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Clue (known as Cluedo outside of North America) is a computer game based on the board game of the same name. Its formal name is Clue: Murder at Boddy Mansion or Cluedo: Murder at Blackwell Grange. It runs on Microsoft Windows. It was developed in 1998 for Hasbro Interactive by EAI. Infogrames (now Atari) took over publishing rights for the game in 2000 when Hasbro Interactive went out of business.
Clue is a direct conversion of the original game as a computer game. As such, it takes place in the same mansion and features the same goal of the board game.
In addition to play by the original rules, Clue has an additional mode that allows movement via "points." Each turn begins with nine points and every action the player takes costs points. The player can only do as many things as he has points. For example, moving from square to square costs one point, making a suggestion costs three points. Many players prefer this mode of play as it makes the game more balanced since each player gets the same number of "moves" each turn.[ ]
A few features of Clue:
- Detailed depictions of the characters made famous by the board game
- A 3D isometric view
- A top down view reminiscent of the board game
- Video clips of the characters carrying out the crime (which garnered the game's T (Teen) rating)
- Online play via the Internet
In the game, if one wishes to play online, he or she is linked to a now invalid URL address. The game was originally connected to the MSN Gaming Zone; however, MSN stopped hosting the game.
Clue had enjoyed an unusually long shelf life for a video game. It went on sale late in 1998 and, as of 2007 was still for sale, available at many retail stores and via the Internet. The original game came in a box with holographic images. Now the game comes in a less expensive jewel case, or as part of a collection, the Classic Game Collection (also including computer versions of Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Scrabble). At one point the game was offered free inside boxes of cereal alongside other Hasbro computer games such as Operation.
Clue was developed by a branch of Engineering Animation, Inc. called EAI Interactive. The development team was divided between EAI's interactive division in Salt Lake City, Utah and its main office in Ames, Iowa. Most of the programming and game design took place in Salt Lake, while most of the art and animations were developed in the Ames office. Development of the mansion, constructed piece by piece, began in Ames, but moved to Salt Lake City about halfway through the project.
Development of Clue took approximately one year. Hasbro Interactive, the game's publisher, funded the project.
The game does not include credits, however dozens of people were involved in Clue's development. Some of the more notable contributors:
- Michael S. Glosecki, Executive Producer, Hasbro Interactive
- Bryan Brandenburg, Executive Producer, EAI Interactive
- Tom Zahorik, Producer, Hasbro Interactive
- Virginia McArthur, Producer, EAI Interactive
- Rick Raymer, Game Designer
- Tim Zwica, Art Lead
- Chris Nash, Lead Programmer
- Joshua Jensen, Lead EAGLE Programmer
- Mike Reed, AI Programmer
- Greg Thoenen, Programmer
- Darren Eggett, Programmer
- Steve Barkdull, Programmer
- Emily Modde, Level Designer
- Greg German, 3D Modeller
- Jonathan Herrmann, Cinematic Lighting
- Jason Wintersteller, Graphic Designer
- Cole Harris, Lead Tester
Clue was based on two game libraries developed by EAI Interactive. Isoworld was responsible for displaying the characters in the isometric perspective. Most of the other functions of the game were handled by EAGLE, which stood for Engineering Animation Game Library Engine. Joshua Jensen was the principal programmer for both of these libraries.
The AI used by Clue's computer-controlled opponents was very advanced for a computer board game conversion. The AI was so good at deriving solutions that many customers complained that the computer cheated. In fact, this was not the case: the computer-controlled characters were just much better than the average human player.
The AI worked by keeping track of all players' suggestions. It even kept track of information which most human players ignored. For example, if Player A suggested that Mr. Green did it with the rope in the lounge and Player B could not disprove it, most players would ignore this fact. But the computer would record that Player B did not have Mr. Green, the rope or the lounge cards. Thus, if on a subsequent turn, Player A made the suggestion of Mr. Green, the pipe in the lounge and Player B could disprove it, the AI knew that Player B had to have the pipe. In this manner the AI was able to determine which players had which cards without ever having to ask about them.
The game allowed three difficulty levels for the AI. The easier AI's used a shorter history of game turns and the hardest one used the entire game history. The AI was programmed by Mike Reed based on a design by Bob Pennington, who left EAI early in the project.