GDC 2011: Postmortem: Raid on Bungeling Bay

Will Wright, Stupid Fun Club

-          Bungeling Bay
o   Will’s first game
o   Didn’t consider himself a designer
o   Took him 1 year of work (1 byte/minute – now 100 bytes/minute)
o   Game came out in 1984
§  Same year as the first portable CD player
-          1980, Will was into robots and racing
o   Bought a computer to help with working on robots
o   It was the last time that one single person could fully understand the whole computer
o   Played the game “Conway’s Life,” recreated it to learn coding
o   When the Commodore 64 came out, decided to make a game for it (since it was new, so the game market wasn’t built up yet)
-          Inspiration
o   Loved helicopters
o   Wanted to create an intricate clock like world. Wanted the world to be large enough to get lost in
o   Commodore 64 allowed for screen to move seamlessly across several screens (before you just got what was on a single screen, but now you could have a bigger world)
-          Created tools: Cedit (character editor) and Wedit (character and world editors)
o   Wedit later became basis for Sim City
-          Memory
o   When working on programs, you knew where code was – it lived in a specific place in memory
o   You would spend time hunting through code to find single bytes to add up
o   Now he feels like a grandparent who lived through the Depression: “You’re using that many bytes?!”
-          Systems
o   Whole system of resources, war machine
§  Chain of resources moving from oil rigs -> ships -> tanks -> factories
§  People seemed to get some of it, but not all of it. Might have been better if showed resources actually moving?
-          Progression
o   As you got farther into the game, difficulty built. The escalation of difficulty doubled after each factory you destroyed
o   You always go back to the aircraft carrier for repairs, you build a relationship with it
§  2 factories into the game, bombers attack carrier. You have to protect it!
-          “Bungeling Empire”
o   Took game to Broderbund for publishing
o   They wanted it to be explicit that you were not killing humans in the game, so they came up with the Bungeling Robot Empire
o   They also were the bad guys in Choplifter and Logan’s Run
-          Piracy
o   Piracy was rampant
o   Spent hours trying to protect games
o   20,00 units sold on Commodore 64
o   800,000 units sold when game went onto the NES (piracy!!)
-          Evolved into Sim City – every version of Sim City has had helicopters (also Sim Copter)
-          Surprised at how many fans have remade this game

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