About me

I'm Clint and I'm the sole member on my team here.  I mainly program, but I also love retro game art and music, so I want to put all those passions together and make games all by myself.

 

I think there's a lot of value in the simplicity of older games and some of the best parts can be brought back.  Not just 2D 8 bit style games, but low poly 3D games with an 80's retro aesthetic, like 3D pixel art, or Tron type glowy vector graphics.

History

Prepare to embark on a journey to visit some very old and very, very obscure game development software...

My interest in programming started as early as primary school, since I was so fascinated by video games, that I would borrow BASIC programming books from the library and just... read them.  Didn't have a computer to program on or anything, I just wanted to know.  I remember thinking "Ok, PRINT "HELLO" and IF this and IF that is all well and good, but what about actual games? You can't possibly program every possible outcome in sequence..." well not those exact words, but that's how I felt about it.  And then I read about LOOP and was thrilled... "this is it! This is the heartbeat of the video game! You can check and react to every key press that happens!"

These are the kinds of books I borrowed from the library, they had a distinctly UK feel about them.

In the end it paid off because I hit the ground running when we got a computer.  My uncle was setting it up for us, and he randomly opened up QBASIC, not knowing what it was, and chose "RUN" and it said "No command" or whatever, and I instantly thought "Is this it? Is it asking for a programming command?"  I practically pushed him out of the chair and typed "print "hello world" and hit RUN, we saw "hello world" on the screen and I flipped out.  He said "OK I'll leave you to it..." and I was hooked.

Ahh, this brings back memories!

I experimented with Qbasic and made some silly text adventures and even had a crack at "real time" games using text graphics.  I had an attempt at a 2 player split screen clone of "Herzog Zwie" (just text characters that shot at each other, and had a home base each) and to my dismay, my younger brother promptly smashed me at my own game, destroying my base, and has continued the trend of being better than me at games till this day.

Does anyone remember GORILLAS.BAS?? NIBBLES??

In Games R Us, I picked up a copy of "3D Construction Kit" - a DOS software package that promised the world, but couldn't do anything more than what I can only describe as "glorified low poly 3D power point presentations", far from the vast interactive worlds they promised.  I hit the object count making a small room, and scripting was restricted to objects that move back and forth - you couldn't even rotate them.  You couldn't really call the end result of a 3D Construction Kit project a "game".  More like "move through static environments triggering text to to appear on screen, and some objects to move back and forth."  About as much fidelity as a Power Point slideshow.

These screenshots make it look way better than it really is.  In their marketing videos they would move the camera past a 3D  shuttle on a plain background, to make it look like it was flying past, the dodgey bastards...

For one birthday, I got "The Games Factory" by Clickteam, a 2D game making program using drag and drop scripting (pretty much like Game Maker Studio would do some years later), and I wish I still had the games I made there.  One called "Evolution" which played a bit like Osmos does now, but you use a mouse to roll around a cell to try and absorb other cells, while trying to avoid larger cells, and viruses - to eventually evolve into a worm.  You can read more of my thoughts on TGF's flaws on the comment on this video of Zeb, a game that came with TGF to (poorly) demonstrate its functionality.

Zeb, the platform game included to show you what was possible, notoriously used several hacks just for basic features like platform collision - it didn't scale well..

I ambitiously moved on to Jamagic, Clickteam's attempt at a 3D game making program, and boy was it a buggy mess.  Though I did get my first exposure to object oriented programming, and blitting graphics for fast scrolling (it still did 2D games) I had ambitions for my first 3D arcade style racing game, but it never came to fruition, because Jamagic was falling apart.  Jamagic was far too ambitious a project for a small company of 3 Frenchmen, and never really finished.  Though credit where credit is due - it would be years before we would see a sucessfull 3D game making program, in the form of Blitz3D (which unfortunately I never got into).  Valiant attempt, Clickteam.  You can see more of my thoughts on this obscure and flawed piece of game development history here.

Similar to The Games Factory, Clickteam's poorly named "Jamagic" was deeply flawed and not workable beyond a few tech demos.  It's creator Yves, was ignorant of the fact that while the name "Jamagic" probably sounds nice in French, it's awkward and clumsy in English.

Ah, Clickteam is still active, bless them!

 

But then I discovered (what was then known as) Macromedia Flash (which became Adobe Flash, and then Adobe Animate), and found much more flexibility with it's Actionscript 3 scripting and vector graphics engine.  The experience I found there actually has gotten me various jobs throughout the years, including The Department of Transport and Main Roads, and Gameloft.  But no one uses Flash anymore, so who cares.  But it was pretty amazing, and still is, in my opinion. Many seriously good games were made with it.

A testament to how amazing Flash was to make games with, is how many Flash based game sites have sprung up over the years since Flash 5 was released in 2000.  This is in spite of Macromedia insisting Flash wasn't designed to make games!

At University, I finally got the education I needed to learn a real programming language (Java, and C++) and make some real games, one of which you can download right now on Itch.io!  It's called "Massively Single Player Retro RPG" and is an action game that is a parody of everything I hate about RPGs :) You should install the Itch.io game client for the smoothest experience, it's just like steam except there's a tonne of high quality FREE indie games.

Well when I found out my lecturer worked at a game studio, specifically Halfbrick Studios (of Fruit Ninja fame) I made sure to chat to him about game development a lot, and my final project landed me an internship there, which eventually became a 4 year full time employment.  I started out using my good old Flash skills to quickly prototype game concepts for them, and became one of the programmers, helping with C, C++, and C# projects, and much to my enjoyment, got to flex my artistic skills by being assigned to any project where they needed extra artwork or programming, as I could do both!

I worked on all of the games in the above gallery, doing prototyping, cutscene animation, or level design.  Nicktoons: Volcano Island (GBA), Avatar: Into the Inferno (DS), The Last Airbender (DS), Heatseeker (PSP)

I didn't do too bad with the art; I animated all of the cutscenes in Raskulls. The principal artists drew the backgrounds, created the characters and set the style, and I created new art and character poses as necessary, animating pretty much everything.

Ah, I had a lot of fun animating these cutscenes.  We also had a lot of fun storyboarding them and coming up with funny moments.

Fortunately someone has uploaded every single cutscene to YouTube.  Yeah it's pretty cringey, but it has its moments.  My favourite parts are everything with the ninja in it, from 7:30 to 11:10.

I also did some "interactive training" projects for The Department of Transport and Main Roads for 2 years, where we did our best to "gamify" learning, which is one of my favourite things.  I've also been a tutor in the game development course at Evocca College for 3 years.  I've done bits and bobs here and there but the point of all this is I'm now going indie.  So we'll see how that goes.

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