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Horizons: Ownership Change Interview

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Horizons, a game that has changed ownership a number of times in the last year has changed again, This time though it's a company of mostly former Tulga Games folk running the show, fronted by CEO Rick Simmons who takes the time to talk to Carolyn Koh about the change and what it means.

On July 17th 2007, we learned via an interview on Gamersinfo.net that Horizons: Empire of Istaria had been acquired again; this time, by a company formed by previous CTO of Tulga Games, Rick Simmons and staffed mainly with former Tulga employees. The Horizons community was informed first. Quietly, the forums were opened up to registration again, the external test server - Blight - put back online, and a new secure billing/subscription system installed. On September 10th, a press release went out to say that an agreement to purchase of assets from Tulga Games LLC was complete.

"September 10, 2007 PHOENIX, Arizona - Virtrium LLC, developers of online game technologies and products, announced today that it has completed an agreement with Tulga Games, LLC., in which Virtrium has agreed to purchase the assets of Tulga Games. As part of the purchase agreement, Virtrium will continue to support and develop the subscription based MMO Horizons."

What this means for Horizons and its subscribers; we talk directly with Rick Simmons to find out.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebPosts: 5,051Member Uncommon

    Wow!

    Tulga games company - that was behind dark and light , acquired Horisons !

    R.I.P

    image

  • brostynbrostyn Louisville, KYPosts: 3,092Member

    Umm, Tulga Games was not behind D&L. Anyways, as long as Bowman (is that his name?), is out of the picutre I am actually optimistic. I actually might subscribe to the game. I was enjoying myself before Bowman sold everyone out, and that new company committed near  criminal acts.

  • AxefallAxefall Lenexa, KSPosts: 32Member

    I thought NP Cube created Dark and Light.  Tugla has had no influence on that game.  Are you thinking of Dark World Online?

  • StraddenStradden Managing Editor Halifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

    Originally posted by Lobotomist


    Wow!
    Tulga games company - that was behind dark and light , acquired Horisons !
    R.I.P

    Yeah... Tulga Games has never, at any point, had any involvement with Dark and Light...

    Cheers,
    Jon Wood
    Managing Editor
    MMORPG.com

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member

    Any one have a liner time line as to who owned this game? I am confused by the "Again" portion.

    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • twitch242twitch242 copenhagenPosts: 136Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Lobotomist


    Wow!
    Tulga games company - that was behind dark and light , acquired Horisons !
    R.I.P

    Get a clue next time you post.

  • KordeshKordesh P, NJPosts: 1,715Member

    Good news. I may just check it out when things get more stable. I'm looking for an MMO that is more out of the mold right now, and my friend used to play this way back when before it all went to hell. I just want to see how new servers/server wipes are going to pan out in the next few days.

    Bans a perma, but so are sigs in necro posts.

    EAT ME MMORPG.com!

  • dand3dand3 San Rafael, CAPosts: 241Member

    For the time line; Artifact Entertainment were the original owners and developers.  Atari was the publisher.  Atari apparently pushed AE to release for Christmas, and so Hz was released prematurely.  About eight months after release, they lost their financial backing, and went into bankruptcy.  A venture capital "go between", Chris Tulamello (sp?) found a VC backer, Chris Baker, and Tulga Games received the assets of AE. 

    The game as released was buggy, laggy, and, for many, grindy. However, some of the initial events were unparalleled, and absolutely stupendous.  Playing (flying) dragon characters was possible, with a large and excellent group of playable races. The craft system was unique, as was the ability to mix classes, and the ability to build homes, shops, and community projects; these along with great imagination were the reasons Horizons had a (too small) dedicated group of players. 

    As the game was improved, the dragon play and new player experiences especially, the subscriber base started climbing again.  Horizons was now beginning to look attractive as an investment, and Chris Baker sold Tulga to an outfit called Entertainment Interactive, which morphed into PMI.  The developers were fired, an insecure pathetic excuse of a billing system was put in place, the test and European servers were closed, and after a year, for whatever reason, the game reverted to Tulga.  It was then resold to Virtrium, who are easily the most professional owners yet.  It is clear that they really listen to the players, have high standards, and are very effective coders.  Virtrium is composed of three ex-Horizons developers, who were among the best.  It is also believed that other ex-Horizons devs have contributed evenings and weekends as consultants for training, etc. Given the dedication of many of the devs, that's no surprise. 

