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The Making of Black & White

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the behind-the-scenes dept.

Games 130

Chris writes "GameSpot has posted a feature story that details the entire development process for Peter Molyneux's new PC game Black & White. There are a lot of quotes from Molyneux as he takes you through the whole three years they spent making the game. A lot of interesting stuff about the philosophical underpinnings of how the game judges you good or evil."

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Geniuses are just like everyday programmers! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309242)

For proof you've got to read the save-and-load game feature here []

Re:(OT) All you do is make wood? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309243)

so remember populous? the game black and white copies...anyways, in that game it was even worse all you did was flatten the ground...that's it, make the ground flat, then people build on the flat ground, you get more power, make more ground flat, get more power make more ground flat, do this for many mind numbing hours, then call armageddon and have a big war, guy with most flat land was thrilling, glad to see the designers changed the flat land thing into wood. I consider this to be like populous 3 i guess, i think the last one was 2...ok i guess pull a simcity and call it "Populous 2001: now with magical forest instead of flat land!".

Had to be said... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309244)

Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of evil gods???

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (1)

Ranger Rick (197) | more than 13 years ago | (#309245)

The biggest problem is that I don't have the desk space for a mouse, I've got a trackball. I have yet to be able to do the heal gesture with it; downright impossible.

However, the game's so damn addicting I'm thinking of going and buying one of those touchsense mouses today and somehow making space on my desk. =)

Old Game Concept (1)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#309246)

I haven't gotten to play Black & White yet, (I'd be surprised if it worked under Wine) but it sounds like an old concept. Actually, it reminds me a lot of Populous.

What I'd really like to see is a good remake of Masters of Magic. Now *there* was an innovative game. What a wonderful magic system!
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [] .

Tiny village? (1)

johnw (3725) | more than 13 years ago | (#309247)

With a population of 126000 I'm not sure Guildford qualifies for the description "tiny village".

Re:"LOL" (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 13 years ago | (#309248)

However, you may have better luck if you use an actual XOR operator, like ^, instead of my sadly precaffienated |.


I liked the game (1)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 13 years ago | (#309250)

Sorry to say that there isn't a linux port yet. I played it on a friend's computer, and it really was a good time to play. Truly one of the few orgianl titles you'll see in the US game market that's just plasterd with dumb FPS and RTS games.

Hope if gets open-sorced too, or to have someone port it and publish commercially. As soon as it's avalible. I'm all over it like flies one poop.

Just so I say it publiclly though, great game, and I'll be the first, or probably on of the first few hundred thousand, that will get it when it's for my favorite os :-)

Re:B&W going open source? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 13 years ago | (#309251)

Can't wait to see either a Playstation 2 or Linux port. I was almost tempted to install Windows on one of my machines just to play but decided no game could possibly be worth doing that. If it went opensource that'd be really awesome. This game looks very impressive and looks as if it'll have a high hack value. :)

Re:sigh (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 13 years ago | (#309253)

Well, this game truely is a test of hardware. I'm running it at high detail on a 1.2GHz Athlon T-bird with 256MB of RAM and a GeForce 2 GTS 32MB DDR, and it still bumps occasionally. On the flip side, the graphics look so friggin incredible that I don't care :)

2M lines of code and 50 minute build time. (1)

ddt (14627) | more than 13 years ago | (#309254)

Read the article. It said in the end, there were 2M lines of code. That's an awful lot of code, and the final build took 50 minutes to complete on a fast P3. Even if it went open source, I think that like Mozilla, there would be a black hole where little could be done with the source except read and try desperately to understand it.

Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 13 years ago | (#309256)

25fps average means that he's going to run into many places where the framerates fall to unplayable numbers. As well, remember that movies have nifty real-life things like motion blur that compensate somewhate for the low framerates.

The simple fact of the matter is that the human eye needs roughly 60fps to see non-jerky motion (NTSC is 30Hz interlaced for an effective 60Hz, PAL is 25Hz interlaced. movies are 24fps, and there's noticeable flicker and jerkiness during long pans). Higher framerates are necessary for games to produce lifelike motion, since motion blur is still expensive in CPU terms (and isn't supported by any graphics accelerator I know of). So, the "insanely high" framerates of 150+ fps are averages which means you should pretty much always have framerates that look smooth. As well, when you see such "ridiculus" numbers, you would also do well to remember that they're usually measured at the lowest resolution, bit depth, and image complexity level as possible.

Re:Cool things to try in game. (1)

NetGuruFL (28160) | more than 13 years ago | (#309257)

You can feed it it's own poo.

Re:Cool things to try in game. (1)

NetGuruFL (28160) | more than 13 years ago | (#309258)

Doh. I should stop skimming.

