Ken Williams trying out the VR version

We are now planning VR support! We added one new member to the team (Cidney Hamilton) who is solely focused on supporting Oculus Quest II and Rift. 

Development is going slower than I hoped, but faster than I thought was realistically possible. I remember when I first started the project thinking that the game would be fairly small and easy. It hasn’t turned out that way. The game is much larger and more complex than I had thought. But there has also been some positive surprises, including finding Cidney to do the VR implementation.

I still have no idea when the game will release or in what versions. Our goal was to have a windows/mac/vr version of the game into beta test by the end of the summer. That’s looking less and less possible by the day, but not impossible. I’d still like to release the game before the end of the year.

Our plan is to hold off on saying what we’re working on until we have something into beta test. 

I am very impatient to show people the game! 


31 Responses

  1. Oh, man! Super stoked on this. I’ve been looking forward to this game since it was announced. Ken, I’ve just finished reading your book two times over, and am, myself, programming a very simple point-and-click adventure game using Phaser, an HTML5 game framework. I’m doing my best to apply the suggestions that you made in your book. So far it’s turning into quite an adventure itself!

    I would like to make myself available for any development, testing, QA/QC or product management work, absolutely free. I am currently an integrations/backend technologies product manager at an exploding SaaS company out of Utah, and would love to lend whatever help I could towards the effort of completing this game. It would be a dream-come-true to work with the Williams’ on a game. I’ll do whatever I need to do to be of service! I think you’ll find that I’m as close to a AAA player that you can find, and if I lack at anything, you’ll find that I put in AAA-level effort to learn it.

    1. Greetings Drew, and good luck with your game! And, thank you for the offer to help. Right now, we’re trying to be as “heads down” focused on the game as we can be. When Marcus, Cidney and I get in a groove we make big progress, and when anything slows us down we seem to lose momentum for days. We need all the help we can get, but also know that right now we are better to just hunker down and work on the game than to try to spin others up to speed. The best thing to do is to look on the FAQ for how to sign up as a beta tester. I’m guessing a month (or two or three) from now we’ll be ready to start showing people the game.

  2. Hello

    Is the vame going to be released on steam or will there be a physical release too (in game stores/online shops)?

    Alexis

    1. Alexis:

      The quick answer is, “I don’t know.” I’m trying to think about nothing except finishing the game. Marcus (my partner) wants a Big Box version, so I know we’ll do that. And, I’m assuming we’ll do a Steam version, but I haven’t looked into what that involves.

      I’ve seen a lot of projects fail where the team is distracted worrying about how to market the game rather than focusing on building a great game. If we can build a game that is fun to play, everything else will come easy, and if we don’t, it’s a waste of time to think about it.

      My best guess is that we will release the Windows, Mac and VR versions is some sort of downloadable format, as well as in a boxed version. Foreign versions and other platform versions will probably come later, and from other publishers.

      -Ken W

  3. Just finished to read your book (Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings), sir. It was a pleasure for me to run through Sierra story and get the spirit of these decades. Thank You! I’m glad that you wrote it, because not so much books about gaming in this world.

    I’m interested in your return in gaming and you’re very busy now, but could you answer on a couple of questions:
    1) You said in one interview that will invite Al Lowe for music composing. Did you meet him? Did you succeed?
    2) Is it will a true classic adventure? I mean without casual like lighting of subjects/places for use the item and appearing of hints “what to do” if player stuck in walkthrough.

    Thank You!

    1. 1) You said in one interview that will invite Al Lowe for music composing. Did you meet him? Did you succeed?

      Al’s not really a composer (or, I don’t think he is.) He did compose some of the music for Larry, but he’s more of a performer than he is a composer. He does a lot of “Big Band” gigs in the Seattle area, or at least did so pre-pandemic. Al is an awesome sax player. We still see each other often, mostly for golf.

      2) Is it will a true classic adventure? I mean without casual like lighting of subjects/places for use the item and appearing of hints “what to do” if player stuck in walkthrough.

