, the first in a series of adventure games designed to scare the wits out of you. But you’ll need your wits to unravel the museum’s many layers of mystery, and to capture the evil entities, the Ixupi, before they get you first.
If you’ve played an adventure game before,
might be designed a little differently than what you’re used to. It’s only linear in structure until you get into the museum — once inside, you can roam at will. It doesn’t matter in what order you see the rooms of the museum. And you’ll never get stuck!
Something else that might seem different about
is the function of the cursor. We thought that it would be too easy if the cursor highlighted all the clues. So it’s up to you to click on everything if you expect to unravel the museum’s mysteries—the cursor won’t give away the fact that you may be only inches from an evil entity, or anything else!
This User Guide is divided into sections. Playing the Game answers questions about the toolbar, the object of the game, scoring, and inventory. The Walkthrough leads you through the first part of the game, nudging you toward puzzle solutions without giving them away. The solutions themselves are printed upside down for those who need them. The hints scattered throughout the User Guide will give clues to the game.
, your system should include the following:
• 486 SX–33MHZ or faster
• Windows 3.1 or better
• 8 Megs RAM
• Double-Speed CD-ROM drive
• 640X480 at 256 color video driver or better
• Hard drive
Launch Windows if you are at a DOS prompt.
Pull down the
menu under Program Manager and
dialog box appears, type the letter of your
CD-ROM drive followed by
and the enter key.
For example, if your CD-ROM drive is labed D, you would type:
Follow the on-screen prompts. Also, try using the various test features of the setup program to make sure it detects the proper hardware that you are running.
To start the game under Windows 3.1, double-click on the
SIERRA program group within program manager, and then double-click on the
Start your computer system so that Windows 95 has launched.
CD into your computer.
The Autostart sequence should ask you if you wish to install
. Select the install option and follow the on-screen prompts.
To start the game under Windows 95, insert the CD into your
CD-ROM drive, and select the Play option when Autoplay appears.
, your Macintosh system should include:
• Color Macintosh system
• 8MB system memory free
• System 6.07 or higher
• CD-ROM Drive
CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive using a carrier if appropriate.
When you open the CD-ROM from the Finder, you should see the
Double-click on this icon to launch the program. It will read from the CD-ROM drive; the application will not install on your hard drive.
Jorge didn’t like to take the shortcut through Blood Rocks because of all the rumors about the place. He shuddered as he remembered the stories he’d heard about the grave looters found there years ago. It was the evil spirits called Ixupi that had reputedly killed them, spirits that slowly sucked the life from humans and left only shriveled corpses behind.
But he had to take the shortcut. If he was late for dinner again, his mother might forbid him from visiting Maria altogether.
He pulled hard on his burro’s halter. Was it his imagination or was Camil balking, too? He’d heard that animals could sense the supernatural. . . .
Just ahead Jorge could see the huge boulders that the area was named after. It was a bizarre landscape. The rocks were eerily red in a surrounding of otherwise sandy and dun colors, and they were scattered in such a way that one always seemed to be looming just over your shoulder. Strange shadows danced over the boulders, making them look as if they had evil faces concealed just beneath their surface.
Jorge heard a noise behind him and quickly turned, but saw only Camil at the end of his long braided rope. Still, Jorge didn’t like the fact that the boulders were so big, easily big enough to hide someone.
“Come on, Camil,” he said loudly, just to hear the sound of his own voice. “We’re almost . . . ” As he spoke, he heard the sound again. It was not a noise he’d ever heard before, and he didn’t know what to compare it to. It was a whispering, sigh-
ing kind of sound, like wind through the trees, but there were no trees here. “I’m just spooked,” he explained to himself, and pulled harder on Camil’s rope.
Jorge trudged on through the sandy soil, wishing that he’d left his girlfriend’s sooner. Nothing was worth walking through this place at dusk, not even Maria’s soft kisses.
“We’re about halfway home now,” he said to Camil. “We should be home by . . . ” He looked up to the sky to gauge the time, when the clouds suddenly darkened. The effect was instant and terrifying. What moments before had been a beautiful sunset glowing like the embers of a campfire was now dark and menacing, like the entrance to a deep cavern.
Though there had been no wind all afternoon, dust suddenly swirled around Jorge’s feet, and he felt a cool breeze down his neck. Or was that the feel of his own hair standing on end?
Jorge paused for a moment, debating whether he should turn around and take the long way home or continue on. He was already halfway there, so it didn’t make sense to turn back now. Still, it wasn’t wise to be in Blood Rocks so close to nightfall. Not from what he’d heard about the Ixupi. . . .
Supposedly they hid in elements of the earth and attacked before you had a chance to defend yourself. The death itself was rumored to be long and painful as they slowly sucked the life essence from your body. Jorge took a deep breath, and continued on.
Up ahead, a flash of gold caught his eye. It seemed to come from the base of one of the larger boulders. He stopped to get a better look, but couldn’t see anything. His curiosity got
the better of him and he moved closer. He had to know what was glinting.
As he inched forward, the line in his hand grew taught.
“Camil,” he half-pleaded, half-ordered, but the burrow’s stout hooves were buried in the sand. Jorge yanked on the rope but the stubborn beast wouldn’t budge. Even in the dim remaining light, he could see the defiance in the animal’s eyes.
But there was more than an unwillingness to cooperate in those big, black eyes—there was fear.
Jorge tied Camil’s rope into a knot and anchored it under a rock. Turning back around, he could just barely make out where the glinting had come from. In the shadow of a large boulder stood objects he had never seen before. Were they bottles? No, they were too squat to be bottles and far too menacing.
Jorge drew closer for a better look at the strange objects.
They appeared to be earthenware pots, with worn engravings on their bodies and lids. There were more than a dozen of them scattered about. It seemed strange to find such ancientlooking pots out here in the middle of the desert. “Is it bait?” he wondered aloud.
Suddenly he had the feeling of being watched and he spun around quickly. No one. “It’s just you and me, Camil,” he said to reassure himself. But even Camil was acting strangely, with his ears pinned back against his head, and his nostrils flaring.
Jorge stood still for a moment, unsure of what to do. Then he had a clever idea. He would load Camil with the pots and
bring them home to his mother. She could keep one or two and sell the rest to Señor Schwartz, the archaeologist in the next village over. He’d heard that Schwartz paid handsomely for archaeological finds, and a dozen unbroken pots was definitely a find! That would make up for him being late. What a good idea. But he would have to hurry.
Jorge started to run toward the pots when all of a sudden he tripped and fell flat on his stomach. He felt something sharp in his chest and wondered for a moment if he’d been shot. He sat up quickly, his hand to his chest. No blood. He looked around him. No one. It was just his nerves, he told himself.
He started scrabbling through the sand to see what he had hit.
All of a sudden Jorge fell back and his mouth opened in an instinctual scream. In his hand was a skull, its bleached eye sockets staring up at him blindly. It must be one of the looters he’d heard about. Jorge couldn’t get his body to move, couldn’t force his hand to drop the skull. Instead he sat there transfixed, noticing every frightening detail—the jagged crack in the cranium, the broken jaw. He thought of how he was just a skull, too, easily broken, a mere bag of bones and water held together by the tenuous thread of life.
Suddenly a dark shadow passed over Jorge. He felt a chill down the back of his neck and his heart began to slam uncontrollably against his chest. Camil brayed loudly and began to rear, pulling hard against the rope that tethered him. Jorge tried to turn around to reassure Camil but his body felt strangely stiff. Though he couldn’t turn to see what was behind him, he knew it was close, close enough to brush the
hairs standing on his back. Pulling air in and out of his lungs became more and more difficult with each breath. He tried to release his grasp on the skull yet his fingers would not budge.
He realized that he was immobilized, as if in the unshakable grasp of some greater power, some evil power. It could only be the dreaded Ixupi. . . .
To use the Options Menu, click the button on the bottom right of the toolbar, to the right of the eyeball.
