Oct 15 2019 Weekly Update


uggg :frowning:

I havent looked into SS3 at all, yet. I havent even seen this current game yet. :(

Flug, is there any way, without spoiling (screenshots), you can put into some detail what you are talking about regarding “UA dev” versus “early SS3”?

Like, a brief rundown on the obvious things that someone like me couldnt possibly know…

Also, I look up to and respect both of you fellow classic crpg fans. This exchange you are having is quite interesting!


Sandro…probably easiest to characterise it as a similarity in messaging, a certain touting of ‘secret-but-will-blow-your-mind-if-we-can-make-it-work’ features (ginning up interest)… a recognition of both games place and history (and esteem in which they’re held. And trading off it…why not?) . And, in SS3’s case, a not-wanting-too-much-history-of-past games in case it doesn’t work out… a managing of expectations. But these potential wonder-features are being mentioned anyway (hostages to fortune?).Go figure.

Visually…a certain reliance in the blurb videos on set-pieces and known reference-points (hardly surprising) in the case off SS3, and similarities in animation techniques, edits, and a focus on the action side. To be fair, not a huge amount to go on with SS3 yet, but the visual look seems reasonably faithful to the originals (unlike UA, which adopted a new look afer the first playable demo).

…impossible to get much from that - you’d need to see them both.

…curious why haven’t you played UA yet? It’s as complete as it’s going to be and has been for some time.

Btw, neither me or Flatfingers have got the faintest idea what we’re talking about, surely you know that by now… :slightly_smiling_face:


I don’t talk about it, because it’s been talked to death, in real time, and across numerous games on their developers’ fora, for over a decade-and-a-half in my own participation. I’m bored and really unhappy at how few games are developed that I can give a damn about. I no longer get hyped about anything, and have no reason to. All the things I put forth in UA’s early development are the same things I’d say now and for every game to come. I left when I saw that things were drifting toward less transparency, because, of course that was going to happen. All the excuses are the same we’ve heard before, and all the hype is the same we’ve heard before. It’s boring as hell to me. Same with most comnplaining about any game, politics, etc. No one’s really trying to change the world, and the window for that is narrow. It came and went already.

Also, a major investor pulling out and leaving OtherSide high and dry is plenty for me to feel very sorry for them. I can’t blame them for not being able to reach their vision. I can only blame them for not putting out an emergency bulletin, or being transparent when it would’ve helped with goodwill. If shock to the community equivalent to “Our studio burned down and took out our assets” wouldn’t generate sympathy and understanding, then I don’t believe anyone can say anything to improve anything.

A postmortem is in the works, and we can complain if it isn’t available down the road.


You say that as though there was something wrong with wild speculation. ;)

There’s surely plenty that’s not been made public knowledge about why things went the way they did, but we have been told some things that I don’t believe there’s any reason to doubt. We know what was promised in the Kickstarter project, that “Underworld” was part of the project name to attract fans of the original games, that a major funding source was lost which necessarily reduced the size of the team and the scope of the game that could be made, that there was an extended period (two years?) without a locked-down core design concept (and I would not be surprised if there were some personality clashes here that properly are not publicized), that the publisher demanded an early release date and that the team spent their own money to get that date pushed back a few months, and that the game that resulted was more of a collection of levels for playing with physics than a polished CRPG experience set in a narratively rich and coherent world.

I’ve seen numerous other criticisms; some might be similarly founded on observable facts and official statements, but many seem to me to be emotion-driven supposition. For example, I absolutely do not see any sign of deliberate intention to deceive. I think the moment when the team finally accepted that it didn’t have the cash to make the game described in the Kickstarter was the moment when backers should have been told clearly that a rescoping had to happen… but I have seen enough game development to conclude that this is understandable as a mistake.

I hate when I’m second-guessed at my job by people who weren’t there when the tough decisions had to be made. So I do not like doing that to anyone else: “Oh, it’s obvious that you should have just [whatever].” Anyone whose last name isn’t Carmack, Spector, or Wright doesn’t have the standing to talk as though they’d certainly have been able to succeed in a crappy situation where OSE didn’t.

So while I fault OSE for not telling us very clearly what had happened and why there was no choice but to descope the game to one that no longer felt much like Ultima Underworld, I can only say that with a deep feeling of humility. I’m not a pro game developer, and I didn’t have my fortune or professional reputation on the line, and therefore I’m aware of the very low value of any criticism I offer.

What bugs me are the people who only stay here to inject into every thread invented worst-case-scenario beliefs and accusations, and who repeat this behavior every time someone tries to have an adult conversation. There aren’t many fans still active in this forum? Of course there aren’t! Why would any sane person try to have a normal discussion about a game when all they’ll get for their effort is yet another venting of the same emotionally-worded grievances as the last 50 or 100 posts?

My objection is not that people are disappointed. I’m disappointed. My objection is to people choosing to process that disappointment not like a functional adult – “Well, that’s disappointing; I’m either going to stay and encourage them to do better next time or I’ll go try to find a developer I can trust” – but instead screwing this place up for everybody by injecting into every thread disproportionate angst and unfounded personal accusations of deliberate deception. It’s the damnedest thing; it’s as though some people have gotten into their heads a belief that if only they are persistent enough in their complaining and abuse, if they never, ever let a positive or even neutral statement about UA or OSE go unchallenged, this crusade will somehow have some kind of positive result.

I can’t fix this particular manifestation of our peculiar 21st-century cultural mindset. All I can do is occasionally decide that I’ve had enough of the irresponsible, non-stop negativity for a while, disagree that it has any value and explain why, and then return to my usual mode of ignoring the doomists and posting the odd positive or interesting story of worldbuilding/simulationist game development to try to do my small part to offer this forum something worth constructive participation.

