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

Posted by stenchy on Jun 4th, 2009

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!

Post comment Comments
SinKing
SinKing Jun 4 2009, 8:00pm says:

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!

+1 vote     reply to comment
stenchy
stenchy Jun 4 2009, 9:02pm replied:

no problem!

+1 vote     reply to comment
KerenskyTheRed
KerenskyTheRed Jun 4 2009, 10:01pm says:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
bomblol
bomblol Jun 5 2009, 12:06am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
darth3pio
darth3pio Jun 5 2009, 12:15am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
awesomepossum
awesomepossum Jun 5 2009, 1:48am says:

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!

+1 vote     reply to comment
spellman23
spellman23 Jun 5 2009, 8:58am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
EmotionalRobot
EmotionalRobot Jun 5 2009, 4:25pm says:

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

Awesome

+1 vote     reply to comment
leilei
leilei Aug 18 2009, 3:45am says:

You can see a creepy guy in 00:16 O_O

+1 vote     reply to comment
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