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Alive SE - EIL 2001
Tempest X000!!! Interview with Jeff Minter

<chainsawyak> I think I'll have to start out with the obligatory "How's
flossie" question. how is she? :)

[WebHeadPrime] Floss is fine... not a good day today, I lost one of my
kids :-(

<chainsawyak> oh dear... what happened?

[WebHeadPrime] I am unaware... there was no warning... I went out this
morning and found one of them dead :-(
[WebHeadPrime] I am pretty upset about it

<chainsawyak> was it one of the new goaties?

[WebHeadPrime] yeah, one of the two kids

<chainsawyak> that's awful... do you want to do the interview later?

[WebHeadPrime] it's ok... I can still do it now
[WebHeadPrime] take my mind off things a bit :-0/

<chainsawyak> okay, I understand... :)
<chainsawyak> is 37 questions too many? :)

[WebHeadPrime] is OK

<chainsawyak> okay, great :) now that VM Labs has given you a new home
with the NUON, how would you describe your experience programming on NUON
compared to programming for Atari on the Jaguar?

[WebHeadPrime] cheerier thought - this email just in from VML : -
Please allow me to congratulate all of you on a job well done! We have
[WebHeadPrime] oh, that didn't all paste in.  Basically T3K and Merlin
Karting were released to manufacture today
[WebHeadPrime] Nuon is a much more complex beast than Jag
[WebHeadPrime] much more powerful

<chainsawyak> ooooh, can't wait :) what about Freefall?

[WebHeadPrime] unique architecture, very flexible
[WebHeadPrime] Don't know about Freefall but I suspect it will be not far
[WebHeadPrime] Jag was hardwired for things like blit... Nuon is not
[WebHeadPrime] Nuon is almost like being able to roll your own hardware.

<chainsawyak> so, is it better? :)

[WebHeadPrime] definitely! :-).

<chainsawyak> awesome.

[WebHeadPrime] Very interesting to code.

<chainsawyak> tell me about the NUON driver sofware. is it hard coded or
stored on Flash ROM? will it be upgradable?

[WebHeadPrime] There is a portion of the BIOS that is RAM-loaded, so BIOS
updates can reside on the same disk as the game.  Some players are
flash-upgradeable, depends on the implementation.

<chainsawyak> so when the modem is released there can be patches for the
original sofware? there are many little things that seem like they can be
fixed easily..

[WebHeadPrime] Yeah, I guess.  I am not that closely in contact with those
areas of the BIOS.  I would imagine that software that uses the modem will
come with appropriate BIOS code.

<chainsawyak> okay, great :) let't talk about T3K/T2K  now

[WebHeadPrime] okay, sure

<chainsawyak> since you've seen the final product of both games, do you
prefer one to the other?

[WebHeadPrime] I prefer T3K.  I think the gameplay is more interesting and
the graphics are fur sure hella better :-)
[WebHeadPrime] also the final implementation the gameplay is a lot faster
than that demo
[WebHeadPrime] tweaked that up a lot I did

<chainsawyak> how about the frame-rate? :)
<chainsawyak> (not that it was bad to begin with)

[WebHeadPrime] Framerate is halfway between what you saw on the demo clip,
and the slower rate of the actual demo.  I managed to use more of the chip
than was used in the demo.

<chainsawyak> awesome :) what about memory card support?

[WebHeadPrime] Not implemented, unfortunately.  Not ready at this time,
will be supported in future games.  There is password level access though.

<chainsawyak> oh, that will work just as well :)

[WebHeadPrime] Yeah, and you guys get to learn a bit of Welsh at the same

<chainsawyak> hehe
<chainsawyak> how about "hate webs"? any of those thrown in there?

[WebHeadPrime] Wedi eu gwneud yng Nghymru! :-)
[WebHeadPrime] Oh, there are a couple - "Occam's Mirror" at level 32, "You
Hate Me" near level 64 is a bit of a baa-stard...

