Attention, Hobby Engineers - Chronic Logic Q&A
Chronic Logic? Might not immediately ring a bell. However, I am pretty sure that IÃ‚Â am notÃ‚Â the only person around here addicted to a little game called Bridge Builder that was released about three years ago. Pontifex, the sequel, was released a year later, followed by Pontifex II in 2002. Chronic Logic's Josiah Pisciotta answered some questions on the company, the next installment in the series as well as on other projects they're working on.
Bridge Builder, a puzzle game,Ã‚Â was released about 3 years ago. In the game, the player builds bridge constructions to make sure an oncoming train doesn't crash into the canyon or river. A nice physics engine and a design that was open for very creative solutions to a given taskÃ‚Â provided dozens of hours of play and encouraged playersÃ‚Â to come up withÃ‚Â outrageous bridge or train stunt.
The official distribution was stopped not too long after that due to a trademark conflict. Bridge Builder became quite popular nonetheless, gathering a small, but active community. In the following year Alex Austin, author of the game, co-founded Chronic Logic and released a sequel to Bridge Builder under the name Pontifex. The game featured a new graphics engine as well as new gameplay elements to be considered when constructing a bridge. Pontifex II was released last year. The title was changed to Bridge Construction Set (BCS). Bridge It, the latest installment in the series, is currently in the development and is optimized for nVidia cards.
Chronic Logic has also created the puzzle games Triptych and Word Peace. More projects are currently in the production. What they're going to be about? Read on for more information.
Q: Who are you and what is your job at Chronic Logic?
Josiah Pisciotta: I am Josiah Pisciotta, and I do a bit of everything other then lead programming, lead design or art.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I do some programming, design, marketing, and producing on all our games, as well as the business end of things.
Q: If you look back at the time that has passed since the company was founded, were there any major problems you encountered or was it pretty much as you expected.
JP: When Chronic Logic was founded we really didn't know what to expect. We have learned tremendously as we have grown. The major hurdle we have encountered is getting enough exposure and sales from our limited resources.Ã‚Â I did not realize how difficult it would be to get a decent volume of sales without a publisher.
Q: How many people were involved in the development of the original Bridge Builder game? How many are currently working on Bridge It?
JP: The original Bridge Builder was developed by Alex Austin on his own, so only one person.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I don't know the exact numbers of developers working on Bridge It because we are not doing the development directly, but at one point I believe there were 10-15 involved full time.
Q: Why was Pontifex II renamed to Bridge Construction Set?
JP: We renamed Pontifex II to Bridge Construction Set for 2 main reasons.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â First Garage Games is publishing Pontifex II on their site, and they wanted to rename it. We both agreed that Bridge Construction Set would be a good name. We decided to rename the product on our site to avoid confusion with their site, and because we felt Bridge Construction Set would be a more recognizable name, that people will relate to for a Bridge Building game. People will see Pontifex II and it wont mean anything to them unless they have played the original Pontifex.Ã‚Â With Bridge Construction Set most people should relate it to a bridge building game, and if they have played Bridge Builder relate it to that as well.
Q: Will Bridge It be a technical overhaul of its predecessor are there also going to be new gameplay elements?
JP: Bridge It is basically a Graphically enhanced version of Bridge Construction Set. The user interface is different, and some of the levels are, but at the core it's a very similar game. It does have a few new game play elements though.
Q: When is it going to be finished?
JP: Bridge It should be available in September.
Q: If you look at who is playing and buying the software, is there something like the 'typical' Pontifex/BCS player?
JP: I can't simplify who plays BCS that much, but our bridge building games are very popular in Germany, and most civil engineers get quite a kick out of them as well.
Q: Are there any other titles you're currently working on or at least planning? If that's the case, what are they going to be about? What genre?
JP: We are actually working on 3 projects right now.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â One is a collaboration that I cant provide details about at this time, but it my be entered into IGF.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also more information will be available at www.detectivebrand.com.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â We are also working on a multiplayer action game, that falls into the category of a FPS.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â It will of course have lots of physics and vehicles as well.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â The 3rd game we are currently working on is a totally original game, and the best I can describe it right now is a side scroller with physics.
Q: Looking further into the future of the BB/Pontifex/BCSgames, are there any major elements/features players are currently demanding and that will be realized in upcoming titles? Is there something like a trend of what people would like to see added to the series?
JP: We get lots of requests for additions to our Bridge Building games.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â However, weÃ‚Â do not currently have plans for an new bridge building game. We do get a lot of requests for different types of builder games, other then bridges.We have some ideas for this and you could see a game like this from us in the future.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also lots of people want to see a bridge destruction game, where you can build your bridge and then blow it up/destroy it.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â We have added earthquakes and god mode to BCS so players can get a taste of somebridge destruction :)
Q: Last question: What games are you currently playing/looking forward to?
JP: Recently I have been wishing I had more time to play games, but when I do have time and am not playing our own games I have been playing BF42, Neverwinter Nights (although not much as I would like to) and sadly enough UO on a player run shard.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also for quick fixes I have also been trying a lot of demos of Indie games, like ThinkTank, OrbZ, Dungeon Scroll (www.rtsoft.com).Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I was also really into Reiner Knizia's Samurai for a while (an IGF finalist).Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I am waiting for Mafia in the mail, and looking forward to Hidden & Dangerous 2, the next NWN expansion pack, and am very curious to see DOOM 3.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions! (And a symbolic award in the 'fast response' category.)
If you've never played the games but are curious about them now, you might want to know that the original Bridge Builder still can be found on various websites. Demos of Pontifex, Bridge Construction Set and other Chronic Logic games can be downloaded at their official homepage. The full games can be purchased there as well. Community info and tons of user-created content are available at Bridgebuilder-Game.com.