    No Horizons character since release has ever been deleted.  From the interview, I expect the Unity (European) players to find a home on the two US servers.  Plots have been and will be reclaimed from lapsed subscribers (after email notifications are mailed), so that new players can construct lairs, homes, shops, or storage.  Back when AE declared bankruptcy, there was a server merge.  It was done as an event, and done very carefully and well, with few problems and no player wipes.  So I'd strongly suggest, with history to demonstrate, that fears of server or character wipes can be laid to rest.   Indeed, instead of further wipes, the players' test server, Blight, has been brought back up. 

    Incidentally, the "secret" possible new content is discussed on the forums, for player comments and testing on Blight.  I'm not sure, the rules have changed, but you may need to be a subscriber, or at least registered, to access the forums. http://community.istaria.com/web/Default.aspx  . 

    Ex-players are returning, to at least take a look.  Those who have followed Horizons over the years, have seen good and bad ownership, and so far, this is certainly the best.

  • T3hpwnT3hpwn Detroit, MIPosts: 94Member

    Look mommy, a train wreck and I...can't....look...away!

    Horizons: one of the few great that will go down in history with the likes of Dark and Light, Vanguard, Darkfall and friends!

  • dand3dand3 San Rafael, CAPosts: 241Member

    I can't speak to the others, but I did play Vanguard in beta and for three weeks after release.  Yes, Hz and VG were both buggy, but Hz had a lot more going for it at release; playable dragons, great events, much much better crafting, and just plain  more imagination. And the best UI (since then, copied by many) by far up to that time. The appropriate races had tails that moved too.  IMHO, YMMV of course.

     

  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    Will gonna have to take a look back at this game, i think i played this game, it was so long ago i don't remember (probably because i only played for a day or 2).

  • saleroxsalerox Gallatin, TNPosts: 7Member

    This game sounds pretty fun. I'm definitely going to give that 14-day free trial a go.

  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member

    Well i just went to the site and the game has apparently 2 strikes against itself already.  

    1- It's not Vista Compatible

    2- It's not dual-core compatible.

    That's bad when you have a dual-core Vista system... :(

  • SamuraiswordSamuraisword Washington DC, MDPosts: 2,111Member

    Amazing that there was no discussion of launching a new server or wiping an existing one.

    Who the hell wants to start playing on 4 year old servers? Horizons highlight is the crafting and construction and the rebuilding of the world.

    image

  • japojapo Sedona, AZPosts: 306Member

    Yeh...if they launch a new server I'll give it another try...for the fourth time.

     

     

  • HadesprimeHadesprime Monteagle, TNPosts: 303Member

    if you read the interview you will notice a lot of BS in it. There is one point in particular that stinks badly. HZ just isn't very much fun. Its going to need $$$$ millions of dollars in resources. He obviously didn't invest very much when one of the first things Vitrium did was raise subscription costs.

    2 bits and a nickle I'd hardly call substantial.

     

     

  • AshglonteriAshglonteri little rock, ARPosts: 11Member

    What is not fun for some may very well be your cup of tea.

     

    Here are a few highlights to perk your interest...

     

    You can not only be a dragon, but can fly the skies with freedom.

    You can be all you want to be, any class or all classes.

    You can make a lasting mark on the world that all other players can see and get benefit from.

    As events start occuring again, you will also get to see a community spirit unlike any you have seen before

    in a game. Where players that may be opposed to each other,  will stand shoulder to shoulder to build  the

    world together.

     

    So tell your friends, and give it a try.

     

  • JinxedGamingJinxedGaming Arcata, CAPosts: 36Member

    Originally posted by T3hpwn


    Look mommy, a train wreck and I...can't....look...away!
    Horizons: one of the few great that will go down in history with the likes of Dark and Light, Vanguard, Darkfall and friends!

    Considering Darkfall hasn't even been released yet, I'm not really seeing how it's anything like the other listed games.

  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebPosts: 5,051Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Stradden


     
    Originally posted by Lobotomist


    Wow!
    Tulga games company - that was behind dark and light , acquired Horisons !
    R.I.P

     

    Yeah... Tulga Games has never, at any point, had any involvement with Dark and Light...

    My mistake. Tulga games sound familiar and not in a good way.

    Regardless here is what Wikipedia says about them

    "

    Tulga Games LLC is a privately held digital game publisher and developer. Its stated mission is providing individuals and families with quality digital entertainment experiences.

