Pie in the Sky Software
Pie the Sky Software is a Fairport, New York (near Rochester) based software company founded by Kevin Stokes that first operated from 1987 through 2003, and later resurfaced as an Android developer in 2010. At its height in the mid-1990s, it operated as a collection of employees connected via the Internet.
Company Information (2003)
Pie in the Sky Software:
- 1596 Ayrault Rd.
- Fairport, NY 14450 USA
- Telephone: 716-425-8782
The company, formed principally by programmer Kevin Stokes, first dabbled in 3D computer graphics by creating a modestly popular TSR 3D screen saver called InnerMission in 1987. After more developments, they developed a 3D flight simulator Corncob 3D in 1992. The game was inspired by a flight simulator for the Apple II. The game was first released as shareware and then later commercially as Corncob Deluxe by MVP Software. After seeing Wolfenstein 3D, they wrote a new 3D engine in C and used it in the first person shooter Lethal Tender in 1993. Based on that, they were hired by a German group to create a German language first person shooter.
Pie in the Sky released Terminal Terror, the sequel to Lethal Tender, in 1994. The development of this game, to be published by Expert Software, had taken precedence over the German development and thus strained the relationship. The game was relatively successful, but the company sensed they were unable to keep up and stay ahead of other first person shooter developers. To get around this and enter a niche market, they decided to create the 3D Game Creation System and market themselves to consumers who wanted to make their own 3D games. It is first used by games such as Red Babe by The DaRK CaVErN Productions and La Cosa Nostra by Slade 3D Software.
In 1995 it was used in the Despair series, Terror in Christmas Town, Deer Napped, and Castaway: The Ordeal Begins as well as the official example games Meltdown and Industrial Killers. Meanwhile, the various bugs in the program were worked out and upgrades and patches were released, partly because of the rushed development of the system in the first place. The contract with the German group changed, and instead the new game creation system was re-released in German as well as English.
The engine was ported to Microsoft Windows and Direct X in 1998, as well as updating it beyond Wolfenstein 3D-like standards. The company had first detected the decline of DOS in 1994, and had decided to port to Windows and adopt 3D API technology using the Renderware library. This was first attempted in a racing game called Baja Bash, but emphasis was switched to converting the old game creation engine because of market demands, time constraints, and some criticism of the later game - despite its attempted physics advances. Because of licensing restrictions however, they eventually opted to use Direct3D.
In this updated form that it was used in the game Pencil Whipped, designed for the 2000 Independent Games Festival. Chub Gam 3D, an earlier freeware game, was reissued in director's cut form in 1998. In 2001 the third version of the engine was released, featuring true-3D polygonal enemies and weapons, 3D terrain, super lighting effects, and other improvements.
The engine ceased being sold in May 2003 and soon after the Pie in the Sky company website came down. The book 3D Game Creation by Luke Ahearn for Cyberrookies has a section which examines making games using the Pie in the Sky development tools, and the system, alongside GameMaker: Studio, Construct, The Games Factory and FPS Creator, was used in the "Problem Solving through Game Creation" course put out by the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
In 2010 the company was restarted, and has created a physics engine demo and a dice simulation for the Android operating system, tested on the Motorola Droid. The choice of a physics engine is likely inspired by the popularity of the Corncob 3D physics. The company's new website notes "the focus will be more about making fun stuff that being a money-producing business." The rebirth of the company came from a feeling that small companies can make a better headway in the mobile market than on the PC market, based on their struggling experience trying to keep the Pie in the Sky tools current to big name standards in the 1990s.
Note: games made with the 3D Game Creation System without the direct involvement of Pie in the Sky Software are not listed here.
- InnerMission (1987-1991)
- Corncob 3D (1992)
- Power 3D (1992-2003)
- Baja Bash (1997, cancelled)
- Physics Demo (2010)
- Dice App (2010)