a broken clock is right at least 2 times a day."
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!
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...
can be downloaded here! (3mb)
Sure Shot ~
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...
Shot can be downloaded here! (2.3mb)
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
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
Sure Shot: Star Wars Edition
can be downloaded here!
Park Life ~
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...
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...
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!
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)
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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