HBL Interviews: Luca Bordoni.

Luca BordoniOur latest interview is with Luca Bordoni, he is a serial AGD user and has released many games that you can view here, read on to enjoy our interview.

HBL

Thank you for agreeing to our interview!

Luca

With pleasure,and thank you.

HBL

What was the first game you created?

Luca

The very first game isn’t listed anywhere, it was a Basic game entitled Big Hit at the Central Bank (this is the first time I talk about it)… me & my family were addicted to the italian artist Totò and the idea came from my dad, thinking at the movie Bid Deal in Madonna Street. It could be included in a Crap Games Competition 🙂

HBL

What do you for a living away from game creation?

Luca

Excluding home duties, trips in the italian coutryside and playing old arcade classics, in the last years I improved my skills in web design, including vector graphics creation and dynamic web programming. However, after an enough number of years, I gave up this kind of stuff. Today I dedicate my free time to my main hobby, the ZX Spectrum programming.

HBL

Any thoughts about doing games on other systems?

Luca

Honestly no, my adolescence is mainly linked to the Sinclair world, even if I have a special memories about the Atari 2600. That’s why I ported Raiders of the Lost Ark and Yars Revenge (Rays Reprisal in my version) for the Spectrum. Personally, I don’t like very much the systems created since the late 80’s. Technical improvements sometimes are accompanied by the loss of simplicity, I think it’s the main reason why many artists draw from the past to find their ideas and we have proof of this in modern music and movies.

HBL

Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?

Luca

I think it’s not the same feeling in all countries, for sure in UK we could talk about a real resurgence. Not by chance, the ZX Spectrum Next crowdfunding was a great success. Personally, I experienced the retrogaming panorama since the appearance of the first emulators, both for home computers and original arcade games. I feel really happy and honored to contribute, trying to hold the flame of memory alive.

HBL

Which one of your games are you the proudest of and why?

Luca

Raiders of the Lost Ark, currently it’s the only known conversion of the Atari 2600 adventure by Howard Scott Warshaw. I can say it’s really close to the original, respecting the Atari 2600 feeling and graphics. It’s a weird and abstract adventure, it isn’t a game for everyone, also because the user is forced to read a physical manual to understand how to play and win… and obviously I made the manual for the Speccyt too.

HBL

Which game caused you the most headaches?

Luca

Excluding the first Doom, one of the games that involved me a lot was for sure The Neverhood (PC) in mid 90’s. It was a dreaming graphic adventure entirely shoot in slow-motion in a clay world.

HBL

Do you have any games that are just sitting on your drives unfinished that you may release one day?

Luca

Currently, the sequel of Land of Mire Mare, which will be an improved version of my first Arcade Game Designer release.

HBL

Can you tell us what prompted you to get involved in Retro Game Development?

Luca

Mainly, the obsession to make a homebrew version of the legendary Mire Mare, which should have been the last chapter of the Sabreman saga. It was never released by Ultimate Play The Game, despite some rumours about an existing code hidden by the authors when the Company passed the rights to US Gold in mid 80’s. I found a couple of interesting graphic mockups about Mire Mare made by Jarrod Bentley around the www, and the project started from there. Our friendship lasts from 2014.

HBL

What games at the time (and now) would you say are your biggest inspirations?

Luca

For sure the great inspritation comes from the pioneeristic arcade games from early 80’s. Relatively to the Spectrum scene, there are marks still carved in stone by Manic Miner and the early titles released by Ultimate Play the Game.

HBL

What is the biggest challenge you face with the limitations of the hardware, particularly as you continue to expand features title-to-title? (Memory? Graphical capability? Speed?)

Luca

I usually consider the hardware limitations the charme of a classic machine. For example, despite the ZX Spectrum colour and sound limitations, great authors were able to create incredible games such as Ant Attack (the first isometric game of all times), Sabre Wulf, Knight Lore, Elite, Driller and many others, all in just 48K of memory.
In my personal experience I have to deal with the Arcade Game Designer tool, which obvously needs part of the 48K memory to work. However, a bit of Assembly knowledge and the Facebook community help a lot.

HBL

Do you have timelines built into the management of these games?

Luca

I always save any progress respecting a sequential timeline in a separate file, in order to avoid to find myself blocked in a currupted session. However I don’t like to include any previous step in the final release.

HBL

Are you doing all the development individually?

Luca

I love to create graphics and code by myself for the most part, but I would never have reached the current knowledge without the help of important people like Jonathan Cauldwell, Jarrod Bentley and Allan Turvey.

HBL

What’s next?

Luca

One game at a time. As said, I’m focused on the making of Back to Mire Mare (first spoiler about the title).

HBL

Which is the most downloaded game you have created?

Luca

I think Land of Mire Mare, even if it isn’t the best, for sure.

HBL

Where can people get physical copies of your games?

Luca

I decided to make physical releases just for the last three titles: Explorer from BumFun Gaming, upcoming Explorer 2 and Rays Reprisal from Monument Microgames. I’m not interested in making money by selling games, that’s why any title is also available in a free digital version.

HBL

Do all your games have English translations?

Luca

All of them are localized in English, respecting the ZX Spectrum origins.

HBL

Can you tell us about your use of AGD? I’m currently making a little game with it and yours give me inspiration to carry on.

Luca

AGD uses a very simple syntax, very similar to the Spectrum Basic, it isn’t difficult to learn. But it’s important to understand that behind AGD there’s always the ZX Spectrum. This means that many extra routines can be added learning a bit of memory management, Basic programming and Assembly essentials. Today we have AGDX by Allan Turvey including many extra features such as memory address references for any event and a short syntax for the code instructions. I strongly recommend to give a try to the first video tutorials made by Paul Jenkinson and the Allan’s AGDX YouTube channel.

Finally

A huge thanks to Luca for taking part in our interview, keep checking pack as we will have all the news on all Luca’s games including new releases.

 

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