Questions about Deadlock

General discussion, queries, etc. about Deadlock and Deadlock II.
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by goblin »

Ubergeneral Grunt wrote:Ken (goblin), I noticed your site has the cover from a Computer Gaming World issue with an article on Deadlock, never seen it before.

I looked on Ebay for the issue, to no avail. So I made an RSS feed, just in case one pops up. As a collector of anything Deadlock related, I hope I can find it somehow. Did a CD come with this magazine, including a demo of Deadlock earlier than version 1.20?
I have the issue in storage somewhere, likely with my old portfolio. If I can dig it out soon I'll scan the article for you. Or if I have more than 1 copy (possible) I'll mail you one :-)

Me = kencapelli@gmail.com
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by goblin »

SonOfDon wrote:Ken, just learned that you were responsible for the art in Giants, Citizen Kabuto. Well done, another game that my children and I enjoyed together. I believe that the Mac version was very well received. On the Mac I believe that this is a carbon application, it would be nice to see it updated.
Ah, Giants. Probably my favorite game I've ever worked on. And the game with the most teal and pink skies EVAR. Glad you and yours enjoyed it so much!
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by Ubergeneral Grunt »

Giants was good, FPSs aren't really my thing, though.
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by Ubergeneral Grunt »

Did the game sell about 100k units on both Mac and Windows or just Windows?
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by MarkJensen »

Hello All,

Mark Jensen here, the writer for Deadlock. It's really terrific and gratifying to see this site :D, Deadlock is one of my favorite projects and I still find it amazing I was lucky enough to work on the game. Apologies for taking so long to respond to the message board. I've been focused on writing a history book for these past many months on Control Data Corporation (a main frame computer manufacturer in the 1960s-1980s). Plus I finished directing a musical last week and I've been working on a musical adaptation of Tom Sawyer for a theatre company here in St. Paul.

I am a playwright, which strangely enough is how I ended up working at Accolade. Deadlock was my first game and I later worked a fair amount on Deadlock II. My role was to develop the fiction behind the game, write the dialogue, co-direct the voice acting, write the online help system, the manual -- anything to do with the writing and game fiction.

Since my background was in theatre, Russell wanted me to find ways we could we could weave characterizations and dialogue into the game experience. (Accolade's motto was "Games with Personality.") The concept I developed with Russell was a conversation engine where online players or the AI would send video messages to specific players. I thought of each game as a play where the dialogue would be assembled based on game events. Each race had four canned video categories -- Insults, Threats, Bragging, and Compliments -- plus a generated text category that would display more specific information.

Each of the categories had 20 separate videos plus four more for the generated text category. We also had some intro videos that we would play at the beginning of each turn. So I believe each race had about 90 separate video segments. We had some very cool 3D models of each alien Ken designed, and then the animators found a program that could sync the lips on the 3D models to specific vowel and consonant sounds. My wife worked at San Jose Repertory Theatre at the time, so I knew some actors I thought would be good character voices, and we also held some general auditions. Dan and I directed the actors in the studio and together we selected the final "takes" of the dialogue that made it into the game. There was one period of crisis where it was suggested that we cut back significantly on the dialogue as it was taking quite a while to animate all of them, but somehow Matthew and Russell won that argument.

So that sums up the design contribution I made to the game. Much of my time was spent developing the backstory for each race and then writing the dialogue. Creating the opening movie was quite an experience as well. If you have any more questions, please ask.

Cheers,

Mark Jensen

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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by SonOfDon »

MarkJensen wrote:Hello All,

Mark Jensen here, the writer for Deadlock. It's really terrific and gratifying to see this site :D, Deadlock is one of my favorite projects and I still find it amazing I was lucky enough to work on the game. Apologies for taking so long to respond to the message board. I've been focused on writing a history book for these past many months on Control Data Corporation (a main frame computer manufacturer in the 1960s-1980s). Plus I finished directing a musical last week and I've been working on a musical adaptation of Tom Sawyer for a theatre company here in St. Paul.

I am a playwright, which strangely enough is how I ended up working at Accolade. Deadlock was my first game and I later worked a fair amount on Deadlock II. My role was to develop the fiction behind the game, write the dialogue, co-direct the voice acting, write the online help system, the manual -- anything to do with the writing and game fiction.

Since my background was in theatre, Russell wanted me to find ways we could we could weave characterizations and dialogue into the game experience. (Accolade's motto was "Games with Personality.") The concept I developed with Russell was a conversation engine where online players or the AI would send video messages to specific players. I thought of each game as a play where the dialogue would be assembled based on game events. Each race had four canned video categories -- Insults, Threats, Bragging, and Compliments -- plus a generated text category that would display more specific information.

Each of the categories had 20 separate videos plus four more for the generated text category. We also had some intro videos that we would play at the beginning of each turn. So I believe each race had about 90 separate video segments. We had some very cool 3D models of each alien Ken designed, and then the animators found a program that could sync the lips on the 3D models to specific vowel and consonant sounds. My wife worked at San Jose Repertory Theatre at the time, so I knew some actors I thought would be good character voices, and we also held some general auditions. Dan and I directed the actors in the studio and together we selected the final "takes" of the dialogue that made it into the game. There was one period of crisis where it was suggested that we cut back significantly on the dialogue as it was taking quite a while to animate all of them, but somehow Matthew and Russell won that argument.

So that sums up the design contribution I made to the game. Much of my time was spent developing the backstory for each race and then writing the dialogue. Creating the opening movie was quite an experience as well. If you have any more questions, please ask.

