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Tales from the Trenches

Copy and Paste…

So back in ‘98 I had just gotten my GED and was picked up by a very friendly software firm that mostly worked on business software up to that point. They leased, licensed or, whatever, the original Quake engine for use in their first gaming title.

The problems came when we realized that they had hired no professional artists and no professional sound techs so all we had was the programming assets. Several people mentioned this time and again to the higher ups but they told us to just keep going with the engine and the level design.

So the programmers made stuff and we would test it. This kept going until we were about a month away from the release deadline. One of the execs came with some boss guy and wanted us to show them the game at work. The lead programmer booted it up on our display machine and started playing it. The boss man immediate said: “Why is there no sound and why is everything all green and white” in reference to our placeholder textures (white for world solids and green for entities).

He seemed to think this was actually how it was supposed to be or something. The “gaming” side of their company lacked any sort of real hierarchy so the bravest member of our little group just piped up and explained to them that we had no graphical or audio assets.

His response, I kid you not, was: “So just copy them from that ugly game that we paid for.” talking about Quake, of course. The brave and very cordial executive tried to explain to him why we could not do that but boss man didn’t understand or care and insisted we just use sounds and textures from the game.

So the game was finished and even shipped with Quake textures, sounds and all. Company was sued, settlements were paid, game was recalled and we all got fired. All but the programmers. Last I heard they still had a “gaming” division but had yet to release a single gaming title.