Longest Journey: There’s life in these old bones

Now that Morten has quit Funcom, I’m the last programmer left that still knows the code for The Longest Journey enough to poke around in it. For about a year, I’ve been the maintainer, and that’s not a curse at all, it’s fun. I really like the old game, and there hasn’t been much new in the adventure genre, so it’s still one of the best adventures you can buy, if you ask me. I guess that’s why we still get requests from publishers to make re-releases.

Two years ago I took the English release and compressed it all down to just two CDs (instead of four) because if you’re making budget releases theat earn you only about a dollar on each game sold, then the cost of the media acually makes a big impact. The major reason his was possible is that we have far better sound compression these days, and PCs can spend more CPU time decompressing it. the original game used ADPCM sounds and was specced to run on a 485/25. The new release uses .ogg sounds and needs a slightly better CPU. I picked ogg because it’s royalty-free, and was supported by audiere, a LGPL-licensed sound library that even I could use. I’d never done any sound coding before.

That version is the one now on sale, and not only is it smaller, it also runs on Windows XP without any compatibility mode settings. The old game had some issues with certain onboard soundcards, the new one works with any kind of modern hardware.

With the Dreamfall release date getting closer, there’s been more and more interest in the old game. Some weeks ago, a romanian computer magazine asked us if they could use it for a cover-mount, something we couldn’t have done with the 4 CD release. And when our french publishers wanted to re-release the game in france, I recompressed the french sounds, so now we’ve got the 2 CD version in two languages. Right now, I’m working on a new german release and a scandinavian DVD that’ll contain the swedish, norwegian and english versions all in one. And on op of all that, there’s been an offer from one publisher to do an entirely new synchronization, bringing the total number of localizations for the game to a whooping ten!

[ media | Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City ]
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3 thoughts on “Longest Journey: There’s life in these old bones

  1. Just a question,given the fact that you’re looking for a Linux IDE. Are you planning a release for TLJ under Linux? It could be part of a port to Mac OSX (which is somewhat more accepted as a ‘mature’ market by distributors), I don’t know, but I’m sure that such a game would be very well received by the Linux gaming community, as there aren’t many games under linux of that type

  2. I am not, nor is Funcom, planning a Linux release. The game’s code is extremely dependent on DirectX and even more on MFC, which we all know is a bad mistake and hell for any attempt at porting it.

    There’s also absolutely no money in it, but even if there was, it’s not going to happen.

  3. I’ve seen your contributions to the winehq regarding TLJ, and your generous offer to help making wine run TLJ since you have access to the source-code, I (and many with me) really appreciate such great contributions 🙂 Kudos!

    I have a good/great idea regarding TLJ running on other platforms.
    Since you obviously cannot spend time porting the source code to other platforms, you could do it like many other windows gamedevs has done.
    Release the client sourcecode to the public (GPL license it).
    TLJ is such a popular game that it’s guaranteed that some group of fandevs would start porting it to their favorite system.

    Pros:
    * You won’t have to do anything.
    * Funcom would sell more TLJ DVD’s since the client still needs the additional 1.6GB media.
    * If you decide to GPL License the client code, Funcom would gain an enourmous reputation beeing compared to iconic companies like ID Software.
    * Adventure games would hopefully gain in popularity, it really needs all the PR. it can get.

    Cons:
    None that i can think of.

    Btw: I absolutely loved Dreamfall, It’s now become one of the best adventure games i’ve ever played in my entire life, my list with the best adventure games ever is currently: Monkey Island 1-2, Syberia 1-2 and TLJ 1-2.

    Ps. Sorry for my lousy spellings, i’m tired 😛

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