A history of Ctrl+Alt+Del games. Part one.


I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that at one point in my life believed that the web comic Ctrl+Alt+Del was good. Not mediocre but actually really good. Clearly I was delusional. Regardless of my mental state though this fandom resulted in a few unfinished (I’m beginning to see a trend in the kind of content I post here) games.

The first game was intended to be a third person sand box adventure game. The core game play would consist of walking around, talking to people and triggering scripted interactions. Anyone, everyone, everything, and every place ever depicted in the comic were going to be included and for the most part I was fairly well prepared to deliver on that plan. Regardless of there quality it still saddens me that I created so many models and textures which will never be put to use. There would also have be some simple platforming and what you would expect from a bare bones brawler but it was going to be primarily dialogue driven. That was really all just going to act as a hub world though. Within it there would be retro inspired mini-games (Frogger, Tetris, ect).

The community was actually really great about the game. The initial response to it on the forums where accusations that it was a virus (that seems to be a common response). But people where really cool after they realized that despite its low quality and lack of completion it was legit. Along with a reasonable amount of offers from different forum users looking to help on the game (none of which I accepted since I wanted to do the game myself and didn’t have a script yet for anyone to get started recording voice work) I also got a ton of people offering up free web hosting and that kind of stuff.

The main site for the game was and still is http://cadgame.ga-servers.com/ with hosting provided by Xtrife. There was also a mirror of the complete site but I’ve lost the address for it and the name of the user who set it up. A few other users chipped in by hosting mirrors of the early builds of the game as I released them. At one point someone even registered the URL www.cadthegame.com and had it redirect to the site but that address doesn’t seem to be usable anymore.

Even Tim Buckley (the person who makes the comics) was pretty awesome about it. He posted blue prints of the main characters house which hadn’t been available previously (when I first started I had worked out a somewhat nonsensical layout for the house based on the colours of the rooms and the colours of the adjacent rooms you could see through open doors). He also mentioned it twice on the sites front page which did a lot in terms of drawing attention to the game. The first mention actually resulted in Xtrife’s site being shut down for a while because of the bandwidth usage from people downloading the demo (despite whatever company he was getting his hosting from having apparently advertised uncapped bandwidth).

It never got anywhere that resembled a game though. If anything the fifth and sixth versions where even less complete then most of the releases that proceeded them. The main menu looked nice and would have made an alright screen saver. I’m still in love with the settings menu that I setup for the fifth/sixth release and the original settings menu before that wasn’t bad either. The character models and the textures in particular where by no means perfect but I still think I did a great job of translating those characters (which in the comics only ever existed at forty five degree angles) into. As I said before I made a frack ton of other graphical content even if most of it was never used. But as a game it never evolved. From how many times I remember reprogramming everything from scratch you would think I would make some changes to either add new functionality or perfect what was already there but It never really progressed beyond where it was in the second release (which I put out pretty quickly) with it just consisting of pointlessly wandering around a small area with nothing to do well struggling under a camera system that never really worked well enough for a third person game set in such a small and odd space and a collision system that never really felt smooth or correct whenever walking up against walls or through doorways. The camera especially haunts me. The way walking worked was just a result of me not knowing things that I do now. But spent ages working on the camera and I’m not sure I could do much better even if I did it now. Everything I changed seemed to somehow make it worse. Maybe it was all in my head. I don’t remember complaints about it. But people really don’t realize how difficult it is to make a third person camera that works well in a closed in and fairly complex environment. A first person camera? Stupidly simple. Third person in an open area where nothing can obstruct your view? No problem. Third person in a simple box room? Not a big deal. But when you bring doors and other things like that into the equation it’s impossible not to have the cameras view either obstructed or placed somewhere it shouldn’t be or feeling like it’s constantly jumping around and changing distances. Anyways the game sucked. Also well I’m not sure if my computer is just acting weird (I definitely didn’t use to have this problem) but for some reason several of the releases have Ethan (the main character) constantly walking in a certain direction and not fully responding to keyboard controls. There’s more shit I want to say but this going on forever so I’m just going to stop for now.

Download all 6 of the original releases.
The game’s site.
CAD’s official site.
The first cad news post about it.
The second news mention.
The now closed forum thread.

One thought on “A history of Ctrl+Alt+Del games. Part one.”

  1. I’m glad to see that working on a CAD game didn’t turn you into a sad sack of tears. Kudos on moving past it and healing.

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