HBL Interviews: Retro Bytes Productions.

Here we have our latest interview, this time with Toni Ramírez from Retro Bytes Productions.

Read on and enjoy!

HBL

Thank you for agreeing to our interview, please take a moment to tell us a little about you and the team?

Toni

Thanks to you for letting others know about us.

I am Toni Ramírez and what I do in Retro Bytes is coding for Amstrad CPC. I have also done little things for MSX and Spectrum but only as a test and those things have not been released.

We also have Jose Antonio Martín, “the musician”. He was well known on the 80’s for his musics for Rescate Atlántica (“Rescue from Atlantis” outside Spain) and A.M.C. (“Astro Marine Corps”). He also did all the music for Risky Woods, and other 16 bits games from Dinamic, among other things.

And finally we have Alex Layunta (a.k.a. Alxinho). He is the father and creator of Retrobytes Productions. He started releasing his Spectrum games under that name before Jose and I joined him in the group.
He is the graphic artist for all the platforms and also the ZX Spectrum coder.

HBL

What was the first game you created?

Toni

The first game I did was Space Moves, for the 2015 CPCRetrodev contests. Now we are working on a rameke of this game that also includes a second load. I have learn many things during this years, so I hope we get a much better game this time.

HBL

What do you for a living away from game creation?

Toni

I work as CTO for a book publishing company, Alex works with milling machines to build steal pieces and Jose Antonio works as adminitrative.

HBL

What’s the idea behind the name Retro Bytes Productions?

Toni

Well, it just a game with words. We do retro games using bytes… so Retro Bytes Productions seems a good name. 🙂

HBL

What is your mission statement for Retroytes?

Toni

We do what we like, and do games as we like them. Sometime people don’t like some of the decisions we take, but that’s what makes our games what they are.

We do what we do just for fun.

HBL

Any thoughts about doing games on other systems? Megadrive, Dreamcast or SNES.

Toni

Sometimes we have told about porting one of our games to the Nintendo Switch, but as we only do games on our space time y very difficult to to something bigger than a Z80 project.

HBL

Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?

Toni

I think it is growing day after day, but I think it won’t last forever. What we now know as retro systems will one day be forgotten and replace by the new retro.

The problem in the future will be caused because of the lack of physical editions of today’s game, as digital copies seem to be winning this battle and children don’t care about physical.

HBL

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

Toni

My favourite game is Space Moves, because it was the first. The proudest may come from Outlaws as it is a quite fun game with good graphics.

HBL

Which game caused you the most headaches?

Toni

All of them. We had problems with the tile engine in Outlaws and a lot of space problems with Jarlac, as it has three different musics and 60 different screens.

We always have to cut things to be able to fit it in memory.

HBL

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

Toni

Sure. We have some games that we may release some day (not final names):

– Retrobytes Boxing (ZX Spectrum)
– Retrobytes Football (Amstrad CPC)
– Retrobytes Racing (Amstrad CPC)
– Outlaws 2 (Amstrad CPC)
– WWS2 for MSX

And many other unfinished projects.

HBL

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

Toni

When I was a child I dreamed on programming my own videogames for my Amstrad when I grow up. I found CPCTelera and CPCRetrodev in the right moment to make may dream come true.

HBL

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

Toni

I like games from the Spanigh company Dinamic. Those were my favourite games and the ones I would like to imitate. I like my games looking and feeling like theirs.

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?)

Toni

The main problem from my point of view is memory. I always develop having the 64Kb Amstrad CPC 464 model in mind, as it is the one I had 30 years ago.

You always have to cut some ideas to make the game fit in that memory. Speed is not a problem you can’t adapt to and CPC’s mode 0 is quite colorfull.

HBL

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

Toni

We only have timelines when doing a game for CPCRetrodev. That makes you sometimes not to enjoy what you do, but it forces you to finish so it has its own good and bad things.

HBL

Are you doing all the development individually?

Toni

Yes. I program on my own but I always listen to what Alex has to say as he has experience doing games for ZX Spectrum and sometimes he has faced the same problem I have to solve.

HBL

What game is coming next for Retrobytes?

We are now trying to finish Space Moves for CPC and doing a version of Jarlac for ZX Spectrum. Thouse should be our next releases, but maybe we change if we have an idea that motivates us more than those.

HBL

Which is the most downloaded game you have created?

Toni

I think Outlaws and Jarlac.

HBL

Where can people get physical copies of your games?

Toni

We sell our games in evey event we are invited to go. We sometimes send them also by email if someone ask us to, but depending on the country it may be a bit expensive.

We do our physical copies on our own and it takes quite time, so we don’t do many copies. The most sold title has been Outlaws with around 75 copies sold. I think Jarlac will be more or less the same.

HBL

Do all your games have English translations?

Toni

No. Outlaws and Jarlac are in English because they are CPCRetrodev games and we think they are better in English as it is an international contest. WWS2 is in Spanish, because it has some text as sprites that we are too lazy to translate. 🙂

HBL

Why is the Amstrad so highly regarded in the Spanish scene?

Toni

I think it sold very well in Spain, in second position behind the ZX Spectrum. There are a lot of people in Spain whou grew with and Amstrad and loves remembering those good times.

HBL

What is the Retro scene in general like over in Spain?

Toni

It is really big. Almost every weekend you can go to a retro event in some corner of the country. Some of them are platform specific, as Amstrad Eterno or Explora Commodore, but even on those you can see other platforms.

In general people preffer retro consoles than micro computers. I thing the interface looks quite more familiar and user friendly on consoles.

Finally

A huge thank you to Toni for taking the time to chat with us, you can see all their games here at HBL Interviews: Retro Bytes Productions

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