Dev Blog #1: Dark Horizons Battlegrounds

It’s been over 20 years since I first dipped my toes into game design. In the early 2000s, a company called GarageGames launched the Torque Game Engine, which promised to bring game development to the masses, allowing anyone with the idea and some skill, to create video games using cutting-edge technology for cheap. Back then, game companies were building their own game engines, or spending large sums of money on licenses of popular game engines. It was unheard of to basically give away an engine, especially one with “real” 3d graphics.

A lot of us flocked to the GarageGames site to be among the first to grab the engine. Software professionals, amateur developers, anyone with an idea and a hundred bucks. Eventually, folks started to aggregate together, and form collectives, even incorporated into companies. Max Gaming Technologies was one of those companies. None of us had any professional video game design experience, but that didn’t stop us. We collected bright developers and artists and slogged our way through the process of creating a video game.

Dark Horizons: Lore was released to critical acclaim in early 2004. We subsequently released several games, including mobile games, and eventually, as part of an attempt at an MMORPG, we adapted the original video game to the tabletop using the d20 system as well as released several tabletop supplements based in our universe. We even had a player convention in 2005!

It was a wild ride, it launched a small independent studio that became Max Gaming Studios (and now Ravenwood Interactive) and made the careers of several of the principals as real game developers.

I was not one of those. My career took me in a different direction. But, I was very proud of the work we did, and I could always point to that time and say “I helped make that.”

During the pandemic, my family got into board games in a big way, and I had been toying with my 3d printers. I showed my kids the old board game adaptation and set about finding the original 3d art to print some models so I could show my kids the game.

I had remained close with the guys from MGT, so I pinged our old artist (Logan Foster), and he found me some art I could print. Which may have prompted my old partner, Adrian, to ping me. Apparently, we had both been thinking about that old d20 tabletop game and RPG. Which led me back here.

After nearly 20 years, it seems like I am going to be a game developer again. And I am going to bring you guys with me as we bring this thing we are calling “Dark Horizons: Battlegrounds” to life by drawing on the last 20 years of game experience including Lore, d20 Lore, the Dark Horizons Universe RPG, and Dark Horizons Mechanized Corps to re-envision the tabletop game and bring you the next chapter in the Dark Horizons saga.

Stay tuned, it promises to be another wild ride!

Next up, DHU and d20!