Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

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Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby makslane » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:28 am

The follow letter was sent from John Romero (Wolfenstein, quake, ...) to Jordan Mechner (Karateka, Prince, ...) in 1985.
It is good to know, the today's unknown developer can be the tomorrow's big guy :-)

Makslane

Dear Mr. Mechner:


Hello, let me introduce myself. My name is John Romero and I currently live in Needingwonth. England. I an an American stationed here with my family (I'm not a 6.1., I just go to school here, I am 17, going on 18 in October- (28th).

I am writing because I have played your game KARATEKA (actually, I have the game). I am writing because you need to be congratulated on this game. I was absolutely stunned by the graphics, shadows and all. You did a tremendous job and have. I think, defined the state-of-the-art for future Apple games. The technology has been in the Apple all along to do those graphics, it just needed a programmer like you to use it.

Now I must betray myself. 1, too, am a game programmer, albeit an unknown one. From what I saw on the screen. I deduced most of the technique used in drawing the graphics, here are my conclusions:

1) You HAD to use page-flipping
2) Shapes were ORed on the screen (first with a mask, then the shape)
3) For the parts where the Karateka went halfway through a door-. you adjusted the horizontal drawing ranges
4) For the scrolling background -- you tell me

For the music. I would like to know if you used The Music Construction Set. I have finished the game many times and I keep coming back for more of that excellent music. Did you make up that song or what? If you made it up, you must be some musician!

All in all, your game is absolutely amazing. I have studied Brodenbund games and they all have non-flickering animation and excellent demos. I have made tons of games, but until recently I haven't used any advanced animation techniques like page-flipping and OR animation. Now that I know how good those techniques look. I am starting to use them (the page flipping requires a tremendous amount of work)!

I am also thanking you for redefining my methods of animation. Ever since Karateka, my graphic outlook has changed. I have created new drawing routines and page flipping algorithms. If you would like to see my latest work of art, deprived of advanced aniMation techniques but still good with EOR drawing, just write back and ask me (be sure to include your address). The game is called The Pyramids of Egypt.


Many people feel that it is better than Lode Runner, and almost everybody yells out TUTANKAMEN! when they first see it. It works with keyboard and joystick and you car, defin your keys. There are 108 levels and Ian planning on making 100 level expansion disks.

Anyway, ask me for it and it's yours. I am currently trying to sell it to anyone I can (Broderbund is first on my list). My next gaff. is going to be totally awesome (using the page-flipping technique, of cause). I can't wait until I get an idea for My next game!

Another thing I wanted to ask you was how did you make the scrolling background? Ever since Choplifter I have been stumped on what kind of data and drawing algorithm would be used to draw a scrolling background like yours. Oh sure, I know how to make the choppy one-byte-movement backgrounds, but not your 2-pixe/-movement background. If you decide to write back, I would be eternally grateful if you explained this to me.

And if you would like to see some of my older-, crummier games, look no farther than the June 1984 issue of /nCider magazine (Scout Search) and the future June 1985 issue (Snag!) and another issue that they haven't told me about yet (Bongo's Bash), Also look in A. magazine, December- 1984 for- my award winning Cavern Crusader game. Yes, I have made some printable material but I still haven't broken into the big league yet. Just wait until my next game!


Sincere,

John Romero
Disciple of the Great Jordan
and worshipper of the Magnificent Mechner!
(how's that sound?)
Attachments
Romero-Letter.pdf
(148.9 KiB) Downloaded 14 times
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby SuperSonic » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:41 pm

Please pardon my ignorance, but what does this mean? :)
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Game A Gogo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:50 pm

Leads me to beleive that the guy who wrote the letter, is now a very good programmer. I haven't googled his name but that's what I assume :)

The message that I believe makslane is trying to portray here is that:

Even though we may be small programmers today, there is no telling how great and amazing we can become. All it takes is determination!

And I'm getting halfway on that path :D
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Hblade » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:57 pm

True! :)
Determination is the key.

Thanks mak ;D
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby JamesLeonardo32 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:12 pm

Interesting, this is actually a good piece of gaming history.
I know why you wanted to show us this Mak, and i thank you for that! Very inspirational. =)

SuperSonic wrote:Please pardon my ignorance, but what does this mean?

Read it again please.

Game A Gogo wrote:Leads me to beleive that the guy who wrote the letter, is now a very good programmer. I haven't googled his name but that's what I assume :)

Seriously you should, have you never heard of Doom or Wolfenstien?
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Game A Gogo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Ah, of course!

You should know I know nothing about games XD
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Hblade » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:18 pm

o-o had me confused :D but interesting! :)
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby AltruismIsDead » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:08 am

That is an awesome article/letter. Come on guys! John Romero! He basically helped make the First Person Shooter Genre...

AND least we not forget:

Image


With his all time super famous, world-wide known game Daikatana! /end sarcasm

That would be his eventual fall from grace releasing that horrendous game along with his arrogance. Aside from all that, he was and probably still is an awesome programmer, just that he completely fell off the map.
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby JamesLeonardo32 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:31 pm

AltruismIsDead wrote:Image

Ah yes, I remember a friend brought this ad up in a convocation once. Good times. Well, not for Romero, it almost killed his career.
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Jagmaster » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:41 am

Oh, wow. I immediately thought of Wolfenstein 3D after reading this.

