Peter Molyneaux
April 8, 2001 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Peter Molyneaux, arguably the greatest game designer of all time, does it again with Black and White. I saw this game at the Game Developers' Conference a couple weekends ago - it really is amazing. It must have the most sophisticated AI of any game to date.
posted by SilentSalamander (16 comments total)
Populous was the first PC game I ever bought. I didn't hear anything else about Molyneaux until B&W, and it looks like he's hit gold again. I want it.
posted by pnevares at 7:12 PM on April 8, 2001

I've been reading various stuff about Black and White for a few days now. The game looks and sounds absolutely incredible. And being from the same people as Dungeon Keeper and the like, it's sure to rock.

For more info on the game there's Planet Black and White and the official site.
posted by crushed at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2001

B&W is a true work of art. Buy it if you haven't. :)
posted by yangwar at 7:42 PM on April 8, 2001

Dungeon Keeper was a GREAT Molyneaux game. I highly recommend it. And BTW, Black & White is super-shweet too. I am highly addicted. Worse than crack.
posted by fusinski at 7:43 PM on April 8, 2001

I haven't played it, but do be aware that some that have aren't impressed, as seen in this /. thread.

Crashing Win2000 is an achievement.

I think my favorite of his was the original Syndicate. Gotta get me a minigun...
posted by NortonDC at 7:55 PM on April 8, 2001

I bought B&W yesterday after reading all the positive reaction on the Usenet groups, then spent a very frustrating evening trying to get the hang of the needlessly complicated navigation system.

It is very nice to look at, and I think if I can ever figure out a good way to deal with moving around I will like it. I'd describe it as "The Sims meets Populous" -- training the creature is reminiscent of the Sims, running the villagers is just like Populous.
posted by briank at 7:59 PM on April 8, 2001

myself and some coworkers picked up copies of Black and White last week. Each day we run into each other at work(slightly bleary-er eyed than the last day) we ask "Do you like it?"

it varies day by day. No one denies the beauty of the graphics. I tend to complain about the controls, as someone here has, others complain about the micromanagement of the villages.

But NONE of us have stopped playing. I'm am slowly coming to the conclusion that it is a great game... Until the next time my cow passes out from exhaustion even though I've told him to go rest 1000000 times.

It really sounds like they are gonna keep adding content and new "things", eventually turning it into a MMOG. WOW!!!

(and any game that actually allows me to BE darkPONY is a-ok!!)
posted by darkpony at 8:29 PM on April 8, 2001

I was just reading a review of the game on Gamespot. The mouse-only navigation sounds unnecessarily convoluted, but I'm still curious to play it. The depth of the gameplay sounds intense.
posted by waxpancake at 8:50 PM on April 8, 2001

B & W is supposed to introduce the idea of the anti-navigation. You're supposed to figure everything out, just like a God should!
posted by Succa at 8:58 PM on April 8, 2001

"Oh! To have B&W! And a system to run it on!" he lamented quietly to himself among his better technologically outfitted peers.
posted by clockwork at 10:02 PM on April 8, 2001

Just use the arrow keys to move around. Use the mouse only for zooming and interacting with the world.

B&W is a beautiful and continually surprising game, but the resource model seems broken right now. You either use an exploit to overfeed your villagers or let them starve as they deforest the land and eat 20,000 wheat in one bite. Meanwhile, the game whispers "death" in your ear, over and over again.

Like many other small gods, I await a patch.
posted by Yogurt at 10:24 PM on April 8, 2001

Another article is on gamespot as well that covers the last moments of the game's creation and gives a good look at what it's like to work with him.

It's so ambitious that it's bound to have flaws. There are keyboard alternatives for navigation. The people management is also a learning experience. There are ways to handle various situations such as overpopulation and deforestation. I do feel that there still is a bit too much micromanagement especially since the people at the worship site won't get their own food. I am confident that these things will be tweaked.

The whole team of creators put so many little things into the game. The easter egg mix must be as big as the game feature list. While playing I heard the game whisper my name. I think it takes you Windows owner name and runs it through a speech synth. or something. It freaked me out the first time. There is a particle animation when you load the game that you can play around with the mouse.

It's a sandbox for aspiring gods.
posted by john at 11:03 PM on April 8, 2001


it's deliciously good fun. you -must- get it. i also hear the final level has a bug which requires patching (it inexplicably turns you evil) but I haven't gotten that far yet. i'm content raising my Tiger and looking under every rock & shrub.
posted by thc at 4:42 AM on April 9, 2001

I took just enough break from my B&W game to check Metafilter...

I got it yesterday. I am hooked.

The micromanagement of the villages is a little much. It kind of reminds me of SimCity with a plot. But as a fan of SimGames, that'll do just fine.

My favorite quote from the game thus far... "Sheep happens." But now I must go get a better video card... The animation is a mite choppy...
posted by kaylee at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2001

Personally, I think the non-game aspect of the game is pretty damn cool. I think it's great just going around trying to make my creature as evil as possible. I don't really care if I even make it to the next level half the time--I'm too busy trying to get my creature to eat people, throw trees, and kick sheep. Of course, I'm the guy who gets great entertainment out of making grey box outlines on my windows desktop for hours at a time...
posted by fusinski at 9:25 AM on April 9, 2001

In some ways trying to figure out the most evil way to do a quest is fun.

For instance, a quest on the first level has you find the sick husband to get one of the stones to open the gate for your creature. For maximum evil you can let the wife see you smash her house to get the stone, crush her with it, and take her body to her husband who then dies of fright.

Some of the quests are harder as you progress. To avoid the bugs you can play skirmish maps till a patch is out.

By the way, the best miracle is water. Water forests for new growth. One Water miracle can grow 1-2 new trees and it increases field growth as well. Doing miracle food into the store causes the reproduction flag to rise whichs leads to the expansion flag to rise which leads to villagers humping like rabbits and cutting down every tree in sight.

You know you have been playing a lot when the game says, "It's getting late boss, even evil guys needs some rest." I thought there was no rest for the wicked.
posted by john at 1:35 PM on April 9, 2001

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