Wasted Dreams - The Story of a Forgotten Game (Pilot article from the Gaming Industry Story series)

    Finding the Lost Ark - Part I

    Imagine that you are a grated player in battles. Old. Experienced. A man who is hard to surprise. A man who has seen a lot. The man who saw the Origins. Each new game is accompanied by your creak - “But earlier ...”, “I remember there were times ...”, “Children, what you consider to be new is nothing more than a well-forgotten old, I saw it at 19 ..”. Suppose also that you are the new Indiana Jones of your time, a fighter of the invisible archaeological front who every day tries to find his Grail. You are not interested in the future, the present causes skepticism, the goal of your searches is the past. I believe that you and I are on the way today.

    Why the past? Because from there with enviable constancy comes what is in the present and what is coming in the future. Half, if not most of the brilliant ideas of the "enlightening" developers today are games made by someone long ago. All you need in this case is to brush off the find, rediscover it and make a casual controller, adding a couple of innovations.
    It is no secret that in many old games it is difficult for a player of our time to understand, and the old player often stalls. Conventional decisions regarding the ease of use of interfaces, familiar schemes that have become the norm of today were not implemented even in their buds. Each new game was, in fact, a completely independent world, often without regard to other developers. It was a great time of experiments, underestimated potentials, games that many still can not recreate and still can not rethink.

    I often walk with a shovel through the streets and subways of long-forgotten cities. It is for this purpose. Search for the well-forgotten old. The new is certainly surprising, but what can be compared to a dust-covered bottle of good old scotch tape? I will tell you. As an archaeologist to an archaeologist.

    At the depth of the time layers of the 1999 period, my shovel banged against an unknown object. According to my calculations, in this sector there should not have been large and unexplored games. Having dug an object around the perimeter and blowing off dust where it prevented us from seeing the symbols, I saw ... a miracle. This will seem impossible, but in our short gaming age, we still continue to find the works of ancient architects unknown to the general public. Can you imagine my surprise, amazement and awe when I saw a game created in style ...

    Necessary retreat

    The parameters of a miracle are for everyone to determine for himself. For someone it will be wonderful every single day, for someone it will be wonderful to be saved from ordinary everyday life in some kind of vivid experience. Another, opening a refrigerator in which there is nothing by default, will be surprised to find the onion, and in the breadbox a stale piece of bread, a regular phenomenon, but with a certain vector of look it perceives it not only as a source of joy, but also as a miracle.
    The latter include myself, preferring to see the miraculous in the regular. While working in the gaming industry, I have long ceased to perceive it as a miracle, seeing in it simply my favorite work. However, she still continues to amaze me.

    For me, a game made in the style of “ Another World ” and “ Flash Back", Still not seen by the mass player - a miracle. I absolutely, absolutely do not understand how it happened that in 2011 (and the game was found just then) almost nobody knows anything about it.

    It is also clear to me that over time a generation of historians from the gaming industry should appear, people who are thoughtful, thorough, fanatically devoted to the subject. Our industry is still too young for this. The first-born who created the first games are still alive and well.

    But even now we are losing information, we have already begun to forget our fathers. Without prophets in our own country, living in the present, being hostages of fashion and trends, we are losing our history. We do not know any kinship. Worth a start, don't you think? From the little things. With separate exclamations of discontent. And even in complete solitude continue his work in the hope that his descendants will appreciate it.

    Finding the Lost Ark - Part II

    We settled on the fact that I shouted out a cry of delight, stifled by the feeling of the discoverer, not believing my eyes and clutching in my hands something (besides a shovel). I’m sure that in the distant 1999 I would gladly give my soul for the opportunity to play a similar game. At that time, it should be noted that souls were cheaper. One of the properties of youth leads to the fact that one inadvertently left as a pledge, then you have to redeem from a variety of usurers, overpaying, if you're lucky, only three times.

    At first it was just one image found. Break a few long-neglected web communication branches I found mention of Wasted Dreams. With the name of the game, the search went faster. For a great game with a recognizable style (and I had no doubt about this, looking at the visual style of WD) there were very few references to the network. Thank God, on YouTube, there was a passage of this game. I want to draw your attention to the fact that this is a passage. Walktrough. If you ever plan to play this game, immediately close this video.

    Amiga Longplay [514] Wasted Dreams - link duplicate and lament that I cannot center the video in the center of the page.