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (1)

thetzar (30126) | more than 13 years ago | (#309260)

Well, for those of us on Windows (don't kill me), there's Sensiva [] . Designed for a mouse, but works great with a Wacom [] tablet, too.

so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (1)

FutileRedemption (30482) | more than 13 years ago | (#309261)

remember, B&W is no high twitch game.

Re:First impressions of the game, (1)

Shelrem (34273) | more than 13 years ago | (#309262)

In response to 3:

Tigers in that game are as dumb as dirt. Try a monkey if you don't have the patience to train your tiger. On the other hand, the tiger is pretty good in battle.

As for 1, the kiddie voices make it all the more fun when you throw them on the alter to gain the power to feed the other worshippers! ;)


Masters of Magic was cool!!! (1)

safrit (39060) | more than 13 years ago | (#309263)

No question. I just wish it would still run on my current systems. That game was a great time sink, and I loved it more than Civ!

Re:"LOL" (1)

tordia (45075) | more than 13 years ago | (#309264)

This is how I figured it out:

x = a, y = b
y = xy
x = y/x
y = y/x

so you have:
y = ab
x = y/x = ab/a = b
y = y/x = ab/b = a

I'm sure there's better ways to do it, but this was the first one I thought of.

I want my money back (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 13 years ago | (#309265)

I have the game. I mentioned somewhere above that it's buggy as all hell, that I've had it for just about 17 hours now, and that it crashes my game machine continuously (on startup, when I try to save, when I read a scroll, when I move the cursor). I can't even finish the introductory tutorial with the game in its present state.

I've decided I want my money back. There's no way in hell that this is a finished product.

Don't buy it.

Re:B&W going open source? (1)

magicmat (59459) | more than 13 years ago | (#309267)

I belive the official word is that if the game sells enough then Lionhead Studios plans to make it 100% open source

Source: This (60 meg MPEG4 encoded) interview with Peter Molyneux [] from a german TV station.

Can't resist (1)

bungalow (61001) | more than 13 years ago | (#309268)

Nevermind that that neither the Supreme Court, nor the high courts of other countries, nor the greatest pontiffs on pontificators known to walk the earth can judge between good and evil 100%.

Nevermind that the judgement of even single acts in specific settings can be overturned as either acts of heroism or heinous atrocity by sane, objective, wise men and women purely by a shift of perspective.

Nevermind that we can't even decide for ourselves whether there is a god or not...we're going to allow some herd of programmers to attempt to judge us as either righteous or unholy souls? Why? I already know the answer. I'm counting on a higher power to forgive me, because I couldn't even be a perfect failure if I wanted to.

My judgement is pretty well set, but I have it on good authority that I will be forgiven, no matter what some koderz might say about me.

Yes it is out (1)

Baki (72515) | more than 13 years ago | (#309269)

Yes it is out, I bought it last week, in Switzerland (english and german versions were available).

When I tried it at home my first though was: Oh no, not yet another RTS game, and after 5 minutes I quit.

Reading the comments here I guess I should give it a closer look, it seems it is more a mixture of genres, or a new kind of game.

Re:It's cool, until.. (1)

Steffen (84872) | more than 13 years ago | (#309273)

If you are going to give away a chunk of the plot (the 2 out of 5 lands creature thing), at least have the decency to put *SPOILER* in the subject.


Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (1)

robbieduncan (87240) | more than 13 years ago | (#309274)

I though that Voodoo 4/Voodoo 5 could do Motion Blur using the t-buffer. Could be wrong though...

Re:Old Game Concept (1)

geekster (87252) | more than 13 years ago | (#309275)

It was designed by Peter Molyneux you know

Re:sigh (1)

Empty_One (90408) | more than 13 years ago | (#309277)

What kind of pc did you buy three months ago that won't play it? It runs perfect on a Celeron 500 with 256 mb of ram.

This game rocks (1)

Corwin (92151) | more than 13 years ago | (#309278)

I jsut bought this game and it hooked me within a few minutes. The game play is excellent and the graphics are outstanding.

How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (1)

FuzzyOne (92285) | more than 13 years ago | (#309279)

How's the gesture recognition interface in the game? Is it intuitive? How many gestures does it support? Anyone know what techniques they use, or if there are any open source resources for gesture recognition?

Re:Three years to make... (1)

steeef (98372) | more than 13 years ago | (#309282)

well, the point of the game isn't to beat it as fast as possible. i've spent the past 5 days on land 1. sure i could have beaten it in that time if i wanted to, but for me it's a lot more fun to try everything

Re:Cool things to try in game. (1)

toasty1 (98795) | more than 13 years ago | (#309283)

My monkey took out a beach ball, but had some adverse affects...

Re:B&W going open source? (1)

Glonk (103787) | more than 13 years ago | (#309284)

There was this /. article [] ran back in May about if B&W was going open-source or not.

I think the general consensus of the article was that it was simply unconfirmed rumors. Nothing new.

