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Postmortem: HyperBole Studios' The X-Files
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Postmortem: HyperBole Studios' The X-Files


December 3, 1999 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 5 Next
 

The Team

The game was designed principally by Greg Roach, CEO and Creative Director of HyperBole Studios. Greg participated extensively in the writing of the script, directed the shoot, headed up the creative direction for the game, and worked directly with the development team to ensure that his vision was implemented. As director, he was responsible for numerous critical technology and procedural decisions that affected the workflow and scheduling of the entire project.

The producer for the PC/Mac version was Phil Peters, a long-time film industry veteran whose expertise as a production designer and as a film producer proved invaluable. He managed the project's day-to-day operations up to the middle of the Playstation port.

I was the producer for the Playstation port, and had been a programmer for the PC version. I took over the port after the PC/Mac version shipped.

The programming leads were Pete Isensee and Melanie McClaire, veterans of both The Vortex and Quantum Gate. They provided a solid, quiet leadership that inspired those around them to produce large amounts of quality code in a short time. They tolerated numerous setbacks and long working hours without complaint, even when the project was clearly taking a heavy toll on their personal lives and even mental health.

We had the good fortune to have a fine artist with a solid understanding of technical issues as a graphic lead. Cassandria Blackmore had been with HyperBole since Quantum Gate, and contributed to the game design and production plan of The X-Files. Much of the game's look and mood can be attributed to her vision and talent.

The video department went through several people before we found Kara Costa, a capable and conscientious editor who was able to gather a coterie of competent assistant editors that saw the video post-production through to the completion of the PC/Mac version. Derek Dexheimer eventually took over for the Playstation port.

Tools

The X-Files engine and all of the supporting tools were developed in C++, using Visual C++ 4.2 for the PC/Mac version, and the SN Systems tools for the Playstation. At the time, Microsoft still supported their cross-platform package for Mac development, and we used this to develop the PC and Mac versions concurrently. Many development teams at the time were converting to CodeWarrior, and it turned out this would have been good for us as well, but we had no way to know Microsoft would drop support for their cross-platform environment two-thirds of the way through our project. We developed our own low-level libraries for the engine.


Rendered and photographed views of the same in-game scene.

We used SourceSafe 4.0 for our source control. It worked effectively as a code database, but was a less effective choice for a revision control system. It gave us one nasty shock during the PSX port: we lost all of our revision history due to being unable to move the revision database from one server volume to another (larger) one, but fortunately this didn't end up hurting the project much.

Video was shot on Digital Betacam, using a late pre-production model camera Sony had not yet put on the market. Sony loaned the camera (only one of two in North America at the time) to the production after our DP specifically requested it. The DigiBeta camera masters were simultaneously dubbed to BetaSP and digitized on a Media100 lx Macintosh. Finishing was done with Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects. Final compressed video was made with Media Cleaner Pro, with the FMV assets compressed using Cinepak Pro, and loops and navigation view assets compressed in Cinepak Pro and QuickTime's native Photo-JPEG. Final assets were assembled by the Asset Manager, who hooked them into the game logic and placed them on the CD.



Article Start Previous Page 2 of 5 Next

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