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Jordan Mechner post his old journals that detail the creation of the original Prince of Persia

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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!

Comments
SinKing
SinKing

I'll definately give this journal a read, soon. Amazing to see how inventive Mechner was and what the hurdles of those days were like. This will surely be an entertaing read. Thanks for posting!

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stenchy Author
stenchy

no problem!

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KerenskyTheRed
KerenskyTheRed

Ahhh...I remember playing this game on my cousins' Sega Genesis every time I visited them. Definitely a classic. I like looking at how games developed from concepts.

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bomblol
bomblol

this is one of the games ive been most interested in the development in ever seeing this thing about it. thanks

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darth3pio
darth3pio

I love that game, used to play it our first computer, running Windows 3.1. It's a disgrace that when I walked into EB Games the other day I overheard two teen conversing, after having just seen Sands of Time on the shelf and saying.... look the first Prince of Persia, OMG... they clearly didn't realise that their was a history games before the introduction of 3D

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awesomepossum
awesomepossum

Lol he did actually have his brother and friends run around in pajamas, Priceless! Plus a lot of neat insight into game design. Nice post stenchy!

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spellman23
spellman23

Nice. Goes to show the world what goes into serious development.

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EmotionalRobot
EmotionalRobot

Awesome...
Thanks for bringing this into the light
I would have never found this

Awesome

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leilei
leilei

You can see a creepy guy in 00:16 O_O

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