Space Quest Incinerations – Now Available

I’ve been waiting almost twelve years to make this blog entry. From the humbling beginnings back in high school where this existed as a crudely-designed fan-project, to the revival spent making the first couple rooms on my laptop in 2006, to the four years spent animating battle sequences on my couch while juggling work between “Vohaul Strikes Back” and “The Silver Lining” to my move to Vancouver where I spent several months programming and beta-testing my fingers off and swearing never to make a project of this magnitude ever again. At the cost of my sanity, the game is finally here. You can go download it. You can go play it. You can come back and tell me it sucks – I don’t care. It’s finished, and that’s what matters.

I keep expecting some Highlander-type Quickening to happen to me, but so far, it’s a no-go. I’m pretty sure I’m out of shape and have very poor social skills, though. Is that a prize?

Most people would probably use an announcement like this to toss out a generic “special thanks” and describe the game… but I think on my own blog, I’m entitled to just spill my real feelings. This is huge for me. This is a right-up-there-with-#1 moment for me. Disneyland, being a best man at my brother’s wedding, Samosa Night with Nick, New Years 2006, DucktaleZ 3, the train ride to Toronto – I can add ” finished Incinerations” to the list.

And the people to thank – right off the bat: I won’t embarrass him on any other forum post, but Frederik Olsen stuck with me through to the end. He made a great soundtrack, we stayed up late discussing the games, he’s very passionate about his work and committed to see things through.

And Team VSB – Andres Kalle, Patrick C. Johnston – I’ve learned so much from working with them. The game wouldn’t be possible without their input and know-how (actually, it WOULD be possible, but it would be crappier.) I’ve thrown so many requests their way, and they’ve always thrown back quick and easy results. It’s just mind-blowing to me.

And I know I give “The Silver Lining” crew a lot of flack for having driven me completely up the wall at times, but Cez Bittar and Rich Flores – they helped make this game possible. They pushed me further than I’d ever pushed myself and once I built up speed, I just kept adding things to SQInc that was never in the plans. Would I work with them again? I would hesitate, but yes. Richard’s a talented and hard-driving animation director, and Cez flat-out knows how to run a team with that golden tongue of his – I swear I quit TSL about five times, and he still kept pulling me back in somehow. I don’t think anyone besides Frede stayed with SQInc’s team for more than 2-3 months, so I respect anyone who can manage a 40-person+ team of volunteers like that.

And of course, respect to the original developers and then some. Scott Murphy. Mark Crowe. Josh Mandel. Ken and Roberta Williams. Al Lowe. Daryl Gates. Corey and Lori Ann Cole. Not household names these days, but these people are my childhood. The Sierra family created something unique and wonderful with their games that holds the same kind of sway over their fans that Disney, the Looney Tunes and the Muppets hold over the world. “King’s Quest 6″ alone is as big to me as “The Lion King.” I think a big part of me just needed to share back the love they gave us in their own games.

The most embarrassing part about completing this game is just the whole “adventure” and “fan-game” aspect of it. I feel like I’m living in an environment where there’s only two types of games: shooters and Skyrim. And even trying to explain my game to my family at Christmas just met with a lot of confused reactions. A lot of people I talk to either don’t understand what an “adventure game” is, and they understand even less the concept of “letting people play it for free”. So support from my peers has been a very mixed bag when making this.

But to see this game finally finished, it feels like I’m reaching some undefined closure in my life. I’d be lying if I didn’t say the original SQInc’s failure didn’t hit me hard. People kept telling me to give up back then saying it was impossible, and they were right at the time. Nobody gets anything huge done at 17. That might have been what was driving me all these years. The Ducktalez cartoons, the Monkey Island games, The Silver Lining, Vohaul Strikes Back… sometimes, a little piece of your past just won’t rest until you’ve proven it wrong. It’s one thing to make a game for the fans, but it’s another to make a game for more than just the fans. This is for my inspirations, this is for my family, this is for my friends, this is for my friends’ friends, this is for everyone who believed and everyone who didn’t, and this is for myself.

