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AnachroLith
August 6th 2000, 03:01 CEST by andy

There's more trouble for ION Storm this week, with the revelation that the lead programmer on Anachronox has moved to Monolith.



Rumours that Andrew Megowan had been fired from ION Storm were originally reported earlier this week on the Fat Babies site. The site claimed the reason for his dismissal was that "he was trying to get a workable schedule to ship [Anachronox] this summer".

Monolith has now confirmed that Megowan is working for them. He will work on the company's own games, not LithTech development.

It has not been confirmed if Megowan was fired from ION Storm, or if he chose to leave.

Tom Hall, project lead on Anachronox, was not immediately available for comment.

This story is sure to raise concerns that Anachronox will go the way of Daikatana. Many developers left ION Storm during development of that game, with the so-called "ION Eight" going on to form Third Law and create Kiss: Psycho Circus, which coincidentally (or perhaps not?) used the LithTech engine.

Update:

We've now heard back from Tom Hall. He explained that Andrew Megowan left ION Storm "a couple months ago", and wished him the best of luck. He didn't comment on the reason for Andrew's departure.

Tom also confirmed one of the other recent rumours, saying that some other members of the Anachronox team are leaving, having received "great offers" from other companies. He declined to reveal who they were, saying "I'd like that to be their news, really (you know, once they get settled)". A number of new developers have been hired at ION Storm.

Finally, Tom commented on the current state of Anachronox: "There is a chart on the wall of every last thing left to do in the game (and a more detailed one in Project, of course). We're checking it off, meeting or beating our internal schedule. Once that chart's full, and the game is well-tested and tweaked, we're gonna ship it."

C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: AnachroLith

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#1 by "Apache"
2000-08-06 03:01:25
apache@voodooextreme.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
haha
#2 by "Dethstryk"
2000-08-06 03:09:48
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
Hey, most of the development team on Anachronox hasn't taken a hike like the Daikatana team, so I'm not too worried.

I have faith in Tom Hall as a group leader, unlike that poor showing Romero gave us.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#3 by "Andy"
2000-08-06 03:13:26
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#2</b>, Dethstryk:
<QUOTE>
Hey, most of the development team on Anachronox hasn't taken a hike like the Daikatana team
</QUOTE>
Wanna bet?
#4 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:17:14
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
From the FatBabies site:
<QUOTE>
With Ion losing its 100th employee this summer, it seems that no one in the company is safe.  Rumor has it that even Chris Nordan, lead programmer on Deus Ex, left shortly after it shipped!  </QUOTE>

I am suprised that ION is still standing after Daikatana.  I feel a LGS faith coming along in a few years ahead

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#5 by "Apache"
2000-08-06 03:28:48
apache@voodooextreme.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
#4: well, eidos bought the thief license and ION Austin will make the new thief games. you can read more about it on voodooextreme.
#6 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:30:10
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<QUOTE>
#4: well, eidos bought the thief
license and ION Austin will make the new thief games. you can read more about it
on voodooextreme. </QUOTE>


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:30:34
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
You are joking, right?
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#8 by "Dethstryk"
2000-08-06 03:31:09
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>Andy wrote in post #3:</b>
<quote>Wanna bet? </quote>
Not really.

I just don't think it's that possible for Anachronox to have the same fate as Daikatana did. Come on, it's taking a pretty much completely different route in its development.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#9 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:31:39
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
ION, great they are going to put frogs and shit in Thief!
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by "Dethstryk"
2000-08-06 03:31:52
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>BloodKnight wrote in post #7:</b>
<quote>You are joking, right? </quote>

It's true, but guess what? Warren Spector will be handling it supposedly, and this is the "genius game guy" over at ION Storm Austin (Deus Ex). I think we can trust him.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#11 by "Dethstryk"
2000-08-06 03:34:33
dethstryk@damagegaming.com http://www.damagegaming.com/
<b>BloodKnight wrote in post #9:</b>
<quote>ION, great they are going to put frogs and shit in Thief!</quote>
*growls*

ION Storm Austin, who will be handling the Thief franchise according the the unofficial info floating around, are the guys behind Deus Ex.

