Sunday, August 16, 2015

From Gamasutra: 10 Seminal Game Postmortems Every Developer Should Read

I'm not a developer of course but I've always enjoyed reading about how games are designed and built.   I read through the article on System Shock II.  Playing through the game you would never guess the development woes because it is such an intense game.  You don't care what the AI is capable of as long as it doesn't kill you on the spot.  I'll be reading all of these then hitting the older archives.

Presented by Alex Waro from Gamasutra's "postmortem archives" developers talk about what went right and what went wrong as they worked on classic games.

Covered titles:

Warren Spector on Deus Ex

Jonathan Chey on System Shock 2

Erich Schaefer on Diablo II

Tom Leonard on Thief The Dark Project

Ray Muzyka on Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Jason Regier on Myth: The Fallen Lords

Brandon Reinhart on Unreal Tournament

Matt Pritchard on Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

Brian Upton on Rainbox Six

Peter Molyneux on Black & White


  1. Some years ago there was an excellent post-mortem on Tabula Rasa, which was a fascinating read even though I never got around to playing the game itself. Sadly, I think The Secret World will probably also become post-mortem fodder sooner or later, which makes me a sad panda.

    1. I'd like to read the postmortem on Tabula Rasa. I thought it sounded really intriguing when it was first announced and I followed any news on it I could find until one day they said they were completely reworking the concept. The new concept wasn't of interest to me at all, but I still read about the game over the course of it's development. I know it had some really avid fans, and I always feel bad when worlds are shut down.
      I've seen Funcom is trying to sell or make some financial deal somewhere. Secret World really is a unique and amazing game, I hope something good happens.

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  2. Let's try this again with proper punctuation: I knew I'd done a post linking it, so here it is. I couldn't find Lum's original post that led to it, probably because his site has been attacked one too many times, poor bastard.

    1. Interesting. I read the postmortem and all of the comments. It's hard to have a feel for what really occurred, and what parts of the game worked or didn't without having played it.
      Even the commenters were pretty divided about whether the game had huge potential or whether there was never a chance of success. It seems to me that there usually are some aspects that all concerned agree upon.
      It sounds as if the game lacked direction all along. Nobody was overseeing it, pushing all the parts together into a cohesive whole. Games are most often in development for 4-5 years before they do alphas, right? (Though Alphas now appear the be the new Closed Betas.)
      In my experience, at the alpha stage you have the basic world environment, some quest chains, perhaps just the starter area. The interface is in flux. Character creation options are limited. Combat is in place, but will be tweaked considerably. Lots of crashes, lag. Environmental tears and glitches.
      What they're looking for is just a bunch of new eyes to walk into the world and see what works or not, give feedback.
      Tabula Rasa's alpha probably exposed more problems than were imagined. Here's where they needed to be listening and correcting course, but it sounds as if that didn't quite work out.


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