Questions about Space Quest’s origin

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      Hi Ken williams, am I correct that you work on the Space Quest series? tell me what?where?when?How? u did in the space quest series?
      thanks 🙂 rdsf

    • #24746 Reply

      (re: Questions about Space Quest’s origin)

      On (where it’s always easy to check this type of info quickly – I don’t know if it’s 100% accurate though), Ken Williams is credited with programming on the first Space Quest game and he was the executive producer of Space Quest 4, Space Quest 1 VGA and Space Quest 5. Maybe Ken can share his memories of his first meetings with Mark & Scott, their later proposal to him for the Space Quest game, anything he remembers from programming the first Space Quest game and “just what does an executive producer do?” for the later Space Quest games.

    • #24747 Reply

      (re: re: Questions about Space Quest’s origin) I did no more, nor less, on Space Quest, than on the other games. Well … actually, at the very beginning I did do some programming on some games, but I don’t remember ever doing any actual programming on Space Quest.
      The Executive Producer title didn’t really mean anything. I forget if it was me, or someone else, who made it up. At some point, I think we stopped using it, because it was annoying to the teams, who were the ones doing all the real work on the games. It was never a really big issue, but I could tell that they didn’t like seeing someones name on the project who didn’t really work as part of the team.
      My involvement was critical, but only indirectly so. I was the one who decided if a game got made, who would make it, how much money would be spent on developing the game, and how much would be spent to promote the game. Based on my understanding of Hollywood, this is not inconsistent with what a producer on a film might do.
      I also played a role in defining the technology for products, and in monitoring the projects during development. Sierra had a seperate technology group, from the games groups. The technology group built the code that wasn’t game specific (mostly AGI, SCI and various animation tools) so that the programming groups that were assigned to a project could focus all their energy on making the game great, and not worry about what platform the game would run on. Once a project went into development (usually 1 to 2 years), I would meet with the team every 90 days to do a project review, and give them ideas for how to make the game better, or, more often, how to keep the project on time and on budget.
      My recollection on Space Quest is that all of the credit for its origin goes to Scott Murphy and Mark Crow. They came to me with the idea, and I remember not being overwhelmed by it at first – but approving them some time to build a short demo of the game so that I could better see what they had in mind. I loved their demo!!! Once I actually saw the simple 3 or 4 room adventure they built, I immediately approved the project, and they pretty much took it from there.
      Space Quest, Leisure-Suit Larry and Phantasmagoria I were my favorite games of all time!
      -Ken W

    • #24748 Reply

      (re: re: re: Questions about Space Quest’s origin) Ken, Your statement about the little 3 or 4 room demo, actually triggered a thought that I had been meaning to ask you, and some of my other Sierra contacts about.
      Are there in existance these little demo / proof of concept “games” lying around anywhere. Those would be pretty cool to play around with. Concepts both for game ideas themself (ones that made it to market, and those that didn’t) and also concepts as they relate to technology rather than a specific game.. like the first AGI interpreter test, or SCI tests.
      I figured the programmers must have had a bunch of test files laying around – wether or not they were saved who knows, or maybe those files didn’t exist, and all the “testing” of ideas occured in the development of the game itself, and was never really separate.
      Maybe you can remember.

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