Game developers are nerds

As a fan of Looking Glass Studios (RIP), the venerable precursor to my employer Irrational Games, I know the Dark Engine. It powers Looking Glass’ Thief and Thief 2, and Irrational’s System Shock 2.

System Shock 2’s level editor is known as ShockEd. Sure. Thief’s editor is called DromEd. What? I never thought to wonder why before.

According to the Thief wiki, the name is “a word play on tylopodae.”

That’s not helpful at all. What the hell is “tylopodae”? According to the non-Thief wiki, it’s a “suborder of terrestrial herbivorous even-toed ungulates.”


But wait–that suborder includes Camelidae (camels), which evokes “Camelot,” which alludes to Thief’s working title of Dark Camelot. Which still doesn’t make any sense, until you remember the single-humped species of camel: the dromedary.

DromEd. QED.

I started thinking about Thief again after listening to this excellent podcast featuring my boss Ken Levine reminiscing on his Looking Glass days. Check it out.