Re:Tiny village? (1)

pallen (111618) | more than 13 years ago | (#309285)

It has the river Wey running through it, so it just needs the monarchy bit now....

btw I'm not quite a sad as it seems knowing this, I do live there
/end excuse


Ithil (116255) | more than 13 years ago | (#309286)


Re:Sensiva (1)

eyez (119632) | more than 13 years ago | (#309287)

Well, for those of us on Windows (don't kill me), there's Sensiva. Designed for a mouse, but works great with a Wacom tablet, too.

Having checked sensiva's site the other day, They now have a Beta Linux Version. I haven't played with it yet, as my wacom is not currently set up in linux... But I'm going to some time soon. Sensiva is a great product.

sigh (1)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 13 years ago | (#309288)

i waited for 3 years for this game, bought it the day it came out, found out they weren't joking about the 3D accelerator requirements and that my six year old PC has no chance whatsoever of running the game, ever.

B&W going open source? (1)

SClitheroe (132403) | more than 13 years ago | (#309289)

I've seen lots of rumours that Black and White will eventually be open source. Is there any evidence on the web, from interviews, etc, that this might actually happen? I do recall reading that Lionhead wants to port the game to lots of platforms, including Linux and BeOS, but I don't know where the open source rumour started.

Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (1)

Darren Winsper (136155) | more than 13 years ago | (#309291)

It could, but the only playable game that uses it is a leaked Q3Test, and you needed 4x FSAA enabled to use it. In modern games it simply wouldn't be playable except at 640x480 16bpp.

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (1)

Klowner (145731) | more than 13 years ago | (#309292)

It's real good. I like it a LOT more than searching for icons. if you want to leash your creature just move the mouse in a clockwise square, or if you want to cast a spell just spin the mouse in a circle and then your hand glows, then cast the spell.. like S is food, 3 is wood, W is rain, heart shape is heal. Its darn nice.


Re:sigh (1)

Dynastar454 (174232) | more than 13 years ago | (#309294)

Radeon Win2K drivers blow. Try getting then newest version, it MAY help.

Re:sigh (1)

Mojojojo Monkey Inc. (174471) | more than 13 years ago | (#309295)

Yeah I've been using the newest for a while... so they only blow half as much now. The blow-meter was cranked up to about 7 1/2, now it's down to 5.

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (1)

Mojojojo Monkey Inc. (174471) | more than 13 years ago | (#309296)

They actually put out a "Black & White Gesture Trainer" a week or so before the game came out... a plugin to mIRC I think, that /me'd some stupid text... not exactly useful. The actual Sensiva program seemed kinda neat though. I like the way it handled forward/back in Internet Explorer... hold down right mouse button, drag left a few inches, then release for back, click & drag right button to the right & release for forward. I kinda got tired of it's "gimmicky" feel after a few days though.

Re:Also check out "Sigma", from Relic (1)

Mojojojo Monkey Inc. (174471) | more than 13 years ago | (#309297)

what the fuck?! makes more sense than that picture.

Re:sigh (1)

Mojojojo Monkey Inc. (174471) | more than 13 years ago | (#309298)

Well I'm running W2K with a 32mb Radeon & 256mb ram on a Duron 750, and I'm just barely squeaking by with about 25 FPS on medium detail (plus my drivers blow or something). There's quite a few extra options that you can disable though... tons of eye candy that isn't really necessary.

Re:Three years? That's nothing! (1)

HoaryCripple (187169) | more than 13 years ago | (#309300)

Linux doens't have shit for games, but i don't really give a fuck, fuck games, it's not really that fun after a while.

Whaddya mean???? Quake2. Quake3. What more do you need for god's sake?



Re:sigh (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 13 years ago | (#309301)

Anything from ATI basically sucks under W2k. Just be glad you don't have a Rage Pro card.

Re:sigh (1)

Confound (214049) | more than 13 years ago | (#309302)

i was pretty sad to find out that my 3 month old pc wouldn't run this game . . . i guess i'll have to wait for the playstation version. but, from what i've seen of the gesture system, and the controls, how the hell are they going to modify them for the playstation? an analog stick can only do so much.

Re:This game rocks (1)

Confound (214049) | more than 13 years ago | (#309303)

Amen to the gameplay factor! It's a rare game indeed that is as fun to watch as it is to play. personally, i like the creatures, the cow is definately the funniest! the miracles and crazy leashes are pretty fun too.

Re:sigh (1)

Confound (214049) | more than 13 years ago | (#309304)

apparently my graphics card isn't up to the challenge.

Re:Well... (1)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 13 years ago | (#309305)

What exactly do you mean? My friend was playing it 4 days ago. And it is quite good.

