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The Dungeon Keeper Resurrection Diary is Dene Carter's diary documenting the development of Dungeon Keeper, which he shared with the community. It was written as the game was undergoing a major redesign and revamp in 1996.

Transcription[]

Transcribed from: https://www.mediafire.com/file/vdw3cc0bcjdfjlr/DKDiary.zip/file

Some errors still remain; feel free to edit this page to make any corrections.

Day one - 26/2/96 - Dene Carter[]

"This is the first entry in the Dungeon Keeper Resurrection Diary.

Yesterday saw the remaining programmer, Tony Cox, join our happy band here at Elstead. This brought the members to four - Peter, Simon and myself having been here for the previous weeks attempting to get things up and running.

Dungeon Keeper was just about playable by the time Tony joined, so I've started the day with a pair of network games. Tony and me, Peter and Simon. This highlighted a few problems regarding the imps choosing a treasure house to dump gold in, navigation bugs, light code problems, and rather arbitrary choices as to where creatures were generated.

Tony and I were initially given the task of fixing the creature at entrance code - improving the formulae and making the code a little more robust. It was at this point that we discovered Tony's sad affliction.

Our co-programmer, it seems, was of the belief that keyboards worked more efficiently if the user hit them. Hard. And repeatedly. The effect was similar to a rat with lobroil boats scampering around a wooden floor. Rigged up to a large amplifier. Three programmers sat here with gritted teeth while Tony carried on - insulated from the world by a pair of earphones and a Prince Album. In many ways it is just as well that the keeper artist was made to join us due to a back injury, since the combination of his unrestrained flatulence and Tony's 'Galthing Keyboard' we would have descended rapidly into insanity.

The remainder of the morning was spent fixing the previously mentioned bugs, after which we broke for lunch. Afterward, Peter decided we needed a 'startup' save file type for use in initialising the game - regardless of changes to the game structure. I spent the afternoon doing this while Tony and Simon attempted to get an 'Auto Update' program working. Peter meanwhile insisted in composal a letter, addressing some of the fears present in Bullfrog. [sic]

Tony decided the Elstead atmosphere was not cohesive to work and requested that he be allowed to remain at Bullfrog's main office."


Day Two - 27/2/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Peter spent most of Friday composing a lengthy Email addressing some of Bullfrog's employee's fears. There has been a great deal of negativity at the office recently, and Peter felt it was time to make sure that people knew he still cared about the company, despite reduced visibility over the past six months or so.

I spent a lot of the day examining the imp code, trying to convince the little sods that clicking a block twice meant I didn't want it dug out anymore. Would they listen? No. Bastards.

Simon gave creatures the ability to see, which meant that they no longer bumbled around with white slytes until they trod on someone. This made them infinitely more useful.

Peter left at around three the speak to the EA steering committee at EA Langley."


Day Three - 28/2/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Today we were graced with the artist - Mark Healey's fululent company. His ability to break wind on cue is legendary within Bullfrog. At least he doesn't tap loudly.

Simon spent today adding creature hunger levels, and assorted rooms. It looks like we'll be growing mushroom patches in the game. Creatures, when peckish, will wander over and mash away until satisfied - sort of a Pervy Thrower Sim, with a rather limited range of vegetables.

I started work on creatures' moving-in code. Creatures will enter the dungeon, try and find a lair of their own kind, and move in. Once the lair is filled to capacity, the creatures of the same breed will 'append' lairs. Hopefully we will end up with throws of creatures in personalised areas, filling the dungeon.

Mark was in major back-pain all day, but still found the energy to back up a couple of sexually devout graphics - not surprising, since most of Mark's inspiration comes from Skin Two fetish-crew magazine. Hmmm...

Peter "spent the day fucking answering Emails" - unquote - a job he hates almost as much as criling them.

At 8:05, I'm still debugging crappy network stuff - Aaargh!! Sometimes I wonder why I bother with this industry... boring boring boring! Where's the glamour, fast cars and nubile females? Hmm?"


Day Four - 29/2/96 - Dene Carter[]

"A heavy day. Only one every four years. Personally I think whatever goals there may be that this is the case...