Clicking on this button returns you to game play.
Use “Save” to save the current game before trying something risky. If you’re low on essence, save and then if you do get killed, you can return to the game at the point where you last saved. You can test different strategies by saving your games under different names, and then returning to the game that you want. You can save up to
32 different games.
Every time you capture an entity, the game is automatically saved unless you decide to turn “Auto
Save” off. To turn “Auto Save” off, click the “Auto Save” button when you first enter a new game or when you save your current game.
Hold down the Alt key and press S to
“Quick Save” the game. On the Mac press Apple-S. The
“Quick Save” works just like the “Save” function, only faster.
This feature will default to fullscreen or halfscreen for all movies depending on the speed of your computer and CD-ROM. It is advisable to
play the movie at the default screen setting, but you can test the other setting by clicking on this button before you play a movie (i.e., Intro movie).
If you want to look at something you’ve found, click on the “Flashback” button and then choose from the selections. You can only look at something that you’ve already seen.
This feature is especially designed for people who are hearing-impaired or deaf. Text appears across the screen accompanying the audio material. In addition, you’ll see a visual representation for the music puzzle.
This button takes you to the Exit Screen, the one where you can choose whether to “Save and Exit,” “Exit without Saving” or “Cancel.” When you exit, you’ll be asked whether or not you want to save your game.
This button will allow you to access your saved games.
When you have an item in inventory, you’ll notice that the lid of the eyeball opens. Now you can click on your eyeball for a close-up of your inventory. Move your cursor to the right and the inventory item will spin to the right, to the left and it will spin to the left. To slow the spinning, bring your cursor toward the middle of the screen. The object will stop spinning when the cursor is directly beneath it. To put the item back in inventory, click on the eyeball or on the item itself.
Your life essence is the neon green stripe in the middle of your toolbar. It recedes every time you’re attacked, or use the wrong pot or talisman to try to capture an evil entity. As you near death, the essence turns red. You gain essence back when you capture an entity with the proper pot and talisman.
You can hold only one pot or talisman (lid) at a time in the inventory. If you know where one part of a matching pot or talisman is and not the other, you can store the inventory item somewhere in the museum and come back for it later. (You may only store an item where any inventory item has been found.) You might also want to save the game after storing an inventory item because if you die, the evil entities will rearrange the pots.
When you match a pot with its talisman, they will magically combine and sit in inventory. Once you’ve captured an Ixupi
(an evil entity), the pot and talisman with the Ixupi inside of it will appear on one of the spaces on the toolbar. The pot is in its final resting position.
must ca pture i xupi ssence whil e the e is gathering and before it attacks
The object of the game is to live through the night by capturing all 10 Ixupi (evil entities) roaming throughout the museum. The Ixupi are evil entities that can assume elements of the earth (like water, ash, etc.). You must capture each Ixupi in the pot and talisman whose symbols match the element that the Ixupi has taken over. For example, you must capture the water entity by finding the matching pot and talisman that are decorated with the symbol for water. Be careful, because you can die.
Sometimes the cursor doesn’t change when you pass it over your screen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing is happening — there may be a surprise in store for you! So try to click on everything because you never know what will happen.
This arrow moves you forward.
These turn you around.
This turns you to the left.
This arrow turns you to the right.
This arrow lets you move back from a close-up.
Every now and then you’ll see cursors like these, which allow you to look up or down.
This lets you know that something is about to happen and you no longer have control of your mouse.
What to Do
- Match each of the pots with its talisman lid so they magically fit together and have the power to capture an entity. You can figure out which pot and talisman go together by matching the puzzle shape of the lid with the top of the vessel. (Click on the Eye to view a pot or lid in inventory.)
To capture an entity, click on the combined pot and talisman in your inventory and then click on the entity while the green essence is still gathering. You must capture the entity before it attacks, so move quickly. Don’t forget that you can only capture an Ixupi with the pot and talisman that match each other and that also match the element that the Ixupi has taken over.
- If you use the wrong pot or talisman on an entity, the Ixupi will take it and hide it somewhere in the museum,
maybe even somewhere you’ve already been. You can tell which completed pot is the right pot to capture an entity by matching the symbol on the pot to the element that the Ixupi has assumed.
When Pot is Taken
- To find where your pot has been taken, look for changes in a room. For example, if the rocket-ship hatch was left open and now it’s shut, perhaps that’s because an entity has been sneaking around (with your pot) in that area.
The more curious you are, the better. The more books you pull down from the shelf, plaques that you read, movies that you play, etc., the higher your score. But be warned that you won’t get extra points for looking at something again and again. After all, who wants to reward obsessive-compulsive behavior? You can, however, be compulsive about puzzlesolving and increase your score if you want.
You lose points when you get attacked and even more points if you use the wrong pot or talisman on an evil entity. On the bright side, when you capture an entity, you get a major chunk of score and some of your life essence will be restored.
You can find your score on the Options Menu.
Click on this button at the Title Screen to play a saved game.
You will be able to choose any one of your saved games. You may also delete a game from here.
The e ntitie arou nd t at wil s mo ve he m useum l. Wh at ap pears ime, wil l safe one t be de adly a nother.
When you die, a nasty thing will happen. The inventory items will change place in the museum so that pots and talismen may or may not be where you last saw them.
You have won the game when you capture all 10 evil entities and your friends come back to get you.
When you’ve gotten to the end of the game and you’ve won, you can “Quit,” “Start a New Game,” or “Explore.” The
“Explore” option provides a pain-free way to explore the museum. You get to look at everything you want without getting attacked. No evil entities, no lost essence. But don’t forget that you have to make it all the way through the game to get to this point, so don’t count your Ixupis before they’re captured.
If you’re having trouble solving the puzzles in one room, go to another room and try to find clues there. Hints to puzzles are frequently hidden in other rooms. And here’s a few hints in case you get stuck.
in the Gazebo
The object is to move the gears so that the black gears are on the bottom and the white gears are on the top. You must do it in seven moves or less.
The object is to match the colors and symbols on the puzzle with those found on objects throughout the museum grounds.
in Mysteries of the Deep Room
The object is to move the disks on the globe so they line up in a particular longitude and latitude.
at Underground Lake
The object is to figure out how to work the boat so you can ride across the lake.
The object is to turn on the projector and watch a movie.
Look in t for he lp he L ibra ry
The object is to unlock the cupboard below the drawers.
scattered throughout Museum
The object is to change the skeleton dial to a particular color so that a door will open elsewhere in the museum. Look for a clue somewhere in the museum.
in Mysteries of the Deep Room
The object is to play the Song of the Sirens on the organ.
the clue elsewhere.
The object is to click on the shapes in a certain order to open the door. Look for
in Hallway Outside Theater
The object is to put the letters in a particular order to open the door. Look for the clue elsewhere.
in Tombs and Curses Room
The object is to rotate the pieces so the balls can roll down and unlock the door.
in Tombs and Curses Room
The object is to use what the Sphinx says to figure out how to rotate the stone pillars.
at Base of Animal Sarcophagus in Funeral Rites Room
The object is to leave one marble in the center square.
The object is to play the drums in a certain order to open the secret door.
in the Room of the Gods
The object is to open the door by arranging the puzzle pieces to create a pentomino picture. You can find a clue to what the picture is somewhere in the museum.
in Myths Room
The object is to make the music box work. Look for clues elsewhere.
in the Second Floor Secret Passage
The object is to rotate and maneuver the pieces to complete the picture.
in Puzzle Room
The object is to get each of the eight balls in its matching receptacle.
The object is to obtain the first of four riddles that will lead you on a hunt throughout the museum.
in Main Hall (to Theater)
The object is to arrange the pieces so they indicate the points on a compass.
in Invention Room
The object is to rotate and drag the pieces so that all the tubes of the same color are connected.