Re:What the Hell...? (1)

yttrbium (228142) | more than 13 years ago | (#309307)

Yeah, it's been out for about a week and a half or so in the US. It came out April 6 here in Europe. Mine shipped yesterday, and I'm drooling until I get it....

What the Hell...? (1)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 13 years ago | (#309310)

Everyone in this thread is saying things like "this game is great" or "My system can't handle it", and saying this like they HAVE it.

Is B&W actually OUT, or are these people just talking out their asses? Or, perhaps, a beta test is out, or it is only available in the UK yet, or what? (in the US here)


Re:"LOL" (1)

JAVAC THE GREAT (239850) | more than 13 years ago | (#309311)

Not to mention that because of the space requirements to store x*y, you are actually doubling the amount of space needed, not just adding 50% more as one temporary variable would.

Re:It's cool, until.. (1)

ziggles (246540) | more than 13 years ago | (#309318)

"It's cool until you realize that you only really have the creature for 2 of the 5 lands, since you don't really use him on the first" what?! I spent about 7 hours on the first level, mostly playing with my creature. The 2nd land however, is a bit too much micromanagement for me, however there is a way to create a sort of "sandbox" level, and that's a lot of fun so far. This can be done by placing this file ( nd.txt ) into your playgrounds directory and starting a skirmish game in the Box-o-Sand level.

Re:B&W going open source? (1)

SilverWeed (253763) | more than 13 years ago | (#309319)

No, they plan to release the entire source.

Re:whats it about (1)

Lughlamfainne (266496) | more than 13 years ago | (#309322)

to sum it up: be good, be evil, be a GOD!
Just Another Pagan Shedding Light in this Dark Age~ JAPSLDA

Re:What the Hell...? (1)

Lughlamfainne (266496) | more than 13 years ago | (#309323)

It's very much out in Canada, been playing it for well over a week already.. never get tired of being either side.. the different creatures you can 'grow' rtc.. it's fun :)
Just Another Pagan Shedding Light in this Dark Age~ JAPSLDA

Re:Tiny village? (1)

redfiend (413259) | more than 13 years ago | (#309324)

even |more trainspotter'y fact
It has both a Cathedral and a university. You need one of these and a river to have the oppertunity to be come a city. Only thing then that you need is for the Monarch to agree to a change of status. (I kid you not)

Re:What the Hell...? (1)

FRiC (416091) | more than 13 years ago | (#309326)

Around here it's out since early last week, apparently simultaneously as US/Europe, and the entire game has been localized! (Normally only manuals are translated.) Unfortunately I only know English...

Re:sigh (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309327)

What, did you look at the big disclaimer "3D ACCELERATOR REQUIRED", laugh and say: "Oh those silly jokers are jerking my chain. There's no way my 'bad-ass' ISA S3/Trio with 200kb of EDO RAM won't run circles around this pansy game!" ???

Re:Cool stuff in this game (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309328)

Doesn't suck? What, the fact that the world physically morphs as you move around? That doesn't suck? Sheesh. Given advancements in terrain algos, (tribes 2 et al), as well as the hardware reqs of the game already, this should have been -trivial- to fix. And yet it wasn't. The gesture system is great in practice, but the more villagers you have, the slower the game runs, the fewer fps you have, the slower it is to manipulate the mouse in a specific pattern. Personally, I would've liked icons. What would have been the difference? They show me the pictures on the bottom of the screen, why shouldn't I be able to just click on them? It's not like there's really -that- many spells. The bugs in the game/gameplay are also astounding. Check out the faq written on it. "Even if you finish the game, your creature stays cursed.". Brilliant. No, really. Combine things like that with the forced tutorial every time I restart make it a rather silly game to play. To sum up: Playing and finishing in story mode screws your creature permanently. Playing in 'skirmish' mode means converting the game into an RTS, for which it was clearly not designed. Good stuff. That said, some of the story elements aren't bad, and the creatures are pretty nifty. But why oh why does 'number of poos' need to be a statistic, and does it need to incorporate fart jokes? ...

Re:Hasn't anyone told you??? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309329)

Nietzsche is dead. - God

Re:Excellent game, excellent article. (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#309330)

It sounds like a really cool game, but original? It is really just a remake of Populous, isn't it? Granted, the time has come for a remake. Ater the success of Populous there were lots of clones (like Megalomania), but nothing similar has been made for five or six years.

Re:Three years? That's nothing! (2)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#309331)

John Romero, and his army of programmers and artists, took four years to create Daikatana!

Three years and a month, [] thank you very much. And I think you meant John Romero's zombie army of programmers and artists. But bless you for not mentioning Anachronox.

Re:We don't need no steenking keyboards (2)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#309332)

All programming is done through their unique Gesture Command(tm) system :)

Considering the individual has their keyboard resting on the far side of a 12x18 Wacom tablet, an illustration book left open near what appears to be Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy and other art books to the left of the monitor, a small stack of artwork on the other side, and is sitting in an area with other similarly equipped desks and concept art tacked to the walls, I must in fact conclude that... it's a very powerful gesture programming system indeed.

