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OrigamiSage

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Ken Williams’ book is out

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Maroko is he!?  Gasp

     
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VoodooDerina - 04 October 2020 04:06 PM

Maroko is he!?  Gasp

Can’t say with 100% certainty, but yeah, I do think so. Just as I think that he wasn’t new here, but a previously banned user sneaking back on here with a duplicate account. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

     

Last played: Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5

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Speaking of the book, I’m eager to read it. I’d rather read Ken’s memoirs than a biography by some unrelated author presented as a collection of interviews/dry facts. I don’t care how many millions he made as long as he made them through hard work, not by stealing from others/simply buying everyone like professional managers who can’t even program a game. Ken took great risks at the time when the industry was practically non-existent, he did all the work, from programming to publishing, revolutionized and popularized the genre. He was responsible for extending the company and applying hundreds of talented people - half of them were women at the time when the industry was considered male-dominated. Ken was Sierra’s brain, and Roberta - Sierra’s soul, and the company quickly died without them.

     

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Doom - 04 October 2020 04:53 PM

Speaking of the book, I’m eager to read it. I’d rather read Ken’s memoirs than a biography by some unrelated author presented as a collection of interviews/dry facts. I don’t care how many millions he made as long as he made them through hard work, not by stealing from others/simply buying everyone like professional managers who can’t even program a game. Ken took great risks at the time when the industry was practically non-existent, he did all the work, from programming to publishing, revolutionized and popularized the genre. He was responsible for extending the company and applying hundreds of talented people - half of them were women at the time when the industry was considered male-dominated. Ken was Sierra’s brain, and Roberta - Sierra’s soul, and the company quickly died without them.

Based on the interviews with other people at Sierra (like those in the “The Art of Point-and-Click Adventure Games” book), it seems like Ken was someone who recognized good ideas when he heard them and did everything he could to get them to work. To me, he comes across as an excellent manager.
On the other hand, he himself tends to credit Roberta with all of the creative ideas in the early days of Sierra, so he may in fact be humble enough to make this a good read. As in: it’ll actually be about Sierra and not about Ken Williams…

     

Last played: Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5

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Ken does keep pointing out, that for him doing Mystery House was a side project he took as he wanted to keep Roberta happy after she got fixated on game design. He was at the time trying to port Fortran for Apple II, which in turn actually made him think about creating tools for Roberta so that she could do at least part of the programming herself and leave more time for his bigger endeavour.

     
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Yes, I didn’t mean to downplay Roberta’s role, I know she did many things besides writing, including managing Sierra. It’s just as a head of the company Ken was deeply involved in the process of game making which is rare. Just to compare, LucasArts was founded by George Lucas who was one of the leading Hollywood filmmakers by that time, yet he was never really part of the company and nobody associates him with LA’s games, even those based on his licenses (the reason for starting the company in the first place).

     

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Doom - 04 October 2020 05:48 PM

Yes, I didn’t mean to downplay Roberta’s role, I know she did many things besides writing, including managing Sierra. It’s just as a head of the company Ken was deeply involved in the process of game making which is rare. Just to compare, LucasArts was founded by George Lucas who was one of the leading Hollywood filmmakers by that time, yet he was never really part of the company and nobody associates him with LA’s games, even those based on his licenses (the reason for starting the company in the first place).

Apt comparison.

Ironically, at LucasArts it was Steven Spielberg who was more interested in seeing what George’s game department was up to. Grin

     

Last played: Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5

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TimovieMan - 04 October 2020 04:25 PM
VoodooDerina - 04 October 2020 04:06 PM

Maroko is he!?  Gasp

Can’t say with 100% certainty, but yeah, I do think so. Just as I think that he wasn’t new here, but a previously banned user sneaking back on here with a duplicate account. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

Before we do, I’d just like to say this is conjecture. Considering the user had a picture of a female which looked authentic enough, let’s give the benefit of the doubt, no?

I would prefer if there was a separate thread for this, but I’m just going to say here that I’m disappointed in your moderation Lady Kestrel. I disagreed with Maroko’s views on several posts, but I also recognize that my reactions and emotions are my own responsibility. I like to think there’s room for disagreement and argument here with all of us acting like mature adults. I didn’t see any basis for accusations of trolling, or rules being breached, and certainly not a ban, and if there were grounds then at least fair warning could have been given.

     

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Vehelon - 04 October 2020 07:18 PM

Considering the user had a picture of a female which looked authentic enough, let’s give the benefit of the doubt, no?

You attach meaning to an avatar? Really? Well, in that case, why did you once think I was a man when I always have a female protagonist/NPC* as my avatar?

*Except now. Gabbro is gender neutral.

EDIT: It finally dawned on me you were talking about “my photo” in the bio. I saw it. Anybody can link to any face. And it was just half a face of a woman who would probably not be recognized by her own mother.

     
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You’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg, Vehelon.  Warnings were given but ignored.  This was a joint decision based on behavior.  If you need to say more, please take it up with one of us via PM so the topic of this thread can continue for those who are interested in Ken’s book. 

     

I’m not weird.  I’m a limited edition.

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Doom - 04 October 2020 05:48 PM

Yes, I didn’t mean to downplay Roberta’s role, I know she did many things besides writing, including managing Sierra. It’s just as a head of the company Ken was deeply involved in the process of game making which is rare. Just to compare, LucasArts was founded by George Lucas who was one of the leading Hollywood filmmakers by that time, yet he was never really part of the company and nobody associates him with LA’s games, even those based on his licenses (the reason for starting the company in the first place).

A rather interesting, if completely out of nowhere, chapter is the chapter on software engineering. It does show that Ken Williams was and is still technical which is also a very big distinction with a lot of companies and very likely contributed to Sierra’s success.

But that said, Roberta did have a big role, at least according to Ken Williams. She’s the one who stopped the merger with Spinnaker after the game crashed. So, besides being a good designer she did have a big role on managing the company.


It’s definitely an interesting and well written book and well worth the read so far. One chapter that’s very interesting too is the chapter on Marketing and why Sierra marketed their designers. It was a cool concept at the time and I do think was something that distinguished Sierra from a lot of companies.

     
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TimovieMan - 04 October 2020 03:34 PM

He’s been banned, you can stop feeding him. Grin

However, if he was right about preferential treatment for older members, I’ve yet to see it, but am all for it. Turned 73 today and I need all the help I can get.

     

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Joined 2020-10-05

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Greetings all! Thank you for the feedback on the book.

If anyone has questions about the book or Sierra I am happy to answer them.

As someone on this thread said, I never was a gamer. I was (and am) a good software engineer and marketer, but never could have designed a game. Roberta is the creative one in the family and we make a good team.

Best wishes, and yes - it really is me. I have no plans to advertise the book, so I am dropping in at various game related forums to mention the book.

- Ken Williams

     
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rtrooney - 04 October 2020 08:50 PM

However, if he was right about preferential treatment for older members, I’ve yet to see it, but am all for it. Turned 73 today and I need all the help I can get.

Congrats!

     

Last played: Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5

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Kenwilliams - 05 October 2020 02:55 AM

If anyone has questions about the book or Sierra I am happy to answer them.

 

Is there a series or a game that didn’t sell as well you thought it should have? For example, I love the Conquest games Christy Marx did, in many ways, they are ahead of the time they were produced by having multiple paths and endings. They have solid gameplay and are well written, but there’s only two of them. Wasn’t their sales good enough or did Sierra just part ways with Chisty?

     

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