Mat@MDickie.com
Frequently Asked Questions














 


How do you take such unusual screenshots?
I'm constantly testing the game throughout its production, so I just keep an eye out for interesting images and hit F12 to save them. However, if there's something I desperately want to portray and it's not happening naturally, I can always activate the manual camera and go looking for the shot...


Why do your screenshots look better than the actual game?

Firstly because, as mentioned above, I usually end up using exotic camera angles to take them (which are drastically different from what greets you when you're first getting used to a game). Plus I run the games in the highest possible resolution, so the source material is sharper than the default 800x600 that most people see...

Why do you use such small screenshots?
I'd only have to create a smaller thumbnail for the articles anyway, so I'd rather just have one set of screenshots that I can use for any purpose. Besides, I think it adds to a game's allure if you only get to see it in full screen once it's finished!

Can you sort out a problem with my order?
The business side of things has very little to do with me, so I'm not the best person to ask. Simply direct your query to SoftWrap or CafePress directly, and they'll do everything they can to help you out. If the problem persists, I may be able to intervene in extreme cases...

Why aren't the downloads as easily updated as the boxed products?
An installation of the boxed game is as "pure" as it would be on my computer, whereas a download needs all kinds of additional info to make it a publication. That basically means that its files can't be replaced without great difficulty, and that's exactly what a patch would need to do. It is perfectly possible to update an online game, but it involves re-releasing and re-activating the entire product. Very few game modifications are worth that much hassle...

Why don't the downloads cost any less than the boxed products?
As highlighted in the above question, the downloads are not - and will never be - the preferred way of owning the games. They're very much a last resort for people that can't acquire the game any other way. If they were cheaper AND more convenient, it would be taken as a green light to ignore the original game altogether - and that's not the message that I want to send out. Besides, it's not actually possible for the prices to dip below double-figures anyway!

Can I activate a download if I own the boxed product?
No, each format is managed by a completely different company - so neither one has a vested interest in the fact that you own the other...

Are you the "MDickie" that posts on website forums?
No, I haven't been visiting any forums of any kind. Anybody that writes under my name is an impostor...

Why don't you post on any game development forums?
There's no polite way to answer that question - except to say that I find the inhabitants of the games industry to be very insecure and negative. I'm a positive person, so I have no business being in that environment! Anything I have to offer can be found at this very website...

My friend claims to help you with the games. Is he telling the truth?
No, there's not a human being alive that helps me with the games. Anybody that claims otherwise is lying to you. Of course, you could always ask them to show you a running copy of the latest games!


Why
is the volume unusually loud in your games?
All of my sound effects are levelled against mainstream efforts, so there's no problem with the files themselves. The issue is that my games pay more attention to the "Wave" setting than the master volume. On some sound cards, these settings can be knocked out of kilter when used for various things. Simply load up the main volume controls in Windows and make sure the "Wave" setting is in line with everything else...

How much will you pay me for a game idea?
It's a myth that there's money to be made from game "ideas". That's the easy part! Bringing them to life is where the real work comes in - and there are thousands of developers that are capable of doing that all by themselves. As for me personally, I don't pay anyone for anything - so you're barking up the wrong tree there...


Why aren't the prices of the older games going down?

They're already at rock-bottom prices. Any lower and it would barely cover the production costs. You've got to remember that it's not the old games that are "expensive", it's the new ones that are cheap! That said, you could argue that the compilations are a good value way of purchasing older titles...

Why do your games have such long instruction manuals?
Well, that's the price you pay for having a deep game. Underneath the surface, most of my games are highly sophisticated and I give you the chance to understand them 100%. You don't have to read the manuals all the way through anyway. Simply take a glance at each header, so that you know what's in there if you get stuck...

How can I buy your games without a credit card?
Due to by independent status, I'm afraid it's always going to be difficult to get hold of my games. All I can suggest is that you ask a friend or relative to order on your behalf. Other than that, you may want to contact the distribution companies themselves and see what they suggest...


How can I get a download purchase back after formatting my PC
?
Simply direct your enquiry to SoftWrap directly (support@softwrap.com) and they'll check their records to hook you back up. Please appreciate that these things have very little to do with me personally, so always ask them first...

Why do your games give me a "Memory Access Violation" error?
Please take note of the purple system requirements in the Games section. My games generally require Windows 95/98/XP and DirectX 7.0 or higher to work. Errors, such as the one above, are inevitable if your system isn't compatible. Beyond that, the error could also mean that the game's files have been tampered with. Installing an update or patch incorrectly is often the culprit...

Why do some files fail to download properly?
That's just the nature of the Internet, I'm afraid - especially with bigger files such as the ones I'm posting nowadays. The stability of a connection changes from computer to computer, file to file, and even country to country. Sometimes heavy traffic can be a factor too (especially on launch days), so it's always worth trying again at another time...

Why do you list your name 10 times in the "Credits" instead of once?
The general rule is that I credit myself for every job that would/should have taken a whole other person to do. Left to their own devices, people tend to forget how much work goes into these games! By listing each of the jobs, it's easier to appreciate for all concerned...


