Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

How Wizardry Was Made

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 21, 2012

Ever wondered the story behind the making of the original Wizardry game?

I eat this stuff up. I really do. I always have – long before I was a game developer.  The behind-the-scenes stories of the people making these games is a big deal for me. I guess I’m weird that way. Of course, I know now that 90% of the stories behind the making of games is pretty dang boring. “I sat down, I coded, I kept coding, I took a break, I coded some more, had lunch, came back, coded some more, fixed some bugs…”

But there are some fascinating highlights. Especially in the very early days, when nobody really knew what was happening in the growing hobby that was computer games…

Making Wizardry at the Digital Antiquarian

There’s more to the story than just this, but it’s a good start. You can also read about how the company, Sir-Tech, was formed. And about how Apple Pascal came about, which was the language used to code Wizardry. The author is not done with the story yet, however, and promises future posts that will look more closely at the game itself, and on its impact. If you can’t wait, The CRPG Addict has a series of articles about his modern play-through of the PC version of Wizardry I.

Some really interesting tidbits:

#1 – Wizardry was intended to be episodic — with modules getting released (or even made by players). Yes, they’d envision Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures or Neverwinter Nights way back in 1979 or so…  But then, Eamon had already been doing that for a while.

#2 – They actually sold a demo version of the game at one convention (Boston’s AppleFest), containing the first three levels of the dungeon.

#3 – The “Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” were so named because Gary Gygax threatened to sue them over the “Dungeons of Dispair” title they were originally going to use.  Too similar (probably intentionally) to Dungeons & Dragons (D of D instead of D & D, I guess).

#4 – The manual bragged about how the game consisted of over 14,000 lines of code. I think I had that many lines of code in my inventory management system alone in Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon. But that may just be because I don’t write efficient code…

It’s a fascinating insight into the story of creation of not just one game, but the whole genre.

Filed Under: Game Development, Retro - Comments: Read the First Comment

  • Anon said,

    Well worth reading, IMHO!

    There also seems to be a wealth of information about the early eighties on his site.

    Plus a free PC copy of an extensive historical text adventure/interactive fiction piece…