Mark managed to put his foot in 'it' - big time. He sent a reply to Peter's Email (silly, since he is sitting three metres away from him), copying it is all of Bullfrog. It stated: "I can smell horseshit from where I'm sitting" Unsurprisingly, all of Bullfrog (including Peter, Simon and me) assumed this meant he thought Peter's Email was less than truthful. In fact, as Mark pointed out later there really are two horses outside the office window. Doh!

Despite this, Mark managed to produce some great little graphics that improved the look of the test bed 100%. We now have earth, rock, etc. rendered as pretty little sprites, rather than boxes.

I personally had regain problems. My creatures are insanely pushy, still insisting that areas outside the map were far more desirable than areas I'd specifically dug out for them. This, along with the fact that they tended to prefer what they were doing halfway to their new lair site. Baaastards!

Simon managed to get creatures food and anger levels working to some degree, although there was a problem with mushrooms growing on top of other mushrooms.

Peter integrated the graphics with the current engine and improved the imp code. Alas, most attempts to have a network game were fruitless.

Overall a rather disappointing day. Bah!"


Day Five - 1/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Ha Ha Ha. Simon's mushrooms. ha ha ha... they were running around digging walls this morning... ha ha ha. Not only that, but gold bags were also sentient and believed themselves to be rich since they found gold wherever they stood. Odd, that, innit?!

My lair code worked properly after a major overhaul. Together with the 'creature salls' code, this paved the turning point of the game. It was now playable! Hooray!

Peter improved things further by getting unemployed imps to 'beautify' areas of the dungeon. Imps now fortify walls, thus stopping enemies from breaching the dungeon so easily.

The afternoon brought a meeting back at Troy capital... Peter addressed the whole of Bullfrog commenting on the fact that he would do anything to win back the faith of the employees. He became quite emotional at one point, recounting the growth of the company, from a handful of friends in one room to a 100 employee company and EA Studio. I don't think anyone could doubt his commitment to Bullfrog after that, but in the weeks that follow it will be his perceived involvement and commitment to his employees that changes the employees' general attitude from despondent depression to something more positive."


Day 6 - 4/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Peter is off skiing and thus the core game code is 'not to be touched'. It is now Simon's Tony's and my job to squeeze keeper into the old engine. This is going to be very nasty. My primary role is to work with Glenn and somehow change the engine such that DK looks beautiful, but remains fast. My personal feeling is that widening all block sizes in the game will solve most of the problems.

Firstly, one block in the test-bed will equate to one block in the engine, rather than 4-ish which is the case at present. This means that there will be less polygons, points etc on screen at any one time, but details will be the same as on the test bed. However, doing this would cause 'steps' to become 6 slabs - utterly un-negotiable. Thus if we were to expand why in the horizontal plane we could keep steps etc. but maintain the advantages of expanding the polygons as well.

Anyway a visit to Bullfrog today confirmed this feeling. As soon as I am able to compile for the new Library I'll start work on it...

At six, Simon was still in 'Frog, struggling away with the new library update stuff. Lets hope tomorrow goes a bit better."


Day 7 - 5/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Well, I'm out at Elstead by myself today. I didn't see the point in driving up at Bullfrog. Since I'd have no machine and nothing to do. I sense that the week to come will be dull and rather irritating to say the least. I don't think it'll make for very good reading, since we'll all be in very bad moods!

Anyhow, Simon and Mark were not here when I came in in the morning - that meant that the library problems present were still causing trouble.

Mark came in a little later than usual - he'd locked himself out of his flat without any car keys. He'd had to travel by tram to his girlfriend's place of work to get a spare set of keys. Obviously since he'd done that he had to travel back to his house and then drive to work. What a great way to start the day.

My day was spent improving the trim creation code, so that creatures pached themselves more really. I also spotted one or two potential bugs in the code and squashed them before they could cause trouble."


Day 8 - 6/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Hooray! The original game (C&D) now compiles with the upgraded (new) [?] Library 7. This means we can finally start to shoe-horn the 'new' game into the old engine.

