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The Birth of an Industry by Ken Williams (Page 4)

But, invariably someone would become frustrated because the computer couldn�t understand something they felt was completely rational, like LIFT THE LID OF THE BOX. Roberta wanted to find a way to make the players feel more a part of the story by allowing them to manipulate objects in the world directly. In real life, if you want to open a chest, you just reach over and open it. that became her goal. King�s Quest V, released in 1990, was the first to show off the no-typing interface and became Sierra�s first game to sell a half-million copies. The first-ever pure multimedia game to be shipped on CD-ROM was Sierra�s adventure game Mixed-Up Mother Goose. We started development in 1988 but didn�t ship until 1990. It is much trickier to develop for CD than we thought it would be. Although you have 600 megabytes of data storage, many CD-ROM drives are as slow as a floppy disk drive. Our toughest challenge was the slow seek time of CD-ROM drives. When we wanted a character to speak, there would be an unpredictable delay of one-third to a full second while the CD-ROM "seeked" for the speech data. Our other big problem was trying to synchronize the lips of our animated characters with the speech coming off the CD. There was no way I wanted our products to ship looking like poorly dubbed movies. Finally, in 1992 I solved the problem by the only other means left to me. A small Seattle-based educational software company named Bright Star had spent nearly a decade wrestling with lip syncing. Their chief techie, Elon Gasper, a genius ex-college professor specializing in linguistics, was building an early reading product called Alphabet Blocks. It featured a talking monkey, Bananas, and a jack-in-the-box named Jack. They look incredibly life-like when they talk. Elon�s studies had demonstrated the increased comprehension that comes from watching someone�s lips while they talk ( rather than just listening) , and wanted to create a program that would both show and tell children thecorrectt pronunciation for a word. You may wonder why something as seemingly unimportant as the lips of a video game character so consumed me. My goal for the adventure game is simple:to make you forget that you are playing agame. Anyy detail, no mater how small, that makes you remember that you are playing a game is unacceptable, I want the game to feel so real that you begin to believe that you really are a character in the story. Producing CD-ROM based adventuregamess turned out to be a bigger project than we ever expected. Mystery House was designed, written, and illustrated by Roberta, while I programmed it in theevenings. Inn all, it took about three month. On the other hand, King�s Quest VI DC lists around 50 names in the credits, some of whom have spent the last two years on King�s Quest VI. To do the voices for King�s Quest VI CD we went to Hollywood and used professional voice talent, like Robby Benson , to do the voice of Prince Alexander. Robby was the voice of Beast in Disney�s Beauty and the Beast. The voiceactorss were shocked; an average film script contains only 100 pages of double-spaceddialog. Sincee there isn�t really one set plot, our adventure game script consumed over 700pages. Itt became a major project just to calm the angry actorsdown. Howw, they asked, could it be that their character would fall off a cliff in one scene and be back happily walking along the path for the next line of dialog?

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