Back in 1995 Franz Lanzinger and Mark Robichek decide to form a company to develop and publish a game vaguely similar to Crystal Castles. Franz has always wanted to make another game similar to his first and most famous game, and with the advent of great new 3D tools such as 3D Studio Max (Version 1.0) it seems like a good idea to make a fun, pacman-like 3D maze game. And so Gubble is born. It's 1996.
Soon, Eric Ginner joins the company as game programmer and Paul Barton as the artist. For the next two years the company grows to seven people and develops two products, Gubble and Gubble 2. Gubble is a great success, and everyone has great hopes for Gubble 2. Meanwhile the industry is growing like crazy, and small companies need to grow in order to keep up. Unfortunately this didn't happen for us.
Two years later the company runs out of money, mainly due to lower than expected sales of Gubble 2. It's time to shut down the office, lay off everyone, and try to sell the left-over inventory on the web. There are also continuing international licensing opportunities, but the money just isn't there to do continued development, or even to pay for the rent on the office.
For the next eight years Actual Entertainment continues to license and sell Gubble products. There's also some scientific user interface programming work that keeps it afloat, thanks to the good people at EOO.
Fast forward to 2006. Actualentertainment.com consists of an "under construction" placeholder. It's looking like the end of the road. But wait! In March of 2007, Franz Lanzinger attends GDC, as he usually does, and realizes that XBLA would be a great way to rerelease Gubble. The original Gubble graphics have a lot of hidden detail that would show up great in HD on an Xbox 360. He writes a frantic handwritten note to Microsoft about his new plans for Gubble. The note gets lost somewhere inside the Microsoft booth. Maybe they would prefer a playable demo over a handwritten note. Oh well, time to make a new PC version.
Starting in August of 2007 development begins in earnest. Very quickly all the levels get rerendered in glorious high definition. The game is just as fun as ever. Alpha testing shows very few problems, and even in high resolution the game runs very smoothly, even on some older PCs. The initial download size estimate for all 150 levels is 65 MB. Not too bad as long as people have DSL or faster. There's still a ton of work and testing left, but the game is screaming to be released soon.
So now it's September of 2007. To see what happens next, check out Franz's Blog.
(C) 1996-2007 Actual Entertainment, Inc.