Developer Q & A, MP Games
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Developer Q & A, MP Games


(Breakout 2000 Screenshot)

Breakout 2000


Mario Purdue, MP Games

Following much praise, we came to the criticism. (Inevitably.)

A. I have to agree with you about Classic mode. It was added at the last minute and it isn't as close to the original as I would have liked. Ball movement is just not right. However, the paddle IS properly sized. At least is is as close as we could scale it from old screen shots. The reason you can only play two levels is that the original Breakout only had two levels. Ask Atari, they'll tell you the same thing.

Oh well. A few weeks before the game was complete there was not classic mode. And we can see how much you appreciated the work it took to add that. <BG>

The complaints are inevitable. I can assure you that there is no-one who is more critical of this game than I am. I know where all the problems are. :^) Like any other game, there were lots of compromises that had to be made. Any time there's a compromise, there are going to be people who disagree with the final product.

For instance, Richard mentioned the starfield. He's right, it stinks. Our original starfield was much better, but we had to choose between a smooth starfield and a playable 2-player mode. It doesn't take much to figure out that we chose go with playability. If I had been the only person with input, the star field would have disappeared completely. But others invovled with the project didn't want to eliminate it. What remains doesn't really satisfy any of us, but it was the best that could be done giving the available time and resources.

I'm glad to hear it. Our goal was to create an update of a classic that people would actually play. Believe it or not, I still like playing it, and there is no-one anywhere who has played B2K more than I have.

FWIW, 'Breakout' on the 2600 also only played two screens. I think the maximum score you could get was 768 points. 'Breakout Plus' for the 2600 was the first version to have more than two screens. That's one of the problems with doing a 'classic' mode. You not only have to worry about how that game actually played, you have to worry about how people 'remember' that it played. It also didn't help that some of the people play testing the game had never hear of Breakout before. <sigh>

As I have said, no-one is more critical than I am. I'm glad you didn't miss the <BG>. I could tell you were just being honest in voicing your opinion and I was just having a little fun with you.

The project was started on April 4, 1995 and finished (accepted) on April 8, 1996. That works out pretty close to a year. Of course what we started out to do doesn't much resemble what we ended up with. Most of the best features of the game were added while it was being developed. That's why we missed the original delivery date. I think it turned out much better though.

The development team was made up of myself, a second programmer, an artist and a musician, in addition, there was a producer and several beta testers and developer support people (Hi Hans), so I can't give you an exact count.

Constructive criticism rarely bothers me. I appreciate your input.

FWIW, each of the first 5 'phases' of Breakout 2000 adds new features to the brick layouts. Here's the progression:

Phase 0 - No stacked bricks
          No Bridges
          No Multi-hit bricks
          No unbreakable bricks

Phase 1 - 2 level Stacks of normal bricks
          No Bridges
          2 hit bricks
          No unbreakable bricks

Phase 2 - 2 level Stacks of multi-hit bricks
          No Bridges
          Multi-hit bricks
          Unbreakable bricks

Phase 3 - 3 level Stacks of multi-hit bricks
          Simple bridges
          Multi-hit bricks
          Unbreakable bricks

Phase 4 - 3 level Stacks of multi-hit and unbreakable bricks
          Bridges with multi-hit and unbreakable bricks
          Multi-hit bricks
          Unbreakable bricks

It has come to my attention that there is a small bug in B2K. The manual states that "Breaking an opponent's bricks score twice the normal value. Well it used to anyway. It seems that feature doesn't work anymore. Sorry about that.

As much as I hate to say it, the time has come for me to move my email and browsing to the internet. It's been a lot of fun here for the last couple of years, but it's time for me to move on. If anyone has any questions for me, I can be reached at mperdue@iquest.net. I also have a new web site going together at http://www.iquest.net/~mperdue. There's not much to it right now, but it's evolving. I wish everyone here a very safe and prosperous New Year. See you on the net.



(eMail!) Hey, tell Mario what you think of Breakout 2000!