The object is to align the symbols in a pattern that you see close by.
in Puzzle Room
The object is to guess which tiles are hidden behind the cover. Watch each column’s score—ten points for every proper symbol that is in the right position and one point for a proper symbol in the wrong position.
The object is to recreate the musical patterns generated.
Pressing the blue button starts the pattern.
The object is to arrange the tiles in a certain order to open the spaceship.
in Tower Stairs
The object is to manipulate the chains to set the clock in the tower.
The object is to hang the person.
mistake, the mistake that led to all the others. I was not as alert as one needs to be in this nightmarish place. I realized too late that those things that looked most harmless could easily bring about my demise. But let me start from the beginning. . . .
When I first looked up at that seemingly endless expanse of brick wall, optimism prevailed. I tried to scale it, and merely shredded my already meager clothing in the process. So instead I pulled on the rusty chain hanging down from the wall, hoping in my heart of hearts that it would open a trap door somewhere. A door out of this godforsaken place.
But it opened the mouth of the dragon gargoyle instead. I hadn’t realized that the gargoyle was a mailbox. It was an interesting object to have as a mailbox—or creepy—depending on how one looked at it. Though it felt strange to read someone else’s mail, I did. And I noticed some kind of carving on the tongue of the dragon. Was it a number?
I brought my journal along as I resigned myself to exploring the museum grounds. If I wasn’t getting out of this place, I would have to get in. I walked up the long brick staircase to the front door, which was locked, of course. I noticed an unusual-looking black marking on the corners of the door, and made a note of it in my journal. On my way back down the stairs I noticed something I hadn’t seen on the way up— a golden symbol in the brick wall behind the vase.
As I walked down the path toward the gazebo, the wind picked up, swirling dead leaves around my feet. I felt ill at ease. Something about this place was creepy. I couldn’t exact-
ly describe it, but I could feel it in the air.
Behind the statue, I noticed another symbol on the ground, and made a note of it in my journal. This one was green. I was starting to wonder if all these colored symbols might mean something. I vowed to keep my eye out for others of its kind.
I continued past the gazebo to the edge of the water, but couldn’t find a place to cross. The rough-hewn granite columns standing guard across the creek reminded me of something I had once seen in a book about druids. Was it
Stonehenge? It looked ancient enough, with its weathered stone and gnarled vines.
I returned to the big metal box in the gazebo, which I’d saved for last since it looked significant somehow. I used the number from the mailbox on the combination lock.
I heard a muffled click as the tumblers fell into place. The box opened. I remember thinking that there seemed to be layer upon layer of puzzles here, and it made me wonder just what kind of sick mind was behind it all. To get across the water, I solved the gear puzzle by exchanging the white gears with the black gears in seven moves. Then I turned the crank.
I found the place to cross the stream. As intimidating as the
Stonehenge structure was, I had a hunch it might yield another clue. The current moved swiftly, but several boulders were large enough to step on. The wind was whipping the water into waves that lapped against my sneakers. I was shivering
4 5 6 B
[A 1 2 3 use onl y one o gear pu zzle f the extra pe gs on t he
ough Stonehenge; the symbol for yellow brick is from head to toe. It was the cold, I tried to convince myself, but the shivers were coming from within.
Sure enough, the Stonehenge replica turned out to be another puzzle. I remembered thinking that if it takes this many puzzles just to get inside the museum, how would I ever get back out, especially if I needed out in a hurry? But I knew that it wouldn’t help to think about such things. Instead, I clicked on the pieces of the puzzle until they matched the colors and symbols I had noted in my journal. I had begun to wonder if I would ever get into this place.
I walked down the spiral staircase, feeling the air getting cooler against my face with every step. I clicked on the door to open it. The air in the tunnel had a distinct musty odor, like something had died there long ago.
I forced the thought from my brain. This was no time for a case of the willies. I had to get inside the museum. Besides, it was getting colder and darker with each step. If only I could see where I was going!
I felt against the wall for some kind of light fixture. The walls felt furry from all the cobwebs. Suddenly my finger brushed door to the museum.
nerpiece of the front door; the symbol for black iron is found on the cor found on the wall behind the vase on the way up the stairs to the front on the cliffs seen thr om the walk to the gazebo; the symbol for bronze is found the stone arch fr walk to the gazebo; the symbol for white stone is found looking back at the gazebo; The symbol for brown wood is found on the bench on the
The symbol for green copper is found behind the statue on the walk to
against something. It was a box of some kind against the left side of the wall, maybe a fuse box. I tried not to get my hopes up as I threw the switch. I heard the sound of a generator turning on. Lights! They were dim, but I could at least see where I was going.
At the end of the tunnel was a stone door, which I clicked on to open. On the other side was a huge cave with a pool of glowing liquid — some sort of underground lake with a strange-looking boat on it. As I approached the lake, the stench I had detected earlier became even more powerful. I noticed something horrible on my left. The grisly image of my dead great-grandfather’s crypt entered my mind’s eye. It was a corpse—the real thing! Since I could see no signs of the cause of death, I wondered just what had killed him. Was he trying to draw something in the sand when he was killed?
Was that a notebook he had in his hand? Distasteful as it was,
I took a closer look.
I wanted to get away from the corpse as fast as I could. I got in the boat but it seemed to take forever to figure out how to get it to work.
4 Finally I was able to turn the crank and the boat started across.
I felt a bit better once I was crossing, or at least relieved to get away from the body. But the chilled feeling that I had wouldn’t go away. I sensed something evil hovering nearby. I began rubbing my hands together to warm up when I heard a loud ringing in my ears. Suddenly I became weak and dizzy.
For a moment my vision became blurry while sweat seemed
. engaged the front by pushing up on the lever
, and I disengaged the rear of the boat by pulling down on the lever
to gush from every pore. I felt drained, like a trapped insect sucked dry by a bloodthirsty spider. I had been attacked, but by whom or what? Had I imagined it or had my attacker come from the water?
Thoughts rushed through my head furiously. Was that what had attacked the man back there? The dead man? Would I end up a corpse? I wanted to turn around then, but remembered the finality of the tunnel door closing behind me. I was trapped here, for better or for worse.
When I reached the other side I stepped out and stood quietly for a moment collecting my thoughts. Though I felt weakened, I didn’t seem to be dying. I’d never experienced anything like it. I stumbled over to the right to rest against the wall when I noticed a pot leaning up against it. I clicked on it and stood back. A strange essence seeped from the pot and seemed to fade in and out. My heart began to pound, as if separate from my body, and I could not control my shaking.
The dead man had come back to life? No! It was his ghost! I realized that it must be Professor Windlenot. He was dead?!
He was dead all right, and his ghost was warning me. I wondered if those “Ixupi” he spoke about were what assaulted me in the boat. As suddenly as he appeared, the professor seemed to evaporate into the air.
I walked past the pot to the blue tunnel, trying to pull myself together. I hoped I would feel safer there. The tunnel was a find t he bo will he ok t hat lp yo u mat ch l on e ach the s ymbo pot t o its evil e ntity
maze, just like everything else in the museum. When I got to the end, I saw the doors of an elevator facing me. Then I noticed the electronic eye of a surveillance camera watching me. Who was on the other end? Was I being followed? I had no way of knowing. It didn’t seem like I was safe anywhere.
The elevator had a strange design on its door. I figured out that I had to match the design in the box on the wall with the diagonal design on the door to get the elevator to open. It felt good to make some progress.
I entered the elevator and the doors closed behind me. I felt helpless as the tiny car lurched up the shaft. When the doors reopened, I found myself standing in what appeared to be an office. Everything looked normal except that a chair and a desk with a lamp on it were knocked over, and letters were scattered on the floor. Had a struggle taken place? I examined a letter. It seemed that reading other people’s mail was becoming second nature. I was turning into a regular criminal. I wondered if I would be able to kill someone if I had to.
But whatever kind of evil was lurking here didn’t even seem human.
