Once upon a time, in a land far far away (Oakhurst, Ca), there lived a young couple who made a computer game called Mystery House.
The game sold SO WELL that the phone started ringing off the hook with calls from all over the world. That was the good news. The bad news was that some parts of the world get up earlier than other parts of the world. It didn’t take more than a few evenings of middle-of-the-night phone calls before they started searching for an office.
Sierra On-Line’s very first office was in the back of this print shop. We outgrew the office within a few months but continued to use Ponderosa Printing for another decade.
I happened to be in town this past weekend for the first time in over 20 years and was surprised to see the building still existed. I stopped and asked the guy sitting in front if the business was still going. He said that the owner, Cleon Jones, had shut down the printing business years ago. I’m not sure how old Cleon is, but I’d suspect he is in his 80s or 90s. I was surprised and delighted to hear Cleon he is still kicking. He was a great guy, and a big part of our early success, always ready to do something creative with our instruction manuals and packaging to help us get product onto the market.
It was like drinking memories from a firehose to see Oakhurst after all these years. The town had grown, but still had its hometown feel and charm. I doubt I’ll ever go back, but it was nice to see the town once more.
Anyway .. as to the game I’m working on: All is going slowly but well. A week ago I almost shut down the effort to do a VR version. We were fighting framerate issues and the situation seemed hopeless. We needed to get to 72 frames per second and were stuck at around 25. After a “weekend from hell” and some hard work on the part of the team, we figured it out and were back in the ballgame. Game development is like that with high-highs and low-lows. Today I’m smiling, but sometime in the next week I know I’ll be frustrated and cussing my computer again. Oh well … It is what it is and I know I’ll look back on this part of the project fondly. Someday. I hope.
PS I’m still not ready to talk about what the game is, but I do finally have a name for Roberta’s and my new company: CYGNUS ENTERTAINMENT. It’s a long story how we got to that name. I’ll share it in some future blog post.