Why are you so proud of the name "Dickie"?
It's like a battle scar. You can give me the most ridiculous name possible and I'll still make people respect it! When that's the case, there's not an awful lot else that can hold you down...

Why do you end every paragraph with ... ?
No particular reason. I guess I'm just sickeningly optimistic! I'm always looking to the future...


How do you make your 3D models?

I use an industry-standard package called 3D Studio MAX. It's expensive and hard to get hold of, but it's practically the only program worth using...

Why doesn't MDickie.com promote message boards and fan sites?
The sad truth is that they end up doing more harm than good! They soon deteriorate into a breeding ground for piracy. I can't support any content that's beyond my control...


Why have the older games been removed from the Games section?

Since they require Windows 95, very few people can play those games nowadays - and probably wouldn't choose to even if they could! Above all else, they don't represent what my work is about anymore. The downloads are still available, but they've been relegated to the History section...

How do I apply the patches and updates for your games?
You simply open the file in WinZip and use the "Extract" option to install the contents to the game's main directory. This ensures that all of the extra files find their correct folder. You may find that later files are "self-extracting"; in which case all you have to do is enter the directory of your game...

How do you draw your textures for 3D games?
I use a little-known program called Painter 5. However, all you really need is a program that has a good "Airbrush" tool. That's how you achieve the realistic shading in things like faces. As for costumes, there are many templates in the bonus material of the CD version... 


How do you make the graphics for your 2D games?

They were initially edited from a game called Fire Pro Wrestling. I took a screenshot, cut out the character I wanted, then edited them beyond recognition - using the original graphic as an outline. Nowadays I'm experienced enough to draw the graphics from scratch (in Microsoft Paint) so I've pretty much made the style my own...

Is Federation Booker the last 2D you'll ever make?
It's certainly the last big game I'll ever make in 2D. I was only just getting to grips with my 2D graphics, but unfortunately they're a pain to work with. Strangely enough, they're harder to make than 3D games!


How long do your boxed games
take to ship to England?

I live in England myself, and in my experience orders will arrive within 10 days...

Why do the boxed games take so long to deliver?
A by-product of my small, independent status is that I don't have the muscle tha
t mainstream companies have. Rather than being mass-produced, the games are manufactured as and when orders come in - so there's a slight delay...

How much do products priced in $$$ end up costing a British customer?
Well there are $1.8 to 1, so if you just take a calculator and divide any price in Dollars by 1.8 you'll get your magic number. International shipping costs tend to be $7, which translates as an extra 4. All in all, the whole order ends up costing just 12 - which is nowhere near as bad as it first seems!


What do you make your games with?

I have used DIV, Dark BASIC, and most recently Blitz 3D. Details of all of those products can be found in the Links section...

Can you teach me how to make games?
I've certainly got knowledge to offer, but unfortunately it's not practical. It took me 3 years of hard work to get anywhere near where I am now - and I obviously haven't got the time or the inclination to repeat that process. The best thing to do is keep an eye on my site and pick up what you can from the occasional article...

Can you tell me of any free game development tools?
I'm afraid nothing worth having is "free". You should always seek out professional products, and avoid piracy wherever possible...

Who else works on your games?
I do everything myself. From the graphics to the programming that turns them into a game, it's all my work. I'm responsible for the entire MDickie empire - including this site! I taught myself every aspect of game
development in order to attain that creative freedom...

Why do you work alone?
Simply because I can. Working in a team is a huge creative compromise, and I will avoid it for as long as I can. Also, contrary to popular belief, working alone is
infinitely more productive. If I had to rely on other people (and wait for their work to come in), the whole process would take much longer. The biggest reason of all though is that it's impressive. Being able to make games of all kinds single-handedly, in this day and age, is a spectacular achievement. It makes me unique...

Do you need any help with the games?
No thanks, I've got it covered. The best way to help me is to simply spread the word about the site and games... 

How long does it take to make a game?
It takes up to 3 months to make a "decent" game, but I can make a game in a single afternoon if it's simple enough...


Is there any way to make the older games work on Windows XP
?

It's not easy, because they're designed to run in DOS and Windows XP doesn't support that. There is one emulator that gives it a shot at it though, and details of that can be found here...

What are the controls for your games?!
Always look for a text document in the game's main directory once installed. Everything you need to know is in there - and you may even find an additional document that explains the intricacies of deeper concepts...

Can I link to your site?
Of course, but I can't guarantee that I'll return the favour...

Why do you spell your name with one "t" instead of two?
No specific reason, but I suppose it's got something to do with those old arcade scoreboards only accepting 3 letters:
1.   M - A - T   2865000

How do I take screen shots of your games?
For the older games you press CTRL & ALT & P. The screens will be saved in the game's directory as PCX images. For the more recent games, you simply press F12. A bitmap will then be saved in the game's directory...


How often do you play games instead of making them?
Hardly ever! As strange as it sounds, it's hard to do both. When you've spent hours making a game, the last thing you want to do to relax is play one...

What was the first game you ever made?
You can figure that out for yourself by reading my History
! I generally consider Hardyz Stunt Challenge to be the first game I ever made, because it was the first public release...

What's the point of the XXX section of your site?
Every page or section exists because
enough people have enquired about it...

Copyright MDickie 2000 - 2006