<chainsawyak> ohh boy, can't wait! :)

[WebHeadPrime] and there are some up near 128 that are naaaasty...

<chainsawyak> what happened to the Demon Heads? is there any difference
between them and the "Space Ox"?

[WebHeadPrime] Demon Head equivalent are Space Oxen - they are a bit
easier because you can shoot the horns

<chainsawyak> ahh, okay

[WebHeadPrime] but Coronary Thromboses are similar in behaviour to Demon
Heads in that they emit nonshootable bits
[WebHeadPrime] and they accelerate towards you, makes them a bit nastier

<chainsawyak> sounds like great fun :)

[WebHeadPrime] and Frank Zappers are just baa-stards.

<chainsawyak> how many words did you use in the Word Bank for the randomly
generated level names?

[WebHeadPrime] I think the enemies are well enough balanced
[WebHeadPrime] Oh, Goat, lemme look...

<chainsawyak> some of those names are quite amusing :)

[WebHeadPrime] IDK, too many to count.  Upwards of 1000

<chainsawyak> holy cow :)
<chainsawyak> or goat

[WebHeadPrime] you should see it compiled with the #RUDE flag enabled ;-).
[WebHeadPrime] Wholly Goat ;-).
[WebHeadPrime] You can turn on auto level naming for the whole game now if
you want.

<chainsawyak> in the later levels on the demo's level select, it seems
that the only enemy is the Space Ox, is that true in the final version?
<chainsawyak> oh, I'll be using that :)

[WebHeadPrime] No, Space Ox was just a filler.

<chainsawyak> that's what I thought :)

[WebHeadPrime] There are all sorts in those higher levels now.

<chainsawyak> what do you think of the Extiva's pack-in controller?

[WebHeadPrime] It's OK, although it takes a bit of getting used to so as
not to press the Pause by mistake sometimes :-].
[WebHeadPrime] I prefer the analog stick I have here.

<chainsawyak> grrr... :)
<chainsawyak> how does the analog stick work with T3K?

[WebHeadPrime] Or the... ooh, I'm not allowed to mention that :-].
[WebHeadPrime] The analog stick works fine, gives you better Claw control

<chainsawyak> hehe
<chainsawyak> what about rotary support? does T3K have it? I'm sure that's
something the old skool Tempesters would appreciate

[WebHeadPrime] "If someone happened to have put an analog control in front
of me when I was at VM, I would have added rotary support".
[WebHeadPrime] I am not allowed to say whether or not that happened ;-).
[WebHeadPrime] A rotary control, I mean.

<chainsawyak> ahhh, I see :)

[WebHeadPrime] If I *had* done that, then I would feel that it *might*
play pretty damn good off rotary ;-p

<chainsawyak> interesting.... :)
<chainsawyak> would a homebrew rotary controller be possible if an
one isn't made? :)

[WebHeadPrime] Yak glances at something on the floor with a cable hanging
off it...
[WebHeadPrime] I don't see why not.

<chainsawyak> does that item with the cable hanging off of it have a
rotary stick on top? :) :)

[WebHeadPrime] It might do ;-).
[WebHeadPrime] I did not say this.  I am not here ;-).

<chainsawyak> I didn't see anything :)

[WebHeadPrime] hehe ;-).

<chainsawyak> so, your partying friends enjoy the VLM-2?

[WebHeadPrime] Oh yeah, I could have sold a few right there :-)
[WebHeadPrime] VLM and a projector makes you popular at parties ;-).
[WebHeadPrime] slap in a bit of techno, llovely ;-)

<chainsawyak> hehe :) a couple of my pothead friends want me to record the
VLM-2 in action for them to use when stoned, I thought you might
appreciate that :)
<chainsawyak> I myself don't do that sort of thing... of course

[WebHeadPrime] Hehe... well, if people should choose to neuromodify, I
would not be surprised if they have a good time with VLM

<chainsawyak> were you trying to accomplish something different with the
VLM-2? :)

[WebHeadPrime] I wanted to use the whole no-pixels aesthetic, make it more
responsive than JagVLM, and other stuff like the "liquid" effects just
fell out as I went along :-).

