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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Red planet and red braces

Last year I ran a post about Thirst, an RTS game concept set on the kind of prehistoric Mars that used to be as familiar as the back garden to readers of Planet Stories. I planned to work on it with Sam Kerbeck, Martin McKenna and some other ex-Eidos developers - until the dotcom bubble burst and 9/11 shocked us all, and between those events investors quaked in their socks and ran and hid.
What I forgot when I wrote the original post was that the pitch for the game got a wee bit further than my 'flu-induced intro storyboard and some design notes on the back of an envelope. Martin worked it all up into quite a nice presentation, as you can see from the sample slides here. And it wasn't just eye candy either: Sam's incredible 3D graphics engine proved how good the finished product could look on PC screens.
Trouble was, the venture capital offices around London by then looked like Escape from New York. In one company, called Nuclear Melon or Fuchsia Clementine or something (I kid you not, they grew up listening to pomp rock, those VCs) I swear I felt broken glass crunching underfoot. There was a whimper from under one of the desks, the kind of sound a man only makes when he's seen his stock options plummet by more than the GDP of an emerging nation. Yet the traumatized VCs calmed down when they heard our pitch; one fellow fluttered his pink tie and, I think, even smiled in a timid way. Had we thought to take doughnuts we might have enticed them out and got our startup funding even then. But no. So Mars remained arid, gamers moved on, Britain's welfare state buckled a little more, and investors throughout the land had to slum it for a few months without the comfort of a third home in the Algarve.


  1. This makes me think a little at F.Herbert's Dune...


  2. And both put me in mind of Ice Cold in Alex...