In fairness, many programmers' desks look as messy but are liable to include somewhat sensitive materials, so you wouldn't see them photographed as much. And of course, programmers' mess is pseudorandom, not by design.

Re:Cool things to try in game. (2)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#309333)

I had my creature eat a water miracle by mistake once. I wanted to reward him for picking it up, but that caused him to devour it. I was apprehensive about what might happen next, but it was uneventful -- all that really happened was that I lost that miracle. It would be a nice touch if there were an appropriate comedy moment after the creature eats a Miracle.

Playstation version (2)

TBone (5692) | more than 13 years ago | (#309334)

What do you mean, how are they going to modify it? It's got 3 controls; a right-click, a left-click- and the directional control. OK, put two of the triggers to simulate the wheelmouse functionality, but that's about it, all done. What about the analog stick make it so you can't draw spirals and hearts?

Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (2)

TBone (5692) | more than 13 years ago | (#309335)

Motion Blur movies 24 FPS huh?

What crack are you smoking? It's a biological fact that, at 30 FPS, your brain blurs the motion enough that you don't see the frames any more. This isn't some trick or arbitrary number made up by the MPAA to cheat you out of your deserved 60 FPS movies with THX and such. If you or anyone you know claim to see frames at 30 FPS, you need to go submit yourself someplace to be studied.

Re:"LOL" (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 13 years ago | (#309336)

You XOR one with the other.

Re:"LOL" (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 13 years ago | (#309337)

Doesn't work for two reasons: possible divide by zero errors, and the need to cast to floats.

Remembering that (x|y)|x=y for any number, the solution is a[x]=a[y]|a[x];a[y]=a[x]|a[y];a[x]=a[y]|a[x]. Try it, it works.

Re:Tiny village? (2)

WasterDave (20047) | more than 13 years ago | (#309339)

Trainspotter fact: It has a cathedral and is therefore a city. I kid you not.


Re:What the Hell...? (2)

LarsG (31008) | more than 13 years ago | (#309341)

Is B&W actually OUT

Yes. Got my preordered copy in the mail yesterday, and I'm in Norway.

I expect that most of the larger brick-and-mortar game shops have received their shipments.

Is that his age? (2)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 13 years ago | (#309342)

The regilding of the angel is perhaps a fitting analogy to what is happening only a stone's throw away from the cathedral at Lionhead Studios, the new startup of PC gaming's "It Boy," 41-year-old Peter Molyneux.

41-year old? I thought he was in his late fifties. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

I have to concur (2)

slaker (53818) | more than 13 years ago | (#309343)

I gotta concur...
I got the game last night. I've played for a total of three hours. It took down my system - my normally as stable as you can hope Windows will be - eleven times in those three hours. So far, I've learned that going in the rooms in the temple is the surest way I've ever seen to crash my PC... I think I've spent longer trying to skip the intro than play the game.

Sigh. It is gorgeous, though.

Yeap, ITS rocked (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 13 years ago | (#309344)

It was written in pascal too. (Use "unp" to unencrypt the .exe)

Here's a link with a bit of history: []

Unfortunately you'll have to run it under DOS with OUT any 386 memory managers.

Re:Cool things to try in game. (2)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 13 years ago | (#309345)

The creature will eat the Beachball, Rocks, and if you manage to get to the forth world you may notice that the Skeleton Village is populated with living dead.

My creature cleaned house. I hope I didn't need them skeletons for anything. YES! HE ATE THEM ALL DISPITE PUKING EACH ONE UP IMMEDIATELY AFTER EATING IT!

"Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"

(OT) All you do is make wood? (2)

ThunderBucket (73081) | more than 13 years ago | (#309346)

Anyone else get the impression that the game is seriously forest-bound? It seems like all I do is get people self-sufficient food-wise (which takes a RIDICULOUS amount of wood in itself) and then keep throwing down wood or magical forest.

Maybe there's some super 31337 trick I'm missing, but that seriously detracts from the game...

Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (2)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 13 years ago | (#309347)

Another reason you don't see a flicker at the movies that while the frame rate is 24Hz, the refresh rate is usually 48Hz, sometimes 72Hz. The film projector has a two-bladed shutter (three-bladed in some projectors) that spins once per frame, so that there are two pulses of light (three for some projectors) for each frame.

Occasionally, I've seen some second-run theaters or art houses that have cheap projectors with single-bladed shutters (producing a refresh rate of 24Hz), and in those cases, the flicker is very, very annoying.

