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Design Excerpt
Production Art

Maurice Molyneaux's Design Work On...

[DS9 Genesis] [DS9 SNES]

USS Saratoga Borg ship Duties on this product were wide-ranging, encompassing research, conceptual work, meetings with programming staff and publisher, numerous design tasks, and hands-on involvement with shaping the product itself. I also acted as a "continuity cop" to assure that all the requirements of the game design and mandates of the licensor were correctly implemented. DS9 station

Concurrently, I wrote the game story, scripted all dialogue (including some in klingonese), storyboarded and art directed all of the linking animations between game stages, checked for graphic continuity with the TV series and suggested changes, provided the developers with blueprints and diagrams of needed props and objects, and on several occasions drew new graphical elements when immediate on-the-spot fixes were required. I also researched and provided passcodes (again in klingonese) and contributed texts for use in the game manual.

* The Super Nintendo version was a "port" of the Genesis version, and a very poor port at that! My apologies to anyone who played it!

Personal Reflections

Working on a licened property like Star Trek can be a pain in the @&$. Here are examples of why:

The biggest design challenge in this product was how to make an action game that didn't rely on violence. This was back in the days before Star Trek featured a weekly phaser battle.

My solution was to concentrate on rewarding the player for humanitarian behavior, where constructive acts were more rewarding than the destructive variety. This was exemplified in the first game level designed, the starship Saratoga, in which the player would have to rescue numerous crewmembers in order to solve the puzzle and escape. The only opponents in the stage were a few scattered Borg drones, which became impervious to your weapons after a shot or two, thus forcing the player to use viloence in a very selective and discriminating fashion.

Various circumstances forced me to leave the project after 4 months, but 11 months later I was approached by the (then) new producer at Playmates Interactive and asked to come back onto the project. Unfortunately, a lot of the work that had been done in the intervening months had wandered away from the structure I established, with the result that far too much of the game happened off the station in environments that were not really related to the show, and the developers had worked a bunch of extra play mechanics into the game which made it far too difficult to play. Unfortunately, so much work had been done that it was impossible to get back to what the game should have been.

When the finished game was reviewed virtually every review singled out the Saratoga stage as the best level of the game, a source of immense pride to me as it's the only part of the game that reflects my original intentions.

The Cutting Room Floor

A lot of stuff got cut out of this game due to size limitations (the cartridge was to be only 8-megabits/1-megabyte in size).
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Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, DS9, Sega, SNES, Super Nintendo, SNES, Molyneaux