Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Broken Hourglass: Game Over

I promised to tell you when I had more news about The Broken Hourglass, so here I am.

I wish it were better news. As you can probably tell by the title, or may already have read in the official announcement on the Planewalker Games website, it's, well, broken. Jason Compton and Wes Weimer (owners of said property) have decided for a variety of reasons not to continue developing The Broken Hourglass.

They plan to let folks play around with it at some point, or, to put it in the official announcement's more formal terms, to:
release the game materials for TBH and the underlying WeiNGINE game code in some open source/open content license model which will permit the ongoing exploration and development of the game as a non-commercial, community project. The exact licenses and scope of this public release have not yet been determined, and there is no specific timetable for this public release to happen. The intention will be to give the greater community the best chance possible to explore the potential of TBH and to honor the efforts of the dozens of people who have been involved with TBH's development over the years.
So this is goodbye, at least as far as The Broken Hourglass is concerned. I’m going to miss the crazy characters, the writing, the brainstorming, and the blogging (Actually, I’m not quitting blogging, just blogging about The Broken Hourglass). So, goodbye gamers. Thanks for reading and for all your encouraging comments and questions throughout the process.


  1. Nooo!! That's not true! Thats impossible! This game was the last beam of light in the darkness of modern RPGs. I wish I could change it somehow.. I think I'm gonna go eat a bucket of icecream :(

  2. Its a shame you were left hanging after doing this work, but this has all happened before.

    If I were a designer I wouldn't join a project, unless they had an engine that was finished. If I was a programmer, I wouldn't accept a designer unless they had a completed design. ;)

  3. Anonymous1--I'm afraid it is true. I'm looking for the Rocky Road myself.

    Anonymous2--For what it's worth, the engine is finished.

    I have an incredibly detailed chart of what is and is not done, though it may miss a couple of coding related matters (like improving the fighting). Hopefully Jason plans on releasing that, too, when he releases the game-in-progress. Maybe he'll even add to it, so the fighting shows up.

  4. >-For what it's worth, the engine is finished.

    Wow that is a huge tragedy.

    Was it getting visual art that was the problem? Another thing I have noticed, writers and programmers will work together on a game for the possibility of royalties later, but visual artists in general won't. There are exceptions, but they are rare.

    If that is the case, its a pity you guys can't lower your graphical standards and make games using "programmer art". Minecraft looks horrid, but people dig it. ;)

    By the looks of it, it is an Infinity Engine type, so selling it online would be difficult, due to the sheer size of each map. Tile based games are much smaller and easier to make maps for, so they are a safer bet for indies.

    Sorry I saw this post in the news section of an RPG site, so I am ignorant of what led up to this point. From the few screen shots I can see, it looked like a really nice engine.

  5. Anonumous2: We've got most of the visuals in place, though some of the quest-related small stuff still needs icons.

    Jason pretty much gave his reasons on the main site, so you know what there is to know (not that you can't ask questions ;) You're welcome to comment ;) ).

  6. I'm wondering how much was done. Would it be possible that the game can be completed and released as community project? I've waited so long for this game to be completed and released. I really, really wanted to play TBH =\

  7. Anonymous3: Jason plans on releasing it to the community at some point, though there is no date set, not even as a goal.

    As to how much was done: Quite a lot. I'd say 90% of the writing was done (sort of depends on which version, if any, of the finale Jason sticks in there). See the March 31 post for more details (though there's a couple things I'd have to add as undone, since the finale needed revision it didn't get, and the through-character never got written).

    Coding: I'm a lot less familiar with that, but a good chunk was done and alpha tested (We never got as far as beta-ing, so there's substantial work left, no doubt).

    The catch is, it's not in a computer code anyone is going to know ahead of time, so you'll have to learn it from scratch. This is a daunting prospect. It's enough like Weidu to give BG2 modders a leg up, and enough *not* like it to require a lot of learning. I came in as a writer & started learning code later; there's still a substantial hunk of magic-using, object-creating, and general-activity stuff I don't know & can't comment on, so that's as specific as I can get there.

    I do have quite detailed charts on what's finished & what's not. I hope Jason will include in the release as that will help guide people.

    Art: Most of it is done. Any icon item marked with XXX or Pearl(I think 92?) will need an icon made. I think there were 20-30 waiting, though I never finished that list.

    Voicing: Basic NPC soundsets were voiced, no one has voiced dialog.

    The real NPCs need to be inserted; right now, I think only Redethe really exists in game. Everyone else had their joining dialog written and dialog-coded but was not fully scripted or fully created. I tested with dummy NPC's. There are starts on them, but I don't know how fully they got implemented.

    That's all I can think of off hand that wasn't in the March 31 post.

    So--Lots of work left to do, not, I think, insurmountable, if someone wants to learn how to code a game they can't play yet.

  8. I'm really sorry to hear that the game has been abandoned. I know I'm late to the going-away party, but I don't often check the email addy I used to sign up anymore, so I just found out about this. I hope that it at least becomes a successful community project, in spite of the difficulties in learning the new code. I don't suppose there's any possibility it could be revived as a Kickstarter project at this late date?

  9. I would love to see it be a succesful project. I do not know when Jason plans to release it to the public.

    I think it's unlikely that he'd want to make it a Kickstarter project. Money was one reason Jason abandoned development, but not the only one.

    He's the one to ask questions like that. I believe he's still checking the contact stuff on the main page.