It took a fair portion of the morning just to get things up and running, but by lunch there it was. Now began the father nasty task of stripping the code until nothing remained but the engine and a few core constructs.

Mark used the day to render up the 'train me' and 'sleep' animations on some of the creatures.

I managed to re-install the old 'per-polygon' point and click code and set the new view angles up. I also experimented with various methods of filling in blank areas which should hopefully result in a faster game."


Day 9 - 7/3/96[]

"Not a great deal happened today. Simon Stripped more code, I messed around with the engine, attempting to get the new views into the editor properly and Mark knocked up a few more anims for some of the creatures. Yawn..."


Day 10 - 8/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Tony finished the new graphic - heap today. This reduced the memory use by sprites from 1 1/2 meg to around 3/4 of a meg with no slowdown. Now we have more memory for tables etc. we can see if the engine can be sped up any more.

For my part, today was yet another mess around with the engine day. I found out that the profiler won't crawl around Windows 95 - indeed, nobody at Bullfrog has managed to run it under Win 95 - thanks Mr Gates, we all love you. Anyway, without the profiler, I can't see what percentage of the engine takes up the most time. This makes my task somewhat more difficult.

Mark played with his troll's wobbly bits. All day. I think there must be something wrong with him...

We ended the day by going into the office. Glenn showed off his new 'fancy' polygons while Simon and Tony discussed the view points of the integration. Fun Fun Fun."


Day 11 - 4/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"I hate Windows 95. Today I found out that the solution to the profiler problem is to... reboot in Ms-Dos mode. Hmm. Pants.

Changed a few bits in the engine (again). Spent about 3 HOURS trying to test the changes with a modeled map, but the editor wasn't having any. By the end, Mark and I chiseled and kludged a map together from pre-defined lumps. Hoorah.

Messed around with sprite scales to see which sizes would both increase the perceived size of the dungeon without forcing the user to zoom in too far. 3/8 sized was hilarious - the sprites looked like mites or something equally microscopic. 3/4 proved to be the ideal scaling.

The three of us chatted about various view options, culminating in Simon claiming he could hook up a flat orthogonal view in two hours. Two hours later... it was working. No major speedup though. This is mainly due to it still using the polygon routines - unoptimised. I'll be looking over the code tomorrow."


Day 12 - 12/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"The morning beyond with a few more tweaks to the engine, followed by a profiling session - finally. The result was that I realised tweaks in the engine would result in minimal speedups henceforth. Even if all the geometry were removed, the game would speed up by a mere 6-8%(!) - that's about 1 frame if we assume that the replacement routine takes no time at all!

Simon's been having a few problems, with the new speedy view, but eventually solved them and delivered a new version to me this afternoon.

Typical. Now that I've got something 'meaty' to work on, 'TTEE' keeps screwing up. I hate Win 95.

After cantless [sic] problems on my part, I added sprites to the new engine. Mark knocked up a rather nice twisted-tree in 3DS which will hopefully be used in the 'outside' areas where creatures gather.

Hopefully, by the end of tomorrow we'll have most of the original engine's features in the out dom version."


Day 13 - 13/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Peter returned today, after his skiing holiday. He seemed pretty pleased with the new engine. Not surprising since it probably means reviewers will view the game in a much better light. The game will certainly run on a DX 50 now.

For my part, I put in the code to rotate the new view about 90°, changed the sprite routine so it was compatible with the old engine. Some graphical problems will soon be encountered, I'm sure, but we'll be ready for them.

Simon had yet another dull day, this time creating the interface to link the old and new code - a smelly, nasty, sewer cleaning of a job, but somebody has to do it.

The problems we had with the height code were rectified today, as Peter found out gold bags still believed they were sentient, and thus provided valid targets for creatures. Stupid sods."


Day 14 - 14/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Today marked the start of the truly horrendous code interfumy - yes, it's change coordinates from Peter's to Simon's system! Lovely. A rather nasty global change that'll take a while, it seemingly put us no further ahead in our schedule. These kinds of changes are boring, patience-testing and after result in nagging errors that hang around for days.

