Killzone HD developers had to perform “software archeology” on original game

By Nick Akerman, Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:50 GMT

Killzone HD might seem like a natural evolution for many, but the team at Guerilla have had to dig deep in their cellars to reboot the game. Technical Director Michiel van der Leeuw and Senior Programmer Frank Compagner, who worked on the original title, spoke about the difficulty of hunting out old assets in a recent interview.

Compagner began by discussing the process of rebooting an old game. Plenty has changed since Killzone was released in 2004.

“I was asked to dig up the source code and the original assets for the game – things like models, textures and sounds. Guerrilla used a completely different versioning system in 2004, so we knew direct retrieval of the assets was going to be tricky. By comparison, obtaining the source code was slightly easier, because we found a copy in our current CVS.”

“Frank performed an amazing feat of software archeology,” van der Leeuw intervened.

“The biggest challenge we faced with regard to obtaining the assets was that Guerrilla’s whole way of working was different back then. The assets had been backed up to tape at one point, but that was almost eight years and two tape robots ago. So we needed an archeologist, someone to dig into the depths of our backup archives and unearth whatever they could.”

“It was quite an interesting challenge,” Compagner said.

“The first issue we ran into was that we no longer had a machine to read most of the tapes. And the second issue was that the tapes were stored, uh, offsite…”

“By which I mean, in a shoebox in the cellar of one of our IT support staff members, without a list of contents of any kind.”

Have you felt guilty about shutting Killzone away across the past eight years? Perhaps it’s in your wardrobe. Don’t feel too bad, the developers have done the same.

Thanks, PS Blog.

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