ION Storm Dallas, home of John Romero and the evil "frogs and shit," developed Daikatana.

They may be two peas in a pod, but they're also on two seperate ends of that sucker.


--
Dethstryk
Damage Gaming
#12 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-08-06 03:44:42
brandonr@3drealms.com http://www.3drealms.com/
This would be the way of the misanthrope,
in order to create, you must destroy.
#13 by "DeathBunny"
2000-08-06 03:45:30
riley@hh.iij4u.or.jp
I'm sure Warren Spector and team will do a kick ass job with Thief, if this is true...

Everyone remember that Warren was in on Thief 1 as the producer before moving to Ion Storm.  I don't think there is any doubt that Warren groks Thief.
#14 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:48:15
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>DeathBunny</b> (#13):
<QUOTE>


I'm sure Warren Spector and team will do a kick ass job with Thief, if this
is true...

Everyone remember that Warren was in on Thief 1 as the
producer before moving to Ion Storm. I don't think there is any doubt that
Warren groks Thief. </QUOTE>

Makes me feel better, last thing I want is to destroy the theme of what we all know and love in the Thief series (stealth and people screaming in the darkness)

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-08-06 03:48:31
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>BloodKnight</b> (#9):
<QUOTE>ION, great they are going to put frogs and shit in Thief! </QUOTE>

Read carefully ... "ION Austin".  The team responsible for Deus Ex.  I have no problem with them making Thief games ...

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#16 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:49:49
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
I know :)

Talk about Cross-posting

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#17 by "IlIIllllI1"
2000-08-06 03:49:51
Warren Spector is an idiot. he chose the unreal engine to make a game. need i say more?
#18 by "Matthias Worch"
2000-08-06 03:53:33
mworch@legendent.com http://www.langsuyar.com
Anachronox has been in development just as long as Daikatana, and it has had its share of people leaving and new people arriving. But the team has managed to keep such a low profile that nobody has been trying to make fun of the project, tell us why it's doomed every five minutes or simply scrutinize every single little development and educate us about the impact on the game.

I <i>LOVED</i> that.

It gave me the good feeling that people would simply judge the game on its own merrits once it got released. Never mind how long it took. Never mind how much money it cost or how many people worked on it. Just fair treatment for the game, what a novel concept ;)
I was hoping that we could keep it that way...please? :)

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#19 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-08-06 03:56:01
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
<b>#5</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE>
well, eidos bought the thief license and ION Austin will make the new thief games. you can read more about it on voodooextreme. </QUOTE>
I was under the impression Looking Glass didn't own the Thief license, that Eidos owned the IP rights. So essentially Eidos just assigned the project to ION Austin.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#20 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 03:57:43
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
oh great, guess whos here.  Barcode boy!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Chris Johnson"
2000-08-06 03:59:16
Andy:

<quote>Wanna bet? </quote>

You going to back that up? *checking wallet for extra cash*  ;)
 
Actually I have a couple of pretty good friends still on Anachronox (that was my first project "in industry"), and from everything I understand it's going quite smoothly as far as Anachronox is concerned (one of the guys I speak to off and on is extremely straight with me as far as I can tell, and having known him for a few years I have no reason to doubt what he tells me).  The fact is that Tom's team is pretty stable and cranking right along, and I have no reason to doubt that at all.  

A large chunk of that team is stil tere from when I was there (late '97-early '98) so I would say that the team has remained pretty well intact, at least from what my friends there say (and since none of them are really too great into the whole PR BS, I think I can trust them on it).
#22 by "IlIIllllI1"
2000-08-06 03:59:23
woohoo food!

#20 hi!
#23 by "Matthias Worch"
2000-08-06 04:00:13
mworch@legendent.com http://www.langsuyar.com
#17:

<i>Warren Spector is an idiot. he chose the unreal engine to make a game. need i say more?</i>

It takes courage and conviction to try to become a PC troll, and I applaude you for that. But if you want to become this topic's <i>PC Troll Of The Wee</i> you gotta do better, your posting doesn't even qualify as "bait" in my book ;)

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "IlIIllllI1"
2000-08-06 04:02:13
#23 damn well let me try harder

hmm im thinking lalalalla hmmmmm ok got it!

tim sweeny is an idiot too! he made the unreal engine.
#25 by "Chris Johnson"
2000-08-06 04:02:32
Matthias (#23):

<quote><i>PC Troll Of The Wee</i></quote>

Troll of the Wee?  Are you calling him a tiny little man?  ;)
#26 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 04:05:31
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
How come there is no '!!insert a damn name here!! of the minute?'

