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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: B5 game article
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 10/20/1999 11:25:00 AM  

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This got sent to me from someone who got it off the Wired.com site...figured
folks might be interested.

jms
--------


'B5': Back B4 U Know It?
by Andy Patrizio

3:00 a.m. 20.Oct.99.PDT
The dedicated fans of a game based on the Babylon 5 television series are doing
their level best to find a new home -- and life -- for their favorite pastime.

When Sierra announced in September that it was killing off three games --
including "Babylon 5: Into the Fire" -- as part of a massive reorganization
that
included 105 layoffs, angered fans went bonkers.

"A lot of people wanted to take out the Sierra servers and do other things to
try and take Sierra out of the business," said Kevin MacNeil, aka Drazi Guy,
one
of the three coordinators of the FirstOnes.Com, a fan site that had been
following development of the game.

"It took about a week to get everyone under control and to get ourselves
coordinated and decide what direction we were going to
head," he said.

The plan was to spread the news of the game's demise to every gaming site and
Babylon 5 fan out there. It proved to be an effective
tactic.

One editor for a gaming publication said he'd received more than 2,000 emails
on
the issue. Wired News has also been flooded with feedback from upset B5 fans.

Another target was game developers, and that campaign has also paid off.

"There are four companies who have shown interest in purchasing B5. We are now
in discussions with all of them," said Dave Williamson, Sierra's senior vice
president of business development. "Some have reviewed what we've got and some
are in the process of scheduling meetings with us. So, we are actively pursuing
the opportunities."

The B5 team members, who were all laid off together, bonded quickly with the
FirstOnes crew. "They have been a great help for the team as far as morale,
when
it all first happened," lead programmer Dan Foy said.

Foy has been in the games industry for 10 years and has never seen anything
like
the FirstOnes' effort. "The show's popularity is certainly a part of it," he
said.

Another reason for the loyalty is that the developers took an active role in
the
FirstOnes forums to discuss nuances of the game. "People really enjoyed
participating with us and took it more personally when the project was
cancelled," said Foy.

Even though the B5 team has a good severance package from Sierra, the crew is
eager to renew work on the project. Foy said they need a pretty clear picture
on
a possible buyer within a month or they'll start losing members to other jobs.
At that point, a new team will have to be rebuilt, which would delay the game
even further.

He described the game as 65 percent complete. The engine is pretty much done,
but artificial intelligence and some missions still needed work.

The FirstOnes faithful continue their work as well. A Web ring dedicated to
spreading word of the game and trying to find a new publisher has sprung up. So
far it has 16 member sites. Petitions to find a new publisher have almost 600
signatures, and the message board on FirstOnes.com has 700 users posting to it.


How long will they carry the torch? "We're going to hold out until the
development team has moved on to other projects and there's no hope left," said
MacNeil.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com

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