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Interviews with Graftgold
  • Interview with Graftgold´s Steve Turner (16.10.01)
  • How to create games (25.03.04)

  • Interview with Graftgold´s Steve Turner (16.10.01)

    I think most questions are already answered on your graftold-site, but I (and some other fans) finally found some more ;) :

    Do you remind some funny stories around the developent of your games ?
    ST: We once got invited to a show in Belgium run by this guy who used to put on his own Amiga show. We arived at the ferry port about 11.00 and he was meant to pick us up. He never turned up and when we rang but he wouldnt come and get us so we took the next ferry home

    When we worked late and had a few beers we used to take out our frustration by beating.up cardboard computer boxes.
    What do you think about the changes in the gaming-industry in the last years ?
    ST: It seems to have stagnated. We went to the ECTS show and were very disappointed as most publisshers were playing so safe. There just doesnt seem to be anyone loeft trying new things which is a shame cos there some real clever technology to play with.
    Are there some never released demos, concepts or screenshots of Graftgold Games available ?
    ST: I havent got any , there was a ccouple of video demos we did that looked good but they are on dat tape somewhere and I havent got a way to get at them.
    What are your favourite games today ?
    ST: I play mostly strategy games Panzer General 2 is a favourite.
    Do you miss the classic genres lice (2d) jump and runs or shoot em ups ?
    ST: I didnt like run and jumps too much but I liked a good shoot em up. Id like to see some of the classic shoot em ups remodelled. I think many of them would work with a 3d view but the game restricted to mostly 2D.
    How exactly (in which form) do you think will computers and games be part of everyones life in the future ?
    ST: I think games have been pulling in two directions for many years. Some are becoming life like simulations but are losing the game feeling. Its suprising how many people play simple graphic games like Tetris on the pc. I think there is always going to be a place for pure games.
    Since Graftgold "died" of problems with publishers - how do you think of the future, e.g. of publishing games via Internet ?
    ST: I think now and then when the time is right you will see small companies produce "underground" software,. Then gradually they will be swallowed by the money men.
    Are you surprised you still are this famous ? Many people, even in Germany, still know you, your games and Graftgold.
    ST: It is strange, we probably get more fan mail now than in the last days of Graftgold.
    How did you feel about selling your games to Jester Interactive ?
    ST: If I had they money I would have bought them. In a way though its best to move on. Theres plenty of ideas in my head that they cant get.
    Do you think they will do some new, good games with your old characters and concepts ?
    ST: I think some of the programmers had a good feel for the games so I ythink they will try to do a good job, in the end though it will be the publishers who all the shots.
    And most important: will *you* ever do a game again ?
    ST: I am wrting a game at the moment. Its a bit like shogun in style but the engine can do any period in history.
    And at last a personal question - any ideas or what do you miss at the graftgold-tribute-site ?
    ST: Im interested in passing on our secrets on how to write games and will answer questions in this area in detail.

    How to create Games (23.03.04 by Steve Turner)


    we beleived in creating an environment, a world for the game to live in. You do that by deciding the limitations of view and scale, graphics and technology and play about with what that can represent well. People try to copy reality too much. Chess is a graet game but it is a graphic representation not a copy of reality. This gives it its own reality that isnt limited by the edge of the board.

    So the first big decision that eventually will affect the gameplay is the view angle. We always found that plan view or top down gave the best strategic view for move based games. Side on is a more natural view for humans and suits games where gravity is going to play a role.

    We always thought the main character was very important. The animation had to feed back what they were doing and feeling. Its the way a game connects to the player. Gribbly was one of my favorits. He blinked, looked scared, and acted as if he had a life of his own.

    The atmosphere in a game is a synthesis of all the elements, sound , graphics, tension character and storyline. The sound is very important to atmosphere. In Paradroid we connected together all the high poitched percusive sounds with the deep throbbing tones of the ship. This added an ominous forboding sound when the robots were not present that kept the whole thing together. It also acted like the bass section of an orchestra giving a tone toact as a framework for the sound effects. We like interactive sound and music, everything possible in the game should feedback to the player, connecting the loop between man and machine.

    In the early days we could spend as much time writing mapping tools and graphics engines as writing the actual games. Its the hidden part of games writing. With a good tool you can play about with ideas without writing code. When you hit on ideas that work then you start building the cathedral out of matchsticks.

    I would advise newcomers to start off writing games in a simple view format. Once a game works it can easily be adopted to a 3d view and have professional graphics added. A good game will just get better. In a way superlative graphics distract from game decisions. It may look good and everyone thinks wow its a winner, until the games testers get their turn and get bored wth the graphics and realise the game doesnt work. Theres a few tasters feel free to use any material from the site.