Mat@MDickie.com
2002 Retrospective














 


"Even a broken clock is right at least 2 times a day."
- Jay-Z

After the rollercoaster ride of 2001, this year proved to put me on more solid ground. I settled into my Blitz 3D work nicely, and my whole approach to game development became a notch more professional. Quite literally - because by the end of the year I would be a published developer!

 
Rocky
~
January 2002
The Christmas break can always be relied on to get some interesting work done. That of 2001 was spent experimenting with 3D fighting, and by the following January a humble tribute to the Rocky movies was upon us. As far as my games went, it was very impressive - not least because it only took 2 weeks to make. And, as far as I was aware, there were no good Rocky games around. Unfortunately, the big guns shared my enthusiasm for the Rocky movies at the exact same time and soon had a real contender of a game out there! While its day in the sun lasted, the game did prove fruitful though. At the time it was widely considered to be the best Blitz game so far, and caught the attention of the small publishers Idigicon. They offered to publish the game and, naturally, I seized that opportunity. The game would spend the next few months getting into shape for the main event...
Rocky can be downloaded here! (3mb)


Sure Shot
~
March 2002
Sure Shot was a concept I had been thinking about for the past couple of years. In fact, a half-hearted version was produced in late 2000. At this time though, I decided to do my little vision justice. Until now I was revered as an interesting wrestling game developer, but little more. I knew there was more to me than that. I wanted to prove I could develop an original, simple game concept - something from the school of Tetris, Breakout, Pong, etc.. Sure enough, my innovative take on the shoot 'em-up genre took a step in that direction. Although my wrestling fans were somewhat bemused, the game had plenty of supporters elsewhere in the gaming world...
Sure Shot can be downloaded here! (2.3mb)


PC Utilities Review
~ May 2002
Sure Shot received particularly strong support from game journalists. As a piece of pick-up & play freeware, it enjoyed a world tour on the magazine cover discs. In fact, it was my first ever game to do so! It was often accompanied by glowing reviews too. Martyn Carroll of PC Utilities came through for me again by describing the game as a "gem" and "extremely playable". With regards to establishing me as versatile game designer, it was definitely a case of "mission accomplished"...


Sure Shot: Star Wars Edition
~
April 2002
In what was nothing more than a novelty re-release, I later made a Star Wars edition of the Sure Shot game. It featured Chewbacca and Han Solo tearing their way through Storm Troopers, Imperial Probes, and countless other authentic enemies. It even featured lasers instead of bullets - which completed the transform nicely! Furthermore, the game tied in with the release of the latest movie, "Episode II" - so it was pretty good timing as well. Above all else, I must concede that the Star Wars setting did a lot to enhance the game's appeal...
Sure Shot: Star Wars Edition can be downloaded here! (2.2mb)


Park Life
~
Summer 2002
The 2002 World Cup inspired me to make a start on a soccer project that I had been thinking about. Almost all sports games are simulations, where you play the game properly with official teams. However, I wanted to make a game that brought sport down to the level of ordinary people - kids playing in the park, variations on the rules, etc.. Furthermore, I wanted to add RPG elements - whereby the characters got into adventures all over the world! Unfortunately, after a fantastic start, the game soon deteriorated into an unplayable mess. I simply couldn't get the computer to play the sport effectively, which was obviously a serious problem. The project was taken off in a stretcher, and wouldn't see the light of day again until Grass Roots arrived in 2006...


Flash Movie
~ Summer 2002
Earlier in the year, a University project had introduced me to "Flash" presentations. The idea of making accessible little online games was quite appealing, so I was happy to give it a chance. However, I was making such great progress with Blitz that there was very little here to keep my interest. Flash games might have their moments, but they're no contest for a legitimate game - and that's where my standards were at this point. In fact, I had already made a start on the brand new 2D wrestling series! Flash had its one day in the sun by introducing the crisp new graphics for that game. In what can only be described as an "interactive preview", my little movie allowed the player to guide The Rock around the new wrestling ring... 


2nd Digitiser Article ~ November 2002
On the weekend of November 16th 2002, the Teletext games magazine Digitiser once again published a short article of mine - albeit an unfavourably edited version. The article lamented the lack of personality in the world of game development, and the press' cack-handed attempts to engineer it. It was a controversial criticism of the industry, which didn't go down too well. Coincidentally, the magazine disappeared shortly afterwards... but don't blame me!


Boxer's Story
~
December 2002
By the end of the year, the published version of Rocky (repackaged as Boxer's Story) was one of my first professional releases. I found the publishing process a little jarring. Back in January, Rocky  was just a little experiment that wasn't designed to be much bigger. From that I had to drag out a substantial game, which wasn't easy. Fortunately, the end result was a distinct improvement on the original game - boasting refined gameplay, more characterization, better visuals, and a nice little editor. It even benefited from a decent soundtrack, courtesy a musically inclined university colleague. While those features are standard for a published game, they were a first for me and made the game my best 3D effort so far. That wasn't saying much though, as the game still wasn't "publishing" material in my view. However, it was what Idigicon wanted (and paid for) so I let them run with it. They have since changed its name to the rather soulless "Arcade Boxing"...
Boxer's Story can be downloaded here! (7mb)


Federation Wrestling ~
December 2002
The real story of 2002 was the second coming of my claim to fame, Federation Online. To be honest, the game was born out of the blue. A few hours of experimentation one Easter evening yielded the shell of a good 2D game - something that I had strong doubts about developing in Blitz. On the basis of that work, I realised that a 2D wrestling game was once again perfectly feasible - and what better time to perform a resurrection! And so began my most ambitious project yet, which would take a staggering 6 months to develop. Everything was better this time around - crisper animation, full colour visuals, tighter gameplay, a gigantic roster, more moves, and more game features. It was without a shadow of a doubt my best game so far. So good in fact that there was no way it could follow the freeware route of its predecessor. Although Idigicon were reluctant to get behind a 2D game, they agreed to publish it. The publishing process took its toll though, as the violence was toned down and my beloved "Federation Online" title was altered to avoid confusion. The gameplay survived intact though, and Federation Wrestling (as it was now known) went down in history as one of the greatest 2D wrestling sims of all time. It was a huge blow to my critics. This time the previous year people were telling me that nothing good could be made in Blitz, that there was no place for 2D games, and that my obsession with wrestling would be my downfall. As if this wasn't vindication enough, an infinitely superior sequel was soon to follow...
Federation Wrestling can be downloaded here! (13mb)

                    

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