future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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
~ Early 2000
C++ is a notoriously
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...
This In Your Pipe And Smoke It!"
~ Spring 2000
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...
~ Spring 2000
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!
~ Spring 2000
success of my Computing teacher spoof, I couldn't wait to pick on more
notorious college figures. This
it was my reviled Media Studies teacher
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...
~ Summer 2000
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.
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
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!
~ 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...
~ Summer 2000
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...
~ Summer 2000
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...
~ 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
~ Summer 2000
If I wasn't working
with Super NES graphics, I was lifting Simpsons characters from
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
~ 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...
~ 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 ~
After a lot
of experimentation, the first game I completed was a remake of Capcom's
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...
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
Hardy Boyz Stunt Challenge can be downloaded here!
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!
Live On PPV
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...
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
Case 3:16 can be downloaded here!
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
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!
~ 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
Con-chair-to can be downloaded here!
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
Fat Sow can be downloaded here! (850kb)
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
THAT Love Triangle can be downloaded here!
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...
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
Ian's Home Wrecking Challenge can be downloaded
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
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...
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
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
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
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
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
Christmas can be downloaded here! (600kb)
Copyright © MDickie 2000 - 2010