Mat@MDickie.com
2000 Retrospective














 


"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

My headmaster once said that "luck" is what happens when "preparation meets opportunity". It went over my head at the time, but by the year 2000 that statement would prove to be very true indeed. I had the "opportunity" to try a couple of new development tools - and you best believe I was "prepared" to make the most of them...

C++ Builder ~ Early 2000
C++ is a notoriously hostile programming language, but this special version made many things as easy as possible - including graphics. It was similar to a multimedia package, such as Medi8tor (mentioned earlier), with the added bonus that you could bring in some C++ code where necessary. It was great at the time because graphics were the one thing eluding me. What follows are the games that I managed to make with it...


"Put This In Your Pipe And Smoke It!" ~ Spring 2000
The biggest temptation when making games is to make them about people you know, for pure comedy value! Even if a game is flawed, it's guaranteed to get a laugh if it's about someone real. Sure enough, my first graphical C++ game made fun of my Computing teacher - who was renown for smoking a pipe. He had to catch all sorts of surreal items in his pipe to score, whilst avoiding the bombs that blew up in his face! Featuring graphics, sound, scoring - and even difficulty levels - this was by far my most complete game yet...


Wussy Lee's House Party ~ Spring 2000
Still relying on humour to guarantee entertainment, I turned my attention to some old school friends. They were dragged, kicking and screaming, from my comic strips and humiliated further in this merciless game. Set at a house party, the player had to bash the buttons feverishly to make their character dance - and attain a decent score before the parents got home. Featuring a room full of characters that actually stumbled around the screen, it was quite a good exercise in artificial intelligence - and a funny one too!


Alsop vs Magrat ~ Spring 2000
Following the success of my Computing teacher spoof, I couldn't wait to pick on more notorious college figures. This time it was my reviled Media Studies teacher "Margaret Tedhi" and annoying classmate "Chris Alsop" that shared the honours. Their game saw a big development in gameplay, as the animated characters tried to knock each other from a platform to win points. The graphics were a notch better too, thanks to a range of backgrounds that were lifted from Super Mario World. Unfortunately, by the time I got it finished college was practically over and hardly anyone saw it...


Popscene ~ Summer 2000
With college over, I decided to dispense with comedy and focus on a serious game. The result was a music industry simulator called "Popscene" - which featured animated performances. Being a huge fan of music, such a game had been on my wishlist for years. I often prototyped it with animations, way back in the days of Deluxe Paint - but now I was able to bring it to life. Well, that is, in the crude way that all my ideas had to settle for at this time. However, it was still an accomplishment on many levels. Being management based, the programming was highly complex - and wasn't a million miles away from what we see now in Wrestling MPire! Furthermore, a lot of effort went into a cool graphical design - and it debuted my edited Fire Pro graphics, which would later be perfected in Federation Booker. Above all else, the game was surprisingly playable and showed a lot of potential. Potential which I was, sadly, ill-equipped to fulfil. That ceased to be the case in 2004 though, as a spectacular 3D remake burst onto the scene!


MDickie ~ Summer 2000
For some reason I started to develop a logo at this stage, but I had absolutely no intention of it being tagged to a successful game. It was originally a black & white design - the flamed version came about by accident whilst experimenting with a paint program. Above is what the logo looked like throughout 2000, before it received numerous facelifts. How I came to call myself "MDickie" is similarly accidental. I seemed to be signing the name "M. Dickie" all over the place in everyday life, then one day I just dropped the fullstop and thought it looked better. The name became synonymous with my games because, quite simply, I was the only person involved. I would maintain that gimmick for a long time yet... 

Muta Ball ~ Summer 2000
Having spent a month developing the management-heavy Popscene, I was desperate to play around with some action-based ideas. Muta Ball was the next idea that I pounced on - and it was surreal. Two Japanese wrestlers stood either side of a destructible wall, and they had to throw balls at each other! It was like a violent version of the classic game Break-Out - and, come to think of it, was somewhat reminiscent of Sure Shot. It had the potential to be quite fun, but I wasn't skilled enough to do it justice...


