The Broken Hourglass Interview

Posted: 17th August 2009 by Maxim Bardin in Uncategorized

The Broken Hourglass Interview

Hello !
My name is Maxim.
I publish some Linux games to our community sites and forums and TBH
cough my eyes.

Interesting. Which sites are those? Would you like us to add you to our
press information list?

1. Is it true that there will be a Linux client for TBH, when we can
expect it to come out ?

Yes, there will be a Linux (and OSX) client for TBH and we expect all
three platforms to ship simultaneously.

2. As a Blender user I have seen that you also make use of that great
program, is it your main 3d graphic tool ? what other programs are you
using to develop this game ?

Our artists primarily worked in Blender and 3DSMax. Photoshop was used
for much of the true 2D art.

3. The engine looks a lot like other RPG games, will your engine have
some unique things for the users (not behind the hood) like zoom in/out ,

There is a basic zoom capability, but as the images are all true 2D,
zooming in too far isn’t really a recommended way to play the game. The
zoom out capability, in place of a “minimap”, will probably be more useful.

what about loading zones ?

I’m not sure I understand your meaning here.

4. There was a game by the name “Fable” that introduced new things like :
having the ability to play evil or good , to get married, to have
children, to have fame which had a huge impact on the NPC’s which
could run off, or joke at you, or joy when they see you.
Are you planing something similar in TBH ? can you explain it in more
detail please.

We are not simulating the lifecycle of an adventurer as a game like
Fable would. The events of TBH take place over the course of just a few

5. This game focus on choices, to be able to chose how to react to
NPC’s, what to tell them etc…
Therefor we can expect that every decision we will make will have a
huge impact on the game, and moreover there be several ways to finish
the game , can you explain it ?

This is a somewhat complicated question. Game developers tend to
exaggerate when they say every decision has a huge impact on the game.
We believe in critical-path storytelling and we practice it. That said,
yes, there are different approaches to some quests which will result in
different short-term rewards and long-term consequences.

6. From what I understood your finance model is to sell your game either
online or on DVD’s (boxes) , have you thought about other model , like
selling the source code and art to the community for the big bucks and
GPLing it ? (followed the Blender example).

Our real assets are in our storytelling. We haven’t explored any sort of
model which would involve parceling the engine and assets out. I doubt
that would prove very successful, as there is far more demand for a new
game than there is for pieces of a game.

And yes I would love you to add me to the press list.

Have done so. We just haven’t had any updates lately, December and
January have been slow months.

1. In my 3rd questions I’ve asked if there going to be any loading
in-game like in fallout when you enter a new zone.

I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you talking about
zones-within-zones, like visiting a town but there being “east side”,
“downtown”, and “west side” discrete maps?

2. When do you think TBH will be released ?

We’re not giving release estimates anymore, sorry. We’re always very wrong.

3. will there be a demo ? if so when would it be released ?

The exact scope of a demo hasn’t been determined yet, but it would
likely be released simultaneously with the commercial product.

4. Do you think about making forums for TGH on your site ?

We do plan to have user forums, yes, but closer to the game’s release.
We want to be able to be actively involved with any user community we
start, but right now our resources are better focused on creating the game.

5. fighting system – will there be several attack options for fighters
and archers, like hitting in several ways, different moves and so on…?

We’re still experimenting with a “combat stance” system which at its
most basic lets you trade an offensive advantage for a defensive penalty
(or vice-versa). That may or may not be a finalized feature. Your squad
tactics count, of course, as do your equipment and itemset selections.
There’s no “left-click for jab, right-click for uppercut” system.

We are dying to see more media updates in your website, like more
screenshots and videos, it would be great if you can provide us with that.

We will continue to work on providing these types of materials in our

To clarify some of the questions from earlier–yes, the game really runs on Linux. That’s what our engine developer uses and it is the first binary built in every source checkin.

MaximB sent along a few other questions which I thought I would simply answer here. Thanks for your interest in the game.

In our last “mini interviews” I asked you about loading zones, what I mean by “loading zone” is very simple :
Let’s take Fallout for example , when you go to different places of the city you have to wait for the game to load this zone first before moving to this zone, in Dungeon Siege however there were no loading zones at all.
So what I’m asking you if TBH will have a lot of loading zones and if they will take a long time to load on today’s computers.

Our map systems work very similarly to Infinity games and to a certain extent Fallout, yes, so each interior is a discrete map and each of the eight city neighborhood zones are a discrete map. Loading time for the interiors is negligible. For the larger areas (the exteriors) it’s a bit longer, depending on CPU and disk speed, but we’re still talking about just a matter of seconds.

In Baldur’s Gate you could level-up only till level 7, in Diablo you could level-up up to level 80.
What will be the level limit of TBH and how fast you could level-up?

Because this is the first time our RPG rules system is being used anywhere, we are still experimenting a bit with level tiering. Because we know people enjoy leveling up, however, expect there to be about 15 opportunities to do so in the game, give or take a few.

How will the quests solving will influence the game ?
Will there be several endings to TBH influenced by the choices you have made or will there be only one “true” ending and no matter how you solved the quests the game ending will be the same ?

In certain cases, how you solve one quest will impact how you can solve another–for instance, you can acquire gsumina (as seen in the GameBanshee interview) through an alternate path if you solved a particular quest in a particular way earlier in the game. The epilogue of the game will be different depending on how some quests were solved (or ignored.)

Shops and loot.
A. In Eschalon: Book I you can’t sell a sword to a mage or a potion to the blacksmith , how will it work in TBH ?
B. Will there be night/day shifting and are the shops going to be closed at night ?
C. In some games if you kill a wolve he can drop you money or some armor which seems very unrealistic , what about TBH , will mobs going to give you drops they shouldn’t have ?

A. Most shopkeepers will buy most things–the major exception being that you can’t sell back any item of a given type if you have stolen one from the shopkeeper. (So if you steal a generic longsword from Merchant A, you can never sell any generic longswords to Merchant A.) We could put steeper prohibitions on shopkeepers but it’s not clear that makes the game more Fun.
B. Day/night shifting: generally no.
C. No, we’re reasonably careful with that sort of thing. You should not expect to have to kill incongruous enemies to obtain keen treasure.

5. Will TBH will be suited to the more mature audience like Fallout was ?
Could we find blood, drugs nudity or mentioning of sex ?

Blood–not really, it’s shown in the scenery a few times but there are no exploding bodies, etc.
Drugs–Yes, they do appear in some instances.
Mentions of sex–Yes.

How will the support of The Broken Hourglass be for 64-bit users?

Explicit 64-bit OS support is not something we have looked into and likely won’t be something we explore before initial release. Although I realize increasingly the world is going 64-bit native, every time we change the number or type of binaries we compile, it’s proportionally a much bigger investment of time and money than it is for a larger company. We’ll be doing well to support 32-bit Win32/x86 OSX/32-bit Linux, I’d say.