~ August 2001 ~
On my first anniversary as a game
developer, the future remained untold and anything
was possible. Here,
Baileyk85 asks me about my ambitions for the years ahead - which
seemed to centre around walking into a job as a mainstream developer! Who
Mat, let's start with the
predictable stuff that you've been asked so many times before. Let me ask, how
did you first break into games design?
After a lot of experimentation with C++, i came across DIV Games Studio
in a shop one day and bought it right away - not knowing anything about it. A
few days later i was making my best games yet, and within weeks i had a
playable game (Hardyz Stunt Challenge).
I approached a wrestling site, called Tha Warzone, with the game and
the webmaster delivered it to thousands of visitors. No one had ever seen
anything like it, so it was extremely well received. The success of that game
put my name on the map and fuelled everything that followed.
Do you recieve a lot of media attention (magazines,
I've had countless magazine/newspaper spots, i did a radio show, and most
recently i had an article published on a TV magazine. I receive more attention
than most amateur developers, but i'm still not happy with my exposure. I've
got big plans for marketing myself, so i haven't even started yet. Ask me
about the media nearer Christmas, and hopefully i'll have quite a story for
I have asked many people that have played your games
which they consider the be the best and many of them say Federation Online
- including myself. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement
Federation Online is my greatest achievement in one sense, because it's
my first decent wrestling simulator and it's the product of all the 2D games
that i ever made. On the other hand, Big BumpZ signifies my 3D debut -
which is very important. I'm reluctant to give Federation Online too
much praise because the concept has a long way to go yet...
Tell me more about
Federation Online and what it was like to make.
Wrestling is a toy that i was born to play with. Even as
a kid i eagerly acted out my own show with WWF
action figures. While other kids were banging them together, i was staging my
own PPV's and developing my own angles.
Federation Online is an extension of that desire to play with wrestling.
The game was extremely difficult to make. Remember that all those 16-bit
wrestling games like Wrestlemania and Fire Pro were made by
dozens of professionals. I did a similar thing by
myself! I wouldn't have it any other way, but it did
present quite a workload. It was enjoyable though because i had faith in the
You've recently moved a step up from the (no offense)
graphically simple 2D games and onto the more
complex 3D games. We all know they look better, but
in terms of design is it a lot harder to work with?
Dark BASIC is very difficult to work with. The fighting that was so
easy in DIV will be a nightmare in Dark BASIC - which doesn't
bode well for wrestling games. I have to learn how to program wrestling all
over again, but the end result will be even better.
you see a future for the Big BumpZ series or
have we seen the last of it?
Big BumpZ has gotten over huge with most
people - more than i expected -
but it is on the way out. Most recently, i released an updated version which
gives you a human opponent to aim for. That's it for this first version.
It will be a long time before the concept is resurrected. You haven't
seen the last of it in its current form though.
There's a good chance that the
prototype will be showcased at E3 next
Your latest project is a game based upon the hit
American sit-com, Friends. How are you hoping
to turn that concept into a playable game with a lifespan?
That's the big problem - i have no concept at the moment!
I've scrapped the acting idea, due to it being such a lot of work for such a
lame experience. I just took a shot and recreated the Friends world.
I don't know what will come of it. I intend to pass it on to a
Friends fansite and see what they make of it. If
their fans can think of a good idea then i'm ready to run with it. It's only
one of 4 games that i'm developing, so it's not important.
We've talked a bit about the past and the present,
but where do you see yourself in a year's time?
Well i'm studying on a videogames course at university,
so my future for the next 2 years is etched in stone.
However i would like to move to the USA or Canada and start working in the
mainstream as soon as possible. It's only been a year since i made my first
game, so what i'll achieve in this second year should be amazing. It's
guaranteed that we'll see a 3D version of the Federation Online concept
over the next 12 months, so that should shape my
Have you been approached by any professional game
teams or publishers?
No, i don't think it works like that - i've got to make the first move. That's
what i intend to do after Christmas. I'll be
bombarding companies with my games, looking for employment of some
description. I don't like the idea of working for someone else, but i'll have
to do it.
I once talked to Adam Jennings (of Promotion Wars)
about the idea of getting his game commercially published.
He was strongly against the idea for reasons concerning the loss of
control over the game's path and future,
etc. I know that you're trying to get Federation Online published on
Gameboy Advance. Don't you have any problems with handing over your work
and ideas to a commercial company to adjust as they
Developers aren't stupid - if you're talented they will kill themselves
to keep you on board. The creator of Worms, Andy Davidson, took his game to
Team 17 and got pushed to the very top of the company because they needed his
talent, his input. A developer would look at Big BumpZ and
and see more than "ideas". They're looking at absolute franchises
design, original concepts, professional logos, etc. - all created by one man,
and they want a piece of whatever comes next. Besides, I don't have to be
scared of anybody in this business. If someone steals my ideas and abuses
them, i'll just laugh it off and develop something even better. I'll always be
one step ahead because i'm the creator, the source. If you're
over-protective about a project, it means it's the only good idea that you'll
ever have. I think that applies to Promotion Wars to
be honest, but a text game would never
get published nowadays anyway...
Maybe I'm swimming out of my depth but I know you've always been open to
game suggestions. Now I've always wanted to see a wrestling game in Tekken
style with combos and stuff like that. A straight fight with nowhere to run,
but where wrestling moves are incorporated among the usual kicks and punches. Like
when you play as the "King" character in the Tekken games. I'm getting
excited - how sad! What are the chances?
I've still got a lot to learn about fighting before that will be
possible. It'll never be my main goal, but I think we'll see your game on the
long road to a wrestling simulator. I don't do things that have gone before,
not even Tekken, so I would probably give it a slight twist - like the
confessions in Case 3:16...
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