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Thread: History and current state of NBK and WFTO

  
  1. #1

    Default History and current state of NBK and WFTO

    Hello there,

    I'm currently trying to grasp the connection between NBK and WFTO.
    From what I've read here on the forums and researched elsewhere, I understand that:

    • NBK started out as open source DK1 clone with plans to improve upon the original
    • The initiator and main programmer was someone with the nick "IKSLM"
    • Other members of this forum started contributing / got interested in the project
    • At some point, some people decided to create a fork of NBK that went by the name WFTO (reference to the subtitle of the once planned DK3)
    • The NBK source was moved over to GitHub, the last commit was in late 2013
    • Eventually, the WFTO team decided to steer clear of DK/Bullfrog/EA IP and to be more serious about the project, going commercial


    Now, what I don't understand is:
    • Were any of the NBK contributors involved in the (early) WTFO?
    • Are any NBK contributors to be found within the people who went on to found Subterranean Games?
    • What is the state* of NBK and how come it has - apparently - been abandoned?
    • Who is IKSLM? NBK's GitHub has two main contributors, Max Hayman and Bo Fjord Jensen, neither of which seem to go by that handle.


    *) Videos and code look quite advanced; couldn't get it to compile on my machine yet, though.

    I assume most of that information can be compiled from different places (mainly here),
    but I hope someone with a good overview can summarize it for me, the curious guy that I am.

    tl;dr: I'm trying to get the exact evolution of NBK -> WTFO -> WTFO (commercial) straight, as well as the roles of the important names.

  2. #2
    Your Majesty Hapuga's Avatar
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    Default Re: History and current state of NBK and WFTO

    Oh man. This is a long story, better to be told by dotted, IKSLM, Simburgur, Patrician or anyone else from the old forum. I can fill in minor details.

    As already said, NBK originated on the old forum, and was first (or at least most known and popular) attempt to remake DK 1. NBK was pretty much abandoned before the move to the new forum. This can be seen as MK1 "keeperklan project".

    After that, the new forum was created, and this inspired the community for a second attempt. Two very talented individuals emerged, Synesthesia, (concept/environment art) and Blutonium (3d modelling). These two gentlemen were able to generate pretty l33t art assets, that in turn produced solid amounts of hype in the community. The amount of hype was enough to somehow organize the [S]basement[/S] dungeon dwellers into a hectic and chaotic "team". 90% of the "team" were the very important people, aka idea makers. No actual content creators. While Synesthesia continued to pump out mad arts at unhealthy rate, the A Team was tossing around concepts for monsters, traps, rooms, and game design. Time passed, and there was no actual technology to use all these assets, nor anything that would allow prototyping ideas. The hype train slowed down, and eventually, ended. After about 3-6 months Synesthesia has stopped contributing, and the "project" died. I think Bluto disappeared at around the same time, something work related, or personal, don't remember. This can be called MK2.

    After that, there were... Oh Lucifer, give me memory... 2 years? I think it was about 2 years of random people coming to keeperklan, creating their programmer 101 shitty sandboxes aka "new DK game". I've seen around 3 of them, prolly there were more. I know that IKSLM returned briefly, and even worked on NBK for a bit more. During this time various people made minor contributions to NBK, but nothing serious enough to make it a solid foundation for another team-based try to make a game. Let's call this MK3.

    After that, suddenly Bluto returned, and became Synesthesia 2 in terms of productivity/hype per square meter. Kyle took the wheel for the "kk... (lol this does not sound right) team" ship, and it sailed again. This time, the project was joined by two programmers, and the average team mean age was over 22, and not 16. Some time after that, an independent modder team was found that showed interest in merging forces for the project. They already released some mods/demos, and worked together enough (aka lightyears away from what kk team was). Meanwhile, Bluto keeps pumping out breakdancing imps and horned reaper models (that shit was hot). The rest of the kk team continued doing what it was always best at: generating hype and being useless. At some point, a concern was raised whether what we are (meaning Bluto) doing is legal at all, and whether we (meaning Bluto) should stop or do something else. I called the EA office numerous times, and eventually got to talk to their representative. I was told that generally such actions would be dismissed as illegal, because "the product developed by the modder community does not represent the Company", or in other words, if your shit's bad, we look bad. [S]Nobody cares[/S] Still, we continued. The second team was serious and mature in their intentions, and things went quickly from there. It was clear that DK IP is a no go, so that was changed. At this time, half of the team was already leaning towards having a more independent title and not a direct DK1/2 clone. The terrible WFTO name was already in place. The game was planned to be a two-world merge, with actual over/underworlds as playable levels (nobody could really give a good design mechanic how that would work). Bluto refused to such terms and left the project, as he wanted a DK2 remake and not a step back. Simburgur became the design lead (he still is, I believe). This is MK4.

    At this stage, we are a merry bunch of about 35-40 people who are as energetic and excited as we are naiive and inexperienced. At least one decision was made almost instantly - two layer map is a no go, we are going for a normal dungeon keeper-style play. We left the terrible name, however. Step by step, the team was making the attempt to become a real dev team. We started a kickstarter. We got some people with experience on board. We scrapped all the silly home-brewn tech and took Unity (still terrible choice, should have taken unreal or licensed frostbite) for the game engine. People were payed as contractors, and first real milestones were set. Kickstarter passed, and people started working. This is the beginning of the real company that made WFTO that we know now. At this point, only the critically important people are left in the company, aka those who actually generate code/scripts/art. All "temp" guys, guys who can be hired "later" and other serious cats were asked through the door. Me, Kyle, MGR, MonsterBaby (another concept artist) were out at this point. This was 2012 I believe... The other team had to clean it's ranks quite a lot too. Realistically, only about 3-5 people from KK were left on the WFTO team after kickstarter. Large majority of the people who made the game consists of the second team. Let's call this MK5.

    To know what happened in 2013-now, I'd recommend talking to Simburgur if you can catch him. He has the same nickname on the WFTO forum.
    Last edited by Hapuga; September 2nd, 2016 at 00:36.
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  3. #3
    Imp SADevil's Avatar
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    Default Re: History and current state of NBK and WFTO

    There is recent article on Eurogamer from 19.07.2016 about development of WFTO. And also their own article on WFTO website (from 03.02.2014).

  4. #4

    Default Re: History and current state of NBK and WFTO

    What's always conveniently left out in all the articles about the development of WftO is that - long before the kickstarter - they kept communicating the game was almost done, in alpha phase and a demo was upcoming in just a few weeks. When in fact they had almost nothing at all, and where just bluffing their way through and kept generating hype. When one of their only programmers left and took his work with him, the project was doomed until they were in luck to be approached by another team that included some developers.

    At this point they communicated 'well, shit happens but we're going to start over in a new engine'.

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