On my part, I got the full 'wibbly shading' done today. Unfortunately it does slow the game down by about two frames on a P120. Hmmm... a task for tomorrow, I think.

A couple of problems popped up today due to the creature-tables being slightly out of synchronisation with the creatures expectations, meaning that all creatures lived in 3x3 apartments with four others. Hmm... Dragons could be in for a rather uncomfortable time!"


Day 15 - 15/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"[Written by Mark]

Today, Peter talked about Cathy's thighs, Simon said "Oh, absolutly" several times, Dean [sic] managed to retain his dignity despite the obstacles, and I (Mark) was just too cool for words. Pub for lunch I think. [---------------]

And Mark managed to spell my name, and 'absolutely' incorrectly. Marvellous.

We found out today that one of DK's support artists, Jason Cunningham is leaving to join Scavenger ... in Denmark. Hmm... leaving a well renowned company with some of the best innovative products ever for a relative unknown seems a little risky. Oh well, he will be missed - I hope all goes well for him - but not too well!

Manged to speed up the 486 engine a bit today by stripping out all squares which were hidden by others. This way works on a full map update presently - I'll have to do this for single block updates at some point."


Day 16 - 18/3/96[]

"More integration problems today - this is going to be a very lonely slog. With each step forward Simon takes, he discovers an ever greater area of foundation he must prepare. I do not envy him in his task.

For my point, I added creature 'fatigue' today. Creatures now have maximum and minimum fatigue levels. When a creature is awake, his fatigue increases, until he must go home to sleep. While he sleeps his fatigue decreases. We'll probably link sleeping and healing somehow as well.

After several false starts today, Peter and I finally managed to have a few multi-player games. It's definitely coming along well - I find myself wanting to add elements even when I haven't been asked to. It's got to be a good sign!"


Day 17 - 19/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Tweaked the fatigue code today, and increased creatures irritability. If they become homeless, are waken up by 'calls to arms', or become very hungry, they will either sulk at home or leave the dungeon in extreme cases.

Today was also a fairly major victory as Simon managed to get a majority of the testbed working in the old engine... admittedly, the mushrooms looked rather like traps - because they were traps, but at least the track we're on is in the correct direction.

Much of my day was spent making minor changes to the creature reactions.

Peter implemented the 'prison' code today. We now have prisons which can be used to convert captured enemies to your side. Some rather nice 'jail-break' scenarios will ensue."


Day 18 - 20/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Creatures now create 'ghettoes' - areas within which they will not tolerate another creature moving in next to them.

Creatures as a whole have now been given 'tendencies' - tend to fight, tend to imprison, or tend to run away. It looks as if there will be quite a degree of flexibility in the manner in which you use creatures - purely aggressive, cowardly or strategic.

There seems to have been an endless stream of journalists recently, all lining up at Elstead - not as bad as the marketing types who inevitably turn up with them. Words are bandied about like "Positioning Statement" and "Global Penetrative Strategy". Blah blah blah. No creative ability, but a surprising capacity for speaking in tongues. *Hmm, also the entire team found themselves wondering what these people actually did for their paychecks [sic]. Enough cynicism!

* 'Bullshit'"


Day 19 - 21/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"More icons, more tweaks to creature abilities and even more integration problems. Imps now have the navigation system installed, so they react rather more realistically to stimulus than before... apart from the fact that their little feet aren't in sync with their walking speed yet. It's almost as if they suffer from 'wheelspin'!

Flies also build lairs (as they are supposed to) in the keeper engine now. It really feels as if all the disparate parts of the game are coming together to form a whole. However since Peter and I have made countless changes to the game logic, and Simon has been using older game logic for integration purposes, next work's major integration will be hell on earth."


Day 20 - 22/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Another journalist today - a very amiable fellow, if a little nervous. However, as pleasant as he was, the process of demo-ing etc still took up far too much of our time.

I waited most of the morning to get a new update, achieved very little else during the rest of the morning and rounded off the day by going to Bullfrog to give a Dungeon Keeper presentation.

