Betrayal at Krondor - All News
Sunday - November 27, 2016
Betrayal at Krondor - Krondor Confidential - #XI
Neal Hallford recalls the day that Betrayal at Krondor hit store shelves in the latest part of Krondor Confidential.
I have to admit that I don't remember the actual day that Betrayal at Krondor hit stores. Today major game releases are accompanied with signing events, and Twitter storms, and all kinds of pomp and circumstance, but we simply didn't do that sort of thing in 1993. A publicity blitz back then meant hustling for magazine covers for months in advance, and making sure you had a big presence at E3. Maybe you could get a TV news program to cover you if you had some kind of exploitable current event connection. For our team though, release day was simply time off after nearly two years of extraordinarily hard work. Though we were pleased with what we'd done, we had no idea how it would be received. We'd broken a lot of the "rules" for making RPGs along the way, and the game was crazily ambitious for the time. The one thing about doing anything creative is that the creator is aware of the gap between what they had in mind at the start and the thing they ultimately produce. All of us had things we would have liked to have done better, or to have expanded further. We could have iterated until Doomsday, but the time came to push it over the wall and call it done and start work on the sequel. All we could do is sit back and wait to see how the world would react.
From the beginning, we knew our first and most important critic was going to be Raymond E. Feist. His name was, after all, sitting above the title of the game, and he'd forever be tied to the success or failure of it despite having only minimal input on its actual development. It had been important to me in particular to get it right because Dynamix had handed me the keys to his universe without his knowing who I was or what I would do with Midkemia. I owed it to Ray and I owed it to his fans, but more than any of that, I owed it to the company to make sure Ray would be on board with whatever we did. If he loved it, he could make a very big difference in our efforts to promote the game. If he hated it, however, the many risks that we had taken during development could end up being disastrous for everyone.
Sunday - October 30, 2016
Betrayal at Krondor - Krondor Confidential - Part X
Neal Hallford has posted the latest part of Krondor Confidential.
At the beginning of a game project, everything seems possible. You start with notes scribbled on napkins, and sketches, and whiteboard flowcharts, and excited conversations with your co-workers about all the things you can envision it becoming. Sometimes you get lost while driving because you're so absorbed in designing a system or constructing a narrative that you literally forget that you exist somewhere outside the world of your game. But at some point along the way you begin to confront reality. That great idea you had in the shower can't be implemented, or at least not in the way you imagined. Things have to be cut not because there's a logic problem, but because the budget is running out, or a deadline is looming. This bright, brilliant thing that you dreamed at the beginning turns into meetings, and lists, and checkboxes, and spreadsheets, and deadlines, and deliverables. Suddenly it's 3:00 AM as you're staring at a computer monitor at your Sisyphean bug list, and you want to travel back in time to assassinate that imagination-drunk version of yourself that's committed you to living in this nightmare. You swear if you survive you'll never do this to yourself ever again...and yet you somehow always end up right back in the same place.
I can't recall any specific point at which John Cutter declared that we were in "crunch." We were all keenly aware during the last six months of Betrayal's production that we'd bitten off a project that might have been more ambitious than was entirely sane. We were months behind schedule, and significantly over budget. While the testers seemed to enjoy the beast we'd handed them, the world was far larger, the text more expansive, and the number of combinatorial possibilities of gear and strategic choice more complex than anything Dynamix had thus far handled. Gradually we'd all adjusted our lives to the longer hours, the truncated weekends, the cancelled plans. For most of the rest of the team the sacrifice was higher than my own because they had wives, and girlfriends, and children at home who needed them. For me, the only thing that required my attention was the world of Midkemia, and she was a very, very demanding mistress.
Saturday - June 04, 2016
BaK - Krondor Confidential - Part VII
Neal Hallford shares some more juicy details of his experience helping to develop Betrayal at Krondor.
Krondor Confidential - Part VII
For the first several months of development, John Cutter and I had metaphorically lived on a small island, isolated in the heart of Dynamix away from the rest of our team. In many ways it was a boon because I had a great deal of "think" time to work on the project, unmolested by what would become the daily demands of a leadership role. It was also a time when I remember a fairly steady stream of visitors coming to John's door, superstars of the gaming industry who'd previously only been names in the credits of much-loved games. I was lucky enough to get a ringside seat as they drifted in and out of his office.
As pleasant these initial months were, however, it became clear by the early part of 1992 that we couldn't work effectively as a team with everyone spread across the second floor of the Atrium building. Our programmers were mixed in with the developers for the Aces Over the Pacific , and our artists were similarly scattered between different teams. Meetings involved a lot of walking back and forth between suites to quite literally run down a problem. It was time to come together and get a place of our own.
As much as I loved most of my team mates, I needed the time during lunch alone so that I could recharge my batteries before the afternoon grind. By our fifth month of production, John and I's design duties were beginning to become more than we could stay ahead of. Fortunately for us, there was someone at Dynamix who was itching to climb out of the testing pool, and was willing to do whatever designer grunt work we handed him.
Whenever I think of Tim McClure, I always picture him in the same moment. He's young and frightfully thin, scarcely more than a skeleton. Long, straight brunette hair frames his pale boyish face that's sprinkled with almost imperceptible freckles. There's an impishness in his eyes that gleam behind a pair of round Harry Potter-style spectacles. Perched on the top of a desk like a crow, he thoughtfully stares out of our office windows streaming with water. "I f@#%g hate rain," he says to me. He gives me a look like there's something I can actually do about it. "It's AWFUL." I helpfully point out to him that rain is kind of Oregon's schtick. "You really shouldn't hold your feelings in all the time," I tell him. "Honestly, how do you REALLY feel?"