I wonder if people are so stupid, they would call tech support because they ran out of room on their mouse pad for their mouse

damn wtf did that come from


<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "Russ"
2000-08-06 04:05:55
rthcowboy@mindspring.com
<b>#17</b> "IlIIllllI1" wrote...
<QUOTE>need i say more? </QUOTE>
No, nor should you. Got it?<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "Apache"
2000-08-06 04:10:01
apache@voodooextreme.com http://www.voodooextreme.com
<quote>I was under the impression Looking Glass didn't own the Thief license, that Eidos owned the IP rights. So essentially Eidos just assigned the project to ION Austin. </quote>

Since that is not a known fact (how many publishers own the rights of the games its developers make?) it's safer not to say they assigned the rights.
#29 by "IlIIllllI1"
2000-08-06 04:10:57
#27 nope
#30 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-08-06 04:15:01
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
<b>#28</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE>
Since that is not a known fact (how many publishers own the rights of the games its developers make?) it's safer not to say they assigned the rights.
</QUOTE>
Actually, a better question is how many developers own the rights to their games. The answer is usually "very few."

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#31 by "warmonger[AI]"
2000-08-06 04:15:55
warmonger87@hotmail.com
Shut up!!! Don't even bother replying!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#32 by "BloodKnight"
2000-08-06 04:18:37
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Here we go again...
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#33 by "Rambar"
2000-08-06 04:26:18
rambar@coldsprings.reno.nv.us
<b>#32</b> "BloodKnight" wrote...
<QUOTE>

Here we go again...
</QUOTE>

I wonder what Derek Smart thinks of the subject matter....

Hehe I wonder if the usenet rules about Hitler apply to Derek Smart on PC.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "Chris Johnson"
2000-08-06 04:37:18
<quote>Quote of the nanosecond:
"This quote is probably the best quote I've seen on this forum."
- Fooz, in Time Turns, and Patches Come and Go
</quote>

Heh.  If I didn't know better I'd have thought that was planned by Morn to come up as QOTN...
#35 by "Mark Asher"
2000-08-06 04:45:32
marka@cdmnet.com
I was under the impression that LGS owned the rights to Thief, which means that the creditors own it now.

I think EA owns the System Shock license, though.
#36 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-08-06 04:51:27
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#37 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-08-06 04:51:53
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
Did you like my empty post?  I'm a god ...

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "sebi"
2000-08-06 04:52:31
sebi@shoot.at http://www.blue-c.com
Hmmmmmmm - strange indeed. I never heard of that Megowan guy. So he was the lead programmer for Anachronox? An Ion Storm game? What engine are they using? All I know about Anachronox is, that it's a Finalish Fantasyish kind of game that is supposed to come out pretty soon. And they cut half of the content, because they thought it was to much for a single game. You know - following the <A HREF="http://www.dailyradar.com/columns/game_column_346.html">
Daily Radar</a> guidelines.

I am not working in the game industry, but if I was, at the moment I would rather be working at Monolith than at Ion. Let's face it - Ion was the company that His Hairness found to make games by Gamers for Gamers. The prestige project was Daikatana and from what I've heard it was horrible. Deus Ex seems to be good (just downloaded the demo on thursday and only played the training level so far) but it didn't get the same kind of attention.

Now let's pretend I would be Megowan: Lead programmer for some game by an overhyped company. The game I worked on is about to be released - the code is basically finished, there's just some tweaking left. I could continue to work for a company that is (at least right now) on it's way down, or go to a company that just pulled it's face out of the dirt and is looking into a bright future.

