was posting on the run earlier so just wanted to add that i was sad to hear you didn't get any earning from LOLT - it was one of the few games I completed multiple times on the arc!.. and i know i quite happily put it "up there" with rick dangerous back in the day.
on the bright side, sounds like you've landed on your feet at codemasters.. now who do i have to bribe over there for a true 2d remake of Dizzy?
Hello, Andy. I just want to take the time to thank you for your great contributions to the Archie game library In particular, the beyond-fantastic Drop Ship. It may quite possibly be my favourite Archimedes game of all-time. Every single aspect of it spells quality: those lovingly rendered spheres; the complex yet intuitive level design; the ship physics and the amazing feeling you get when you've finally learn to control it well. If you have any interesting stories about the development of this great game, please share.
Again, thank you!
Thanks. It means a lot to me that there are people out there who enjoyed my games.
I still really love that Thrust style game mechanic, like you say there is something very rewarding when you get skilled at it. I'm writing the sequel to Drop Ship in my lunch breaks and it has all the Thrust style influences in there - Asteroids, Thrust, Oids and a bit of Defender thrown in for good measure. Hopefully I'll get it finished and onto Xbox Live Arcade at some point.
As for the original Drop Ship there's not really much original about it but I think it combines a lot of influences in a good way.
The main influence was Thrust. I wanted to do the swinging ball mechanic but I didn't have the square root code at the time, so I couldn't figure it out.
The other big influence was Xenon 2. I loved the pixel art in that game and I totally ripped off the shop and power ups. I also stole elements of a vertically scrolling arcade shooter (the name escapes me) and some bits from Switchblade.
The game was developed in my bedroom and took around 5 months. As well as the game code I also wrote all the tools for building the levels and setting up the attack patterns for the aliens etc. I think making the tools took much longer than actually using them to make the levels.
I spent a lot of effort trying to make the sprite rendering as fast as possible. I would read a whole row of a sprite with a load mulitple instruction and then shift each word down a byte at a time and only write it to the screen if it was non-zero. I was really pleased with myself when I came up with that one. It was very important to me that the game should run at 50fps as I think that it's very important to the feeling of control.
Without any internet my resources were very limited. I had to make everything myself or use what I could find. This was especially true of the sound effects which were the weakest part of the game. All the explosions and hissing sounds were made by me making noises into a pair of headphones that I plugged into the microphone socket. The headphones worked exactly like a microphone. The sound of the gun firing was actually a sample of Michael Jackson from Smooth Criminal.
When the game was mostly finished, I sent it to the 4th Dimension. They agreed to publish it, but I was gutted when I recieved a copy of the game in its final packaging - all the screen shots had been taken with the brightness too high which ruined the look of the game. I phoned them up to see if we could get them changed but it was too late by that point. The manual did have instructions to turn the brightness down as low as it could go and the contrast up to full, so hopefully people got to see the game as I intended. I think George Lucas had similar problems that prompted him to invent THX!
Enough rambling. Thanks again. If anyone has a screen grab of the completion screen from Drop Ship, I'd like to see that again. I remember it taking me ages - my mouse broke and I had to write a module to override the mouse driver so I could use the cursor keys to move the pointer around - painful.
Here's a hacked version of disk 1 for Lost Temple with the colour code protection removed:
I didn't do the hack, so don't blame me for the altered loading screen! If someone can put the proper loading screen back into this hacked version, that would be great (and please upload it here!).
Would really love to get hold of Eterna's Ballarena and Tactic if anyone could please contact me about those, cheers.
Oh, and Andy - really looking forward to that Drop Ship sequel on XBLA!