The presentation itself went fairly well, apart from the fact that Tony chose the most public moment possible to start moaning and being negative about Keeper in general - big mistake. I left the meeting at 6:45 due to a prior appointment, but apparently Peter roasted his gonads over an open fire for embarrassing him. I don't blame him - it was rather inappropriate considering the recent negativity at Bullfrog. The meeting rounded off with everyone discussing payment issues... Yawn."


Day 21 - 25/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"So, another week begins. Peter used today to expand the map-size from its current 64x64 to 256x256 in line with the current 'proper' version of Keeper. Peter also asked me to expand the editing features of the game so that bonus rooms could be found etc. This was going to make it necessary to wade through Peter's horrible helpful [?] windowing code. Yuck.

However, once this was done it would mean that Barrie Parker, our level designer, would have more to do than he has at present."


Day 22 - 26/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Today was the day we managed to annoy Mark immensely. We decided that the old user interface had to go because it obscured too much of the screen, making the letterbox-format screen even more so. After much deliberation we opted for a menu that would pop up or down when the right mouse button was pressed, thus making the screen less cluttered.

On the positive side, Simon managed to get all the game elements and structures working in the posey engine. This more in etc just as they do in the testbed. It's amazing how much of a difference decent graphics make to a project.

Mark Lampart joined us today - he's the chap responsible for all the front end programming, all the network bits, traders and the 'external' technical bits."


Day 23 - 27/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"While Mark Healey twiddled more graphical bits, I helped Peter to fix his will-they-buy and got room 'revelation' wanking.

Now, if you discover a secret room, a simple fill ranting explores the area surrounded by walls and tags all creatures within as owned by the discovering player. This means that the game will be able to offer a great many more surprises than the previous version of Keeper.

Not a lot else to speak of today. More integration, more bugs, more... no... less patience."


Day 24 - 28/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Another will-they-buy day! Argh! Creatures presently check all the way around a cell to see if they can reach a required destination - fair enough. However if one section of the dungeon is completely isolated from another, how does the creature react? Errr... hmmm. No idea. Peter formally decided that if 'goodies' get frustrated by their inability to breach your dungeon, they will just attempt to tunnel through the wall.

I decided to alter the lair code (again) so that creatures would attempt to limit an open space next to a wall when building their initial lairs. This forces creatures to build in a bit further from the dungeon heart and also be a little tidier.

Mark Lewis, a big bod in EA came in today seeming fairly enthusiastic about the new keeper. However, as with the rest of us, his concerns rest with whether we are able to deliver on-time!"


Day 25 - 29/3/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Adrian Moore accepted the Molyneux challenge today and came in to have a 'taste' of the new Keeper. After some initial problems windowing the portable and mice, Adrian became quite engrossed in playing the game. It was a good hour or more before he realised that more of the rooms had costs attached! By this time he had built a massive dungeon, teeming with unpleasant denizens and was thoroughly pleased with himself.

After the now almost traditional 'Pack Lunch Experience' we went to 'Frog central for a Friday review. Mike Diskette and Co. gave a wonderful presentation for Syndicate Wars which impressed all who attended - Hopefully, seeing that Bullfrog is still capable of creating games this beautiful will instill a little faith...

If we can install faith in the games themselves we will truly be back on track."


Day 26 - 1/4/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Added a few features to the startup save facility hopefully making it more useful for Barry [sic] Parker. Secret areas and their occupants can now be edited and saved with ease.

Other than this latest addition, I got little else done today due to a rather nasty bug which was enclosed somewhere within the sleep/anger/hunger code. I hate debugging soooo much.

Simon was still inserting the testbed into the old engine - it seems that each time we believe the last to be finished one more hurdle leaps up and bites us in the rump - to mix a few metaphors.

Mark meanwhile redid several of the textures, but wasn't all that happy with them - partially the gold seams, which he claimed looked like custard. Hmm... new DK resource? Custard Mines? Naaah...!"


Day 27 - 2/4/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Peter added in a feature to allow the digging of long paths today. He has always been concerned about giving players too much power instantly, and so was rather loathed to introduce it. So, players can now double-click to build extended passageways from the last position they dug out.

I added a few more behaviour modifications to the creatures - I occasionally worry that all these different states may well cause problems later on but time will tell.

