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Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights – Steel Daggers

Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights

I guess I should say something. If for nothing else, for the fact that there’s nothing left to lose here.

It’s been a few weeks now that the “main” Perpetuum server is no longer running, which I suppose is the symbolic conclusion of the development of Perpetuum, something that was our first venture in game development and took 10+ years of our lives. In some ways, it was an emotional moment to pull the plug, and in other ways it really wasn’t. Let me try to explain why.

We started working on the game (then just called “GenXY”) in around 2004 – we genuinely had no idea what we were doing, we had no idea of the scope of it, we had no idea what it’d become or what we’d WANT it to become; we just had a faint idea that it was possible, and we started on it because we didn’t know better. Turns out, that was kinda really we needed to get it done – because if we would’ve known what’s coming, we probably never would’ve started.

I don’t mean that as necessarily a negative, it’s just that we mostly just made shit up along the way as we went: there’s no “How To Make An MMO” handbook, and there sure as hell wasn’t one in 2004. Most of us were still in our early 20s, and we never realized the amount of technology we would need to conjure up along the way, but we were ambitious (and stupid) and the fact that we can’t (or not supposed to) do it just never occurred to us. So we went to it head first.

Of course, the mission objective changed a few times along the way – initially we didn’t want character models, just these little soul-like particle bursts, because we wanted to cut down on having to write an animation engine. Then when we realized that’d be boring, we went for robots because we didn’t want to code skinned animation. The longer we went on, the more it snowballed, and next thing we knew we had this elaborate multi-platform architecture to have a game, a client, a website, a webstore, a backend, all these things in all different programming languages, platforms, database engines, that we just cooked up out of nowhere because we just thought “we have to figure this out”, and we did.

It was bumpy. Even after alpha, even after closed beta, even after beta, it was bumpy. There were some joyful fuckups (like accidentally shutting down servers with a piece of pastry and setting or kitchen equipment on fire), some a bit more stressful (like screwing up the game launch because we weren’t drunk) and some of them pretty miserable (like the cease-and-desist letter – guess who!). But through all of this, we had one goal and one goal only – to finish and release a game and do the best we can. And in that, say what you want, we succeeded. Not opinion, fact.

The way I imagine studio closures happen in gamedev, they’re probably come more as a sudden shock – for us, that wasn’t the case

A few people have asked what projects we moved on to, so here’s a brief summary:

  • Zoom spent a bit of time in VFX, and now works at Primal Games on a yet-unannounced title
  • BoyC is working on car navigation software at NNG
  • Quodys works at the Budapest branch of British Telecom
  • Alf works at Nokia
  • Gargaj (me) moved on to Slightly Mad Studios and has worked on Project CARS 2, and is now working on a yet-unannounced title.

Aside from that, as many of you know Zoom, BoyC and myself have been and will continue releasing work under the name Conspiracy; we’ve recently released our first venture in VR on the Oculus store – it’s not really game-related, but it’s something we’ll keep on doing if you wanna follow us there.