There was a large pile of ashes in the fireplace. I wondered if
I would be able to tell when the last fire had been built. I walked over and placed my hand close to the ashes to feel for heat. I clicked closer and suddenly heard a strange noise, similar to the noise I’d heard in the boat just before being attacked. I took a step back, but it was too late.
Again I was attacked. This time the impact was even more severe than before. One moment I’m standing in front of a fireplace, the next I’m writhing in pain on the floor. What was
that? Did it come out of the ashes? How could that be? It must be the Ixupi the Professor’s ghost mentioned. I decided to play a flashback of the Professor’s ghost so that I could remember what he’d said about the Ixupi.
I clicked the options button on my toolbar and then hit the flashback button for the professor’s ghost. Hmm, he said I had to unite the vessels with their talismans to use them on the Ixupi. I would have to find a vessel and fast! I didn’t know if I could take another hit like the last one.
I looked through the professor’s desk, thinking that I might find something there. In one of the drawers, I found a strange-looking earthenware object — a bull with a ring through its nose—that looked to be the top to a pot. Perhaps this was one of the talisman lids he had talked about? I took a closer look by clicking on the eye on the toolbar. The inventory appeared larger on the screen and I moved the cursor back and forth across it to view it from different angles. I noticed the triangular shape to its base. It was a talisman all right. I clicked on the talisman to return it to my inventory and then decided to leave it in the professor’s desk drawer rather than carry it around with me. I opened the drawer and clicked on the talisman in my inventory and clicked on the drawer. I could always come back to get it if I needed it later.
The ghost’s warning had been helpful, but I needed to know more. I thought that I’d try to find a library. If Windlenut was a professor, or even if he just called himself “Professor,” he was bound to have a ton of books. And hopefully he’d have something that explained all of this—the pots, the talisman.
. . . And how I was going to get out of here.
I passed through another door to what looked like the main entrance of the museum. It seemed like there were displays in every direction. I explored carefully, trying not to be taken in by the grandiose surroundings. I focused on finding more clues. Then I noticed a huge mural completely covering an entire wall. The mural depicted scenes from some ancient civilization. In the middle was a door. I walked up the stairs to the door and went through it.
At last, the library! I knew that a professor would have to have a library. Perhaps I could find the answers to my quest here. I noticed how neat and orderly it was, nothing like my bookshelves at home. But it wasn’t a good time to be thinking about home. . . . I had to find some books that would help me capture the Ixupi and get out of here.
Rows upon rows of leather-bound volumes blanketed the walls. How would I ever find what I needed among all this information? I began to scan the vast collection, pacing slowly across the floor. I pulled out books here and there that caught my eye.
On the other side of the room, I noticed a book that had a symbol that somehow looked familiar.
Where had I seen that before? I decided that I had better take a look.
Well, the story of the Ixupi explained a lot, not that it made me feel any better. Those entities were some powerful kind of evil. And they were bound to attack me again.
To the right of the candelabra
I found another book,
South American Pictographs
, that looked very old. Maybe this book could tell me about some of the strange symbols I’d seen everywhere. It seemed that I could easily spend the whole night here just reading, but I knew that I had to find the bottom to my talisman. It seemed to be my only possible protection. I decided that I would go back and look at some of the other books later.
I went back out into the main entry hall. The wild-looking transforming masks seemed to follow me with their beady black eyes. Even after I turned away from them, I could feel their gaze on my back. Being alone in this bizarre place was creepy enough, but I sensed that some of these displays might be concealing evil entities, just waiting for one false move.
The bottom of the fountain looked like a comfortable place to sit down, but resting wouldn’t help me find the vessel I needed. I continued toward the desk at the end of the room. To my right was a walkway with a wrought iron railing that led to double doors. I approached it to admire the doors, which were clad with interlocking scales of bronze and leather armor. I expected the doors to be sealed or too heavy to budge, but they opened easily, into a room full of strange and magnificent beasts.
I looked around at animals I hadn’t even known existed.
There was a model of some kind of dinosaur that looked to be part rhinoceros and part who-knows-what. Its face was
You m ay w ant t o hide ater, inve ntory f or u se l ote o f where but t ake n you l eave i t
protected by large dagger-like tusks and its head rose up into a tall fin. If an animal like that could be put into a display case in a museum, what would happen to defenseless me?
At the far end of the room was another double door. This one was green with a beautiful serpentine pattern on it, almost inviting entry. Again, this one opened easily, almost too easily, as if someone or something was beckoning me on. Was I being led into a trap?
Aha. A roomful of dead plants. I saw some shelves with pots on them and looked carefully at each one, hoping against hope that one would fit the top I already had. But none looked all that special.
I walked across the room, past what looked like the tall, thin skeleton of a plant. I didn’t realize that even plants had skeletons. There was a stone figurine with ruby eyes that almost seemed to be guarding it. On the far side of the room was another shelf of pots. I clicked on each of the vessels and found one that seemed special. I took a closer look by clicking the eye on the toolbar. It looked like it might match the talisman back in the Professor’s office! I snatched it from the shelf and put it in my inventory.
I wondered what the strange markings on the pot meant.
They reminded me of the markings in the book from the
Professor’s library. I was just about to go back to the library to look, when I remembered to use the flashback function.
According to the book,
South American Pictographs
, the markings indicated ashes. Of course—the ashes in the Professor’s fireplace where I was last attacked! I would have to retrieve
the talisman and then use the pot and talisman to capture the evil entity in the ashes. If I could do it before the evil entity got me. . . .
I turned around to head back to the office. I took a few deep breaths and crossed myself, not that I’m religious, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt. I walked back through the roomful of strange animals, trying not to get too close to any one of them, just in case. I went back through the double doors into the main entry hall. I wiped the sweat off my hands so that I wouldn’t drop the pot. I had the pot in my inventory, ready to go. Judging from how quickly the evil entity attacked me last time, I knew that I would have to be quick on my toes.
I braced myself for my battle as I walked back into the
Professor’s office. I had envisioned that the victorious entity might somehow have possessed the entire office, but everything still looked the same. I tiptoed toward the Professor’s desk and removed the talisman by clicking on it. The pot and talisman seemed to go together as if by magic.
I slowly moved toward the fireplace, remembering the sounds I’d heard just before the previous attack. I could feel my heart pounding as I stepped still closer, knowing I might not have another chance. . I could see a strange kind of glowing just above the ashes. I quickly clicked on the combined pot and talisman in my inventory and then used them to click on the ashes while the entity effects were still gathering. I moved as fast as I could.
Whew! I got him. I couldn’t believe it. I breathed a sigh of relief, and the pot and talisman suddenly appeared in one of the empty spaces on the toolbar. I could feel the life essence
this entity had stolen returning to me. It felt good, but I couldn’t let my defenses down. I knew that there would be many more evil entities to capture if I expected to make it out of here alive. This was only the first. . . .
Storming the museum steps: The
Tell me how the design idea behind
originally came about.
Well first of all, our team got the okay to design an adventure game. We had never done an adventure game before. I started designing it and my design at first was totally different. I really liked the idea of a game where you travel around the world looking for ghosts in archaeological sites. Archaeology was my interest and also what I knew about. (You can’t design something that you don’t know about.)
So you’ve done a lot of traveling yourself?
I really like to travel and go to archaeological sites. Not that we’ve ever had the money to do a lot of traveling, but my hus-
band and I have been to every cliff dwelling there is in the
States. We would spend all our vacations there. We did the spectacular cliff dwellings — like Mesa Verde, Canyon de
Chelly and Navaho National Monument—and we even did the little dinky ones out in the desert that didn’t look like much. We pretty well exhausted all there was to see in the
And then last year we went to Belize and started looking at
Mayan ruins. We decided not to start at Cancun but with outof-the-way ruins, and we were glad we did because it was just spectacular. And I read everything I can about this stuff, too.