Cheers,

Mark Jensen
Hi Mark! Welcome to GalliusIV, which is kind of strange for me to be saying to you!

Sad to say that I remember the name CDC! I applied for a job once with Pr1me! Thanks so much for the background on your participation in the project. It is easy to take for granted the entertaining story line and interactivity and I think we all will appreciate learning something of the effort that went into making this aspect of the game so successful. When you refer to 3D models, I take it that these are software models (difficult to lip synch lumps of clay)! I'm interested in the software used for modelling.

Mark, the history of the game and insights into the thinking behind it are really interesting, thanks for sharing. All the best for your ongoing endeavours.

DavidH.
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by goblin »

>>When you refer to 3D models, I take it that these are software models (difficult to lip synch lumps of clay)! I'm interested in the software used for modelling.

(Remember, this was 1995-1996.)

The characters were designed on paper with front/ side/ back drawings, which were then given to clay modelers at Viewpoint Datalabs who, well, built clay models. The clay models were then drawn over with a grid and then manually digitized, point by point by point. Viewpoint didn't keep the clay models and we never asked for them. The resulting untextured 3d meshes were, for the time, fairly high-res at a few thousand polygons each and were brought into an early mashed-up beta version of Alias/ Wavefront (which eventually became what we now know as Maya) on Silicon Graphics workstations, where I textured and lit them while 3d technical artists set up the facial morph targets for the lip sync. This was pretty fancy stuff back then, with SGI workstations costing $20-30k and the software about that cost again (if I remember correctly).

On the game side, I was using 3D Studio Release 4 for DOS to create all the ingame buildings, vehicles, etc. It was pretty rough, in that you couldn't view what you were making like you can today in Maya or 3DS Max... it was all wireframe and from set angles only (left, right, top, bottom, front, back). To view your texture or lighting progress you had to manually render a frame. At one point I was using a early Windows 3d program that looked a lot like what 3DS Max would turn out to be... Truevision? Truescape?... with in-editing-window previewing and all the stuff we're spoiled with these days, and it was mostly good and fancy-like until you got down to some in-file organization details (like naming, material handling, etc) that showed it to be less than robust for game development. Also, anything I created in Truescape could not export to any open format so anything I created in Truescape would have to live there forever. Forget *that*. I opted to stick with the industrial-grade DOS program, which allowed me to batch all my renders (so I could set up a whole bunch of animations, then have them render overnight). I recall I was using a Pentium 100 (the most powerful computer in the building), whew. With a whopping 17" monitor!

The one category of exception to the stuff that looked like 3d modeling is the race marques, which were (believe it or not) all done in Photoshop 2.5 using early bump map and lighting tools.

Quick bit of trivia: one of the reasons the Skirineen ended up with that degraded video effect is because Viewpoint totally whiffed on the model (super lame), and built it with these big blocky teeth that looked terrible. Our budget ran out with them, and on our side we didn't have 3d tools to model a reptilian mouth... soooo we got creative. :-) The noise filter was a bit of a problem for Dan when he was trying to compress the videos down to a workable data rate...
~k
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by Ubergeneral Grunt »

I only remember the race marques being used in DL2. They were in DL1's video files, but not in the game. What was their intended purpose in DL1?

Was the same tool used for the buildings, vehicles, etc. in Deadlock 2? Most of the new graphics look very similar to DL1, in DL2. The graphics that didn't (talking heads, interface), I personally didn't think looked that good. Deadlock I's talking heads look a lot better.
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by goblin »

>>I only remember the race marques being used in DL2. They were in DL1's video files, but not in the game. What was their intended purpose in DL1?

Nothing more than cool logos for each race, to precede their talking heads and/ or be used elsewhere in the game, where appropriate. I don't think we ended up needing them anywhere more than in front of the videos as flavor.

>>Was the same tool used for the buildings, vehicles, etc. in Deadlock 2? Most of the new graphics look very similar to DL1, in DL2. The graphics that didn't (talking heads, interface), I personally didn't think looked that good. Deadlock I's talking heads look a lot better.

Thanks! I think so, too. Most of the graphics in DL2 were the exact same assets as DL1... DL2 should actually be called DL1.5. The DL2 developer likely didn't use SGIs to render their talking heads (SGIs were VERY expensive, more than a third-party developer could afford, and we were lucky to have those machines at our disposal) and also didn't have the technical expertise, to be honest, to match the quality of what we originated in DL1.
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Re: Questions about Deadlock

Post by Ubergeneral Grunt »

Yeah, that's only one of the things, that I don't like about Deadlock II. The aliens were very stiff and the voice sound quality was very low, just like in non-English versions of Deadlock 1. I think the engine they used for the heads, would have worked well for dubs. But then, the German and French versions were just subtitled. All other versions were just an English/German game with a translated manual and box (Italian and Hungarian versions for example).

Who made the decision to fix the game resolution at 640x480?! It seems like a real backwards step, since Deadlock for Windows worked full screen at even 1920x1080, albeit with graphical glitches. The Mac version went as high as 1280x1024.

Still, DL2 did have some nice additions, the volcanic world type is still my favourite. Maybe Deadlock II would have worked better, as an expansion pack for Deadlock I.

I was gutted when I found out Deadlock II wasn't available for the Mac, even though they had good reason not to port it. Did any of you guys ever see the Mac version of Deadlock I? Great port!

Why did the voice actors for the Skirineen and Humans, change in Deadlock II?
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