Also note that it seems to have become trendy in the last couple of years to photograph action scenes with a very high-speed shutter (such as in Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan). The frames are still spaced out at every 24th of a second, but for each of those frames, the shutter is only open for a very short time (maybe 1/500 sec.?). That reduces motion blur so that you can see objects a little more clearly, but it also makes all the frames seem somewhat disconnected from each other. Just look at those clumps of dirt that fly during the explosions in Private Ryan. You can see them neatly suspended in mid-air (as opposed to just a streak across the frame), but that lack of motion blur also makes it harder to follow them from frame to frame.

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (2)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#309348)

I'd like to see the entire GUI component of an OS support this.

Walk around with a PalmOS device for a few days. You'll be yearning for keyboard shortcuts (which B&W thankfully has provided).

I have ended a couple hours of B&W, and found that I've forgotten how to use a scrollbar. :)

rtfm (2)

Lordie (98168) | more than 13 years ago | (#309349)

The manual indicates (under miracles: wood and miracles: grain) that repeatedly clicking the mouse button when casting these miracles will increase their production. If you position your hand over the little 'hut' part of the village store and rapidly click the action button, you'll wind up with about 30,000 units of wood per spell (rough estimate). That's enough that I've rarely seen my people cutting down trees, and in fact have only need for a single wood-cutter in a far off town I took over.

Hope that helps.

Re:whats it about (2)

Smuffe (152444) | more than 13 years ago | (#309350)

Playing God in a popolus environment. Throwing around helpless villagers. Planting trees through the roof of a house. Teching your creature to use a bathroom.

Re:Cool stuff in this game (2)

TGK (262438) | more than 13 years ago | (#309353)

There was a topic on here a whie a go about how technology makeith not a game.

Ok, so there's some bugs. Big deal, they're not terribly nasty ones, and if finishing the game in single player mode reduces your critter to slag, well then... just save before you do that.

On the whole this game RULES. It is highly addictive, very interactive, and always good for a laugh. Autosave is a bit of a bitch but you can turn that off.

Black and White, especialy if it goes open source, has the opportunity to be a foundation for strategy games in much the same way that quake and unreal have been foundations for first person shooters. Once the engine exists, there are many programmers who can turn this into hundreds of facinating games. Furthermore, it dosn't look like Lionhead has plans of abandoning htis game.... more stuff is coming, hell... there's even a room for that stuff in the temple!

Bottom line: BUY THIS GAME it is the first thing since Civilization to make it to the 5:00 am zome for me.... that's saying alot.

This has been another useless post from....

First impressions of the game, (3)

bug_hunter (32923) | more than 13 years ago | (#309354)

Basically my first impressions,
1) The kiddie voices used throughout the game really drive you mad
2) My Geforce on 700 Mhz has trouble with some scenes but I am on highest detail setting
3) Teaching creatures would be more fun if there was more useful things for them to do, currently I can only teach my tiger to throw my villagers into walls and stuff, which makes up for any other short commings in the game, cause it's as funny as anything.

Re:What the Hell...? (3)

Twid (67847) | more than 13 years ago | (#309355)

It's out. I bought it over a week ago, March 29th, at the Fry's Electronics on Hamilton Road in San Jose.

It's a great game! My only complaint is the speed of play, it can take hours to get a scenario done by the time you feed your people, take over other towns, build up those towns, etc... My favorite thing, though, is petting my monkey. 8-)

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (3)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#309356)

Read the README, there's some additions, probably because the developers and testers did not want to spend all day failing to draw heart and wood gestures. Recognizing gestures isn't that hard in code, but the bigger you make your gestures, the easier it is to get recognized (just like PalmOS graffiti).

Typing R is the same as the Repeat gesture. This is the number one time saver. Just as graffiti is fine for jotting a quick note, I don't want to be scrawling all day.

Typing M is the same as the Miracle spiral gesture. You still have to draw the specific gesture to choose it, but repeats with R simplify multiple casts.

Typing C zooms to your Creature. The camera will follow him until you adjust the view yourself.

Ctrl+Shift zooms in very close to your hand. Zoom way out and then use this repeatedly to bring distant cows or mushrooms to your altar. Since this is so fast, you can steal trees from your enemy's forests with practice.

Don't waste a bookmark on your temple: Space,Space goes to your temple, and Space,Space again returns to your previous view.

Ctrl+digit makes a bookmark. Digit zooms to bookmark. Get your angle of view just right to see most of the buildings in the middle of a town, plunk a bookmark in the current center of your screen. Then you can zip to that same vantage point very fast. Again, use this to take things from place to place super-fast, like scaffolds to a neighboring town.

Another time-saver: assemble the scaffolds in the workshop yard, not on the building site. Why fly back and forth several times?

Another sanity saver: your creature will continue to follow a command after unleashing. Bring him home with a quick Space,Space,L,click,L. If he wanders into some other gods' zone, the other god will leash your creature!

