Mat@MDickie.com
Jaguar Journal Interview












 


~ April 2013 ~
It's always a pleasure to see kids sharing their enthusiasm for my games at school, so
I participated in an interview for Nicco Toral's school newspaper, The Jaguar Journal:

When did you start making video games?
It depends how far back you want to go because I used to make games out of cardboard long before I even owned a computer! I've always been passionate about entertainment of all kinds. I first stated programming basic games for the PC in 1998, which evolved into my first public releases in August 2000. I was introduced to the PASCAL language on a college course, and even though I could only use it to make text games, that was all I needed to get started.

What is your best PC game that you made?
Objectively, it's the Wrestling MPire 2008 series - which has gone on to be downloaded over 200,000 times and has spawned an entire community of fans who have made it their own. Personally, I have a soft spot for "Under Development" - my game about making games. It was fun to revisit my childhood and recreate the entire history of gaming as I knew it.

What is your best phone game booking revolution or wrestling revolution?
They're two sides of the same coin so it really depends which aspect of the wrestling industry is appealing to you at the time. When the Wrestlemania hype was in full swing, I enjoyed hiring talent and putting the cards together. But sometimes playing so many matches in a row becomes a chore and you want to advance more swiftly. Booking Revolution is like having a full-time job - which is both the best thing about it and the worst! I'm currently enjoying my Wrestling Revolution career more at a the moment because I travel a lot and I can play a couple of matches at a time.

What do you use to make your games PC and Phone?
I've used a lot of different tools and programming languages over the course of my career. I started in PASCAL, dabbled in C++, made a lot of progress with DIV, and then found my niche on the PC with Blitz BASIC - which is what all of my 3D releases were programmed in, with the modeling done in 3D Studio MAX. Developing apps for mobiles is the most complex task I've ever turned my hand to. To make games for Android and iOS simultaneously is a headache-inducing cocktail of Java, X-Code, and Flash's Actionscript 3. And then a lot of work goes into compiling the games into files fit for public consumption. The biggest difference between now and then is that I spend at least 50% of my time doing administrative tasks. Being creative is only half of the story.

What is your favorite wwe game?
If you literally mean "WWE" then I would be stumped because I haven't enjoyed their official games for a long time. I was extremely excited about "WWE All Stars" because I love that visual style and would use it myself if I was capable of it. But the matches were unplayably predictable in my view. It's frustrating because, as a wrestling game developer myself, I know how easy it would have been to improve that aspect. The difficult part is making a game look like that - it's the easy things that they get wrong! All it requires is passion, which is something you can't fake. The last "WWF" game I got any satisfaction out of was the N64 series over a decade ago now. That had Japanese roots so it was more in keeping with what I like about wrestling.

What made you make video games?
I've always been motivated by the fact that what I wanted to play simply didn't exist. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself - and I take that literally! I just make the games I want to play, and hope that enough people share my vision to make it worthwhile. I like to use my freedom to do things that have never been done before. Independent developers have to fight for the right to exist, and I think the best way to do that is to bring something new to the table.

Are you making any new video games like a remake of any of your games?
Yes, that's the most exciting thing for me right now - I have dozens of concepts that are competing to be remade as a mobile app! There's a lot of demand for Hard Time, and I'm also interested in making a 2D version of my desert island survival game, "Wrecked". If I can figure out how to access the music on the device, Popscene would write itself too. I also have plenty of brand new concepts waiting for the right time to come through, so it's a very busy but exciting time for me. I figure I only have a limited time to make all the games I want to make. In 5 years time, the industry could once again be a very different place.

Which game do you thing wasn't a good game?
I have to think all of my games are good on some level, otherwise I never would have worked hard enough on them to get them over the finish line. A lot of people have accused me of being "deluded", but in so far as that's true "delusion" and egotism are necessary parts of the creative process. Every work of entertainment you've ever enjoyed is there because someone felt that it was worth doing and that they were capable of it. That said, I must say that my movie industry sim "Popcorn" is the one that most falls flat. As a solo developer, I simply didn't have the resources to create all of the content that a game like that needed. Filmmaking is also a very difficult process to turn into a "game" so it's was perhaps a step too far to begin with.

Why have you stopped making PC games?
The main reason is that there's very little support for the PC games now - especially when compared to the explosion of mobile apps. The apps are literally downloaded more times in a day than the PC games are in a week! And those people enjoy them more too because they're not so cynical. They're more willing to invest in the entertainment they enjoy, whereas PC users want everything for free. Wrestling Revolution is the first project that I've still been able to work on a whole year after it was released. That's no coincidence - it's because of the support and investment. For me, returning to PC game development would be like CM Punk returning to wrestling in front of hundreds of people in a gym instead of tens of thousands at Wrestlemania! That's not to say it would never happen, because I respect my roots. It's just not something I can justify dedicating my life to at the moment.

What have you been working on this month?
Booking Revolution only just launched as a work-in-progress in April, so I'm still fine-tuning that. This is also producing a lot of developments that can be passed back to Wrestling Revolution, so both games are growing alongside each other quite nicely now. I'm also busy doing "research & development" for the future! The OUYA will bring Android games to the big screen this summer, so I'm doing everything I can to be part of that. This is the busiest I've ever been, but I'm also having the time of my life. I haven't enjoyed making games this much since I first started.

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