Mark wasn't in for the morning as he drove in to Dam Technology to spec out buying a PC. It looks as if he'll be parting with £1-7 Gens for a P120. Ouch.

Simon found the bug in the game that stopped the sound working today. Hooray! At last. All due to a change in the library apparently."


Day 28 - 3/4/96 - Dene Carter[]

"Now, if creatures die, their lairs have one occupant removed. The upshot of this is that creatures moving into a dungeon will take over a dead creature's lair, or find a space if the occupancy is a shared one. Marvellous.

Mark started on some of the external graphics today - grassy knolls, presidential reticles... no that's not right. Well the grassy bit is. Anyway we can plug ceiling textures so that outside areas have no roof - should be quite atmospheric if entrances are handled properly.

Other than that, Peter's family suffered a rather tragic twist of fate last night, necessitating Peter spending most of yesterday at the hospital. I'm sure the last thing on his mind will be DK for quite a while."


Day 29 - 4/4/96[]

"Another addition in the game today - a torture room. Oddly enough, this is for use 'against' your own creatures. Since creatures can become agitated, annoyed and downright aggressive demanding more money, more food or more space, it pays to keep them in line. Enter torture room - or rather get dragged kicking and screaming into torture room. The result is that it is possible to keep ever the most disagreeable dungeon tenants in line. However, you must be careful with your administration of discipline - too much could kill the poor wretch off. Even this has extra consequences, as creatures of the same breed will almost certainly rebel."


Day 30 - 5/4/96[]

"I spent most of the day with the new 'faster' engine, attempting to tell it what happens when a block is removed or added to the play area. The problem is because the map is a height map as well as 'hop-down' map, some areas are obscured by others. Drawing these would obviously be a waste of time, therefore routines must be written to ensure only one (each) area is drawn only once. Dull.

Mark did some rather nice anims for the 'Hand of Evil' power spell - the various creatures dangle in characterful ways, dependent on which bits protrude! Sounds (and looks) colossally painful."


Day 31 - 8/4/96[]

"Simon implemented the 3D code today. Unfortunately most journalists and marketing types neither know a thing nor care about game-play. As far as they're concerned, as long as Keeper looks like a high-class Doom rip-off they'll be happy. The amount [recte number] of times we've heard 'What's the testbed got to do with the 3D view? Where's the 3D view' Aaargh!

Anyway... after that rank... the 3D view is now back in. We're going to have three three-dimensional views:
Monster control
Monster 'passenger'
Prying eye.

Today's view as the passenger mode - click on a creature to see the world as he does without altering his actions. The others will follow."


Day 32 - 9/4/96[]

"A slightly more 'gameplay' oriented day - together with the training room, which improves the creatures combat ability we have added an armoury. This will enhance the creatures' armour rating once they've been in there for a suitable period. Quite how this is going to be represented on-screen I don't quite know. We can't display a huge view above the creature, nor give the creature a nice graphical shield in the hand since

A) not all creatures have hands
B) we haven't got all the memory in the world

Bum. We're currently thinking of using sound similar to metalhi darks to represent the weapons being blocked by shields etc. Combined with a suitably sparky visual, this could work quite well. We'll see."


Day 33 - 10/4/96[]

"Interesting... Mark claimed he'd found a picture of Peter in "Skin Two" fetishwear magazine! Having seen the picture he spoke of I must admit the resemblance is uncanny! I didn't think Peter would look good in a corset (and I was right!)

Apart from these distractions and a few more hurdles in the engine, fnt, Simon put in the 3D monster control options today - which should keep the marketing people happy if nothing else. Mind you - Peter's vision of the game is one where people can play it as a Doom Clone if they want to ... or a Command and Conquer style game if they want to... or a sim-game if they want to. I'm not sure one won't fall between several stools yet, but Petey tends to be right about these things most of the time."


Day 34 - 11/4/96[]

"Aaargh... Panic Day! Peter gave me a three hour period in which to knock up an effective and easy to operate demo for a marketing bod in the US. Hmmm... Luckily, Mark Healey had a few files on CD-ROM which could help put out a demo. Bad news is that this was a fairly major demo for EA which would most certainly alter the marketing budget for Keeper by... several million. Nasty.

