Trespasser Postmortem

I love playing videogames, but I have no illusions whatsoever of being talented enough to write videogames. Game developers live a hard life, and not just because the industry is notoriously abusive. Even the most brilliant minds can get bogged down in the morass of complexity that is game development. Take, for example, 1998's Trespasser. The design goals for the game were impressive even by today's standards, as documented in the Gamasutra postmortem (login required; use BugMeNot credentials or disable JavaScript):

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

All this reminiscing made me curious, so I dusted off my old copy of Trespasser and installed it. Get the 1.1 patch here:

Surprisingly, it runs fine, even in Direct3D hardware mode-- just be sure not to select “dither” or “triple buffer”. Even at max settings on a machine that was faster than any developer’s wildest dreams in 1998, it looks NOTHING like these “hi-res screenshots”:

The sound is still excellent, and the crazy left mouse arm control scheme is still innovative but frustrating. I can swing a bat and pick up a gun, but how do I throw a rock? The physics were ahead of their time (a Pentium II-233 was a fast machine in 1998!), but you can see the developers really struggling to come up with gameplay scenarios for the physics. Perhaps tellingly, almost no current video games use physics in the actual gameplay. There are a few indie games that do, however:

I’m curious. Who would one have to bribe the hell out of in order to get ahold of the source for this game (both code and data files)? What with the sheer quality of the textures, it looks incredible by 1998’s standards and fairly credible even by today’s graphics standards. What I’d like to know is would this game rock using a prebuilt physics engine like Novodex or ODE? If they hadn’t had the screwy physics to work around, might the AI have kicked butt too?

Sadly the broken physics meant that players could only really destory stacks of objects, rather than make their own.

This was due to the friction based physics making user stacked objects slide off from each other.

Have fun stacking boxes!

Their attention to detail was so great, they made sure the main characters breasts were so large that you couldn’t see her feet when you looked down.

Go to a href="" to see what the engine can afford with a few modifications… and with no knowledge of the source code. Now things can look much more like what those screenshots showed. Apparently, the graphics quality was “dumbed down” so that the game could be played on the machines available at the time…

Here’s perhaps the ultimate postmortem: Accordion Hero.

Jeff if you’re too dumb to figure out this game dont play it. you only had to tap F to throw the damn rock. Oh and yes it looks extremly better than the screenshot you featured. which is a fake anyway because the T Rex is not encountered in the town.
Check out the new mods for Trespasser and you may apppreciate this game more

Accordion Hero? That has to be a parody…

este jogo meio dificil e um pouco enjoado, pois competimos com coisas que nem existem, por isso, eu no gosto muito desse jogo mas, eu gosto dos cenarios abandonados que no jogo.

I’m sure its possible to lead the rex into town for a better screenshot. But, on that level I usually use a beam from the hotel to get out of town.

rather than using the keycard to open the gate.