Here's an interesting story for all of you budding developers out there. Jordan Mechner, the creative mind behind the original Prince of Persia, amongst many other things, has posted his old journals on his website. They date back to 1985 and detail the trials and tribulations of developing Prince along with his other pursuits in game development and film-making, starting with its conception as a single notion discussed over lunch.
Mechner wrote: July 17, 1985
Gene and I came up with a setting for the new game before lunch. Ali Baba; Sinbad. It’s versatile, familiar, visually distinctive, and — in the video game field — hasn’t been done to death.
Here's some of the first footage he recorded for the game:
Mechner wrote: April 29, 1986
I still think this can work. The key is not to clean up the frames too much. The figure will be tiny and messy and look like crap… but I have faith that, when the frames are run in sequence at 15 fps, it’ll create an illusion of life that’s more amazing than anything that’s ever been seen on an Apple II screen. The little guy will be wiggling and jittering like a Ralph Bakshi rotoscope job… but he’ll be alive. He’ll be this little shimmering beacon of life in the static Apple-graphics Persian world I’ll build for him to run around in.
It's a somewhat entertaining read, especially so for developers — as you can identify with the roller-coaster of emotions depicted throughout Jordan's close to five years of time spent on the project in its various forms.
Mechner wrote: November 18, 1986
Digitized the running skidding turn-around that was so amusing on videotape. It looks OK. I’ll need to redo the straight running, but I think everything else will work as it stands.
About half the animations are in now. Next step will be getting the character to interact with the environment (climbing a rope ladder, pulling a lever, etc.)
At this juncture I think I’ll redirect my attention to the game design.
Read the full journal log on Jordan's site.
Heard about this via Idle Thumbs!