I don't know anything about Tom Hall - but the Romeros public image is tainted and so is the image of Ion. Romero is the public spokesperson for that company. Warren Spector (sp?) made a brilliant game but he is not the one that the press and public were interested in.

For me, as a gamer, Monolith is much better than everything that Ion stands for so far. Monolith games suckd ecause they didn't have the time/funds to finish them correctly. Daikatana is supposed to suck because it simply is bad. Now don't get me wrong - I believe that Deus Ex is supposed to kick ass and that Anachronox might do the same, but Ion is The Romero's company. Monolith is backed by Fox now and seems to have two (at least) break even games coming out (Sanity and NOLF). Ion is funded by Eidos and I guess that both of their current titles cost more than they will make (I just don't believe that the great Deus Ex has a big mass market appeal). Maybe they earned something with Dominon, but I doubt that.

Jason Hall came back to the gaming coummunity on his knees and appoligised for past mistakes. His company has a business plan that makes sense (engine and games division have to flop before the company goes down - sorry - before the companies go down). Ion was betting on their ability to release kick ass games that would sell a lot. So far that plan didn't work out.

I don't see Ion still hanging around in 3 years- If Megowan quit Ion: more power to him. If he was fired for trying to get work done: Sad.

P.S: Thanks a lot to everyone who was giving me Dreamcast advice in the Jason Hall interview thread. I was playing Tony Hawk for at least 10 hours today - super sweet. I will be getting a second controller and Soul Calibur on monday and 6 people allready invited themselves over for tuesday. That dreamcast even gets girls into my appartment. What a cool machine.
#39 by "Warren Marshall"
2000-08-06 04:53:50
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicgames.com
<b>warmonger[AI]</b> (#31):
<QUOTE>
Shut up!!! Don't even bother replying!</QUOTE>

Add him to your ignore list.  Do it.  Now.  Then you won't be tempted to reply.  That's what I've done, and he hasn't bothered me the least bit this thread ... He's seen on my screen, but not heard.

--

Warren Marshall - Professional Nuisance<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#40 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-08-06 04:55:22
sbauman@adelphia.net http://homepages.together.net/~sbauman/
<b>#36</b> "Warren Marshall" wrote...
<QUOTE>
</QUOTE>
I think Warren is getting existential, commenting on the meaningless of existence.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#41 by "Matthias Worch"
2000-08-06 05:14:21
mworch@legendent.com http://www.langsuyar.com
#38:

<i>Deus Ex seems to be good (just downloaded the demo on thursday and only played the training level so far) but it didn't get the same kind of attention. </i>

Well, domestically DE has sold more copies than Daikatana already (according to PC Data), I'd take that instead of "attention" :)

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "sebi"
2000-08-06 05:25:21
sebi@shoot.at http://www.blue-c.com
#41 <I>Matthias Worch</I>:
<Quote>Well, domestically DE has sold more copies than Daikatana already (according to PC Data), I'd take that instead of "attention" :)
</QUOTE>

Just wondering - how many copies are that (including Mac?) and how many did Daikatana sell?
#43 by "OOTB"
2000-08-06 06:02:20
feh daht calm
It continually amazes me how ION Storm is the only company in the entire industry that has staff turnover.

Oh wait, they aren't, it's just the same old one-trick pony journalists.
#44 by "Matthias Worch"
2000-08-06 06:05:31
mworch@legendent.com http://www.langsuyar.com
Well, I don't have the numbers here, so take this with a grain of salt...But if I remember correctly Daikatana has sold around 16k until today while DE is already at 25k.

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "Prfbrain"
2000-08-06 06:49:54
brain@arn.net
<b>Bloodknight</b> 26 wrote:
<quote>I wonder if people are so stupid, they would call tech support because they ran out of room on their mouse pad for their mouse</quote>
Sadly, there are people this dumb and even dumber. I currently do tech support for a local ISP. If you've ever heard any dumb user stories, they're probably true. Just last week, a guy emailed us because his netscape noticed he was doing "illegal operations", and wondered if the police were going to visit him because he was looking at porn. *sigh* I sometimes wonder how some users even know how to turn the magic box thingy on.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#46 by "Mankovic"
2000-08-06 06:55:27
mank@teamreaction.com
So whats the big deal with "one" person leaving?...or did I miss something?
#47 by "OOTB"
2000-08-06 07:02:15
feh daht calm
DK: 40+
DX: 80+
#48 by "Glock"
2000-08-06 07:25:45
glock@planetavp.com http://www.planetavp.com
Well, I've read around about Deus Ex, and barcode boy is already bitching about the Unreal Tournament engine being used.