So how did you get from the idea of traveling around the world to the current story in
I didn’t know how to design an adventure game as I had never done one. I had designed educational products with games in them but it’s not the same thing. And so we decided to go to the best there is—Roberta Williams—as a consultant. I’m surprised she said yes because she was still working on
Roberta thought that if we stayed within the confines of a house or something—she suggested a haunted house—that she would have an easier time relating to it. Roberta felt that if we opened up the world, she would have a hard time concentrating on it. The only way I felt I could do that was to do a museum, to, in effect, bring the world into the museum. I’d you wil l find lpful
"flash but y ou m ay st ill w ant to ta ke n otes
done enough research up to this time, and also just from my past knowledge, I was really familiar with South American stuff, so that’s where the story of the Ixupi came from. Also
I’d been reading a lot of different ghost stories from around the world. I took a traditional ghost story, changed the location, and the names but it is still a traditional ghost story.
Are there features that are common to ghost stories across cultures?
Yes, there are a lot of vampire-type ghost stories. There’s also many shape shifter type ghost stories, where the form of the ghost changes. There’s stories where something comes out of the elements and kills people. There are a lot of evil beings around the world sucking the life out of people, which is what we based the idea of losing your essence on. The idea that you’re having your life sucked out of you is universal.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the entities, the Ixupi as they’re called in the game?
In Egypt, they believe in all these different aspects of a person
— the soul, the intelligence, the life essence, the body—it’s still the same person, but they have all these different forms. Upon death, every one of these forms has to be addressed separately and there are also special rituals to preserve these persons. If you believe, like the
Egyptians believe, that humans are made of different parts, then you could believe that you might lose one of those elements—in this game, your
Beware the evil Ixupi!
life essence. So that’s where all this stuff came from, from all these different legends.
So it sounds like these ideas are borrowing from legends from around the world. What about the actual physical structures in the museum? Do those also resemble some of the things that you saw in your travels?
Yes, we have actual footage of my trip to Belize in the game.
I filmed the video clip of ruins and pottery when I was down there. In fact, I would say that 90% of the “facts” you’re going to find in the museum are factual. We stretched some of them. The artists got ahold of my design document and started using their imagination, just as the Professor would have done. If you imagine a character who lets his imagination go wild, and maybe he doesn’t quite study things as carefully as he should, that’s what the character of the
Professor is like.
We tried to bring in various influences so that each room was different. Each room has a theme, like Tombs and Curses is a room about tombs and curses. Each room is thematic, pulling from different cultures around the world to get its ideas across. There’s not a sign on the door that says this is what the room is.
So anyway, after looking at what the artists had done with these different rooms, I just left it as if the Professor had pulled a fact out of the air and applied it to something else.
That is something that I see the Professor as having done— you know, he finds this isolated fact here and he applies it to something else, which may not really be connected.
By doing that he might get at some truth but he might also be totally off.
Exactly. You almost have to pull these facts yourself and decide well, is this real or is it because the Professor totally missed the boat on this one?
is the first of a series of adventure games, and I was wondering if some of the ideas in this game will tie in to the next.
Probably the archaeological factor, but it will contain different characters. You, the player, will always be you and you will be thrust into a situation. That much
Designer Marcia Bales going over script with Professor Windlenot (Keefan Shaw).
will remain constant. You will still have friends somehow involved. In this one your friends were really minimally involved in the story, but in the next one, they’re more intimately involved.
I get the feeling from talking to people that
is really taking a new direction. What about the game is different from most games today?
First, it has random play and while there are some games that have random play, not many of them are adventure games.
Usually what happens in a game is that you have to solve one thing before you can go on. We have a little bit of that just to get into the museum, but once you’re in the museum it opens up and you can go anywhere. You don’t ever get stuck because you can always go to another room.
Also, there is a story from the past that reveals itself as you explore the game. It doesn’t matter in what order you find out
these facts. Just as if you were really involved in a situation, you wouldn’t find out everything in a certain order, you would find them out randomly.
Where did you get the idea of the random-play style?
I liked the way that
Mixed-Up Mother Goose Deluxe
played, which is what inspired me to do
has been a very successful game but people haven’t been able to figure out why it’s successful. But I started looking at all the things that I thought were good about it.
I used the random-play concept as a template, very loosely of course, and that’s how we came upon the game-play part of
It’s satisfying to be able to do something because of your memory—you remember where something was and go back and take care of it. Or be able to go anywhere you want to go.
That’s satisfying. To me, that’s one of the big pleasures of the game, the sense of discovery as the player goes through the rooms and slowly figures out not just how the museum is put together but the interlocking human lives behind it.
What do you do?
I’m primarily responsible for following Marcia’s—the designer’s—vision, and trying to carry that through, so I’ll do some clue s fo r one pu zzle lsewhere may be f ound e useum in t he m
of the illustration work, the conceptual work as well as some of the final artwork. I work with a team of eight or nine different artists, some 3-D, some 2-D, and I act as a resource to help them do their jobs as well as they can.
How does the designer’s vision get translated from idea to visual representation?
Marcia writes what we call the bible—it’s the document that describes the design of the entire game—so she’s pretty much outlined what she wants. We’ll talk about it. I’ll draw up the sketches and we’ll work together to try to get the look that we want. And then each artist is given a room to deal with. So I’ll do the sketches for it, I’ll indicate the colors that I think are going to be important, how it’s going to be lit, and then they take it from there, with me peeking over their shoulders, of course.
Is there a problem in keeping designs consistent? Don’t different artists have different styles?
That’s why I’m here. I’m the one that’s in charge of keeping it a single look regardless of how the room is colored or textured or anything else. The idea is to have me as the main resource so that all the rooms will look consistent and all the artists aren’t branching off and giving us a fragmented type of look.
Do they get visuals to look at to give them ideas?
be ca refu l where y ou cl ick
Generally, they’re encouraged to do their own research.
Whatever resource material we have we try to get to the artist as soon as possible. Marcia and I have already done quite a bit of research so the artists come to me with questions and we make sure that their work is on track. A lot of the textures that I’ll design for the walls and the floor will define the room anyway. So a lot of it is defined before the artist gets involved.
So you give the artists the parameters and then they flesh out the rest?
Right. It’s a real team effort.
It’s Marcia’s design and my illustrations, and then the artists’ art. All three of those elements come together in a way that I don’t think any single person could ever put together. Everyone contributes to each other’s ideas.
Is all of the art in
Original pencil rendering of museum lobby.
Yes, the artwork in
is all original except for a few wire frames. From what I understand, and what I’ve seen, that’s quite unique. With most of the textures, I’ll actually paint them traditionally with watercolors or gouache. Then we’ll scan those into the computer and manipulate them in
Photoshop™ and from there, the artist can use them. All the images, everything from the stones to the murals on the walls, is pretty much hand-created. Some of the brick patterns,
Hand-painted murals add depth and life to the walls in the museum.
just because they get so monotonous, we’ll find copyright-free sources for—we’ll take it in, we’ll manipulate it, change it to what we need.
The artwork seems incredibly detailed. I really had the feeling of being in a lush environment. What’s the trick to establishing that feel?
We tried to make it as detailed as possible. For example, what the murals do is really expand the space. We can take a wall that is basically just blank, and by putting a mural on it, suddenly it becomes very lifelike and adds a lot of depth to it, adds noise. And then Guy — the composer — can play off some of the images for his music .
Was it difficult to get all of this detailed work done in such a short turnaround time?
Yeah, this is a very fast project. I also think that the quality of the work that we were striving for as a kind of end goal became the standard and so that pushed the expectations up higher and it pushed the quality of the artwork up higher.
What it didn’t do, it didn’t move the deadline back any. And
so people are scrambling basically because of their own efforts to get the best product out.
I’m also interested in the technical aspects of the art design. Can you tell me how you build the rooms?
We build them in 3-D Studio™. It’s a simulated environment, obviously, but it’s very much like a movie set. It’s actually a wire-frame construction. You physically build the 3-D environment in your computer. You literally build the walls, build the door-frames, and you build it as if you were building a house. It goes faster, of course, but it’s still more time-consuming than other kinds of art. Then you add your colors and your textures. Then you move your camera and lights within this 3-D environment that you’ve built.