<chainsawyak> like Maxxed Out?
<chainsawyak> that's by far the best effect

[WebHeadPrime] Yeah, that bank was all based on an artifact I found while
running overdriven feedback

<chainsawyak> and the one with the dancing Llama is great as well :)
<chainsawyak> I know your most favorite games are the classics, but what
would you say is your favorite modern game?

[WebHeadPrime] I like stuff like the Wipeout series, I enjoy playing
Gauntlet Legends with a few mates, Crazy Taxi is fun
[WebHeadPrime] mostly I play Dreamcast ATM

<chainsawyak> awesome :)

[WebHeadPrime] I think there should be more bang-on shooters though ;-)

<chainsawyak> like House of the Dead 2?

[WebHeadPrime] Oh yeah, we love HOTD2 :-)

<chainsawyak> yay :)

[WebHeadPrime] got a full-auto gun, it's fun :-)
[WebHeadPrime] shame it won't work on the projector

<chainsawyak> have you ever played Playstation game called N20? it seems
awfully similar to T2K if you ask me...

[WebHeadPrime] "Suffer... like G did!"
[WebHeadPrime] Yeah, N20 was done by an old mate of mine from the
Commodore era, Tony Crowther
[WebHeadPrime] he told me it was in part inspired by T2K

<chainsawyak> wow, that's cool :) I figured it had some inspiration from
your game

[WebHeadPrime] yeah, we need more games like that, good trippy shooters

<chainsawyak> we're getting one in a week or two :)

[WebHeadPrime] Indeed :-).

<chainsawyak> do you use your Extiva for movie viewing?

[WebHeadPrime] It certainly does the trance thing :-)
[WebHeadPrime] Yeah, I use my Extiva for R1, I have an old Tosh deck for

<chainsawyak> ah, so the rumor that the Extiva can play all regions is

[WebHeadPrime] Stock Extivas can't do that.

<chainsawyak> but when the hacks come out... ;)
<chainsawyak> what are your favorite movies?

[WebHeadPrime] Even with any hacks, they wouldn't play back PAL correctly
[WebHeadPrime] Blade Runner is my absolute fave
[WebHeadPrime] Koyaanisqatsi (I wish that would come out on DVD)
[WebHeadPrime] Matrix, of course, is great when you get ter mates round
[WebHeadPrime] must get my full surround system set up soon :-)

<chainsawyak> what kind of surround system is it?

[WebHeadPrime] At the moment I just have regular stereo, but I have an
extra pair of speakers and I'm going to get the full-on AV amp thing
going... be great with the projector ;-)
[WebHeadPrime] I have "cinema nights" here once a week with my mates :-)
[WebHeadPrime] and some nights we just party and havce VLM :-)
[WebHeadPrime] hang on, I'm just going for a slash, back in 30 secs...

<chainsawyak> okie dokie :)

[WebHeadPrime] ahh, that's better :-)

<chainsawyak> want me to cut that from the final transcript? :)

[WebHeadPrime] I'm not bothered, everyone's gotta go sometime :-)

<chainsawyak> how true, how true that is
<chainsawyak> I've always wondered this, but what were your favorite TV
shows growing up?

[WebHeadPrime] Oh, Goat, can I remember...
[WebHeadPrime] I liked stuff like Thunderbirds, d'you have that in the US?
[WebHeadPrime] and of course stuff like Battlescar Gigantica and Star Trek

<chainsawyak> no, we never really got it, my friend sitting here has heard
of that... it's a puppet show, right?

[WebHeadPrime] Yeah... they are showing it again over here at the moment,
that takes me back :-).