Deus Ex started development in 1997 and ION Austin wanted to have an engine that can render outside terrains well.  There were really only 3 engines out there at the time...The Quake 1 engine, the Quake 2 engine, and the Unreal engine.

Even though the Unreal engine is really finicky, and low end system lags tremedously, the Unreal engine was the only engine that could render outside levels well.  Look at the 2 level in Unreal, when you get out of Vortex Rikers.....

Even better, the Unreal engine still maintained the same engine, with multiplayer and rendering upgrades.  If they went to Quake 1, and then Quake 2, and then Quake 3 Arena, Deus Ex would not have been out for years.  

I think the biggest problem is that people sometimes feel that they should be able to run high graphics with their crappy 4 meg video cards, etc etc etc...

The fact is, much of the crashing that occurs with Unreal Tournament-engine games is due to several factors:  How is the Windows registry stable.  After a year of installing and uninstalling programs, cold restarts of computers, and all that crap, it causes Windows to start doing strange things.   Also, viruses could be in the system, because some people choose not to update it regularly.  Also, how good is your video card.

You probably need at least a 32 Meg card nowadays to run Unreal engine games anyway, unless you have a Voodoo 3, because of the Glide API.

For the most part, a person who bitches about not being able to run high or moderate graphics on a 4 or 8 meg graphic board is idiotic to say the least.

There could be other problems like voltage problems with the Bus,  bad sound card drivers, and also UT-engine games do not respond well to overclocked CPU's (Video overclocking is fine, though).  Don't ask me why this is the case, but that is the deal.  Also, some people like to swap video cards without going through proper procedures in their OS.  Bad Bad Bad.

There are always games that challenge our equipment.  But there are always whiners and complainers that insist on having the best on crappy hardware.  To them, I say "Either save your money and buy a new computer, upgrade your video, or quit your bitching".

Warren Spector made the correct decision in choosing the Unreal engine. He is not idiotic for choosing it. It best suited a game that started it's development in 1997.  

Now if ION Austin were to start a sequel to Deus Ex, then it should look to other engines, too.  The Quake 3 Arena engine looks pretty good for an engine, but it still is having problems with outside terrain rendering, plus OpenGL is the only API available for it.  The only other engine besides the Unreal Tourney engine that can render outside terrains well is the Lithtech engine.  If you've seen screenshots of NOLF, the quality of them shows me that it can compete with the Unreal engine in terms of eye candy effect, with a more stable Direct3D renderer than Unreal's.

Warren did a great job, and he is not an idiot.  Deus Ex rules, and so does Spector for making the most badass single player game in the last 5 years....
#49 by "Glock"
2000-08-06 07:30:00
glock@planetavp.com http://www.planetavp.com
By the way, when I mean idiotic, I mean automatically saying a game sucks because of their own negligence in maintaining the integrity of their systems and then pointing the finger at the developers for their own problems.
#50 by "Chris Johnson"
2000-08-06 07:45:09
<quote>Now if ION Austin were to start a sequel to Deus Ex, then it should look to other engines, too. The Quake 3 Arena engine looks pretty good for an engine, but it still is having problems with outside terrain rendering, plus OpenGL is the only API available for it. The only other engine besides the Unreal Tourney engine that can render outside terrains well is the Lithtech engine. </quote>

Actually there are other engines that can do outside areas extremely well and blend them seamlessly into indoor areas.  Dynamix's Fear engine (or whatever it's called now) that was used for Tribes and now in Tribes2 for example.  The Surreal Riot engine (okay it's the company I work for; I'm just coming up with examples).  I know there are quite a few other capable engines out there that may not be as heartily pimped as the "Big 3," but that are just as, and in some cases, possibly better.
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