Sorry for the long post, but I think I’m coming to the end now. This last stretch has been such a long one. The game was playable last December – and it still took a full year to get it ready for everyone. And how crazy is it to see “Vohaul Strikes Back” and the “Space Quest 2 Remake” all coming out at the same time? This is a very emotion-heavy time for me. I wish I could be putting as much effort into my schoolwork as I am into this blog post right now. But at least I feel like I can move on for a change. That I can put this behind me and start a new chapter in my life.

So. Looks like “Incinerations” is done. You better go play it.

Hmmm… what do I do now? Ducktalez 7? VSB Spin-off? Back to TSL for a bit?

Or better idea: go finish school and get a real job like a normal person.

This is just the beginning.

January 11 2012 06:10 pm | Awesomeness, Daily Life, Stuff I Made, Video Games

20 Responses to “Space Quest Incinerations – Now Available”

  1. jolly_old_saint on 11 Jan 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Congrats! For a bit I’m sure this’ll keep me and others from work and classes, so at least you’re sharing the load. Oh, but here’s a better link for the quickening:
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/365393/november-11-2010/stephen-absorbs-gene-shalit-s-opinions

    All that’s left to say is Incinerations ish incspirational. Rock on, man.

  2. pcj on 11 Jan 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Let’s go get some ice cream!

  3. Frederik Olsen on 12 Jan 2012 at 3:48 am #

    Once again, congratulations on the release, man. This must be the third time I’m saying that, so before this turns into mutual appreciation society, let me just say that I’m quite touched by your nice words regarding my contributions.

    Tagging along for this ride has been awesome, and I’ve really learned a lot. You deserve a lot of credit for your patience regarding laziness, procrastination and freak hard drive crashes. I always got a second chance, and I’m very grateful for that!

    I’ve also admired your great skill at telling me exactly what you wanted, and making sure no effort of mine (rare as those may have been) was ever really wasted. And at the same time, I’m quite humbled by how much room you have me in this. I knew I always had the temp tracks to work from, but even when I went with something totally atypical, all I got was support. Having free reins pushed me to make the best damn music I possibly could, and while I’m a lousy judge, I am monumentally proud of most of these pieces.

    All in all, I’m really glad to see this game released. No matter how many times I play through it, your work still remains amazing. It’s certainly one of the best and most thrilling adventure games I’ve played.

    So how to end this sentimental piece of comment space-hogging? Wait, I got it. Chris, it’s been an honour working with you on these two projects, and I’m always ready if you need me. So do me a favour and look me up when you’re busy drawing boobs for that “Leisure Suit Larry”-remake!

    Best wishes,

    Frederik

  4. Frederik Olsen on 12 Jan 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Ooh, I also – predictably – left out a word in that speech. I totally intended that :P

  5. Chris on 12 Jan 2012 at 4:10 am #

    And we all know how good I am at spotting missing words from sentences. :P

    Dude, you rock. It’s been awesome working with you.

    As I’m now hitting the reality of having finished this game, I’m starting to feel that “Shawshank Redemption” nuance where it’s like I can’t live in the real world anymore. Providing we survive Activision, I’ll probably not make any more fan-games.

    But if I do, Leisure Suit Larry IS looking more and more promising a prospect…

  6. Chaiavi on 12 Jan 2012 at 4:27 am #

    I am a long time follower of yours.

    And although I didn’t post any comment till now, know that you have at least one fan :-)

    I am so very happy about your accomplishment for the community, for Sierra’s fans, and most of all – for yourself.

    I really understand what you feel about completing this huge challenge for yourself.

    And your own challenge enriches us all.

    So,
    Thanks,
    Chaiavi,
    Fan.

  7. Troels Pleimert on 12 Jan 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Chris, I just wanted to hop on the wagon and congratulate you on the release. As someone who has seen countless projects with high hopes and the best intentions crash and fail, seeing something like this come out of what essentially mounts to the determination of one strong-willed individual is pretty damn awesome on all fronts.

    I’m so glad I got the chance to play this, and I was pinned to my seat the whole time. Between SQ2VGA, VSB and now Incinerations, it’s like being 14 again and receiving my first Space Quest Collection CD in the mail.

    Thank you for sticking through it all, Chris. The game rocks.

