.pt/~mbrito/mgi/thatsthe.wav - "That's the kind of flying..." (Casey talks to Rachel after landing)
http://student.dei.uc.pt/~mbrito/mgi/eitheryou.wav - "Either you are... " (Casey talks to Rachel after landing)
http://student.dei.uc.pt/~mbrito/mgi/under.wav - Maestro and Stiletto: seems like an alternate scene to the one where Maestro says "You know Stiletto, i've noticed by the way you ignore me that you're extremely attracted to me."
Here's the Prophecy segment from Syd Mead's Sentury... with a lot of information on the physiology of the Nephilim!
The Electronic Game production environment exploits advances in computing power to achieve 'cinematic' onscreen action and scneic reality. ORIGIN, since absorbed into Electronic Arts, was at the forefront of the game industry with the WING COMMANDER series. Combining excellent graphics, character design and adroit code scripting, the epic series became a stylistic and technical target for the entire electronic game world. I was asked to cooperate with the WCV staff in Austin, Texas in creating some of the fighting ships and characters for the alien 'enemy world. The Aliens, I thought, should incorporate a queasy level of organic growth detail which would look appropriately weird and also indicate an exotic method of manufacture. On the facing page is a fighter ship. The cross section is axially hexagonal. The 'capital ship,' above is immense in story scale, measuring avout fifty kilometers in length. The command level is at the top. The spherical front end opens in an iris-like maw that can spew out hundreds of bio-mechanical fighter ships to form a frightening attack.
Creating the alien characters for WING COMMANDER V was a challenging exercise in combining several morphologies, something I have been doing since childhood. I have always beeen fascinated, for instance, with the mythical horseman creature known as a centaur. The ALien character set had to reflect a hierarchical social and command structure. WHat more natural 'fascistic' model than the colony-mind genetic imperative so elegantly exemplified by ants, bees and wasps. The bottom social order were the solder ALiens following the 'worker bee' and the 'drone' example. A picture of the drone character is on the introduction page (135) of this section. I decided on a six-legged physiology, using the rear set as the primary weight and mobility support. Having thus established a kind of bipedal locomotion, the middle pair of legs became an additional mobility assist when rapid turning or climbing was required. The foreward set became the 'arms' with a kind of hand gesture and grasping function. THe middle hirarchy were the Lieutenants. This level had a vestigial 'royal' carapace growth at the junction of head to thorax. And the 'queen' commander class had an elaborate carapace with distinctive silhouette 'points' on either side of the carapace. To further distinguish these royal variations, only the queens had the additional identifying characteristic of carrying weaponry mounted into the carapace plate. The Wing Commander Series was a DOS/PC game. Since I prefer the technical elemegance of the MacIntosh platform, I have never seen my designs onscreen, nor did I ever recieve any feedback from the Origin group that produced the game.
We specialise in those little pleasures! We also cater for those enormous pleasures!
The entertainment giant GRET KAY seeks able pilots to help fend off constant pirate attacks on company convoys. Those randy pirates just can't get enough.
Make contact with our convoy as it moves through Nav Point 149, and help defend them from any over eager forces present. Look after that cargo it's live and valuable. We can be very grateful employers to work for.