A short history of Unbirth

"Unbirth was first started in late 2001 while I was still in the army. The basic idea was to make a horror game like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but in first person, with more stuff to examine and a little less violence. After having written down some basic design (which was basically top down sketches of some maps), I started looking for an engine. Not having any earlier experience in 3D I started by examining the few free 3D engines that existed at the time, but none really seemed good enough. I discussed my problem with an online friend, Pierre, who were making a commercial 3D engine, and he said that I could use it for free and in turn he could use the game to show off the engine. This seemed like a good opportunity and although the engine was not complete, I would have contact with Pierre, meaning I could suggest changes and so on.

Time went on and I spend an awful lot of free time working on the game, and although the 3D engine got better and better, Pierre was forced to make a lot of changes because of customer demands, and this forced me to change my code as well. I could have just stuck with an older version of the engine, but then I would have missed out on very much needed updates, so I had to continue updating the code according to changes. At the end of the project’s life it went so far that basically all code had to rewritten into a new programming language. I do not blame Pierre for this, since he had to do certain things in order to keep customers happy so I understand that. In hindsight it seems like it would have been better if I had made my own engine, but I doubt I would have managed to pulled it off without the enormous amount of experience I got from working with Pierre’s Engine.

The released demo / alpha is the culmination of around 2 years of work. While this is not the last version of Unbirth made, it is the latest working version I could find. After this version, a lot of other people joined the project but not much more playable content was added. Unbirth was last worked on in late 2004, meaning the project lasted for 3 years. However, while Unbirth is dead, it’s spirit lives on in the Penumbra series of games. Something I hope you will see when the playing the demo / alpha."

-Thomas Grip, co-founder Frictional Games.

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