      It is a classic adventure. I don’t want to say too much more or it will spoil the surprise. It won’t be much longer. A month? Two months? We’re paddling as fast as we can…

  4. Hi! This is awesome, Oculus and VR are the future 🙂 Have you considered partnering with Activision and releasing this game under the Sierra name?

    1. This is going to be a great game, and those who play it will find much to enjoy. But .. realistically, it is a game being built by a tiny team of three people. Sierra projects typically had 25 to 50 people involved, and that was 25 years ago. Modern development teams are huge budget productions with many hundreds of team members and millions of dollars. I mention that because I do not want to set expectations too high. I do think people will be impressed, but if you put this game next to one of today’s major hits, we’re not in the same league.

      That said, it’s a very well designed game, which will be a lot of fun to play, and I’m having a great deal of fun building it. There’s a lot to be said for a small passionate team who are focused on doing something fun rather than doing something “commercial.”

      Anyway … that’s the long way around to saying,, “Partnering with Activision” is something I’ve thought about, but also something that may not be appropriate. To some extent its an irrelevant topic and one that could slow things down. If we can build a game that is good enough that people tell their friends about it, and that they enjoy playing, then we win. If we don’t deliver on that promise , then all of the distribution in the world, or the Sierra name, won’t save us. The important thing is really just to put my head down and try to build an awesome game.

  5. Mr. Williams Sir, so excited that you’ve decided to flex your superior creative chops in the gaming arena again. I grew up playing your games and am level 10 excited. TY for endless hours of entertainment. I hope you enjoy the heck out of this, I know I will.

    1. Grin — I can tell you are not a big Facebook fan. Personally, I’ll be playing the game on a standard Windows desktop WITHOUT anything facebook related. That said, we will also support an Oculus version for those who want the full VR experience.

        1. Max: You’ve confused me. Apologies. The game will be available in three different versions at launch. More will come later. The initial release versions will be: Windows Desktop, Mac Desktop, and Oculus Quest/ Rift. If you want the full VR experience, then it is there, and if you don’t like it, you choose the normal desktop version. Our team member who is dedicated to the VR version, Cidney, is very picky about how the game looks through the Oculus glasses. She wants it perfect and is agonizing over every detail. If you want “the full VR experience”, have no doubt you’ll be getting it.

  6. What I’m asking is if the VR version will be a facebook exclusive or will it run on OTHER VR devices like the HTC Vive, Valve Index, any of the Windows Mixed Reality devices from various vendors, Pimax and so on. VR is NOT just facebook/oculus!

    1. Max — ok. I now understand. Unfortunately, we are a very small team, and there is only one of us who is focused on VR. My sense is that Cidney will be struggling to get the Oculus version complete by our release date. My guess is that, once we have the Oculus version, supporting other VR platforms will be easy. It is unlikely we’ll be able to support more than just Oculus with our initial launch. How soon the others will follow, and which ones we’ll support, will be a function of their market share and how easy they are to adapt the game to. We are trying to build the code to be as platform independent as possible, so that foreign translations, and conversion to other devices, will be as fast and simple as possible.

  7. OK, will hope for the best, but it sounds like I shouldn’t hold my breath. Just keep in mind that facebook hasn’t completely ruined virtual reality yet (as they have real reality.) There are still lots of PC based VR options that aren’t limited by what a little mobile processor can render. BTW, enjoyed the RMC interview. Also, congrats on Cygnus! She’s beautiful!!

  8. YOU ARE ON A PASSERELLE. TO THE EAST IS A BEAUTIFUL YACHT. TO THE WEST IS PORT HERCULES.
    ———- ENTER COMMAND? __

    1. Roberta has soured on Med cruising a bit. Whereas, I’d be on my way back within days. Her issue is all the problems associated with Med Mooring (which would be MUCH easier on our new boat) and all the wind.

  9. If you ever need an even more maneuverable vessel, you’re welcome to trade with me for the duration of your journey. Do you have any experience piloting a 1974 15′ Archercraft mini-boat? It has been lovingly restored by me and can get somewhat farther on a gallon of fuel than yours. Just let me know!
    You’re welcome.