    The only game on Tulga's roster was originally produced by Artifact Entertainment up to 2003, Horizons: Empire of Istaria, but it was taken over by EI Interactive in July 2006. As of August 2006, Tulga Games fired all of its employees and has ceased development of existing and future games."

    Still does not sound to peachy

    image

  • grndzrogrndzro Reno, NVPosts: 1,150Member

     

    Originally posted by Aguitha


    Well i just went to the site and the game has apparently 2 strikes against itself already.  
    1- It's not Vista Compatible
    2- It's not dual-core compatible.
    That's bad when you have a dual-core Vista system... :(

    This post is kind of pointless....Everything is vista compatible, if you know how to make it work.

     

    I haven't had a game not work flawlessly on vista yet.

    And there is a dual core optimization program that allows legacy single thread programs to use some of the power of a dual core system.

     

    In fact here is a thread where people have figured out how to make it work.

    http://community.istaria.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16150

  • TherosIronTherosIron PakenhamPosts: 24Member

    Entice old players back ???

    how ??

    with a PRICE INCREASE ??

    some-one other than a fanatic please explain how a sub increase will PROMOTE a 4 yr old game with dodgey history of company sell outs/take overs ?

    Sorry but I will be one of those NOT going back to a lag filled game , and by lag filled ...try grouping with a few others and watch your fps take a great big nose dive.

    Also dunno how they expect performace to get better WITH INCREASED VIEW DISTANCE that YOU CANT ADJUST because the minimal setting has BEEN INCREASED .... fps took a huge nose dive with that one

    The fanatics drove me off their forum and outta the game and those same fanatics say they are the best community ... hahahahahabullshithahahahaha < sarcasm >

    go ahead peeps try it out and see for yourself ... but dont say i didnt warn you

  • Spartan06Spartan06 Pismo Beach, CAPosts: 22Member

    I hate to be a correction-nazi, but the front page title is a little off...

     

    "Horizons ownership has changed again, This time though it's a company of mostly former Tulga Games folk running the show. CEO Rick Simmons who takes the time to talk about the change."

     

    The "T" in "This time" should be uncapitalized and the "who" should be removed  from the second sentence for it to sound coherent.

     

    Just want to keep the front page looking professional and cogent. :)

  • AirspellAirspell warsawPosts: 1,391Member
    Originally posted by Spartan06


    I hate to be a correction-nazi, but the front page title is a little off...
     
    "Horizons ownership has changed again, This time though it's a company of mostly former Tulga Games folk running the show. CEO Rick Simmons who takes the time to talk about the change."
     
    The "T" in "This time" should be uncapitalized and the "who" should be removed  from the second sentence for it to sound coherent.
     
    Just want to keep the front page looking professional and cogent. :)

    Ahh yes proffesionalism...that's what the powerleveling/gold selling ads are for son, this site is pro with a capital NOT :P  Glad you are on top of the important issues though

    image

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,185Member Uncommon

    I hate to throw ice on your pro Vista comments, but there are actually alot of games that will not run on Vista no matter what you do.

    Vista is generally ok if you are playing a newer game, but old games and it are a hit or miss situation.

    Yeah you can get games that don't handle the dual cores to run, but you have to turn off one of the cores to make it work, so what is the point of having dual core then?

    This is one of those games better left to the past, and the new owners don't exhibit any worthwhile qualities to change that.

  • dand3dand3 San Rafael, CAPosts: 241Member

    A variety of issues raised above, with the usual ignorance thrown in amongst the nuggets of knowledge.

    Vista; sort of catch as catch can actually, the workarounds don't always.  This will be fixed I'm sure, ASAP.  But it is a real issue at present.  

    The new owners; not sure what more one could ask.  They've cleaned up the billing system, have a patch on the (resurrected) test server, have had excellent communications, pushed some small patches live, published patch notes for player comment, and they're working on the European problem.  There are client changes for performance on the test server now. Not too shabby for two months.  Oh, and opened up the forums; EI had closed registration, even to new players!!!

    Price; not sure if still being honored, as it was said to end 9/15, but previous players could sub at the old price, same perks.  (Grandfather option.)    New players have a (free??)  trial, or a lower cost sub, with fewer features, or a slightly increased price with more features. Some higher prices were floated as a trial balloon, but the actual pricing was set after community comments, and reflected the community.

    Tulga firing the developers; technically true, but misleading.  Tulga ended.  EI did not hire any of the devs, so when Tulga closed, so ended the devs' jobs. I place the responsibility at EI's door; just the first of many things I disliked about them.

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