  8. Glim on 12 Jan 2012 at 6:10 am #

    I think I have a few suggestions for you, if you ever get into game-making again:
    1) Most of your fangames dealt with very well known game universes, like Monkey Island or Sierra games. Perhaps it would be interesting to create a fanproject for a lesser known game, like Discworld or Toonstruck, or even an obscure one like Tony Tough or Duckman (I gave those only as examples).
    2) OR, since you’ve proven to be an awesome game designer on yourself, you could have created an original game in the vein of the said 90′s classics. Heck, you could even make it commercial!

  9. Lunchbox on 12 Jan 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I just wanted to thank you so much for releasing this game. I feel like a kid again with all of these games being released.

  10. jolly_old_saint on 12 Jan 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    ….thinking back, I should’ve gone with my gut and used “incinspirational.”

    As for your next project, Kermit in Hell 4 seems the logical way to go.

  11. Jess on 12 Jan 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Congratulations on SQInc, Chris! I can’t wait to see what’s next…

  12. Jawad on 13 Jan 2012 at 9:54 am #

    “I feel like I’m living in an environment where there’s only two types of games: shooters and Skyrim.”
    Why do you think I lurk here.

  13. Jeff on 13 Jan 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    This is just ridiculous. I haven’t played a Space Quest game in years! But then, something a friend said in passing possessed me to Google “Monolith Burger”. In seconds, I was taken on a nostalgic trip through the surviving Space Quest webpages I used to visit in sixth grade. Most of them haven’t been updated in at least five years! But then I found this one…my journey ends here, miraculously mere days after you finished your game!

    I doubt you remember me, but I was “Jeffronno” back in the late ’90s, when you first started Space Quest Incinerations. I was eleven or twelve years old then, and my contribution to the project was a script for a portion of the game that took place on a boat. It was overblown and mediocre, like most things people do at twelve years old. It was one of the first things I ever did on the Internet though, so I can never forget about it! I also contributed a “Fire at Will!” joke that I was pretty proud of at the time.

    Anyway, congratulations on finishing this after half a lifetime of work. The trailer looks awesome! I cracked up at Roger getting beat to a pulp by Doctor Manhattan, hahah. I can’t believe the amazing quality of the graphics, it seriously looks good enough for an actual release (if adventure games sold at all anymore). I know I’m going to spend all weekend playing it! Once again, great job, glad that you finally got it done with.

  14. Chris on 14 Jan 2012 at 3:39 am #

    Thank you everyone! :)

    @Glim
    Fan-games are unlikely now that I’m starting to get original ideas for a change. Besides, if fan-reactions to VSB and SQInc are indicative of anything, it’s that there’s more demand for fan-remakes than fan-continuations. But I’ll have to wait a month and see if that theory pans out. The weekend’s just beginning.

    @jolly_old_saint
    I’m giving Kermit a rest. The Las Vegas episode alone jumped the shark. :P

    @Jeff
    Dah! I knew Dr. Manhattan would come back and haunt me. I never even heard of “Watchmen” until I saw the first movie trailer, and my first reaction to Dr. M was “dammit!” :)

    I remember the “Fire at Will” joke, but the boat completely eludes me. There was something about gladiators and Stellar skydiving with Leisure Suit Larry… and then… Gippazoid? But yeah, that was a weird game.

  15. Glim on 15 Jan 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Original ideas are even cooler! Anything related to adventure games?

  16. Cez on 29 Jan 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Congrats, Chris! And thanks for the nice words :)

    I’m very proud of you. I don’t know how I’d put together anything without a team and considering you did most of the work here, that’s an amazing feat. Congrats, again!

    Cez

  17. Tom on 05 Feb 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Just wanted to say that you’ve done a fantastic job on SQInc. I’m 31 and grew up on sierra games, especially the Space Quest games. Your effort has blown me away and I truly understand why this is a defining achievement for you. Thank you for an amazingly polished adventure game.

  18. Yoda on 09 Feb 2012 at 5:44 am #

    God, that looks awful.

  19. jraymond on 10 Feb 2012 at 2:17 am #

    Congratulations, and great job! Great tone.

  20. Jawad on 20 Mar 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Just finished the game (took me 2 days)
    Damn I had more fun with this game than Tales of monkey Island.
    At least if you get famous in the future I could always brag that I was your #1 site lurker.

    Good Job Chris : D

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