  10. Hi Ken,

    I grew up on your games, and I’m now showing King’s Quest 5 to my daughter. Exciting to hear about a new project from you!

    1. We’re currently having problems with a slow frame rate on the Oculus 2. We expected the problem and spent yesterday making plans for how to solve it. I don’t know how the Oculus compares performance-wise with the Oculus 2. My guess is that if the Oculus is significantly slower we won’t be able to support it. Ask me again in a month when we know a lot more. I’d certainly like to support Oculus, but .. it will depend on what frame rate we can achieve.

      1. The biggest difference is the quest 2 has a slightly better chipset and offers higher resolution. Most games can be played on both the quest 1 and 2. Your response gives me hope that if you can make it work on the quest 2, it may work for the quest 1 as well. Regardless, best of luck with the game. We are all looking forward to it.

  11. I’ve got “Christmas Day” enthusiasm for this project! Take your time, and best wishes to you, Roberta and crew.

  12. Just make it PC based VR and you won’t have to “dumb it down” for Quest’s mobile VR chips at all. People can still play it on their facebook hardware linked to a PC.

  13. I’m delighted to see a VR version is in the works! Like a few others mentioned, I also hope for a post-launch port to the Index/Vive (SteamVR, really) platform since that’s what I have. And if that doesn’t happen, oh well; I’ll gladly play it on a traditional desktop instead!

    There were also some comments wondering about partnering with activision, and I wanted to offer my opinion: This game does not need Sierra Online branding, not if it has to go through activision. ‘The Secret’ is a day-one buy for me, but not if activision will see any money from it; not after what they’ve done to so many innocent people. I’ll admit, seeing the old Sierra branding play one last time would be a HUGE nostalgia rush… and if activision’s willing to do that for free, then sure, go for it. Otherwise, knowing it’s made by the same human beings behind the Sierra brand is good enough for me!

    P.S.: Thank you for leaving these comments open for fans to reach out to you. As a life-long Sierra fan, I appreciate it and have wonderful memories of your company. Memories of its games, and especially the handful of people I got to speak with. I especially remember when I – a child at the time – made a phone call about a supposed glitch in Front Page Sports: Football. The person who answered took the time to respectfully educate me instead of just dismissing me as some dumb kid. It turned out the ‘glitch’ I was seeing wasn’t exactly intended behavior (so I was slightly right), but forced by the software/hardware limits of the time – that was an eye-opening lesson for a child. The conversation was incredibly educational and respectful… and it definitely resulted in me saving a lot of side-job/allowance money for Sierra games from then on!

  14. I am so excited to see what you’ve come up with. Ken, thanks for trying to rejuvenate your programming with a current engine! This year, I just began whetting my appetite for virtual reality gaming by getting a PSVR along with a Playstation 4. Due to that investment, I’m selfishly hopeful that your game is ported to it, but know it probably isn’t very feasible.

    I’ve always thought a game/program to interest children in the creative act of programming would be a worthwhile effort too. But, I never knew where to start, so I can see why Roberta might not see its appeal. It initially occurred to me, while reading a book to learn x86 assembly language. It seemed so beautiful to me, but only the rare child would seek it out to read it when lifelong learning could be fostered. Computers have been my interest since I discovered them, and I just think others could become intrigued too, if the right stuff could tip them over the edge.

    Also, your instinct about music conveying emotions through games is the very reason I became aware of Sierra and continue to follow every related facet today. I heard the Space Quest 3 intro on the MT-32 and I was hooked! That was back when queststudios.com existed, so thankfully midimusicadventures.com has taken its place.

  15. Hello:

    I write yo from Spain, Europe.
    Congratulations for your games and work, both Roberta and Ken. I played many of the adventure, simulation and TIM games since 90s. I offer my services for translating the game to Spanish language without any cost, because I am retired. Do not hesitate to contact me if you wish.

    I send you my best regards.
    Serafín.

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