We don't need no steenking keyboards (3)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#309357)

All programming is done through their unique Gesture Command(tm) system :)

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

Also check out "Sigma", from Relic (3)

dstone (191334) | more than 13 years ago | (#309358)

Sigma is a game being developed by Relic [] , the studio that created Homeworld (Game of the Year by some accounts, etc, etc.) Anyway if you dig B&W, you might also dig Sigma (when it's out, late this year?) It involves crazy creatures, a B-movie plot, genetic wackiness, a pretty impressive rendering engine, etc. I'm sure the dev team of Sigma has watched B&W closely (it's been in development for about as long), though the gameplay and objectives seem to be different enough. Homeworld cameras and gameplay were great, so I have high hopes for Sigma!

In the words of Relic's CEO, Alex Garden, (who has brushed shoulders with Peter Molyneaux)... "We prefer to think of Sigma as what happens when a geneticist smokes far too much crack."

Some links for more info... [] [] /page2.asp [] dex3.shtml [] =92&pageid=5 [] ws1.asp []

How does Relic afford to fund a game that has also been something like 3 years in the making? Microsoft dollars. Sierra funded Homeworld. Not sure why MS is backing this one, and say what you want about the evil empire... but they've got money to risk on crazy games like Sigma. And I think that's pretty goddamn cool...

Three years? That's nothing! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309359)

John Romero, and his army of programmers and artists, took four years to create Daikatana!

Does it have frogs? or robotic mosquitos? a sparking fist? all that green scenery?

Hmm...come to think of it, Duke Nukem (taking) Forever has been worked on for pert-near FIVE years now.

Wow, read the others! (4)

ddt (14627) | more than 13 years ago | (#309360)

Woah, I stayed up all night gripped by the other behind-the-scenes stories that I guess I had just somehow missed. Check them out:

The story of Lionhead studios read like one of a man with 18 Charisma holding together a company by sheer force of will and charm, but you should read the incredible story of tragedy, specifically "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte" and the story of lies and folly, "Knee Deep in a Dream: The Story of Daikatana." I also found the story "Total Annihilation: The Story So Far" fascinating because the game really was so unbelievably good, and it seemed like Chris Taylor had come out of nowhere. The "Eye of the Storm: Behind Closed Doors at Blizzard" story is of course this industry's unbounded success story and was also a fairly interesting read because Blizzard has historically been so secretive and unwilling to discuss its insides with the press.

Having done the indie self-funded game development thing, I have never read a story more inspirational than the one on Peter M. and Black & White. It was thrilling and romantic to hear about the bullpen style open office, the absurdly long hours, frankly the outright suffering, the light and flexible approach to design, the excitement of frantically describing your vision and watching it come together, and through thick and thin Peter's unflappable optimisim and gamemanship.

Although I think the year-long 16+ hour days are tragic and wrong, I think this is otherwise how games should be made. I hope in exchange for funding it himself, Peter and his developers enjoy a tasty return on investment.

only sucky games are perfect at release (4)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 13 years ago | (#309361)

I picked up black and white the other day and love it. I've only been waiting for like two years since i saw the preview in PC gamer. sure there are some issues. but the prob with land 5 has been taken care of just check a BW fan site. and otehr issuses are being solved all the time. molyneux has said that even more things will be taken care of in coming weeks. as i recall waiting for the latest version of Doom, quake, unreal, etc... is fine. all of these games were great and were all buggy. then they released a patch and we updated and played on. i think we'll just have to accept buggy games when they come out. its just an economic reality. (btw rolling the rubber ball through town is just fun)

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (4)

Fractal Law (122229) | more than 13 years ago | (#309362)

The gesture recognition system works but some of the gestures can be a bit hard to do, especially when you really need to do them quickly.

The gestures are used in different ways. For example, if you have your creature leashed to your hand you can shake the mouse right and left to remove the leash from your hand.

The miracle gestures are where it can get tricky. The healing miracle, for example, calls for tracing a heart pattern. I've often had to do it two or three times to get it to work. I've never been unable to perform a gesture, but it has often taken several tries for the more complex ones.

Considering what the games has to do to recognize your mouse gestures I'm amazed that it even works at all. Once one has had some practice with the gestures they come pretty intuitively. I still use the keyboard for movement and such, however.

Re:How's the Gesture Recognition Interface? (4)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 13 years ago | (#309363)

Xemacs has "strokes mode" which is pretty much gestures for emacs. If you've used one of the CAD tools that supports strokes (Mentor Graphics for me) you really start to appreciate what a great improvement to the UI they are.

I'd like to see the entire GUI component of an OS support this.

Wow! (4)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#309364)

Even more impressive than this game (which is excellent BTW) is this picture [] of one of the programmers desk. How's he even find the keyboard.

