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Feature: 'Schadenfreudian Slips: Age Of Ornithology Postmortem'

In today's other main Gamasutra feature, the first in a new, regular 'Schadenfreudian Slips' column sees the talented developers at Teutonic powerhouse Schadenfreude Inte...
In today's other main Gamasutra feature, the first in a new, regular 'Schadenfreudian Slips' column sees the talented developers at Teutonic powerhouse Schadenfreude Interactive conduct a postmortem of their classic avian PC strategy title Age Of Ornithology. A Gamasutra editor caveat, preceding the feature itself, explains: "This special postmortem.. recently arrived via Aeroluftenpigeonpost from Germany. Unfortunately, the package did not have a return address, so we were unable to officially fact-check and verify this article, but we present it as-is, in the hope that it will inspire all developers to make better avian-related games." The article goes on to explain what went right or, in this case, what went wrong during the development of the award-winning game: "1. AI is hard. Our most recent titles were two auto-racing games (Nazgul Thunder and Cthulhu Karts) and a Battlemech fishing simulator (Steelhead Battalion), none of which had much strategy beyond “veer to the left a bit before a right turn so you can maintain higher speed” and “use the spinnerbait.” So naturally, we made a few fledgling mistakes. We didn't foresee the need for a complex birdseed-scattering algorithm to distribute food evenly, so early versions were plagued with “chicken rushing.” Chickens also caused another glitch with our multibranched tech tree – chickens were cross-dependent on the development of the egg, resulting in an infinite loop condition. We had many arguments about this bug, which were finally resolved by our lead programmer flipping a coin. The egg was victorious." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including Schadenfreude's concerns on whether "there [is] still a market nowadays for a tern-based game?" (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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