Ahh! How wonderful it is to once again be tucking into my pride and joy — Stormlord. To be quite honest, I was getting rather jaded bashing away at Cybernoid II-type code for so many months. Programming the same game can become very routine and boring after a while, regardless of how innovative or tremendous you thought it was at the beginning. Of course, being the modest chap that I am, I never think that my games are innovative or tremendous — it’s just a simple fact that they’re fantastic. (I hereby state that the universe revolves around a phenomenally dense and large celestial body perched on Raf Cecco’s shoulders — AH).
Thinking about Exolon and Cybernoid, I decided that the information panel in Stormlord should be a totally different affair from the panels in these games. I have the idea of representing virtually all the information the player of Stormlord will require in a graphical, as opposed to numerical, form. At the end of the day it will look a lot more pretty and less boring than my old style panels.
I set about doodling with some panel designs, trying to find a happy medium between graphical appeal and functional legibility. I really get into designing graphics and often find that many a creative hour has passed without me noticing. These days, regretfully, it is becoming the norm for graphics to be drawn by an artist leaving the programmer’s time free to concentrate on coding. Oh well, at the end of the day it’ll adds up to a better game.
I am informed of a meeting to be held with Paul ‘nice guy’ Chamberlain (Software Manager) at Hewson HQ on the 19th. Nick Jones (my C64-owning chum) and I will both have to attend. In fact, Nick and I have been paired together so often these days that you’d think we were brothers, despite the fact that I’m infinitely more handsome than he is.
Nick and I discuss (between numerous renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody by Nick on the piano) possible ways that the main character in Stormlord may fire. In the end I opt for a system whereby the player holds down the fire key to build up energy and then releases the key to throw the projectile. The more energy has been built up, the faster and further the projectile will go. This introduces a nifty element of strategy that I will utilize when planning out the maps.
More coding up of Stormlord’s information panel gets the ‘life force’ and ’fairy level’ (!?!) indicators working. I am very pleased with the way it’s looking.
I visit good friend and fellow programmer, David Perry (who wrote Savage) to have a look at his new car (a nifty VW Scirocco 1.8 Turbo). The only problem is that good old David is 6'8" tall, and so has to drive with the sun roof open all the time! (This is actually true, folks!)
I spend the best part of today re-coding the sprite-handling system in Stormlord. I could adopt the old adage of ‘if it works then leave it’, but feel that the new modifications (that make the routine more flexible) will pay dividends as far as programming time goes in the long run.
The usual ‘last-minute rush’ that most programmers know and love is in full operation as I frantically ‘bang that code in’ ready for the meeting tomorrow. Why is it that my Spectrum always starts playing up at times like this? Load plastic smashing against desktop noises, cries of ‘work you vicious thing!’ (word changed due to decency — Ed) and ‘Oh PLEASE!’ can be heard emanating throughout the household. You could probably fry bacon on my forehead through these demonstrations of that old saying... ‘It’s a bad workman who smashes his tools to bits and swears a lot’
After saving my demo for Stormlord onto tape at the last minute, I rush to Nick Jones’s house thinking that if I zoom along at highly dangerous speeds we’ll be in time for the meeting. Nick absolutely insists that he must have a shower before we set off because he ‘feels awful’. (One of these days...)
Apart from me being blamed for being late, the meeting with Paul Chamberlain at Hewson proves to be exceptionally unusual. Nick and I are actually slightly praised for our work (but as usual we had to make our own coffee...). We discussed the CRASH cover demo of Stormlord and decided that a few more days work would make it worthy of your indubitable scrutiny. (Look out for the demo of Raf’s latest and greatest game on the next issue of CRASH.) I don’t know, you people get such unbelievable value for money from this splendiferous magazine — excellent reviews, competitions, photographs of Corinne Russell and Maria Whittaker, cover tapes and Cecco’s Log, but of course!). (Cheers, Raf. I knew that free CRASH T-shirt would have some effect on you! — Ed.) Paul shows me the Stormlord packaging artwork and logo. Hmmm... Jolly good I reckon, except that the fairy has been de-winged (but then, nobody’s perfect, although Andrew Hewson insists that he comes pretty close.)
Now, I bet you expect me to say; ‘for some reason this month’s log has to be ended early’.
Well I can’t because for some reason this month’s log has to be ended early. (Chuckle...)
Before you go Raf, where’s the seductive screen shots of Stormlord that you promised last month — Ed.) (Umm... — Raf (leaves in a cloud of dust...))