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Wizards & Warriors

In the mid-90s, I worked at a small game studio called Heuristic Park, founded by D.W. Bradley, who designed and developed Wizardry 5, 6, and 7. The game we built was codenamed “deep 6”, and ultimately released by Activision under the title Wizards & Warriors (I’m not sure how it ended up with such a bland title).

I worked with my friend Jamey Pittman to build the game’s core systems and graphics engine, while Bradley and later other engineers worked on the gameplay systems. It was a long and fraught development process, with a lot of long hours as we all scrambled to realize the vision, which was often frustrated by the limited hardware of the time.

This was exacerbated by significant changes in PC gaming hardware in the late 90s. When we started, we had to implement all rendering in software, hand- rolling inner loops in carefully optimized x86 code. By the time the game actually shipped, 3D accelerated rendering had become fairly commonplace. This led to difficult tradeoffs, between the way we had designed the game and its assets for the world we started with, and the ways they had to be adapted to the world the game shipped in.

The resulting game was something of a flawed gem, and didn’t make much of an impact. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover this YouTube series of a full playthrough, where the author plays through the entire game, and seems to really enjoy it.