Hi everyone,
As this issue comes up off list quite often I thought I'd share this with the list, and perhaps I can save myself some trouble repeating myself time after time regarding Mysteries of the Ancients and Raceway. Please, no flame wars etc over this, but I do think my repplyto the original person's e-mail needs to be seen and read by all concerned parties. Perhaps this may get the point across that I'm not a Borg drone or a slave working for the masses here.

Keep in mind when I took over those titles from Alchemy I thought it would merely be a matter of completing the work that James North had started, and I wouldn't have to start over from scratch with either game. As it happened both games were heavily written in Visual Basic 6 which was already beginning to be phased out of mainstream use, and the fact the Raceway track editor and Montezuma's Revenge level editors were not accessible at all. So I decided to start over from scratch with a newer programming language and newer development tools. As a result a project i thought would take only a few months at most has in fact become years. Definitely far more time than I was willing to commit to this project in the first place. Second, when I agreed to take over these titles I made no promises when they would get done or released, or how much time per day I would devote to working on them. Fact of the matter is I have a life too, have a son to raise, a wife and family, and things like that that have nothing to do with these games at all. If I take a little time out of each day to read and respond to my e-mail that is my right to do so. If I spend Saturday morning with my son watching Saturday morning cartoons again that is my right to do so. If I want to take a couple days off of game programming to do something else I should have the right to do so without your or anyone else's input in the matter. Thing is I write these games purely for my own entertainment value. USA Games is more or less a hobby and not a business where I get paid a weekly, monthly, or yearly pay check for writing these games. Therefore I'm not compelled to work 8, 10, 12, or 16 hours a day just to sell a game for a couple thousand for all of my time and hard work. I'm not getting paid enough by you or anyone else to treat it as a full time job, and you have to understand that. Third, you mentioned the fact that people have paid good money for Raceway. I'll remind you of the fact you paid James North for Raceway, and he kept all of the money for those orders, including my own, when I took over the project. I have not received one cent for Raceway, and therefore trying to hold me accountable for that money is just plane wrong. I didn't hold a gun to your head to order the game, i didn't take your money for Raceway, and all I agreed to do was complete the game as soon as i could. I didn't agree to work around the clock 24/7 on that or any other game just to keep a few people happy. However, I do take your point that by responding heavily on list I appear to be lazy, neglecting the games I'm suppose to be working on, whatever. It is certainly true time spent reading and writing e-mail could be used for game programming, but you appear to be over looking the time, money, and energy I've spent on working on these games already. So if you want some facts here are some facts to consider. First, I generally try my best to spend at least four hours each day working on the games I create. Some times it is more and sometimes it is less. Some days I don't have any time at all to spend on games like going to church with my family on Sunday, playing with my son on Saturday, or I just take a day or two off to play games, watch TV, play my guitar, read a book, or something else I personally would like to do better. Everyone needs some time away from the computer, and just to give it a break. Second, I spent considerable time between March 2006 and December 2007 creating one of the games you mentioned, Montezuma's Revenge, and in mid January, just before final release, I got sacked with an order to cease development of the game or face a copyright infringement suit. I felt i had no choice to comply with that order, and to make it right I started over with a new game, Mysteries of the Ancients, which would be given to those on preorder status instead of Montezuma's Revenge. That entire affair cost me a full year and a half of development time and energy. So I've had one heck of a major setback that I think gives me an excuse for being rather slow on releasing either game you want. Finally, do you have any idea how much money I've put into these projects? How much I've paid for sound effects, music, not to mention the time spent on working on them? Well, here is a clue. Game music is quite expensive. For a commercial license for a music track it can cost a developer anywhere from $20 for a single track all the way up to $100 or so. Sound effect cds are similarly expensive. It can cost a couple hundred for a cheap collection of sounds to a few thousand for a very large royalty free collection. It is time you realize the fact commercial game development is not cheap, is not free, and it costs a game developer dearly if he/she wants to start a commercial game company for the blind. Frankly I'm a bit sick and tired of people wining about the $30 or $60 they spent on these two games. I've spent a heck of a lot more than that on the music for Mysteries of the Ancients, and do you hear me wining about it? James North game me quite a lot of sounds for Montezuma's Revenge, but I went out and purchased better, high quality sounds, etc which costs a lot more than that $30 or $60 you and others are wining about. Do you hear me complaining about that? Bottom line, I understand your desire for me to just get the games done and sell them. However, it is not that simple, nor is it especially fair to me to totally give up my life to work on these games just to make a few winers and complainers happy. If I seam a bit jaded I'm sick of the complaints, so-called friendly input, and down right constant nagging from the community regarding these games. I'm so sick of it I'm just about ready to tell the next complainer here is the source code, here is the game sounds I bought, now you deal with it. Write it yourself and leave me alone. Can you see why I might feel that way? If you are willing to spend 8, 10, 12, or 16 hours a day working on these games you can have at it. If you are willing to put up with the almost constant stream of when will the game be done, can I buy the game yet, why isn't the game done yet, I think you talk too much on list and should work on your games, type of e-mails you can have them. If you want to spend time working and fixing bugs that pop up you can have it. The point I'm getting at is ever since taking over these games they have become a hassle in more ways than one. I wouldn't wish this fate on anyone.Therefore your e-mail, no matter how well meant, just adds to the hassle of having to respond to it and explain my personal position. I hope you understand, and don't take this e-mail personally. I just want some room to breath, to live my life, and not be tied to these games like a ball and chain.


Undisclosed wrote:
hi tom, as i see it at the mo, you seem to be answering too many threads on the audysey mag list rather working on your games that you promised? while this is not a direct critisism i have paid my dues both with raceway and monti and expect results soon. you seem to be adressing the mag probs and not working on the games themselves, i am a little disatisfied with your commitment that you seem you lack to your work, but people have paid good money before you took the esp titles over and i for one want to see results. in no way is this a go at you, i believe that people should see or expect some results from you, rather than replying to nearly every single post on audysey. i know your putting out demos and the like to test, but i think you should settle down and try and get a product that you can start making money out of. again, i'm not having ago at your good self, but you can see where i am coming from? sorry if this email has offended you but i thought it had to be brought to your attention.

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