In which the Saga is continued by Simon. Or is it Psi? Graham is getting married, Poddy’s going to be famous and the lads nearly get nicked taking photies for the inlay of a game...
Hello everybody! Back again, though this time all on my own. Not a Stafford in sight. Why? I hear you ask. Simple, he’s run away. Please do not panic at this earth shattering news, Graham is still part of the team, but he’s moved to Birmingham. The reason behind this is really very simple, Graham has made a boob of the first magnitude. He’s going to get MARRIED! (Thousands of female Crash readers swoon with frustrated passion.) Sorry girls, you’ve missed your chance, you’ve all been outwitted by one Ruth Williams of Wales.
On the twenty first of December, in a small Welsh town called Ruthin, there will be a gathering of Programmers, Programmers’ relatives, Programmers’s Girlfriends and large numbers of Ruth’s family. The uphost of all this is fuss is that Ruth becomes a Stafford, and Graham gives up girlfriends, for food processors, washing machines, three piece suites and of course Ruth. We, meanwhile have to rummage through the bowels of our respective wardrobes/cardboard boxes to find suitable attire for such a high society function. God knows what Wook will do if they give him anything less than a pint pot to drink out of.
Less of Graham’s social problems, and on to what he’s been working on. Graham’s Game has now been officially named, it is no longer known as Graham’s Game, but is now dubbed 2112AD. The reasoning behind this is twofold: first this was the day they stormed the Bastille!, which ties in with the scenario of overthrowing a form of government, and secondly the 21st of the 12th is the date of Graham’s wedding!!!!!
(Just to amend my first statement, I am no longer alone, there appears to be some sort of ‘Jamming session’ going on. A friend of ours by the name of Abdul, is the proud owner of a Yamaha Music Computer. He’s written some software for it, and Simon is busy putting it onto eprom for him. Meanwhile the ‘lads’ have found the Yamaha.)
Anyway onto what 2112 AD is looking like. Graham has gone away and come up with a new method of projecting 3D Graphics. Imagine, if you will, a camera mounted above and behind your player. This tracks forward and backwards as you move, with objects disappearing as they go out of your field of view and reappearing as you move back again. I still don’t know exactly what this is going to look like, but the day before he ran away to Birmingham, he had a demo going which looked like a small piece of the Parthenon wandering about in a field full of Simmons drums. Still I have every confidence that Stuart will be able to make things look a bit more credible. KY, by the way, has now been christened a little more sociably as Poddy after Jeremy’s animated hearthrug. Graham is currently developing the icon driven control of Poddy, but you’ll have to wait till next month to find out what this looks like; I haven’t seen Graham since he disappeared in an Astra stuffed with ironing boards, coffee tables, teles and the like.
Graham is in for a shock if he comes back to Manchester for a weekend. What was his bedroom is now an open plan office in which I have my desk, phones, photocopier etc, and Simon has his computers. It’s quite a nice atmosphere, but the real reason for the move is that the view is better from this room. It also means I can watch Simon writing Forbidden Planet. Well I say writing ... a more accurate statement would be watching Simon’s frantic bursts of typing, separated by screams, beatings of Spectrums and shouts of ‘Hey Si, come and look at this!’.
As well as a lot of computers, Simon has also put a 200 watt valve amp in the office. I had some misgivings about this from the start. My worst fears were proven the other night. Mott had come round to see us, and after a few pints in the Junction, he fell asleep on the sofa with his head inches away from one of my speakers. Spotting an opportunity not to be missed, Simon fired up his mega-amp and into one end he plugged a signal generator, and into the other he plugged my speaker. A few seconds later Mott’s head (and in fact most of the room) was bouncing about at 50hz. Mott however, refused to wake up; even when my bass unit exploded Mott still slumbered on. In all fairness to Simon, it only took him ten hours and an access card to replace my mangled bass unit.
Apart from moving furniture about the house and causing things to explode, Simon has been writing bits of Forbidden Planet. The inevitable Design Design style front end is written, complete with multiple high score tables, strange responses and things drawn in the border. If time permits, Simon intends to have a screen editor in the high scores, thus enabling one to edit someone else’s entry.
As to what the actual game itself is doing, well remember the towers in Dark Star? Imagine not being able to see past them. Yes folks Forbidden Planet does proper windowing. You can see through the force fields on Forbidden Planet, though you can see through the holes in them. Also look out for intelligent missiles which follow you about with embarrassing consequences. There will be a way of coping with these nasties but you will need to have found (or deduced) the relevant I.F.F. code for the area your ship is in. If you’re wondering what this is and how you find it, well, you will have to wait and see.
We have spent a few nights and many gallons of petrol driving about Wales with Keith Jordan, our photographer, in search of the picture for the cover of F.P. As is our luck, this involved yet another run in with one of those day-glo coated Range Rovers, the ones with all those pretty blue and red lights on top. There we were at three in the morning, halfway across a motorway bridge, innocently wandering about on the hard shoulder with a camera and tripod, when out of nowhere there materialised a Police car. Not surprisingly a Policeman got and and told us to go away before we got run over. He’d got a point I suppose, but Keith was more worried about the two hundred foot drop off the bridge — he can’t stand heights! To let Keith calm down we gave up the motorway bridge in favour of the top of a cliff and a tele-photo lens. Keith was getting a little hysterical by the end of the night! The funny thing is, the photo we are probably going to use was taken on a canal bank at about ten feet above sea level. Thanks must also be expressed to Keith for leaving his camera with us, thus enabling us to take the photos for the Amtix competition.
Well that’s about it for this month’s instalment of Designasty, (Question:- can’t we have a Joan Collins? She’d do wonders for us at trade fairs!) so I must now go away and worry about such things as the Amstrad Computer Show, which occurs this weekend, and how to persuade Simon to get his nose and soldering iron out of that Yamaha, and put this article onto tape in a form that Cwash’s word-pros can understand. See you next month, I’m off to Securicor with some more tapes for you lot!