InsomniCat ~ Summer 2000
My newfound ability to make games triggered millions of ideas - most of which were insane. Hence this game, where you played a cat trying to catch as much sleep as possible in a world full of distractions! You would have to find the coziest places to settle, such as a bed, and sleep there as long as possible (building up your score) before something such as a dog or human forced you away (reducing you score). It was an interesting idea, because you had to strike a balance between getting good sleep and frantically avoiding enemies. However, as with Muta Ball, I simply didn't have the skills to do it justice... 


Bret Hart's Revenge
~ Summer 2000
Up until this point I had avoided wrestling games, simply because anything action-based was way beyond me. However, I decided to make a game that was only slightly about wrestling (something that would become quite a trend later on). At the time, I had only just learnt about the Montreal incident and was inspired to give Bret some retribution. The game was simple: Bret and Owen compete to see who can hit Vince the most times in 30 seconds! The game was somewhat superfluous though. The main attraction was my Fire Pro recreation of the characters involved - and it paved the way for the 2D games I would make later...


Destructive Homer ~ Summer 2000
If I wasn't working with Super NES graphics, I was lifting Simpsons characters from a clip-art package! This was such a game, and it featured Homer taking out his frustrations on Mr. Burns. It was more of a "stress reliever" than an actual game, since Burns never fought back. However, the destructive, weapons-filled gameplay definitely hinted at what was to come. In fact, many of the items used here were the very same that would be used throughout the following 12 months...


Big Bumps ~ August 2000
No, that's not an error! This game was indeed called "Big Bumps", although it was nothing like the games that would later make the name famous. It was simply an experiment in fighting, and saw yet more Fire Pro characters throwing each other through items. At the time I thought it was really great. The destruction was progressing nicely, the graphics were a notch better, and the introduction of health meters made it feel like a proper game. However, it would be yet another project that I didn't finish. This time, though, it was because I came across a new programming language - and it was time for something much better...


DIV Games Studio ~ August 2000
I came across DIV purely by chance. I had never heard of it before, and I didn't even know that programs like it existed. However, when I saw it in a games store I was sold on it's boasts about making good games "easy" - because at this point I was growing frustrated at my lack of progress in C++ Builder... 


U.N. Squadron ~ August 2000
After a lot of experimentation, the first game I completed was a remake of Capcom's U.N. Squadron. I was very pleased with it. For the first time I had professional looking graphics, smoothly animating at a fast pace. The feel of the game was also much better than ever before. I was used to my games being unresponsive and jerky, but DIV made everything very smooth and professional. This particular game had too many novice flaws to warrant a release, but it did fill me with confidence about what could be achieved with DIV... 


Hardy Boyz Stunt Challenge ~ August 2000
This is THE game that started it all. Knowing my novice limitations, I decided to focus on making simple games and making them well. With my collection of Fire Pro inspired graphics at hand, I felt obliged to make a game about the world of wrestling. I brainstormed dozens of possible ideas; the best of which was an idea inspired by Lemmings. I envisaged tiny high-flying wrestlers, such as the Hardy Boyz, throwing themselves from a great height with no real aim. By the time I sat down to make it, it had evolved into a game about performing stunts for points. Everything was added on the spur of the moment, such as the weapons, the extra moves, the competition, etc.. It just became a melting pot of explosive ideas, and somehow ended up as a well-balanced game. For some reason, I was so confident about it that I sent it into a wrestling website. To my surprise, the webmaster snapped it up and gave it pride of place at "Tha Warzone". Here it was distributed to thousands of wrestling fans, and literally became an overnight success. Within 24 hours I had received hundreds of excited e-mails praising the game. Looking back, I can't believe that a single person liked it! As it was, destiny had been written. The positive reaction convinced me that I was onto something, and a hobby was about to became a career...
Hardy Boyz Stunt Challenge can be downloaded here! (450kb)


