||1992 - The
Back in 1992, Luca Pancallo
was playing to a lot of text MUDs (Multi User Dungeon) games
trying to conciliate the love for computer games RPGs (like
the stunning Eye of the Beholder) and the new power of the
internet. MUDs were a good start and usually nice to play,
but he felt those were all lacking a lot for background, roleplay
and generally consistency that could bring the realism of
the virtual world to new heights. (I remember a fantasy text
MUD with microwave ovens attacking you :) ). In addition he
really wanted to add some graphics to this kind of game to
have a more immersive experience. From this need PlaneShift
2D was born.
The basic idea was to get the server
technology used by MUDs (mainly LPC language) and add on top
of it a graphical interface, plus adding a great background
with well thought races and places.
Luca started to download all kinds of
MUD engines and to modify them to his needs, studying them
to see which one could be the best to use for PlaneShift.
||1994 - The
Apart from programmers
at least 2 people were needed, 1 talented artist and 1 storyteller.
For the 3D artist there was no doubts,
an old friend of high-school (Stefano Oggeri) was the perfect
guy, rpg-lover and 3d gfx addicted. At that time he was working
mainly with POVRay and the first versions of 3dstudio. But
the final results were already quite stunning. He joined immediately
For setting, Luca found Mauro Zanetti,
an active rpg gamer and organizer of many fantasy related
events in our country (Italy). They met inside an pen and
paper rpg club, and Luca proposed him to join. He was eager
to help and in few weeks he joined the project.
Searching amongst friends of friends,
Luca found Danilo Moretti, a talented 2D artist that joined
the project as concept artists, creating all races and many
nice views of Yliakum.
The first team was born and really made of talented people.
Stefano started to create amazing pictures of the world and
Mauro wrote the basics of the underground world, detailing
the races and the places you can still find today in PlaneShift
The programming side was handled by Luca, adding new functions
on top of an already existing LPC engine, and building a C++
graphical interface to support the user interaction with the
The main idea was to have a 3d rendered (still) image for
each of the locations and a minimap guiding you in the world.
Plus a list of NPCs and other players that were in the same
Below there is a pic of the client's main page. On the top
left there were the button to access the other screens, on
the left the minimap, created automatically. At the center
the screen that will visualize the various places visited,
on the right, a list of characters present in the same location.
On the bottom all text written by player and received by server.
||1996 - The
first official public exposure
When the client was "nearly" working,
we started to see if someone was interested in it. The first
contact was with Galactica, a big internet and content provider.
They were amazed by our idea, and we managed to participate
with them to the most important computer expo in Italy (SMAU
We were very excited about the expo, and we worked around
the clock the week before the event, to have a working client
with good and playable content.
On the expo we had a main server machine and few clients
were visitors could connect and play. For the expo the interfaces
ready were the main screen:
and the inventory screen:
You can see how the art of the characters is basically the
same as today!
||1997 - Another
Given the great public response for the
client, we decided to go commercial, searching a contract.
We found a company interested in the deal, one of the biggest
communication companies in Italy. They decided to invest in
our project, and we asked them to be present at the same computer
expo in 1997.
Meanwhile we managed to add new screens and features to the
game, like the skills one:
If you search on the web you can probably still find the
old web page somewhere. Anyway we provide one here
for your nostalgic enjoyment. The web site was completely
in italian (try to read it with some web translator). The
page is around 1998, one of the last seen online for the PlaneShift
||1998 - Failed.
Around 1998 we were trying to finalize the
commercial contract for the game, but a major problem hit
the company we were speaking to. Basically all the top and
middle level management of the entertainment section was changed
and the new ones were so busy in reshaping the company that
really didn't care about PlaneShift. We tried to wait a few
months to see if something would change, but nothing happened.
The hit was big, also because many of us were in the right
age to plan their future, and so each took a different direction,
no more related to PlaneShift. The project was stopped completely,
no one single line of code written after that date.
The pain on each of us was big, everyone saw that was the
way to go, the game of the future, the place to invest money
and efforts. But none of us was rich or crazy enough to start
a company for it.
||2000 - Something
new, something old.
PlaneShift never left the heart of Luca,
that after some distraction provided by girls (you know who
you are :) ), decided to restart the PlaneShift project, with
a stronger organization, an internet wide team, and no more
commercial tricks. Graphical 2D MUDs were spreading, but still
not very exciting, PS 2D was still a lot better in comparison.
3D games were the major new wave of entertainment on the internet,
and this was immediately taken as the new direction of the
All the ideas and background created for the old project
could be reused and the will to create a realistic virtual
world were people could have fun and create their "other"
living was even stronger than before. The new gfx hardware
could provide a great new level of impersonation and the vision
for the new game was ready.
PlaneShift 3D was born!
The rest is part of present history, and you can read it
in the ps news web pages.
Why we wrote this? Well, basically to let you know a bit
more of our roots, that surely still affects today our beliefs
and our development spirit.
Hope you enjoyed it! Let's make PlaneShift the game it deserves