This section contains answers to questions about Hardwar by Ian Martin, one of the former developers. On this page:
- 11.1 Introduction
- 11.2 What happened to the Software Refinery?
- 11.3 What about the source code?
- 11.4 How long did it take to develop Hardwar?
- 11.5 Why don’t moths roll more than 45 degrees?
- 11.6 Does the AI learn?
- 11.7 Where do the pilot names come from?
- 11.8 Why is the water blue when the sky is pink?
- 11.9 Why was the Downtown-Reservoir tunnel originally shut?
- 11.10 Why wasn’t Hardwar marketed?
When former developer Ian Martin resurfaced in 2004, Zedo created a special forum board at http://hardwar.proboards.com/ to allow players to ask questions about the game and to make suggestions for future upgrades. I think the suggestions are best left on that forum, however some of the questions have yielded little gems of information that should not be lost. Hence this section. Answers are from Ian Martin unless stated.
11.2 What happened to the Software Refinery?
“I don’t have any contact with anyone involved in the project. … I left the games industry behind a couple of years ago [written in 2004].”
11.3 What about the source code?
“The source code would have been owned by SR, and that ownership would presumably have passed to the liquidator. … I cannot release any source, and don’t have the latest Hardwar source anyway.” Ciaran Gultnieks adds (2006): “Source code – there are two copies in existence. You already know where one is, you can probably guess where the other is. … There are a number of issues regarding release of the source code. While it would of course be a good thing, it doesn’t look very likely at the moment. While I don’t think I have commented on the subject before, evidently Ian Martin has done so, and his stance on the subject would be one of the issues involved.”
11.4 How long did it take to develop Hardwar?
“It started in Summer 1995, 18 months intended development. It started as a DOS game of course, but in 1997 along came PowerVR, 3DFX, Direct3D and the need to do a Windows 95 version – eventually of course the DOS version was dropped. The testing process lasted from March to July 1998, when the game was completed.”
A later opinion by Luke Warhurst (former Gremlin QA), is quite revealing: “There was a general lack of support for Hardwar and it sometimes seemed that the only people in Gremlin who actually cared about the game were our QA team. We had to work closely with the SR guys at times because the Dev department didn’t seem to be much help – the initial design document was written and then seemingly abandoned. It was missing essential pieces of information and it was left to SR and our QA team to fill in the missing pieces and fix up the unworkable elements.”
11.5 Why don’t moths roll more than 45 degrees?
“Hardwar should not be a flight sim – there are too many world limits to allow that anyway. The moths may be regarded as transport helicopters, perhaps not the best thing to do barrel rolls in.”
11.6 Does the AI learn?
“There’s an easy answer to that – no! The AI can sometimes amaze me (and I am heavily to blame) with its brilliance and its stupidity!”
11.7 Where do the pilot names come from?
“There was a creative (or not) chap working for Gremlin who came up with these names. We called him Dr Derivative, because some of his ‘creative’ stuff was rather too obviously lifted, including virtually the whole script from a popular ‘cult’ movie. Some of the other names are conversions of the developers and testers – I’m sure this fact is well known. Luke Warhurst for example becomes Zrook Warburst. Smokie China and Max Barrow were in-office jokes from around 2000. We had a chap working for us in 2000, called Matt. My son mis-pronounced his name as Max, and as he is from Barrow, the name rather stuck. A discussion about a TV programme about the dreadful 70s group Smokie touring China led to their tour being immortalised in Hardwar. Some pilot names are generated using random forename and surnames, and to make it more interesting we threw in some silly words, hence Discoblade etc.”
11.8 Why is the water blue when the sky is pink?
“The water was originally a similar colour to the sky – technically correct of course but not obvious that it was H2O, so blue it became.”
11.9 Why was the Downtown-Reservoir tunnel originally shut?
“The tunnel was added late into the testing process in mid 1998, and was blocked for fear that it may upset some of the AI mission related stuff.”
11.10 Why wasn’t Hardwar marketed?
Opinion of Luke Warhurst: “To put it bluntly, Gremlin’s marketing department was terrible. I can’t remember any game that they marketed well. Hardwar would have really benefited from better marketing too because it is a strong game. I know that the game suffered from a long development period and I did get the impression that Gremlin were becoming increasingly impatient to get it out and on the shelves.”