The Rock's Promo Cutter ~ August 2000
High on the success of Hardyz Stunt Challenge, I focused on anything remotely related to wrestling. By now The Rock was more popular than ever, and his promos in particular were very entertaining. This led to me making a bizarre program where you played his voice like a keyboard - triggering individual words with each key. It was fun for a while, and was an interesting sound experiment. However, its lack of sophistication didn't impress. Hoping for another game as good as Hardyz, the webmaster of Tha Warzone naturally rejected it. As a result, this creation didn't see a release until my own site launched several months later... 
The Rock's Promo Cutter can be downloaded here! (380kb)


Fat Bastards: Live On PPV
~ September 2000
With the Promo Cutter side-project declared a failure and officially out of the way, it was time for another action game. Lifting the graphics from WWF Wrestlemania, I made a comical game about wrestlers Earthquake and Typhoon fighting over food! It had some interesting moments, but the game itself wasn't well made at all. It was very much a step too far for me at this early stage. However, it was actually an important game. Having 2 characters on screen at once, interacting with each other, was a significant achievement. Not least because it was the first to have them traveling around a game world in all 4 directions. That technique would be perfected in the games that followed, but this is where it started...


Case 3:16
~ September 2000
In the wake of disasters such as Fat Bastards and The Promo Cutter, the initial success of Stunt Challenge was beginning to fade. Fans were beginning to think that Hardyz was a "fluke", and it wasn't until Steve Austin exploded back onto TV with a hot storyline that I got my chance to shine again. Being a genuine wrestling fan, I was able to deliver what really appealed to the fans. This game was a great example of that, as the wrestling was once again just the tip of the iceberg. The real premise was that Steve Austin had to beat information out of his enemies, en route to solving the mystery of who ran him over. Thanks to perfect timing, and the best fighting gameplay yet, it proved to be a dazzling return to form...
Case 3:16 can be downloaded here! (1.5mb)


Trent's Dirty Session ~ October 2000
For comic relief, it was time for another joke game. Having just moved away to University, I now had 10 housemates to pick on! One "Trent Nixon" was the first to earn himself a game, when he brought home a girl who was particularly "noisy" in bed. This sick, diabolical little game was a recreation of that night's events - in which you had to bash the buttons to make as much noise as possible and wake up your housemates for points...
Trent's Dirty Session can be downloaded here! (500kb)


Con-chair-to ~ October 2000
Thanks to Steve Austin's game, people were now interested in my wrestling games more than ever. Suggestions were pouring in daily, and although I couldn't make them all I did try to create the most popular requests. One such request was this vehicle for Edge & Christian - who had just gotten over huge thanks to their penchant for chairshots. Their game was a fitting tribute to the gimmick, as they had to knock-out dozens of enemies with the steel! It was a fun arcade concept, but did little to push my work forward...
Con-chair-to can be downloaded here! (800kb)


Fat Sow ~ October 2000
This game was part of my campaign to be mentioned in a popular Teletext games magazine called "Digitizer". The game placed their bizarre "Fat Sow" character in a spin-off of the Stunt Challenge game - in which the pig had to perform stunts to avoid being eaten! It was an amusing little tribute, and actually built on the successful Stunt Challenge formula. However, the game was met with no discernable response... yet.
Fat Sow can be downloaded here! (850kb)


THAT Love Triangle
~ November 2000
The wrestling games had gone quiet since Case 3:16, but fortunately the WWF launched another hot storyline for me to play with. This time it was a heated love triangle - starring Triple H, Kurt Angle, and Stephanie McMahon. As with Case 3:16, my wrestling obsession gave me the edge as I recreated the situation extremely well. Far from a predictable wrestling brawl, the game actually was a competition for the lady's affection as she ran around in amongst the action! Not only did you have to incapacitate your opponent, but you had to do so before he lured the girl away from you. To this end, you could even give her instructions - which were followed quite faithfully thanks to some impressive AI programming. Furthermore, the fighting gameplay was better than ever - featuring actual grappling moves, a scrolling game world, and a satisfying range of items (which even extended to a driveable car!). The production even boasted a fitting title song from Britney Spears! All in all, it was a timely reminder of what I was capable of - and earned me yet more followers. It effortlessly stole the "Best Game" crown from Hardyz Stunt Challenge and Case 3:16 - and defended it admirably in the months to come...
THAT Love Triangle can be downloaded here! (1.5mb)