Linux info>>> The Linux Pimp []

"LOL" (4)

JAVAC THE GREAT (239850) | more than 13 years ago | (#309365)

Sometimes it doesn't work out--at least at first, as was the case with Ollie Purkiss, a young London chap who interviewed for a programming position. Known as the only programmer who used a graphic tablet, he ended up getting the rejection call from Molyneux. "He said, 'Sorry, I don't think you are qualified enough,'" explains Purkiss, who says he quickly responded, "'Peter, I think you're wrong.'" Molyneux, so impressed with the young man's nerve, hired him on the spot. Purkiss now sits next to Molyneux in Lionhead's offices.
Later in the article...
Even just walking around the office, it's clear that Molyneux is constantly making sure the intellectual capital in the building is firing on all synapses. "Ollie," he calls out randomly one afternoon, "I was wondering, how would you go about swapping two numbers without using a variable?" While Molyneux knows the answer, Purkiss doesn't and is immediately perplexed by the problem. Molyneux cracks a smile and puts his hands back on the keyboard. You know he's saying to himself, "Mission accomplished: new challenge issued."


It's cool, until.. (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#309366)

The game was, in fact, released too soon. Even though it was postponed back and back and took three years, it's still quite buggy. Framerate never goes above 31 fps (with the reccomended system, plus an extra 128 ram on top). The non-traditional interface is great.. At least until you realize you need to get to a main menu instead of being forced to watch the ten minute intro again after a crash corrupted your most recent save and the program assumed that you wanted to start a new game. It's cool until you uninstall and reinstall to replace corrupted files, taking careful checks to ensure you don't lose your saved game, only to find out that you lost all your creature AI. It's cool until you realize that you only really have the creature for 2 of the 5 lands, since you don't really use him on the first, he gets kidnapped in the second, and there's the 'level 5 creature bug' which utterly destroys him in the last level. It's cool until you realize that the villagers can't do anything except deforest and overpopulate, and you have to spend all your time completely micromanaging them. It's cool until the side quests completely disappear the same time the plot does. It's beautiful eye candy, it's completely engrossing for the first several hours, it leaps across traditional boundaries, but it just, unfortunately, didn't quite make the last hurdle.

Excellent game, excellent article. (5)

Raven667 (14867) | more than 13 years ago | (#309367)

B&W looks like one of the most original games to come out of any development house in many years. The FPS, RTS, Roleplaying (sometimes just repackaged adventure games) have all been beat to death. Great houses like Looking Glass have fallen off the map. It's good to see something like this be created, I look forward to it being the best seller of 2001 and significant for many years after.

I also wanted to point out the article, it is one of the best written (and longest!) that I have seen on any website or magazine in a long time. We should thank the author Geoff Keighley [mailto] for taking the time to really interview the people at Lionhead and understand what it took to bring this game to fruition. The article was so interesting there was no way that I could go without reading it until the end.

Many people here post flames when writers and journalists get computers and technology wrong, we should be thankful when they get tech right.

Why this game *will* succeed (5)

The Cat (19816) | more than 13 years ago | (#309368)

On page one, the article says "three years... team of 25 people" My first thought was to run the numbers: break-even is 273,000 units (conservative estimate). No way this gets funded. No way. This game would have been rejected again in the first meeting when there was no "good" answer to the question "what genre is it?"

Page two explains why the game got made: it was self-funded.

Its really a shame that the "big companies" in the game industry can't support efforts like these. Black and White looks like its going to be an amazing game, and it would have been a great thing for a publisher to have participated in its development.

Good to see that better and better games are being developed.

Re:so you hate the frame rate in cinemas, too? (5)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#309369)

He is right in a way. Movies do not see the flickers, because if you look at a single frame of film it is blurred, like taking a picture with long exposure and people move inside of it. It has transistion from the last frame, the current frame, and the nextframe all merged into one. The blurred goes away when the frames are played in sequence at the correct speed. The effect is moving pictures. If you take a frame of computer game, from a game there is no blur. Every single picture is sharp and crisp. To get a non-jerky motion to show you need to push a video game to at least 60 fps. The extra frames give a more fluid motion, because the eye cannot pick up each frame in its entirety, but sees parts of each frame and combines them into a composite picture of sorts. The effect is that the motion is fluid. Film doesn't need extra frames but computer games do.

Cool stuff in this game (5)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 13 years ago | (#309370)

  • It supports my iFeel mouse; this game has texture.
  • It can import your address book from your email client for villager names. And you know what makes the best creature food? Your ex.
  • The graphics engine lets you scroll out and see the whole island. And it doesn't suck.
  • It gives a whole new meaning to spanking your monkey.

Cool things to try in game. (5)

bertok (226922) | more than 13 years ago | (#309371)

I've been tring to work out what the most bizarre thing my creature is willing to eat. So far, I've seen my monkey eat people, whole pine trees, live cattle, it's own dung, and a fence.

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