This month is a rather strange one for me. As well as having to fiddle about with two programs at one time, I am also having to get used to Hugh Binns designing the Cybernoid II graphics for me. I usually design my own graphics, but Andrew Hewson and I had agreed that getting a third party to provide the graphics would ensure that Cybernoid II had its own distinct ambience (and also I would have to do less work — snigger). In fact, Hugh is doing a fine job, and his work so far has impressed me no end. (Is that OK Hugh?)
I have received some initial sketches of the Stormlord packaging artwork. It’s all quite impressive — lots of macho guys chucking thunderbolts and lightning all over the place, and lots of not inconsiderably bosomed fairies squeezing themselves out of bottles (hey, this sounds kinky). Of course there is one slight problem — the main character in the artwork. (Now why do I get the feeling a small argument is going to brew over this?) I shall remain silent and hope that the people at Hewson don’t notice this small anomaly.
(A few hours later...)
Guess what! I have been informed that the eagle-eyed people at Hewson request the incorporation of a main character that bears at least a passing resemblance to the main character in the artwork sketches. After a sneaky pincer movement from the Hewson ranks, I am forced to surrender to their terms(Grrr... !?$*$!).
There seems to be a constant stream of ever-changing and ever-growing Cybernoid II graphics emerging from Hugh. Whilst they’re very good, there is the slight problem that I have no memory left to incorporate them. I try and explain this problem to Hugh — and he promptly sends me a batch of even more graphics! Sometimes that poor lad just doesn’t understand.
I can see, the dwindling memory remaining in Cybernoid II is going to cause a few problems. I’ve only about 3K left in which must be inserted the new music soundtrack and all the screen definitions! Hmmm, rather awkward I know, but I suppose a solution will have to be found. I shall have to spend time pruning all the code as much as possible, and generally looking for any superfluous bits of data that are no longer needed — it’s a lot of fun wading through a 200K source file!
I am told that a meeting is to be arranged at my place with Paul ‘Ruthless Person’ Chamberlain from Hewson and a number of other people. These sort of meetings are the absolute worst because I have to make tea for everyone that turns up. My strategy is to make the tea as badly as possible, so that next time I offer, the answer will inevitably be an emphatic no! (What damn jolly good idea!)
A panic stricken Raffaele can be seen zealously putting together a demo of Cybernoid II ready for today’s meeting with ‘Chopper’ Chamberlain. I am always slightly on edge at times like this so I tend to sing along (very badly) to Queen’s heaviest rock songs, whilst walking in circles around the coffee table in the living room. I’m sure most people will think I’m bonkers, but I suppose you just have to be in this freaky business.
Paul arrives on the dot (I normally expect him to be at least an hour late). Unfortunately, his punctuality is rather untimely as Hugh ‘graphix’ Binns and I are in the middle of hastily constructing a few new screens, and have encountered a few problems with utilising the latest batch of graphics. The rest of the meeting is spent trying to convince Paul that this fiasco has not been put on solely for his benefit! Being such a nice chap, he does, of course, believe me (crawl).
I must say, Cybernoid II is starting to look pretty fancy. Things like the main ship and death lifts have been made a lot bigger than in the original Cybernoid and there is plenty of Hugh’s impressive animation all over the place. I can now see where all the memory has been going — well worth all the hassle, nevertheless.
Andrew Hewson phones me and I am confronted with the classic, Hello Raf, how’s it going then?’ As usual I pretend that everything is going famously. Andrew puts down the phone a satisfied man. I’d better do some work now!
A programmer friend of mine, Chris ‘Death Wish’ Wood, is organising a large group of programmers to indulge in a bit of kart racing at Brands Hatch on August 1. (Ahh, the devil-may-care playboy lifestyles us programmers lead — if only!) Apparently these little five geared wonders can happily cruise round the circuit at over 100 mph. Yes, I can just see those headlines now...
HEWSON HERO IN HOSPITAL AFTER BRANDS HATCH HEAD-ON HIT HORROR!
See you in the casualty ward...
Stormlord has definitely been neglected this month, so I decide to have a quick look at my pride and joy. The scrolling really does look pretty impressive for an old Speccy. I look forward to having a real programming bash at it, when Cybernoid II is completely finished.
Fellow programmers Dominic Robinson (Zynaps) and Nick Jones pay me a visit and we reminisce about ‘the good old days’ in the industry. Anyone would think we were a bunch of old codgers from the stories we had to tell.
Browsing through the latest issue of CRASH, we all comment on how Maria ‘these saucers are too small’ Whittaker would not have been seen in a computer mag three or four years ago. The three old codgers sit there with a twinkle in their eyes.
It is time to draw the curtains on this month’s log. Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars. See you soon...