The demo was eventually finished at half six, meaning that I had to go into work and burn a CD myself... luckily, several other Froggers were there to speed the process up a bit. Many thanks Andy Nuttall and Mike Diskett."


Day 35 - 12/4/96[]

"Friday review day today - another chance for a Bullfrog team to squirm on the spotlight, shuffle a bit, look embarrassed but admittedly amaze the rest of the company with their achievement.

Today's game was GeneWars (originally called Biosphere). Richard Reed, Alex Trowers and co. put on a very impressive show, the only downside of which was that the game seemed a bit complicated. However with its rather astounding good-looks, light programming and quirky humour I'm sure it will be another winner for Bullfrog.

Apart from the usual programming mix, today was spent in a futile attempt to Email Keeper to the manual creation team at Origin in Texas."


Day 36 - 15/4/96[]

"Today was the day of the ECTS show. We spent about six hours in total wandering around hiding little of any great importance or consequence. EA were not represented, so that meant a major representative of the industry was missing.

Meanwhile - in a private "media only" suite elsewhere, Peter was showing off Dungeon Keeper to journalists, amid receiving a rather warm reception. They seemed to like the fact that the testbed view showed off the 'game' and not the graphics.

To cut a medium story short, 6 of the 8 journos voted it game of the show...

... which was nice."


Day 37 - 16/4/96[]

"Damn - the Origin demo of Emailed Keeper didn't work. We eventually discovered that they were trying to send the Windows version without the entire Bullfrog Software Development Kit. Hmmm... a problem methinks. We'll have to sort out (well, Alex Peters will) a way to 'package the thing in one easy lump'.

Mark Stacey came over to Elstead to play Keeper last night and during the course of the evening mentioned that the mushroom gardens should instead become food pits featuring little crunchy squeaky creatures for the main monsters of the game to munch away on. Far more appropriate."


Day 38 - 17/4/96[]

"Finally! The one change I should have made a million years ago was finished. The user can now 'lay' blocks in the 3D view! Hurrah! Basically, this now means that people can play the game in the three dimensional yummy view, rather than feeling as if they are merely voyeurs.

Simon knocked up a simple gui today - boxes and text only, but it makes the game feel rather more 'together'! It's amazing the difference something like that can make to a game in progress - suddenly people become immersed. Presumably the game seems less daunting once given a friendly face."


Day 39 - 18/4/96[]

"Peter came up with an idea for another room-type today. Originally named the 'observatory' it would (will) broadcast a message to the surrounding countryside, calling creatures of a single breed to the room's occupants into the dungeon. The idea of this is that if by digging around the level, the player should chance upon a rare and powerful creature, he could build a room of this type and call in others of the same breed if he placed one specimen in there.

A further side effect is that if the player subverts an enemy creature (or hero!) he could pull away possible residents from the enemy dungeon!

It was later decided that the room should be renamed; "The Scavenger Room""


Day 40 - 19/4/96[]

"Another Friday, another Friday review! After Mark had designed an absolutely, phenomenally ridiculously realistic hand for use with the of "Hand of Evil" spell, we trooped once were to Bullfrog main to witness the delights that the R&D department had to offer. Reactions? Oooooh yeeeess!

Ian, the much derided Cambridge grad, finely managed to boost everyone's estimations of his ability (besides his own) by showing off a rotating city which allowed you to zoom out to see the entirety of Manhattan Island or a single puny slab with NO SLOWDOWN. Amazing.

Glenn and Jon showed off their new 3D engine (courtesy of a radical new texturing method) "Quake beaten" would be a fairly accurate description. We'll have to think of something really different to do with it."


Day 41 - 22/4/96[]

"New gui time! After what seems like an eternity of engine tweaking, I'm finally on something different. No more ugly text boxes ualimy the game look like for features teletext. Instead we have gorgeous gold- filigree-type bordered panels with all the usual windows-type features. Lovely.

