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20070902

Donuts and doctors

Entry 327 posted in: 3. Gamebits


Doctor I have been a fan of Theme Hospital for over a decade now and although the gameplay is a bit old fashioned, even to my standards, the game has never left my PC. It was only a matter of time, I hoped, before a fan-based clone, remake or upgrade would be made as the game still has some fervent admirers today.

Other classic games have their 21st century versions for ages, one of the most famous is Transport Tycoon Deluxe that has two very active open source upgrades: Open TTD and TTDPatch. Both clone, copy and patch the original Chris Sawyer software and their first goal was to make the original game XP and multiplayer compatible. But as these patches made it also possible to add new graphics, new vehicles and new industries the open versions have grown into something quite new and refreshing.

My heart skipped a few beats when I found out in 2006 that an open Theme Hospital remake was announced under the name Open Theme Hospital. But alas the website didn't change in months and in the beginning of 2007 it simply vanished. Not long after that buzz was going around that a commercial Hospital Tycoon game was nearly finished. This made me conclude that the people behind the free version had gone commercial. To add insult to injury the new Hospital Tycoon is, to say the least, a medical error. Due to time and or money pressure the game was released with a lot of bugs still inside and with some functions and situations hiding inactivated inside the software. To add yet another insult to the one that was already added the makers of Hospital Tycoon then decided not to release any patches. Some fans are now trying to hack into the software to find some solutions themselves.

And then, out of the blue, a brand-new open openHospital Mk 2 was announced. The big brain behind the project, Leeor, also was involved in the first attempt to made an open-source version but, to put it in his words:

"openHospitalTycoon was my project. I didn't sell it to CodeMasters -- they created a commercial game before I even got a chance to start it. So I had to rename it in order not to potentially end up in a legal situation." (Source: Theme Hospital Clinic Forum)

And

"I have no idea who that Liam (Studham, creator of Hospital Tycoon) guy is but he definitely did not start the openThemeHospital project. I later renamed openThemeHospital to openHospitalTycoon in an effort to avoid attention from Electronic Arts. I figured there was no sense in getting in trouble with EA over a game concept.
Not long after I changed the name, Hospital Tycoon was announced so I ended up changing the name again to simply openHospital.
Essentially, openThemeHospital, openHospitalTycoon and openHospital are all the same project... the intent has always been the same despite the name changes." (Source: Round Donut)

So let’s hope this second start is the good one. To celebrate a brand new website has been created that can be found at : Round Donut. It can still take a while though before any downloads see the light of day, so for the moment it is best to stick onto your old copy of Theme Hospital.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Tentacle Day