    I can assume that you still do not realize the importance of this discovery. Why? Because ... open your eyes, damn it!

    Beautiful character animation, amazing sense of color and form, the world around worthy of a pen Delphine Software. Waterfalls are full of water, swamps release bursting bubbles, moving drilling rigs, buildings, lights are everywhere - all this moves properly, causing a truly childish delight. The 1999 game has a lively background. Her dad, Flash Back, 1992 release, could be proud of such a little son. There is a good plot, references to old games, interesting puzzles, battles with opponents, etc. All that makes a game a game. What is needed for a real adventure. All components complete.

    The name of the company, Digital Dreams Entertainment, is mentioned in the video screen saver, and in the comments to the video, it is mentioned that the game platform is Amiga. Here I understand that you need to call Majik(My closest friend, permanent partner and partner. Absolute. As in films about policemen. He knows more about my life classically than the whole family and relatives combined) .

    The information collected is more than enough to start an investigation, research, both of us are big fans of Another World and Flash Back, therefore such a find is significant for us. On the back of the phone I hear about the same cries of delight that I uttered about an hour ago, something like “What the devil ?! Why have I never heard of this game? !!! ”.

    The investigation began ...

    In its course, we found out that two people were involved in the game, one of whom was Thomas C. Cvijanovi and the other turned out to be Raymond Cindris. We find a mention of the first on the MobyGames website through an office search (as we remember our goal - Digital Dreams Entertainment). However, in his profile he only listed “Code name Hell Squad” released in the year 2000 (also an adventure game like WD). We find the mention of the second person in the same place, too, without any hint of Wasted Dreams. What is it? Phantom game? Ghost? Optical illusion?

    About Wasted Dreams on MobyGames - not a word. However, after a couple of hours of searching, the game can be found on the network. Then dances with tambourines begin. We are not Amizhniks, and what is simple and natural for them is incredibly difficult for us. Installing the amiga system, properly setting up BIOS, connecting the image of the game and launching it is a real quest for us.
    We spent about 4 hours continuously online, in two hands trying to solve problems growing like mushrooms after rain, now losing hope, then finding it again. It was a real, one hundred percent adventure.

    And we succeeded.

    In the process of solving this problem, we have repeatedly asked the question "why is everything so complicated?"

    Alas, the further we move away from the Origins, the more difficult it becomes to save information about how one or another old game is launched, information about it is erased, operating systems change, stereotyped thinking formed by the modern market comes and presses on all flanks, which makes it extremely challenging the process of immersion in old games. Why?
    Because the market accustoms us to think in a certain way, accustoms us to certain game mechanics, to certain decisions in the field of interfaces, and accustoms us to certain types of controllers in games. We are all hostages to Standardization. The result is a kind of "bobsled thinking."

    To make sure of this, it’s enough to launch any old game from the range from 1985 to 1995. 50% of these games will be extremely difficult for you to figure out. There is no habitual organization of game play, no habitual solutions in interfaces, often there are no tutorials (either as unnecessary, because before they could figure it out themselves, or a paper manual was supplied with the game). If the game uses original mechanics, the chances of dealing with the game from a swoop tend to zero.

    But let's not talk about sad things. Back to the find. Captions showed us only two people. Already mentioned Raymond and Thomas. Emotions turned from rapture into complete fury when it turned out that the game was mostly made by only two people. And one of them made the most. For me, this is a flag with which I regularly swing on the roof of my bastion. This is confirmation that one is a warrior in the field, and for me it is important. However ... it's not about me.

    For about a day, we fell out of reality, exchanging short messages about progress. It was a kind of competition for someone whose brain is younger, whose instincts still remember how and what to do in the Old Worlds. Tricky task, test of quick wit and enterprise. We could not master the whole game, there was simply not enough time. As indie developers, every day we look for a piece of bread, every day we rack our brains on how to feed our families, while preserving our hungry independence. A few days of playing binge is an impermissible luxury. But what we drank, what we were able to pick up from the game is ragweed.

    What do we have as a result? An interesting adventure game, with a plot and an action component. It’s hardcore enough (for inexperienced archaeologists) to do the save / load operation hundreds of times (after finding out that there are fatal situations, and that it’s better to think a bit during the game before doing something, regularly recording), but it’s enough interesting that this process does not strain and that I want to move on. This is actually an isometric quest, with lots of items and fun solutions. With a decent bit of action. Voiced by enthusiasts of their work (which in no way spoils the impression of it). The game, apparently, was budgetary in terms of sound, otherwise it is a premium product.

