About Delta Tao

Many people ask us why we chose the name "Delta Tao." (In fact, people have questioned our sanity about most every name we've ever chosen.) We'll now set the record straight. "Delta" is the symbol used by engineers around the world to signify change. One would say "Delta V" when he means "change in velocity." We admit this is engineerspeak, but forgive us for a minute. We're mostly engineers, so this makes sense, at least to us.

"Tao" (pronounced DOW) is a Chinese word which means "the Path," or "the Way." It is the big concept behind Taoism. We're mostly Taoist sympathizers around here, so this made sense too.

When you put these together, "Delta Tao" means "The Changing Path," or "The Change in the Path." We thought that this was almost a profound statement of direction, so we adopted it as a name.

We want to stifle all rumors right now that this name may have evolved in any way from the name of our college "fraternity," Delta Tau Sigma (at Caltech, if you must know). All such statements are completely unfounded, and any similarity in the names is entirely coincidental. Any references to a Mr. Dan Schwartz are also hereby disavowed.

When the Mac first came out, it was to be an appliance. It was small, so it could be parked innocuously in a kitchen, like a toaster. Apple envisioned a Macintosh in every home. Alas, it was not to be. Yet.

Joe Williams and Tim Cotter started Delta Tao with the goal of furthering the original Mac vision. Somewhere along the line, Apple got the crazy idea that they were selling business machines, and that real people didn't need computers. Joe and Tim figured that if they demonstrated to Apple the willingness of ordinary people to purchase low-priced software, Apple would take the hint and lower the price of the computers. Color MacCheese, the first (and best) $50 32-bit paint program, was a huge success in 1990, and now Apple really has come out with some terrific machines affordable enough for "the rest of us." Coincidence? You be the judge.

Now that Apple has been steered in the right direction, Delta Tao (now expanded to include Peter Commons, Howard Vives, Eric Snider, Christie Cooper, Kit Fitzpatrick, Bob Van de walle, Sue Cotter, Xena Van de walle, and several others) has changed its focus. Now we want to convince people that computers and technology are important, fun, and useful tools that can change the way the world works for the better. At the moment, we believe that the Macintosh is the greatest computer on the planet, so we're focusing on writing cool Mac software. Like games.

All our games are "brain games," as opposed to "twitch games." Even our animated games focus on the intellectual, rather than finger dexterity. Furthermore, since we think the single most important feature of the Mac is the consistency of the interface, we really use the Mac interface, the way it's meant to be used. Admittedly, this makes the games a bummer to port to the Nintendo, but so be it. The Macintosh always comes first.

Are Delta Tao games educational? Well, they teach economics, but sneakily, by just using sound economic principles in the game design. When you play Spaceward Ho!, you'll incidentally be studying all sorts of major economic principles that have befuddled researchers for centuries, like the balance between renewable and non-renewable resources, the proper rate of growth, diminishing returns of spending, the necessity for research and development in a competitive environment, and the utility function for money. Of course, you won't learn any of this terminology, since our goal isn't to bash useless book learning into your mind. You will gain some fundamental understanding of it, though.

Play Spaceward Ho! for a couple of months, then take an economics course. Tell us if you think we helped.

We're tired of certain other computers having more, better games than the Macintosh. We hate seeing ports from other systems dominate the Mac game market. This takes away from the Mac's biggest advantage -- the user interface. Instead of just using our standard Mac stuff, we have to put up with the varied and difficult user interfaces those other computers have. Who's the enemy? We're not going to mention names, but the initials are MS-DOS.

We love the Mac, and love computer games, so we decided to bite the bullet and write some great games for the Mac. Even if our games don't make us a huge profit, they need to be done, just to spur the Mac into the homes, where it belongs. Besides, we wanted to play them. In this frame of mind, we wrote Spaceward Ho!

Since we don't do much of anything in the way of marketing or advertising, we depend heavily on word of mouth for our basic propaganda. That means we want you to do our advertising for us. Tell all your friends how great our products are. Call up local software and computer stores and ask if they carry our stuff. Call the mail order houses and ask them to carry us. Yeah, we know we're the only software company in the world that thinks "customer support" works this way. But we deserve it.