MDickie.com ~ November 2000
Up until now my games didn't have a website - and it took mounting pressure from the fans to convince me to make one. As I saw it, there was no point in making a site until people actually wanted one. The games came first. Reluctantly I threw together a few simple sections and, as my games got better and more popular, it eventually evolved into what it is today. Over the years, the site's tone has changed as often as the artwork! In the beginning, the emphasis was on "making games WITH the people, FOR the people". It was a very fan-friendly operation, which gave requests a lot of consideration. There was even a "Pipeline" section of the site dedicated to them. However, it proved to be an ill-advised approach to business - which was taken for granted more often than not. As a result, I gradually phased out that gimmick to focus on my own priorities. I'm still the most fan-friendly developer in the business, but I certainly don't suffer fools gladly anymore...


Ian's Home Wrecking Challenge ~ November 2000
I could have made countless games about my new housemates, but as my games got better I grew to resent wasting them on "jokes". Some were unavoidable though, such as the drunken exploits of one "Ian Holmes". Notorious for his copious drinking, and weakness for women, Ian was the perfect person to make cartoons and games about. This one saw him catching drinks from the sky, whilst fondling the ladies for bonus points!
Ian's Home Wrecking Challenge can be downloaded here! (500kb)


Wrecked ~ November 2000
This was a great idea, and was turning out to be a great game. Much like the Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away", you played a guy who had gotten shipwrecked on a tiny island. You had to gather all kinds of resources to survive - ranging from food to wood - whilst all the time avoiding the dangers of the island. By collecting wood you could develop new weapons and tools to use around the island, such as spears. However, the ultimate goal was to collect enough wood to build a boat in which to sail home! As promising as the game was, it turned out to be yet another project that didn't see completion. I simply wasn't experienced enough to take on such an adventurous concept. Fighting was clearly still on the agenda, so that's exactly what I returned to...


Wrestling Vs Boxing ~ December 2000
THAT Love Triangle showed a great improvement in gameplay, and got people suggesting that I finally make a proper wrestling simulator. I knew that was still some way off, but I decided to go as far as I could. I staged a contest between just two characters: the wrestler "Rocky Maivia" and the boxer "Rocky Balboa". Inspired by the Rocky movies, it was to be the ultimate test to see who was the better athlete. My new website played its role well, as the features of the game were gradually introduced through little cartoons and spoof interviews! This generated more hype than usual - and thankfully the game managed to live up to that hype. I had the player moving around a small arena, complete with ring, and the fighting action was a definite step forward. The game even boasted a decent format, as each challenge was unveiled in a backstage confrontation! It was easily overshadowed by its successors, but the game was certainly a big achievement at the time...
Wrestling Vs Boxing can be downloaded here! (900kb)


Sure Shot ~ December 2000
Having struggled through Wrestling vs Boxing, I took a rest for the next few weeks and worked on fun experimental ideas. The result was the first ever incarnation of "Sure Shot" - a game which would find fame some 2 years later. By comparison this was merely a crude prototype, but the concept was so simple that it shone through just enough to be enjoyed. When I finally made the game for real, I could do so with greater confidence thanks to this little "scouting mission"...
This version of Sure Shot can be downloaded here! (500kb)


Family Christmas
~ December 2000
I celebrated my first Christmas as a known game developer with this charming little gift. Even this game managed to pay tribute to the WWF, as we joined Christmas at the McMahon household! The premise was as simple as it gets, but it was hilarious at times. It featured each member of the clan running around the living room, infuriated with their crappy gifts - which were different each time, and included such oddities as a toilet! Of course, the McMahon's took their fury out on each other and used the gifts as unconventional weapons. I was hoping that this would be the first of many "Christmas Specials", but as my games got bigger and more demanding it simply wasn't plausible...
Family Christmas can be downloaded here! (600kb)

                    

Copyright MDickie 2000 - 2010