That game had some interesting controversy, along with it being the grand-pappy of the fps.

Wikipedia wrote:Due to concerns from Nintendo of America, the Super NES version was heavily edited. All swastikas and Nazi references were removed. Adolf Hitler, a boss character in the game, had his moustache removed and was renamed "Staatmeister." Blood was replaced with sweat to make the game seem less violent (for SNES copies distributed in Germany, the enemy blood was turned green). Attack dogs were also replaced by giant mutant rats. Employees of id Software are quoted in The Official DOOM Player Guide about the reaction to Wolfenstein, claiming it to be ironic that it was morally acceptable to shoot people and rats, but not dogs.The opening music, originally the anthem Horst-Wessel-Lied, was changed as well.


Then came Super Noah's ark 3D:
Very strange...
The game itself is a straightforward modification of Wolfenstein 3D, with altered graphics and sounds; furthermore, Wolfenstein's subliminal morse code tappings permeate the game. The level layouts, weapons, and enemy behaviors in the SNES version are identical to Wolfenstein 3D, but the graphics were changed to reflect a non-violent theme. Instead of killing Nazi soldiers in a castle, the player takes the part of Noah, wandering the ark, using a slingshot to shoot feed at angry animals who want Noah dead, mostly goats, in order to knock them unconscious. The animals behave differently: goats, the most common enemy, will only kick Noah, while the other animals such as sheep, ostriches, antelopes and oxen will shoot food at him from a distance. Goats are also unable to open doors, which the other animals can do.


There is an urban legend that id Software, angered with Nintendo of America's censorship in the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D, gave the source code for that game to Wisdom Tree as part of a kind of "revenge" for them to make an unofficial clone to mock them.[1] However, the legend is not true: Wisdom Tree was an ordinary technology licensee, though id Software knew that this game would be an independent "rogue title" and not officially licensed by Nintendo.[2] The game was not a commercial success, suffering from the lack of major marketing common to other Wisdom Tree titles. It was most commonly found in Christian bookstores.


Change the graphics a little and you have good clean family fun? :lol:

Before
Image
After
Image

Anyway, thanks for the read. Today's enthusiasts/hobbyists will create the next video game genera of tomorrow! You never know who they'll be. :wink:
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby SuperSonic » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:57 am

Game A Gogo wrote:The message that I believe makslane is trying to portray here is that:

Even though we may be small programmers today, there is no telling how great and amazing we can become. All it takes is determination!
Ahhh thank you for that Gogo =D

Yes, it is very inspiring. It makes me want to just go out there and start making games =). And yes, I did read it again ^^.

Thanks mak =D
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby akr » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:48 am

Impressive. I am such a big fan of Karateka, Prince of persia and all the iD Software games....

In the following years I worked as a cracker. Should have been done some more useful things than that......
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Game A Gogo » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:24 pm

Jagmaster wrote:Then came Super Noah's ark 3D:
Very strange...
The game itself is a straightforward modification of Wolfenstein 3D, with altered graphics and sounds; furthermore, Wolfenstein's subliminal morse code tappings permeate the game. The level layouts, weapons, and enemy behaviors in the SNES version are identical to Wolfenstein 3D, but the graphics were changed to reflect a non-violent theme. Instead of killing Nazi soldiers in a castle, the player takes the part of Noah, wandering the ark, using a slingshot to shoot feed at angry animals who want Noah dead, mostly goats, in order to knock them unconscious. The animals behave differently: goats, the most common enemy, will only kick Noah, while the other animals such as sheep, ostriches, antelopes and oxen will shoot food at him from a distance. Goats are also unable to open doors, which the other animals can do.


There is an urban legend that id Software, angered with Nintendo of America's censorship in the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D, gave the source code for that game to Wisdom Tree as part of a kind of "revenge" for them to make an unofficial clone to mock them.[1] However, the legend is not true: Wisdom Tree was an ordinary technology licensee, though id Software knew that this game would be an independent "rogue title" and not officially licensed by Nintendo.[2] The game was not a commercial success, suffering from the lack of major marketing common to other Wisdom Tree titles. It was most commonly found in Christian bookstores.


Change the graphics a little and you have good clean family fun? :lol:

Before
Image
After
Image

Anyway, thanks for the read. Today's enthusiasts/hobbyists will create the next video game genera of tomorrow! You never know who they'll be. :wink:


Not to mention that you cannot play the game unless you have a special cartridge that "hacks" the SNES to allow to play unlicensed games
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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby NightOfHorror » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:39 am

Someone post the Angry Video Game Nerd review of that Super Noah Ark 3D and thanks for showing us this letter. It makes my life a lot less scarier (you probably don't know what I mean). I was originally going to not post until I finished TTM which my graphic artist for faces is taking her sweet time on it, but I felt it was important to tell my thanks. Makslane deserves more than what he gets. I wish I could help you in some way, but I am just a newbie. Again, thanks for the nice inspiration. Peace out!

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Re: Letter from an unknown game developer (1985)

Postby Antxion » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:24 pm

wow that is really old, where did you find it?
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