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Designer's DiaryFebruary 2001

Thursday, 1 February 2001: Long time, to diary. Sorry about that.

We've been hosting VIPs from Infrogrames (formerly Hasbro Interactive) the past few days. And there's be a lot going on even prior to that.

Image: Visit from Infogrames Here are the Infogrames (until last Thursday, Hasbro Interactive) people. On the left is good old Constantine, our publisher Producer (who is getting married in a couple weeks). On the right is that lady gameshark and publisher Senior Designer, Jennifer McWilliams. (My wife and I are planning on having Jennifer and her husband over for dinner and a game of Twilight Imperium 2 this Friday). That guy in the middle, though, he's important. Dave Albert is a VP on the publisher's side of things. The chain of command goes Producer (Constantine), Executive Producer (Bill Levay), then VP of North American Development (Dave Albert).

The fact that these guys are even out here bodes well for Master of Orion III in the "publisher scheme of things." Now that Infogrames (pronounced "in-FO-gram") is writing the checks, we at Quicksilver find that very reassuring. I hadn't met Dave before, but he's another guy who "gets it." He's been protecting us from those who "don't get it" within the Hasbro bureaucracy ever since MOO3 was kicked off, so we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for that.

On other fronts, you are making MOO3 news these days. Our hit counts and message boards have gone through the roof the past 6 weeks or so. We got an upsurge when we announced that we'll be doing the Mac version, interviews on various web sites are bringing up the tally, but that announcement on SlashDot. Wow! That one nearly tanked our server.

Of course, with all of those message boards, there's a lot of new people asking questions we've long ago answered (repeatedly). Please be patient with them. But even veterans on the MOO3 Discussion Boards have been extra-busy posting their ideas and suggestions. It's very hard to keep up with you guys, but now that Stormhound is watching the boards every day with me, I feel there's more chance that all the good nuggets will be collected.

We've built the game. Well, it's a "work in progress" build that we put together for Infrogrames. A bunch of screens come up and a bunch of code really runs. I saw part of its demonstration for our VIPs and, frankly, I didn't know we were so far along! :-) [I've got to get out of this cubicle more often and see what everyone else on the team is doing.]

Of course, we've added Stormhound full time to the MOO3 project. He joins Tom Hughes, Floyd Grubb and me as another designer on this epic bugger of a game. Hound, Hughes, Grubb and I are burning up the emails and phone lines trying to nail down huge portions of "to be completed" stuff in the design doc (like the population immigration formulae, the Unrest Table, and a ton of other stuff). They've added another engineer (who starts tomorrow), so keeping the "finished" bits of the design up with the innumerable engineers on this project is quite a pressure-packed event. If I come off a little "testy" these days, believe me, it's all work-stress related.

On the personal side, my wife has just about finished our landscaping (and savings account) at home, so at least I have a nice place to retreat to at the end of the day. This is good, because I got sandwiched in a four-car collision on the freeway coming home from work last week. I'm okay, but my car is out for a month.

Just so you guys know what I do when I'm not working on MOO3, I'm working on a boardgame called Ikusa! which covers World War 2 in the Pacific and mates with Totaler Krieg!, another game I did. Then, of course, I write articles and work with editors. All this around being a dad and husband. (Now if I could only get some sleep.)

Oh, for those of you who can't get enough of my incessant prattle, more of it has been made available on the web. I write a monthly column for PC Strategy Games, a British magazine that exclusively covers its subject (and in depth!). Now they're posting columnist's pieces up on their web site. If you'd care to investigate my other thoughts and rumination about our hobby and industry, visit their web site and look for my name (Alan Emrich).

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