You have a camera built into your computer?
Yes, you can move the camera around to get different shots from different angles. We can use whatever camera lens we want to use, we can set focal points, we can set up lights, we can move the dolly, we can do whatever we want to. Anything you can do with a real camera, we can do with this camera.
Do you take a ton of different shots and only use some of them?
Generally, we’ll use every shot we take so we’re usually pretty surgical about how we go in and place the cameras. We’ll do reshoots when we find that, gee, it would be nice to have a little bit more of this in there just for orientation.
secret p assage ways are everywhere
So the player doesn’t get disoriented?
Exactly. That’s the nice thing about programmers looking at it, Marcia and myself and the artists all looking at it. Marcia and I know where all the corners are and so when we go through the game, it just makes perfect sense. When someone looks at it with a fresh eye, they might find that it’s very easy to get lost in this room. That’s when we would add a few shots, for purposes of the player’s orientation.
Are there things about working in this context that are a challenge?
When you do two-dimensional painting, you’ll pick your point of interest, you’ll guide the viewer through to what you want them to see. When you’re working in a 3-D environment, we want the viewer to be guided in certain directions but because we also want the viewer to feel that they have free roam of the environment, the question always comes up
—how do you make them go to where you want them to go?
That is challenging.
So do you guide the players through the rooms?
Well, we do it through visual cues, lighting, and music. When you click forward, we’ll move you forward to the point where we want you to go. We try to give you as many options as possible to move around, but we have to simplify because otherwise it would just take forever to create. We’ll make sure that in a shot you’ll see something, like a railing, which indicates that there’s another hallway so you’ll go to that railing and you’ll turn and you’ll find a door. We use a lot of color and a lot of light. Things we want to downplay we’ll put in shadow very often. Things that we really want to make sure
you do see we’ll light up and put straight in front of the camera so you can’t miss it.
People are never alone when they’re in the museum. There’s a lot of people nudging them in this direction, in effect saying,
“Hey, go over here, go over here.” We’re giving them a push on the shoulder. We’re right there with them.
Well, that’s good to know, but I still don’t think that it’s going to make me any less scared when I’m in there!
What do you do?
I’m in charge of anything audible that comes out of
, whether it be music or sound effects. It includes composing the music, collecting the sound effects, managing other sound editors and designers, and coordinating all of that, including recording sessions. I also make sure there is a consistency of sound design in the product.
How does it begin?
Initially I got some basic ideas just by talking to Marcia, the game designer. I started more with compositional concepts and from that grew the sound-effects concepts. ay h ave you m reason t o ret urn t o a ro om a gain
And composition means putting a song together, putting music together?
Composing is the writing of music, whatever the style, from classical to pop. In addition to composing the music, I’m also a sound engineer in that I have to record and process all the sounds that I compose, and
Composer Guy Whitmore “lowers the boom” on the set of
I’m the sound designer as well. If you look at movie credits, you’d see sound designers, a composer, sound editors, an orchestrator, a sound coordinator, and foley artists, who record sounds such as footsteps and other random sound effects that are added in later. So far in the computer industry, at least where the industry is right now, all those roles are often rolled into one person.
What style is the music that you write here?
It varies, mostly contemporary styles, a lot of pop styles, but also some traditional.
has a gamut because I do some orchestral types of things in the movie sequences which are like little film scores. So there’s that element, too. But there’s also very contemporary things, like the song for the maze, which is definitely a ’90s type of sound where it has a techno backbeat but with a very heavy guitar. It’s kind of
nine inch nails
-ish, I would say. I also had a couple of other bands in
mind when I was doing that. So those pop influences keep coming back.
I’ve been listening to a kind of music called “dark ambient” which has a mood that fits well with the
Ambient music is largely electronic, which is what I have to work with here anyway. Add a dark twist to it, and that goes well with the
What exactly is ambient music?
Ambient music means music as wallpaper but not in a bad way, in a way that creates your mood much like the background pictures that Ron (the Art Director) is painting.
When you’re putting someone in a game and you’re not sure how fast they’re going to click through something or what they’re going to do, you can’t have music that is always building or crescendoing or decrescendoing. You have to set a mood and let them do what they will. It has to be a flexible kind of music because it just creates the background that you can do what you want in as a player. And yet the music doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a loop that just keeps going and going and doesn’t grow, doesn’t diminish, it’s just a constant.
That seems like a challenge.
It’s extremely difficult, first of all getting rid of the natural urge to want to build to something, which as a composer you naturally do in a lot of music that you write, but also creating an ambient loop that doesn’t get on someone’s nerves, doesn’t a bl ueprin t of the m useum e xists somewhere
make them go, “Oh my god, I’ve heard that thing a million times.”
In a way it almost seems that if you’re doing your job right, the sound doesn’t get noticed. It creates an atmosphere, but it doesn’t get noticed.
The role of an ambient sound track is just that. It’s got to be strong enough that it carries the players without them realizing it.
Are there subliminal messages in the music?
Not blatantly, not like I’m trying to get a covert message across. There’s definitely some hidden elements that I put there to create a mood. The theater is a good example. You hear lines coming from a play but you don’t know what it’s from. If you listen closely enough and you know your
Shakespeare well enough, you might go, “Oh yeah, that’s from Hamlet.” It is the ghost of Hamlet’s father that I have quoted in the theater, and it’s a line that is very appropriate, but it’s buried so no one will notice the first time around. So that’s a place where I don’t intend for people to notice it, I don’t care if they ever do notice it, it’s more the ambiance.
Can you talk about your use of sound effects?
It’s strange because I take the view that sound is sound and that the difference between composition and sound effects is more a continuum than it is a division. When I’m working with a sound effect, I’m listening to it musically, I’m listening to it in terms of the mood that it is creating. It’s not just a door closing. Every sound creates some kind of mood, whether it’s the ambient music or whether it’s the carpet you lift to get into a secret passage. Everything has to have a sound that
sticks with the general design. If it doesn’t, it pulls the player away from that world. I’m consistently thinking how can
I keep the player in the world and not draw them out.
Context is everything. That’s my big thing. Just about any sound can work in the right context.
How do you get sound effects?
For a lot of items I’ll start with a sound-effect CD. From the
CD I literally record it into the computer as a digital wave.
Rarely do we take something off the CD as is and put it in the game, for a couple of reasons. Number one is they’re very dry-sounding and not as interesting as I’d like them to be or they’re not specific enough. So we might combine two sounds and then we put a little ambiance on it such as reverb to make it sound more cavernous.
Do you get most of the sound effects from sound-effect CDs?
As far as doors slamming and stuff like that, a great
Professor Windlenot reveals clues to a secret door.
majority of it has been from the sound-effects CD. It’s already professionally recorded and it’s well done and it would take 10 times the time to record everything from scratch. I don’t know of anyone in any industry who records everything from scratch.
So the basic sound effects might originate from a CD, but what about the voices?
Most of the voice stuff was recorded both at the movie shoot and at recording sessions. At the movie shoot we had the actors do some extra things like “help me” and some screams and other random animal sounds, which we have been using like crazy. A lot of our monster sounds are Rodney Sherwood
—who did our narrative voices—just going crazy. He’s just a lot of fun because he’s extremely creative.
Does it take several takes?
I just let the tape role and said, “OK, Rodney, let’s hear some beast groans.” He was great at it. I use the weirdest things. I’ll take a little chunk of that and incorporate it into something else.
So you’ll just sit and listen to these tapes and something will click?
Exactly. I’ll go back and get ideas for other things later.
Sometimes I’ll put effects on it to give it an even bigger sound.
So someone might walk in on you and think you’re really weird sitting here listening to this kind of stuff?