Time to crawl back into that hole, I think.

Thanks for tolerating my disagreement. I appreciate it.


I always enjoy reading you guys. I wish the circumstances were better.

It seems clear that the lack of transparency is the common ground that we can all agree on. I cant agree with much else, since I havent actually participated in it!

If they were transparent with their woes right away to the hardcore fans, we could have all crafted a game together, or parted ways, or who even knows?

To answer your question Flug…

I havent purchased a new game in 15 years!


/Sandro -out


Phew … that was an eye load and nearly mind twisting read. I think I need a few days to recover.

for penitence, Flug and Flatfingers should write a book together.


JTR7…I agree with the first paragraph (I did wonder for a split second if you were parodying me, it’s that closely aligned in places). The second too…but it’s not clear-cut. OE had plenty of choices, not just on the legally hand-bound front.

Flatfingers…actually I’d say much of the ‘defence’, if you can call it that, is emotionally driven…of course, you can’t be in someone’s ‘house’ so to speak, and want to speak well of the owners, and think well, and you naturally develop a bit of a rapport, you hope. And then when poo-flinging really starts, you want to shield them from it. But, and it’s a big ‘but’ (:slightly_smiling_face:)…none of that actually changes the facts of what is being developed, the nuts and bolts, the features… and as you say, the comms ontop …

The Kickstarter stuff - not to trivialise it - often becomes a red-herring. of course, as Chris said I think, early design docs are all flavours of pie-in-the-sky. But some more than others. One major point has been over-looked:

Design docs should be editable - they should survive drastic changes and cuts, and funding, because good design docs account for tiers and layers and a financial onion approach. Not just that but time-scales, personnel, and the rest…to some extent. And you have back-up designs.

Btw, disagree on ‘standing’. OE riffed a lot both on UA and team pedigree.

Scope isn’t the only issue. The nuts and bolts are so hit-and-miss, and the imaginative story-arc (what) so lacking, that you wonder where the enthusiasm was, the ability to implement based on a quality of ideas, not just technicals.

No choice to cut cloth, yes, but plenty of choice to forego all the kiddie-influence and other-game mirroring. You can cut plenty and still produce an imaginative triumph, even with limited features. You need QA for ideas, story, and a direct focus on the core elements. And boy, what core elements they had to work on. It’s UA. What more do you want?

Encouragement is great once you honestly review your performance - not just for the public - but so that you get a useful dossier out of it. I still don’t think optimism by itself does a whole lot more than offer a short-lived glow and a slightly more pleasant (insulated?) working environment.

Whenever I raise this, I get the impression people think I mean grovelling hari-kiri from the devs. I don’t. I don’t expect them to ‘prove’ anything to me, or any other critics, I just think commonsense says they ought to at least make some efforts to publically show that not everything is a waste of time as far as feedback goes. And they can best do this by reigning-in the copycat SS3 hype (which mirrors that of UA in many ways) and choosing their words carefully, not shrugging this or justifying that.

Surely they must wonder exactly why they have earned so much ire, not just in the game itself, but following it and surrounding it? It’s not only because ‘people are terrible’ and ‘don’t understand’.

And yeah, I’m a bit peeved because I see SS3 following certain UA traits, so far. Hopefully I’m wrong on this.

Anyway, I’ll join you in the hole…not much to add. Even I’m running out of ideas about how to say the same thing 86 different ways :slightly_smiling_face:

…Sandro, put yourself out of your misery and buy it (I can’t talk, I very, very rarely buy new games. Most are old games re-purchased).


Well Flug, old boy?

I have come to the conclusion, that this game is not what I wanted afterall.

It is not a timeless classic meant to be replayed over and over for years to come.

Therefore, count me out.

And just for fun, I will do two things…

1.)I will keep posting here


2.)I will wait to actually look at this game until the post mortem comes out.

Not even worth it to me. In fact, it may even cause needless damage! I would rather continue remaining joyfully ignorant!

/Sandro -out


Flug: I’m bored and keeping to the gist. I’m not parodying you. Yeah, we disagree on things.

Sandro: This was understood to be the case long ago. Myself, I couldn’t figure out what keywords you were waiting for to flip the switch for you.


All I keep thinking is… Tim Stellmach.


jtr7…I know…and I don’t think we do (maybe in minor details). We agree on the game, basically. The response, maybe not.

Sandro… I think that’s probably wise. From what you say, I think your jaw would it the floor…

Trenchknife…good to see you


Yeah, it was nice to see ol’ TrenchKnife!


“Have you wondered where everyone else is”

they are all still working through their thesauruses to actually understand what you are saying. I’m sure they’ll be back soon with leveled up intelligence and wisdom


…let’s hope so. Dinosaurs…?


Hey Guys, I’ve been lurking here all along, keeping up with my investment.

I can empathize with a lot of it and have my wonderings too.

As for SS3 … I’ve not played any of the predecessors but all this talk has me looking at them.


Trenchknife…can really recomment SS1 and 2. If you liked UA1 and 2 they are no-brainer territory.

(…talking of which, Chuckles, you get every word hence your use of ‘thesaurus’).


Not to be too much of a purist, but…

The first System Shock is the absolute classic of the two. That game blazed such a monemental trail, I dont think the industry ever caught up in time. There is absolutely no reason not to play both games, but the first one is a must! Of course nowadays, everything seems pointless and overbloated while creativity/originality is kept just out of imaginations hungry reach… ah, but the old days…


Sandro…agree with that on SShock games…

Things will pick up, there’s just a lot of looking over the shoulder and easy distraction at the moment. Also,we have the luxury of looking back after time has done the heavy filtering.

Good games will get made at some point…you just need one imaginative triumph to show it can be done.



Do you think SS3 could be that game?



…It’s not impossible (but unlikely, I think)…