Progress on the main game was taken from testbed to game-proper was slammed to a halt today as Simon went down with a rather nasty flem. He ended up spending around 18 hours asleep.

Barry [sic] Parker, our level designer joined us out here today. It looks like he's going to be joining us for the remaining duration, creating levels and helping to balance the game."


Day 42 - 23/4/96[]

"More work on the gui today - primarily getting it to work with the new graphics Mark produced. Slut bars etc will follow!

Mark created more pervy graphics today. The 'slap' spell, originally designed to tell your creatures to get a move on has been replaced with the "discipline" spell. It's a whip. Hmmm.. Skin Two magazine ought to be paying us for advertising their merchandise.

Two more landscape features were also added. [sic] Fire and water. The terrain types will effect [recte affect] several elements of the game including which creatures move in and set up lairs where, and also hero behaviour.

Simon slept another 18 hours, which was a little worrying..."


Day 43 - 24/4/96[]

"Simon still ill today. Not an ideal situation as Brian from EA was supposed to be demo-ing the game to various parties... including Rolling Stone magazine. Gulp! As it was we managed to finish it with Peter's portable, and a zip, disk... and hopefully enough knowledge to show off the game's best features.

Apart from this minor hiccup, the day went fairly smoothly. I finished one entire section of the GUI and cleaned up a few more messy bits in the engine. However, Mark excelled himself again by producing a wonderful Call To Arms animation. A trio of skeletons burst forth from the earth, each playing a horn. It should work rather well with the first-person viewport, as intruders scamper stealthily drum passages - suddenly there's a flurry of bang limps around the dead sound the horns signifying their doom!

Sorry... got carried away."


Day 44 - 25/4/96[]

"Simon, like the mythical (fictitious) Lazarus rose once again from the ashes (mixture of metaphors) of his sick bed to join our happy throng. Well... fairly neutral throng, anyway.

During the day, Simon managed to make a visceral firework display out of a simple thing like imps tunnelling. He basically attached a huge blood/entrail explosion for each column dug away by imps. Unfortunately we didn't have any suitability 'rocky' graphics, so the result was something akin to a nuke in an abattoir. Yummy.

A bug occurred in the hero code today. Every once in a while a hero becomes possessed by the spirit of Conan and runs around at 100mph killing everything in his path! Maybe some all-powerful entity is trying to redress the Good V Evil balance in the game! We'll have to counter it with the Horned Reaper!"


Day 45 - 26/4/96[]

"Irritating day today. Sooo little was achieved by me today. It took an absolute eye to grab the updates from the appropriate people, code I wrote had to be thrown away due to other people's code being incompatible (it hadn't been moments before!).

On the other hand, however, Mark began designing some of the rather more useful 'window' sections which will eventually provide such valuable information as which items have been created in the workshop, what you're researching etc. With these additional pieces of information, the game feels a lot more solid.

Hopefully by the end of the week we'll have a just-about-finished version of the interface in - saving, loading and everything.

Hopefully."


Day 46 - 29/4/96[]

"Another slow day. Mark designed the extra panels necessary for the new gui while I spent the whole damned day wrestling with the engine again. This time it involved trying to get block tagging to show up correctly in all circumstances - even when the tags are on floor surfaces or after uneven areas. Unfortunately, the engine is being a pain in the arse.

It's a shame this game has such an amazingly complex engine - it's slowing me down to a crawl.

Marks [sic] gem of insight for the day was "If a woman asks for too much, give her a slap!" Hmm. 90's man or what?"


Day 47 - 30/4/96[]

"Today, James Leach from the scripting dept came over for a play. He seemed most impressed at the latest version and asked all the right questions, including a high level of enthusiasm for the project. Mooost excellent.

Mark revised the graphics for the chicks today - now they're nice and yellow - far more suitable for munching. We'll probably have tiny saffron-coloured feathers floating down to the floor to add a little pathes.

Mark's most difficult task was creating a nice jagged edge, on the eggs. It seems slightly bizarre that a complete unshelling animation takes moments, while a bit of static, jagged eggshell takes all day.

Oh no! Peter wants to use the "Birdy Song" in the game! Over my rotting corpse, matey!!"


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