Sigil Games Online - Myth or Reality? or; I Came, I Saw, I Ate, I Came and Saw Again - It was the Money
2003-09-04 15:23:04 - Furor Planedefiler
It’s no secret that I have some friends that work at Sigil. It should also come as no surprise that if you give friends enough alcohol, eventually they’ll agree to almost anything. In this case, ‘anything’ became “LET ME SEE YOUR GAME DAMNIT!”
After the 12th or 13th Sake shot I took on the persona of Yoda. “Your game, see it I will.” “Game you have not! Sux0r you do!” Yep, I used the old Jedi Mind trick, Yoda, and a poorly hidden insult. CHA-CHING! The piece of paper dropped before me like so many cloth caps off an untuned uber mob. I made quick work of the NDA, a signature here, my firstborn there, etc... and was then told to wait patiently for my invitation. And wait I did…
Sometimes, I’d get a phone call from Bill in the middle of the day. Bill would tell me things like, ‘Soon man, soon.’ I’d tell him things like, ‘Are you calling me from a phone booth, dude? I hear traffic in the background and I dare say, I hear a hobo eating a ham sandwich.” (My sense of hearing is supernatural and a thing of legend in parts of the Middle-East, but I digress)
After months of waiting, I finally received a message from Cindy Bowens, the Community Manager for Sigil, to set up a meeting at their headquarters. A time and date was set for Friday, August 29th at 11:00am. Lunch was to be included! I figured after they showed me the concept art for their game, I’d at least score some phat lewtz in the form of food.
I woke up that Friday feeling refreshed. I took a nice long shower, shaved, put on a little of the man lotion, and got in the car. Forty-five minutes later I was in Carlsbad, California. Apparently, in my haste to get down there, I was early – by about an hour and a half. I decided to take a drive around Carlsbad and check out some of the sights. Much to my dismay, there were no sights in Carlsbad. I spent the next hour sitting on my ass at a nearby deli drinking coffee and quelling my nicotine habit. As 11:00am rolled around, I got back into my car and headed to Sigil HQ.
Hidden away in an industrial area of Carlsbad lays Sigil. I parked my car outside the building and attempted to locate the front door. I saw some couches and a table behind one door so I figured I was in the right place. I opened the door, walked in, and there was Cindy! Jackpot! Part one of my mission accomplished – finding the place and entering. Cindy pleasantly greeted me and began to round up some folks. At this point my mind started wandering. I recalled that I have undoubtedly called at least 80% of these guys a [insert insult here] at one point or another. Panic started to set in. What if this wasn’t a ‘meeting’ to see their game at all but just a good old fashioned beat down???? I weighed my options. I could probably take out one, maybe two of them, but then what??? I’d surely get stormed by the rest, unless they attacked me like plucky ninjas, one by one. What were the odds of that happening? My thoughts were interrupted when Brad McQuaid (Aradune) came out to greet me. Soon practically the whole damn team was there, Jeff Butler, Bill Fisher, John Capozzi, Lawrence Poe, etc... etc… etc… I was sure a beat down was coming.
Relief set in, though, when Jeff Butler started up ‘The Game.’ Right away I was pretty much in awe as I didn’t think they’d have anything to start up, let alone an actual working game. Boy was I in for a surprise.
That’s right boys and girls, all you naysayers and shit-talkers, Sigil does indeed have a product. Not just a product either, a product with thousands if not tens-of-thousands of man hours invested in it already.
So the game booted up and Jeff started taking me through a VERY small portion of the gameworld. I say very small but it was actually a very large play area. The game world is so massive that this section and rather other sections that I also saw were very small in context.
The graphics were unlike anything I have seen to date. Stunning visually – my words could do them no justice, plus I’d probably be sued for violating the NDA ;) Lighting effects, textures, bump mapping, all that stuff, it was INSANITY.
So what though, right? It’s a pretty game, lots of those around right? Wrong. This game was fleshed out and built from the ground UP. These guys put so much work into getting the game built that it would be impossible to put everything in this update; and also illegal. Thousands and thousands of pages of gameplay design and documentation - I’m talking massive BOOKS, full of lore, maps, class descriptions, races, monsters, everything. You won’t see any MOONS popping up out of nowhere in this game. Expansions, additions, extensions, all thoughtfully planned out.
Anyhow, Brad and Jeff demonstrated a little tandem grouping and slaying for me in game and then it was lunch time. We headed on over to ‘Claim Jumper’ and ate around 5-6 pounds of food each and then headed back to the studio.
I was then given a thorough tour of the Art Department, where all of the artists work (imagine that!), and received a sneak peek at some very hush-hush features. I was blown away by the work these guys put out. I met the great Keith Parkinson, who seemed even more enthusiastic about the game than I was, and he’d been working on it for over a year already. I stood in awe, watching over the shoulders of these guys as they put the game to life before my very eyes. It was truly amazing.
I took a brief step into the Designer’s Dojo where I got to see the world map and shoot the shit with the guys and hear a little more about their vision. By the way, did I mention this game was huge? When I saw the world map and they showed me the area(s) which were shown to me in game, it really, REALLY, gave me a scope of just how damn huge this game is going to be upon completion.
I also took a walkthrough the coder’s/programmer’s offices, or should I say dungeon. I nearly lost my damn arm! You gotta keep those guys fed FFS!
Anyways, all in all it was a real wake up call for me. The folks at Sigil already have a quality product on their hands and I cannot wait until they release some information to the public so all of you can have the pleasure of getting a glimpse of what I got to see during my visit. Thanks again to Cindy, Bill, Brad, Jeff, and everyone else working at Sigil that made Furor’s trip to the company a genuine kick ass time.
For further information, you can tune in to Sigil's web site at www.SigilGames.com. They have an assortment of message boards there where they interact with the public on a daily basis.