    As soon as you get comfortable with the controller, save / load will disappear like a vestige, like a tail, which you will need exclusively to illustrate your emotions. And the emotions of the game will cause a lot. Therefore, during the game, the recently fallen tail will have to be sewn back.

    Salvation of representatives of an alien race from the hands of jailers. Those you save will in turn help you, and their actions will remind you of the unforgettable Flash Back. The world around will change (it really changes), including NPC will change it. Their actions are not reduced to the fact that they disappear, giving you the desired item. They act, sometimes with you, sometimes without you. The result of their actions visually affects due to changes in the scenery. And the scenery must be said - magnificent. Jungle, ruins, secret zones, bases, underground complexes, collectors - a variety. Do not forget that all this is moving. Lives and breathes. Because the artist definitely took care of the visual part of the game. This is something about which I can always say and will not sin against the truth - done with love!

    As soon as I saw the game, I exclaimed - “This is it! This is the good old Flash Back. " Now I can say the same thing. 2 years have passed since the rapture, but I still remember this story. She was exciting, almost detective, and in some ways very dramatic. However, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

    What we have? A game where much attention is paid to the graphic component, which forms an amazing style worthy of the best games of the past. The game, which was released on Amiga during its sunset, which, apparently, is due to its almost complete obscurity today. We have an office of Digital Dreams Entertainment, which after that released another game, and about which nothing more is known after that. The fate of the team is also unknown. More riddles than answers.

    Where are these people now? Unknown Why didn’t they continue the Digital Dreams Entertainment business? Where is this office now, and why were the creators limited to only two games? Why did the Wasted Dreams 2 press release on one of the sites remain a press release? Perhaps, not being able to come to terms with the sunset of Amiga, they went into oblivion with her, like captains who go to the bottom with their ships? Who knows who knows. It sounds romantic, but implausible.

    Do you know this feeling when something in your memory keeps you awake? An attempt to recall some detail, leading to frenzy. Recalling and finding what you are looking for in the bowels of your memory, you smile fairly, saying to yourself, “the skull is working, it is still working.” It was the same with Wasted Dreams, with the exception of the fact that you cannot remember what you don't know. One of the immutable rules of students. This game and these people did not give me any rest. Falling asleep, I thought about this game, woke up with the same thoughts. The obsession had to be removed. And there was only one way to alleviate the Suffering of Ignorance.

    Contact the developers.

    On the road again

    A search by name yielded nothing. Too many results. With keywords that reflect the essence of the search, and even less. No fan sites, virtually no online posts. It's good that I managed to find the game itself and this video. Great luck.

    We were lucky that there is a site MobyGames (a kind of IMDB from the part of games and developers), and it’s good that we were able to roughly determine the search region. According to my estimates, based on the sounding of surnames, the authors could easily have been the birthplace of the authors - Bosnia, Serbia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. The list was disheartening, and something had to be done. It’s one thing to find people here in Russia, it’s completely different to look for people in an unfamiliar country, especially if you don’t have knowledge of the language, and indeed it’s difficult to determine whether a person belongs to a particular nation.

    Networked persons, just like in real life, leave traces that can be found. A big plus was the knowledge of the professions of Thomas and Raymond, information about the name of their office and projects. Names with surnames fell off immediately, the office failed to break through, the tails of its existence are hiding in the darkness of time. After so many years, there was no need to talk about any sites. What to do? What are the next steps?

    Search by specialization. Assuming that Thomas is the head of the company, he began with him. Past. No information. I thought about what I generally know about the programmers of any software? For example, office or highly specialized? Nothing at all. Programmers, being an important link in the development of any software products, often turn out to be unknown heroes. You can often hear - "he painted, he directed, he built." You hear much less often the words “the distinguishing features of this code are” or “responsible for this sparkling code”.

    I was very saddened by the failed part of the search for Thomas C. Cvijanovic. I was not able to find any clues, possibly due to very limited search skills on the Web, and due to the fact that Thomas is a programmer, and I do not.

    But one thing I knew for sure - if Raymond Zindrich (Wasted Dreams artist) continues his work, he can be found. It is possible. More than. The paths trodden by artists are tangible, just take a trail. Some work on the network should have been. Still, Raymond-artists are much smaller than Raymond-carpenters, Raymond-system-administrators or Raymond in general.