All the time. The team has gotten used to it. But with other people it happens all the time. They walk by and go, “What the hell are you doing?” They don’t realize until they hear it in context or sometimes not even then. For instance, I’ll take some screams that Beth did and put distortion on them and make them exaggerated. That’s the deal with this product.
Taking normal things and stretching the reality of them.
use t he f lash back funct ion t o revie w ite ms you f ound
Is that larger-than-life concept the general idea you have in mind as you put the sound together?
I want to emphasize the initial concept of everything being exaggerated and larger than life but also at the same time creating a different world. There’s a variety of mood that I’m trying to keep in mind as I compose each little piece. The theme is a kind of dark, dreamlike state where something could happen at any point, so you’ve got a level of suspension, and then the monster attacks, creating the “something happening.” That’s where the crescendo can happen, at those monster attacks. I create the background ambient pool and when the monster attacks or dies, there’s crescendos or descrescendos within it. So it’s not all just one level.
Finally you get your crescendos!
Exactly. So it’s very exciting how it can all overlap. It’s a very different way of composing. It’s not linear. That’s what’s exciting. It’s very non-linear and that’s very cool.
What do you do?
Basically I take all the creative processes, from the designer, the sound designer, the art director and all of the talented artists, and merge them together. That’s a very simplistic form of what I do. The sound, the art and the code all need to exist in memory and it just takes some work so that they can coincide.
How do you do that? What are your tools?
We use the long-standing Sierra game engine called SCI. SCI is a language and it is basically a game engine.
Is it unique that a company would have its own “game engine” as you call it?
I don’t think there’s a lot of companies out there that have their own language. There’s a lot of companies that have their own engine, but it’s probably written in something very common like C++ whereas SCI is a specialized language and it uses specialized tools that Sierra’s been using for the last 15 years. It’s evolved from a very basic game engine into several revisions of SCI which is now SCI-32, a fully 32-bit operating system language.
Do you use that language to tell the computer how to put all this information together?
Yes, basically we put things together in the sense of rooms. In each room we have particular backgrounds, we have specific animations and we have designated sounds. With each room we go through this checklist and say, “OK, I’ve got this background shot, I’ve got these animations, I’ve got the sounds.”
We make sure that they’re all loaded up in memory, that I’m playing them all, make sure when the user clicks on this button that something happens, that the correct sounds actually happen, if it’s a light switch, the light comes on, things like that. . . . look f or a n ay to unus ual w get in to the museum
What’s the most difficult part of doing that?
I think it’s the coordination of getting the art, getting the sound, looking at the design document and seeing how it all fits together. We have to be knowledgeable about the art, we have to be knowledgeable about the sound, so that we can produce the designer’s vision on the computer.
What are some of the biggest challenges of the
If you look at the history of Sierra games, they all have what’s called egos, or characters that you manipulate, for example the characters that you manipulate in the
series. We are the first Sierra game where you are the person walking through, sort of a first-person point of view. So we are doing a lot of things that are different than a traditional Sierra game.
That’s number one. Number two is the number of background shots you see in a game. We have over 2,500 shots, which is a challenge because it requires a lot of room-coding.
The artists and sound people can put some of their own personal touches on what they create. As the lead developer, did you add personal touches, too?
Yes, some of the personal touches that I put in
were what we call “fadings.” For example, in the main entry hall there’s a fountain and you turn the water on to the fountain and then, when you walk away, it fades out. It’s more realistic now because the farther you walk away, the more it fades.
I also set up the way that we chain sounds together and the way that the monsters morph, although I wasn’t the one who programmed them. I guess that you can call me the riddle guy, too, because there’s a piece in the game where there’s
four separate riddles and I made those up. These are some of my personal touches.
And you came up with the idea of making this game accessible to the deaf, too, didn’t you?
Closed caption was something that I wanted to put in. I come from a deaf family. My parents are deaf and a couple of my brothers are deaf so having deaf individuals or hard-of-hearing individuals play our game is very important to me. So we really tried to make sure that the hard-of-hearing person, although he will miss the cool stereo
The actors preparing for a shoot.
ambient sounds that we have in each of the rooms, will at least be able to play the game and all the puzzles. And we made sure that the text looks really crisp, clean, and professional.
You also have to debug, right? What does that consist of?
Again, it encompasses everything. We have to debug to make sure that when you click on a light switch that this light turns on or at this particular point in the game this sound fades in or out. If things in memory get what we call “locked,” we have to unlock them when we’re through with them. So a little bit of memory management, a little bit of game play, and checking if the animation is correct are the types of things that we have to debug. The actual coding of a new game is not
that difficult. It’s more the aesthetics and the syntax of how the game fits together that presents the real challenge.
What kind of work have you done before Sierra?
I worked at Boeing for about five-plus years and then I worked as a consultant to Microsoft for about a year and a half and then I came here. It was neat going from Boeing where I worked on some of the Star Wars projects that maybe three people in the whole world would see, to Microsoft where
I built internal tools that maybe 700-800 people would see, to
Sierra, where hopefully several tens of thousands will see my product. It’s something that you can walk into Costco and see on the shelf.
What do you like best about this kind of work?
I think the greatest thing is to talk to people and when they ask you what you do for a living I get to say, “Well, basically,
I create games. I’m a game developer, I program, I sit at my desk and virtually play games all day.” It’s fun to see a project from beginning to end. It’s fun to build something and get it out on the market. To walk into a store and see people picking up your product, and saying, “Yeah, this is a cool game,” is great. You can just kind of sit in the back and know that you had a part in it. That’s kind of fun. Playing games all day is fun—of course after you’ve heard the same lines over and over for eight months, you get tired of it. But it’s a fun project. It’s fun to see it through.
evil e ntitie s ma y be g uardin g po ts
Any final words of wisdom about what it means to be a programmer for a game like
It’s just a matter of taking all the art and taking all the sounds and just piecing them together. It’s a huge project in terms of art and sound with over 2,500 background shots and several of those shots have animations in them — particular places where you can go, desk drawers you can open, doors you can close, and of course with every one of those types of actions, you have some sort of sound that opens the door and opens the desk so it’s just a huge task in organizing everything.
For the sound guy, you can hear his sound, for the artist, you can see his artwork but for programmers, you can’t really see what we do until the final product. The game is our tangible product. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s a lot of fun, too.
What does it mean to be the Director/Director of Photography for
Basically I’m responsible for the look—the lighting, the lensing, the quality of the matte (or blue screen as we called it)— for the Ultimatte™ portions of the game. That’s the part with the movies with the kids and the professor. I’m responsible for the cinematography and the technical aspects of taking those people and dropping them into that 3-D environment that you end up seeing them in. tuck, if y ou get s nother ro expl ore a om
Ultimatte™ is a brand name of a machine that we use to do blue screen work, which is to matte people into environments that aren’t reality.
So they are in a blank environment without props?
They are standing in an empty blue stage. We take environments created by the artists at Sierra, and electronically matte them in wherever there’s blue in the screen, so that it ends up looking like the people are standing in the environments that are created for the game.
Can you give me an example?
Sure. There was this one scene where it had to appear like they were standing behind the remains of a wall. The pile of rubble exists on a background plate, but in order for the actors to be cut into the
The light stuff: setting the stage for the video shoot.
debris and to look like they are actually standing behind it, we had to paint and cut masonite to match the pile of rocks. They actually stood behind the masonite.
What the Ultimatte™ does is it marries the background plate literally at the same time as we are shooting it. While we are shooting it, we’re looking at a monitor. They’re standing on
a blue stage. But when we look at the TV monitor, they’re literally standing in the 3-D computer environment, in this case the pile of rock debris. An analogy would be the weatherman standing against the weather map although this is a much higher-quality process than that.
You’re telling the cameraman how to do things?
I am the cameraman, the only cameraman. I’m figuring out the angles and the lensing and all that. I’m responsible for all the technical set-up, how the key works, how the lensing works, how the background marries the quality of the whole image. That’s really my biggest responsibility, the technical quality of the image, including the lighting design.