<chainsawyak> hehe

[WebHeadPrime] apart from that I liked Britcoms like Monty Python and
Fawlty Towers

<chainsawyak> Monty Python, of course :)

[WebHeadPrime] It had the Llama Song and the Flying Sheep sketches, musta
been OK :-)

<chainsawyak> okay, I have to ask this... what are your thoughts on the
Playstation 2?

[WebHeadPrime] I haven't really played with one yet, baa what I saw at E3,
and a lot of the games there were unfinished
[WebHeadPrime] I'm sure it's plenty powerful, but I get the impression
people are finding it "tricky" to program
[WebHeadPrime] which I think means they are scared to go outside the libs
and get on the metal

<chainsawyak> my impression is the current games are crap :)

[WebHeadPrime] should be getting one later this month, then I'll see.

<chainsawyak> do you think it could handle T3K? :)

[WebHeadPrime] I do want to see Wipeout on it, surely they can't fark that
one up (please??)
[WebHeadPrime] I think it could in terms of power, but it depends on what
is in the libs
[WebHeadPrime] some of the FX may not be in the libs

<chainsawyak> I sure hope not :)

[WebHeadPrime] well, we'll see... T3K would not be a trivial port anyway,
too much of it is in assembler

<chainsawyak> have you heard anything about the Indrema?

[WebHeadPrime] Only just what has been discussed on the board, a
Linux-based console

<chainsawyak> nothing beyond that though?
<chainsawyak> I'd like to see what kind of non-PC port games it will get

[WebHeadPrime] Not really - I am too preoccupied with Nuon to take much
interest in that :-)

<chainsawyak> hehe
<chainsawyak> so, to wrap this up, can you tell me about anything else you
are going to do for the NUON? D3K perhaps? :)

[WebHeadPrime] I am doing some tweaks to the VLM (so that we could, say,
play back MP3s and run VLM too, and maybe speed up VLM in general)

<chainsawyak> ooooh :)

[WebHeadPrime] also I will be making a tool to let other people in VML
design VLM effects
[WebHeadPrime] and I am going to "librify" some of the fx I used in
Tempest fo that others can use them
[WebHeadPrime] and then I have another game design in mind

<chainsawyak> can you say anything about it? :)

[WebHeadPrime] again unique rendering style, again a fast abstract
shooter, but this time original

<chainsawyak> awesome!

[WebHeadPrime] I just have some ideas at the moment, I will need to code
up a couple of demos to prove the concept
[WebHeadPrime] probably will start on that early next year

<chainsawyak> that's great :)

[WebHeadPrime] Should be fun :-)

<chainsawyak> I almost had a heart attack when I read that forged post
saying you were moving to X-Box

[WebHeadPrime] hehe... no, that was just some @sshole
[WebHeadPrime] would take a lot to shift me off the Nuon :-)

<chainsawyak> lastly, what do you think of my site? :)

[WebHeadPrime] very smart, I like the feedback-style fx in the banners :-)

<chainsawyak> thank you :)

[WebHeadPrime] no probs :-)

<chainsawyak> well, that's about it... anything else you'd like to add?

[WebHeadPrime] only that I hope everyone enjoys T3K :-).  And you guys can
be jealous of me and T(NT) who will be playing our copies this weekend ;-p

<chainsawyak> oh, trust me... we are :)
<chainsawyak> and we will enjoy it

[WebHeadPrime] Won't be long :-)

<chainsawyak> thank you so much for doing this interview... I was quite
suprised that you would do it for such a small site :)

[WebHeadPrime] hey, no problem, I am always happy to talk Nuon :-)

<chainsawyak> I figured you would be :)

[WebHeadPrime] I better be off soon... gotta get up early tomorrow...

<chainsawyak> okie dokie :)
<chainsawyak> thanks again for doing this

[WebHeadPrime] take care mate, I cya on the board...

<chainsawyak> later :)

[WebHeadPrime] no probs :-)
[WebHeadPrime] cya...

Alive SE - EIL 2001