The first news of the SQ7.org
project came not long after Sierra had axed the official Space Quest 7 project -- on Christmas Eve, no less; thanks, guys -- and devoted fans were, understandably, outraged and a bit hurt. As fans, we had little to no idea of the inner turmoil going on behind the walls of Sierra, until it exploded in a fireball of cancellations and layoffs.
So, taking matters into their own hands, a few dedicated fans decided to make the sequel their own way -- and, much like we have seen with the merger of the Virtual Broomcloset and SpaceQuest.net
, fans rallied to support the project in any way.
I offered to write the music for the game and set about writing a number of tracks, even before there was a storyline or a script. I remember some early sketchy details about the first 1/4 of the plot, but beyond that, I had no idea what the game was about when I wrote the music.
Shortly after having finished this music, and eagerly awaiting to hear more from the story department, things unfortunately unraveled and I left the project prematurely. There were some concerns that the music I was doing was trying to sound like an orchestra but sounded too synthetic, and that was indeed the sad truth: I was limited to what equipment I had at the time, and at the time that consisted of a MIDI keyboard connected to my desktop computer, running a MIDI sequencer called Musicator with a Roland Sound Canvas attached to my Sound Blaster 16.
Now, the Roland Sound Canvas was a commercially available sound card add-on that you could buy in the late 90's, but it was expensive as hell. I remember The Fat Man, composer for The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour, ranting and raving in the 7th Guest manual about how awesome this sound card is. The 7th Guest even came with an audio track on the 2nd disc where the soundtrack was played through a Sound Canvas, and yes, it sounded awesome. At least when compared to the delightfully quirky bleeps and bloops of standard sound card fare at the time, which was the ever-lovable Sound Blaster OPL3 synthesizer (or, if you were worse off, the AdLib synthesizer, which lacked the capacity for playing digitized sounds). If you played games in the late 90's, you probably had either a SoundBlaster Pro or a SoundBlaster 16 - and, congratulations, that was the OPL3 chip you were listening to. (SoundBlaster AWE32 owners, I still curse your snotty superiority!)
Not to turn this into a long rant, but Sierra themselves swore by the Roland MT-32; a device you had to hook up to your computer that looked like the WOPR computer from WarGames had been through a trash compactor. The sound coming off that thing was absolutely astounding as well, but I didn't have one of those.
Anyway, back on track: The SQ7.org
guys had decided to go with digitized music, i.e. OGG's (I think was the file format decided on), but I was doing MIDI music and was completely unfamiliar with modern music making software. So I was playing MIDI tracks off the Sound Canvas and recording that as WAV-files, which I would then encode into OGG. And, frankly, it sounded like MIDI music. MIDI music being played through a really good synthesizer, mind you, but still very much like MIDI music.
So, feeling I couldn't live up to expectations, I quit the project prematurely and thus never got to see or hear any of the cool stuff Colin and the gang went on to do. I still have no idea what the plot of the game was; nor did I ever get to see any of the graphics beyond the first couple of test animations.
But here it is, the music I wrote for the project, back in its earliest stages.