    I found this site , sent it to the author and other “suspects” letters. It remains to wait for answers to confirm suspicions or be defeated, castle and start again.

    A week later, the short answer came “Yes, it's me. Sorry, but now I’m very busy, I’ll try to give you some time soon. ”

    I exhaled. Lightly. Happened! My journey in search of authors has come to an end. His final point was ...


    Raymond Cindric signaled that he was ready to communicate, warning that time limits are very limited. First of all, of course, I expressed him enthusiasm about this game and told why it was so important for me to talk with the creators of the game. And what does it mean for us players to find such things. It turned out a short interview. In response to my joyful gratitude, I received the following lines:

    Raymond: Please forgive me for such a late reply, but I'm sooooo busy. I am very glad that you enjoyed our game! Since it is neither more nor less - a commercial failure of that time.
    Now, after a long time, I still feel satisfied looking at how everything turned out in the end. Some of the moments in the game were frankly annoying (we are talking about underground sewers with floating canisters and exploding canisters, you know what I'm talking about, unless of course we have already reached them), but by and large everything worked.

    Rick: Where are you from Raymond?
    Raymond: I am from ex-Yugoslavia, now Croatia. He emigrated many years ago and never lived here. Traveled the whole world, and now I am in Singapore.

    Rick: What games or products are you currently working on?
    Raymond: My portfolio is extremely old, I must say, you can find it here. I have not updated it for many years. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time for this. When I get it, I work on various private projects like this .

    Rick: Do you miss the old days and the old games?
    Raymond: Of course !!! Honestly my favorite GBA SP platform. I have one such device, and after all these years of daily violence, it still works, not like all sorts of Xboxes (smiles).

    Rick: What happened to Digital Dreams Entertainment?
    Raymond: After we finished work on the second project, Codename: Hellsquad, I was forced to immigrate due to the very bad situation in the country - as a result I left the studio.

    Rick:What is your role in the WD project and what is the role of Thomas C. Cvijanovi?
    Raymond: I worked on graphics, worked on additional design related to puzzles, took care of some technological aspects of the game (like rotoscoping procedures), but by and large it was a Thomas game.

    Rick: What is the fate of Thomas?
    Raymond: I don’t know ... I myself am curious. If you are lucky enough to find out - let me know, please!

    Rick: Why did you stop working together?
    Raymond: After emigrating, I gradually lost contact with Thomas. At that time, Skype, Facebook and other things that we now take for granted were not so common.

    Rick:Why didn’t you spread this wonderful game to other platforms? For example, on DOS?
    Raymond: I see no way to run it under DOS. This game is only for Amiga. As far as I can tell, this would be just wonderful - but I don't see a single way how this could be done.

    Rick: Were you inspired by games like “Another World” and “Flash Back” to create “WD”?
    Raymond: Oh ... "Another World" is my favorite game of all time! Personally, I did not like FlashBack, but I believe that Thomas had a very high opinion of her. So I can say with confidence that both games had a strong influence on Wasted Dreams. In many aspects - from animation to history.

    Thank you for your interest in this old and unknown game!

    And one small question for you ... how did you know my email?

    Rick: Nothing is easier. When I find a game that I like, the first thing I do is go to the “Credits” or “About” section. I look at who worked on what, look for familiar names and remember new ones. In old games, thank God, the teams were small. One, two people. I found your name in loans, and began my little investigation. I asked myself, “How many people are named Raymond Cindrick and still work in the gaming industry?” He thought for a moment and answered himself - "Not so much - I have a good chance to find him."


    On the one hand, the epilogue should be short, and I can make it that way. On the other hand, this story excited a number of strings in my soul, which until then had peacefully dozed. I would really like to know what happened to Thomas and what his fate was, what he was doing and what he is doing now. Raymond briefly mentioned that the situation in the country, at the time of his departure, was bad.

    I regret that Raymond had so little time for this conversation. However, the main thing is that it happened in general, and that I managed to thank him on behalf of all gamers for his contribution to the gaming industry. Now I can sleep peacefully.