What’s a key?
A key is a matte, it’s what the Ultimatte™ does, marrying that environment with the people on the blue screen.
If it’s not working, you’ll just do another take?
If it’s not working, we won’t shoot it yet. We’ll work at it until it works. We have to do all the lighting and all the lensing before we start rolling.
So you don’t end up doing more than one take on something?
Oh sure, but that depends on performance, not on whether or not the key is working. If the performance didn’t happen or someone flubbed a line then we do another take.
Do you coach the actors at all?
Most traditionally, the director would be the one who did the casting and who rehearsed the actors. But I didn’t do that, the
people at Sierra did that so I got handed a plateful of actors who knew their lines already. I did coach them, also, but that was a joint effort between Marcia (Designer), Wendy
(Producer), and me.
What’s your trick for getting the actors to work well in the blue-screen environment?
Be nice to them. There are directors in this world who can manage by force but I find that that doesn’t get the best performance out of people. The biggest trick in getting performance out of actors is to be their friend.
What does it mean to be a producer?
A producer for a CD-ROM game is very similar to a producer for a movie. I work with my leads to find the right people to fill in the holes for specific projects, in much the same way that they find people for movies. In this game we brought on about 10 talented contractors, ranging from 3-D artists to 2-
D artists to animators to interns for programming.
We used blue screen video for the first time in
. We looked for a director who knew something about blue-screen film, we also contacted several talent agencies to find the actors that we needed. We needed screen actors as well as voice actors. hrou gh a ny to get t maze, i t ma y be helpf ul to s tay alon g all a perimeter w
Basically I oversee the team and make sure that everything runs smoothly, make sure that people have all the equipment that they need, things like that. For example, a decision was made at the beginning of this project to use 3-D art so we went from Macs to PCs because we were using 3-D Studio™ for all the 3-D modeling.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I would say making sure that everyone is getting along and that everyone is focused. I like to let people do their own thing until I find that they are going off in the wrong direction and then I steer them in a different direction. I also create the budget and oversee it. I oversee the entire schedule and I am the liaison to corporate and general management of this division. I deal with marketing, our product manager, and sales.
Your job sounds very interactive. You’re basically dealing with all different personality types. . . .
It’s a lot of people management and I have to make sure that everyone is working together as a team instead of pulling at each other. It takes about 50% of my time just to make sure that everything is going smoothly, as far as the people go.
And you’re also the producer in that the buck stops here, right? If things go wrong, you are held accountable.
bewa re o f the I xupi they m ay be nd a nyth ing!
I am held accountable. The people that we brought on board and the employees that we have are very, very talented. I think that they do their best work when they’re just left to do their own thing. But I have to keep reins on that. Some people on my team would have liked to have spent a lot more money at the studio, or take longer to do something because they’re perfectionists, but there’s a time when you have to decide OK, this is good enough. It’s close to perfection, it may not be perfect, but we have to meet our budget and our schedule.
on a tight time
This is an extremely tight schedule, especially because we’re in a learning mode.
We had steep learning curves starting from scratch on 3-D. We did bring in some people who had experience creating 3-D art but
Keeping the project on schedule can be a demanding job.
there were a few employees who had never done any so there was a learning curve there. There was a learning curve in creating an adventure game because our team had never done an adventure game and Marcia had never designed one before. There was a learning curve in programming in SCI, which is our proprietary language, and using it in a special way that was never used before in any other game by Sierra. Usually there are characters that walk around and this is the first time that a
game was produced in first person.
When do you finally get a sense of relief? When is your moment of triumph?
The only real moment of triumph is when we deliver the product and press a gold master. Of course there are milestones along the way. Every couple of months I meet with my manager, Lynn Luukinen, who’s also the general manager and with Ken Williams, who’s the CEO of the company, and review milestones. We go through the stages of development, and where our product is at that particular time. It’s usually very rewarding because they’re thrilled with what they see and where we are at that point in time. Sometimes we meet all of our milestones and sometimes we don’t but those are all internal milestones. The only ones that really count and what we’re measured on is delivering it on time and within budget.
How does this job compare to others that you’ve had?
This job is the most fun I’ve ever had. I get to do so many different things, from determining what games we produce to contributing to the game’s creativity to dealing with lots of different people. And I get to play games at work, not just ours but competitive games, too. It’s also a thrill to have beta testers come in and play the game while it’s being made. We get to see what they think is cool and what’s not so we can work it out and make the best game possible. Then when I see the final product, I see all the effort that everyone has put into the game in material form. It’s sort of like the sum is even greater than the parts.
don’t g ive u p yet!
g is the e ndin aweso me!
I’ve heard that there’s one other important aspect to your job.
It’s very important that I keep everyone fed, well-fed. Food is a great motivator, particularly for people who are working long hours on a project like this one!
Lead Game Developer:
Composer & Lead Sound Designer:
Dave Beetlestone, Matthew Brauch, Phil
Doyle, Todd Greene, Jim Hicks, Davood Soleymani,
Marcia Bales, Dave Beetlestone, Matthew
Brauch, Mark Brill, Brian Douglas, Jim Geldmacher,
Jim Hicks, Heather Ivy, Bill Ohlmstead, Gayle
Rowbottom, Ron Spears, Tom Springer
Tony Benedict, Dave Beetlestone, Matthew
Brauch, Brian Douglas, Phil Doyle, Jim Hicks, Heather
Ivy, Gayle Rowbottom, Tom Springer
James Ackley, Brian Douglas
Jim Geldmacher, Paul Horn, Scott Slack,
John Snodgrass, Huy Ton
Mike Atkins, John Pezzanite
Michael Bunch, Jim Hicks
Marcia Bales, Roberta Williams
Narrator & Human Voices:
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Ten Great Card and Board Games, Including Poker! Free
Laptop Version Included
There’s something for everyone with Hoyle® Classic
Games. Adults and kids alike will enjoy honing their skills and learning new games with a lively group of challenging, interactive players. Adjust the amount of player personality with the “attitude meter,” a little less for a straightforward game, a little more for a zany game. Authentic, accurate, and a great value, Hoyle® Classic Games is perfect for the entire family!
Includes Draw Poker plus:
Bridge, Cribbage, Hearts,
Gin Rummy, Solitaire, Old Maid and Crazy 8’s
Plus two timeless board games:
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Mac CD-ROM
The Fastest Pinball In Space
“Terrific Pinball: One step beyond what you get in an arcade”
—Harold Goldberg, ‘Entertainment Weekly’
Snap back the plunger and let it rip! Feel the friction of the flippers as you play 3-D ramps and bumpers so huge, so intense, they bring pinball to a totally new, ultra-realistic level. Bank the right sequence of shots and you’ll be able to WARP between tables, taking the pinballs you have in play along for the ride. Play outside the limits with 3-D Ultra Pinball!
Windows 3.1, Windows 95 CD-ROM
“This brain-teaser is a real brain pleaser” —’USA Today’
Master a series of mind-boggling puzzles to put an absent-minded scientist back in his “right” mind!
Each set of puzzles corresponds to a specific portion of the brain that controls that thinking skill. Wild fun for the whole family!
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Mac CD-ROM
From software’s best-selling humorist Al
Lowe, a challenging new adventure within five nested worlds:
Experience fantastic worlds and tangle with bizarre characters deep within planet Strata, as you follow young Torin on his travels through worlds within worlds. Use your wits to help Torin solve challenging puzzles, learn the secrets of his past, and discover a future he never dreamed of.
•Stunning SVGA graphics with feature-film-quality animation
•All-digital music, sound effects and dialogue
•Innovative 3-D interface featuring fast-forward, pause and rewind buttons, and a pop-up TelePrompTer to display text
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Mac CD-ROM
Use your ingenuity to solve over 150 puzzles using pulleys, conveyor belts, motors and more. Create puzzles in the “Free Form” area, or challenge a friend
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Mac CD-ROM
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