Tim was not a man that was shy about expressing his opinions. He had many. After weekends he'd come in to talk about a movie or a TV show or a game he'd played, and we'd all get a critique about everything that was wrong with it. He loved Fist of the North Star and hated J.R.R. Tolkien. He seemed to be passionate about everything he came into contact with, and he was either your mortal enemy or your fiercest friend. Thankfully for me, I fell into the latter category. I always saw him as a little kid who simply hadn't learned how to lie like an adult. If I needed an honest opinion about something I was doing, I could always rely on Tim for his unvarnished answer.
Friday - April 29, 2016
BaK Remastered - Puzzle Chest Demo
Neal Hallford shows us his progress on a reworked puzzle chest for Betrayal at Krondor Remastered (tech demo).
In our second Betrayal at Krondor: Remastered demonstration video, designer Neal Hallford walks us through his updated version of one of the most beloved systems from the original Betrayal at Krondor, the puzzle chests.
Monday - April 11, 2016
Betrayal at Krondor - Remastered Interview @ShanePlays
ShanePlays interviews Neal Hallford on his proof of concept Betrayal at Krondor remaster. Sadly he's not remaking it fully just testing the engine.
Highlights: Geek news; Neal Hallford talks Betrayal at Krondor remastered and Amazon's Lumberyard game engine.
Friday - March 18, 2016
Betrayal at Krondor - Remastered Demo
Neal Hallford wants to learn Amazon's new game engine. He re-created a part of Betrayal at Krondor:
Betrayal at Krondor: Remastered_Dialogue and Keywords
In the first Betrayal at Krondor: Remastered demonstration video, designer Neal Hallford walks through the dialogue and keyword systems, the first to be implemented for the recreation of this classic RPG.
Saturday - February 20, 2016
Betrayal at Krondor - Krondor Confidential - Part I
Learn more about the development of Betrayal at Krondor at Neal Hallfords blog:
“Are you into dogs?”
My boss, John Cutter, had asked the question in total innocence, looking as he always did, a young father with with twinkling eyes and a winning smile. He always had this wholesome vibe, like at any minute he’d jump up to run out into the parking lot to throw around a baseball with a kid…didn’t matter whose. Any kid. It just seemed like that’s who he was born to be, some fellow who would never, never grow up. Peter Pan come to life. Like me, he was a sentimental soul, with a love of Ray Bradbury and an idealized vision of the past. He liked to tinker, and even had a robot in his office. Seated across from him, I sniggered at his question because my brain almost always wanders to the dirtiest possible interpretation to anything anyone says, and this was no exception. In comparison, John always seemed like Ward Cleaver to my Zaphod Beeblebrox.
The question he’d asked had been sparked because we’d discovered that we were both fans of the novels of Dean Koontz, and we talking about how there was almost always a dog in his fiction because he was a dog-lover himself. As am I. I don’t know how John feels about it, but I’ve always thought that people who have and love their dogs are by far much more trustworthy than others. It can be an excellent barometer about character, and it told me a lot about John.
At the time, both John and I were employees at New World Computing in Woodland Hills, California, a far cry from the tiny mountain town of Eugene, Oregon where we’d begin production on Betrayal at Krondor six months later. Neither of us had a relocation on our radars (or at least I didn’t), and the contract with Raymond E. Feist was a long way away, but for me I’ve always regarded that conversation in John’s office that day as the point at which development on Betrayal at Krondor actually began. While the story and game rules would play a critical role in it’s popularity, the real secret of the success of that project lay in John and I’s absolute trust in each other’s judgements and skills. [...]
Sunday - May 31, 2015
Betrayal at Krondor - Matt Chat 293: John Cutter
Anyone old-school enough for Betrayal at Krondor? Matt Barton has posted the third part of a long interview with John Cutter, the creator of the game. Part One and Part Two were posted earlier this month.
A snippet I transcribed:
I had originally wanted to do more of a 2D game, but everybody thought we should use the flight-sim engine and do something in 3D, and Ultima Underworld came out during the development of our game, which helped support the idea that, yeah, 3D was the right choice.
But we digitized a lot of the actors, and we assumed when we were taking the pictures and digitizing them that they were going to be so pixelated that the makeup and the costumes didn’t really have to look that great—they just kinda had to be close. But I think before we launched the game technology improved, and you could see the elastic bands on the fake beards. It was pretty bad.
Source: Matt Chat
Tuesday - March 30, 2010
Betrayal at Krondor - Released on GOG
Surely one of the all time classics, GOG has released Betrayal at Krondor for $5.99.
Tuesday - August 12, 2008
Betrayal at Krondor - Review at RPG Codex
Vintage RPG time at the Codex. Our old friends reviewed one of the best RPGs ever, Betrayal at Krondor.
Betrayal at Krondor is a vintage RPG developed by Dynamix, and published by Sierra Entertainment in 1993. Taking aside its rather old age and horribly outdated graphics it's still regarded as one of the best the genre has to offer by those who played it. The game is mostly centered around exploration, combat, the plot, and the absolutely fantastic writing, at which many nowadays RPG developers should look, and at least try to implement something similarly great into their games.