    The assumptions about the sunset of the Amiga era as the reason for the disappearance of Wasted Dreams is still only a version. This period could affect the sales of Wasted Dreams, but is it really possible for the game to go to the bottom almost completely in silence together with a dying platform, and even so that the fans will not notice it? .. I do not believe it. Fans are a terrible power, especially if their power is aimed at creation. I do not understand the commercial failure of this game, but I can also assume that:
    • Affected by the lack of information on this platform.
    • It is impossible to fully communicate with the source.
    • A ridiculous, insane scenario in the form of an unlucky star is possible. There have been such precedents in the history of the gaming industry. It also happened that the game doomed to success, being innovative, was perceived extremely cold by the public. Or coincided with the release of titanium. I will still have the opportunity to talk about such games, the reverent love for which on the part of the players contrasted sharply with commercial failures.

    A similar situation prevails in the case of the ruin of Interplay (another unfinished article), where the analysis of mean data raises many more questions than answers. This is in our homeland if the scandal inside the company is an explosion that throws up somersault cases into the sky, the characters of which, according to Matrichny, find out the relationship for a long time, swearing and swearing so that there is no place on Earth where their wreck was not noticed.
    In the West, things are resolved quietly and diplomatically. Only thin streams of steam in those places where the corporate spirit could not stand and was broken, indicate the presence of a problem and conflict. It is difficult to have an answer to a direct question. There, each developer respects the other, and they are all members of one friendly family. Wherever you stumble - everywhere polite version. And to me, a self-made historian and a grave digger, curtsies are not important, I am interested in the truth. I don’t have her, darling. Just for those names and companies that cause me a sense of lively interest. What to do? Dig further.

    In any case, all I want to do now, exactly as then, is to shake your fist towards the playing sky. Too many people and offices rest at the bottom of the ocean. Too many games and destinies are more reminiscent of tragedy than good tales. Unfortunately, only grains of information reach us, and we must do everything to preserve them. This is one such attempt. And I think ... not the last.

    Installing the game and detailed instructions for it - updated on 05/19/2013

    Initially, this article had no instructions for installing the game. It didn’t and couldn’t be due to my “technical knowledge”. Being unfamiliar with the Amiga system, if I wanted to, I couldn’t do what I did a day later in my article “ Wasted Dreams. Brief launch instructions ” by our dear NetBUG colleague . This is invaluable help for poor people like me.

    In any case, not being able to thank him in full (having executed the transfer in the form of “hundreds of Habriric likes” on his account), I ask you to lend them to me and transfer it to him, or just do it like that ... from the heart. Without it, information on Wasted Dreams would still be incomplete.

    In which case I ... will definitely pay you a new article.

    Notes retroactively

    Zero note (swing): Let's hope that I do not violate the rules of Habr’s policy regarding software products, because this rum is more of an archaeological interest than an attempt to enrich itself and (or) promote the distribution of pirated “products” in any way.
    The first note (technical): I would be glad if the adherents of Amiga are noted in the subject. Perhaps this game is known to them, maybe they will be able to suggest some ways to make an installation for this game. Or some way so that the average player could install this game. She's worth it.
    Second note (technological): In our impromptu interview Raymond mentions rotoscoping. This technology was used in a number of cult games of the past, in particular Another World, Flash Back, Prince of Persia. The English version of the wiki claims that rotoscopy was already used at Karateka in 1984. Its use allowed us to achieve amazing results in terms of smoothness and naturalness of the movement, immediately giving the animators the material for processing “taken from real counterparts”.
    Third note (railway):I took into account the results of the vote (in the previous article), and I clearly see that what interests you most is specific, not abstract knowledge. Unfortunately, tutorials take a decent amount of time, because you need to not only do something in them, but also describe what is going on. This article has been in the process of writing for a long time. In part, it consists of my notes two years ago. And I can reassure you, cars of subject articles (tutorials) are already loading, at one station not very remote from Habr. Those who didn’t want to see the article at all can only sympathize.
    Fourth note (hopeful):I would be pleased if as many people as possible would pull this article online. Not for the sake of popularizing yourself as a loved one, but for the sake of the people who made this game, and for the sake of the game itself. I do not know how and what should be in this world, but I know for sure that games should not disappear in this way. If we cannot save information about other people's and extremely sensible works, then how can we hope for a better outcome in relation to our own games?
    In addition, I naively, childishly believe that maybe ... this information will reach the authors. And they will be pleased. To summarize the article, the epilogue and these notes, I would like to quote from Mimino.

    “You know what, I’ll tell you a clever thing, but don’t be offended: when I am pleased, I will bring you so ... that you too ... will be ... nice ...”

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