Questions For Ken Williams

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Questions For Ken Williams

Post by hareth » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:53 am

Hi guys,

I’m writing an In The Chair feature, where I’ll be interviewing Ken Williams, who co-founded Sierra Entertainment with his wife Roberta. The pair pioneered the graphical adventure game genre and built Sierra into one of the largest gaming companies in the world.

A very brief softography:

Mystery House (1980)
Wizard And The Princess (1980)
Mission Asteroid (1980)
King’s Quest: Quest For The Crown (1984)
Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter (1986)
The Sierra Network (1991) - the first gaming-centric online environment.
Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (1997)
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987)
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993)
Phantasmagoria (1995)

Whether you have a burning question about Ken, your favourite Sierra titles, graphical adventure games or anything else, please let me know and I’ll be sure to ask him!

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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by merman » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:29 am

How closely were Disney involved in the series of Sierra educational games featuring their characters?

Did you write the plot or make the map first when designing an adventure game?

Did you ever have to cut material due to disk/memory capacity?

What were your favourite adventure games to play?

Are there any unfinished or unreleased titles that people might not know about?
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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by jdanddiet » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:55 pm

welcome to the forum
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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by antsbull » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:10 am

1. The cost of King's Quest to develop was reported to be $700,000. Did IBM fund all of it or did Sierra have to cover costs as well?

2. The AGI engine was groundbreaking within the industry and cost a lot to build - was it quite risky for Sierra at the time and was the main driver being able to port to other platforms?

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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by paranoid marvin » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:33 pm

Was there ever any thought of a movie adaptation of any of the games?

Have you played Ron Gilbert's games (particularly Monkey Island)? What did/do you think?

You tended to die many times in Sierra adventures! Was this intentional?

In many Sierra adventures you could reach a point where you couldn't continue due to not carrying out an act/picking up an object earlier in the game, and with no way to return to that previous point in the game (other than loading a previously saved game). Was this an intentional decision, or just restrictions in hardware of the time (or something else entirely)?
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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by kiwimike » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:32 pm

I understand their games were responsible for technical advancements of the hardware at the time when limitations of the hardware didn't allow their game vision to be achieved. I'm sure there are some cool stories where hardware limitations stopped the game design in it's tracks yet a quick hardware update made for a satisfying progression of both hardware and game and gameplay itself, and ultimately advanced the game and computer industry due to these games requiring hardware specs unavailable before these game demanded them. So I guess my question is are there any specific standout achievements of that nature you are especially proud of introducing into the computer and especially games industry? :)

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Re: Questions For Ken Williams

Post by RetroMartin » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:18 pm

What was behind the decision to make Police quest as strictly procedural?

I always found that fascinating as a kid when I played Police Quest 2. Having to turn the screws on your gun sights to make it accurate and having to follow procedure correctly with paperwork and reading rights etc.

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