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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 5 of 5


Given everything that happened over the three years I worked on The X-Files Game, I am profoundly proud when I see the final product. In general it is a well-designed game, fun to play and pleasing to look at. The video quality is phenomenal and far superior to anything seen before on the PC, Mac or Playstation. While hardcore gamers have tempered their enthusiasm, it delights "regular folk" who have little experience with games. Critical response has been mixed, but sales have been good, so it appears that The X-Files Game did manage to break the mold in one or two places. (And, my son likes it, and that's really the most important thing.)

In the end, what I will miss the most are the people. The relationships I developed over such an intense experience of several years will likely last a lifetime. When the Playstation port shipped, the remaining members of the PSX team packed their boxes and went to dust off their resumes. That was the last project HyperBole had in the hopper, and so we were all sent off to seek our fortunes elsewhere. HyperBole Studios may or may not make another game. Time will tell.

As a programmer on the PC/Mac project, I had the opportunity to watch mistakes made by leadership along the way, and to learn from them. I then had the opportunity to take what I had learned and test it out as producer on the Playstation port. From that experience, I concluded that some of the tenets of good leadership are discrimination, communication, and focused action. There are others, I am sure, but if you fail in any of these, your schedule will slip.

Discrimination simply means going over what you will need to do in detail, and deciding what will work and what will not. Discrimination is the opposite of optimism.

Communication means telling everyone on your team what the expectations are, and then listening to them if they tell you that those expectations are unreasonable. Communication is primarily the skill of listening.

Focused action means taking immediate action based on your current objectives and an evaluation of where you actually are. When it comes to tackling complex issues that stand in the way of production, sooner is better than later.

These principles are what The X-Files Game taught me. I feel honored to have participated in it.

Project Data

PC/Mac Team
Programming 8 FT Programmers (never more than 5 at one time), 1 contractor
Graphics: 4 artists, with 2 for most of the project
Video: 4 editors / compression specialists, ~5 interns
PSX Team
Programming: 10 FT Programmers (never more than 5 at one time), 2 contractors
Graphics: 5 artists, with 2 for most of the project
Video: 2 editors / compression specialists
General Project Information
Total Development time: 4+ years
Release date: PC/Mac: 6/22/98
Playstation: 10/13/99
Platforms: PC, Mac, Playstation
Hardware: Typical workstation was a Dell PII 266, 96MB RAM, 6GB hard drive, no video card. Also used Macintosh 9600s with 64MB RAM and 6GB hard drives.
Software used: PC/Mac Only: Visual C++ 4.2 Cross-Platform Edition

PSX Only: SN Systems C++ Compiler & Debugger

Both: Adobe Premiere 4.0, Adobe AfterEffects 4.0, MediaCleaner Pro 2.0, Adobe Photoshop 4.0, DeBabelizer 4.5.1, SourceSafe 4.0
Essential Technologies: Quicktime 3.0 (Mac/PC), FPQ Library from Pterodactyl Software (PSX)

Jason VandenBerghe currently resides in Bothell, Washington. He is Founder & CEO of Corporation X, an independent games publisher dedicated to making opportunities for independent developers who want to bring their games to market. He can be reached at [email protected].

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

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