HBL Interviews: Richard/The New Dimension.

The New DimensionHere we have our latest interview with Richard from “The New Dimension”, a freeware site that hosts loads of games and software, which Richard created for the Commodore 64, all in digital form. Programs are both disk and tape images.

Enjoy!

 

 

Homebrew Legends

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

Richard

My name is Richard, 39, and I have been creating and developing C64 productions since 1991. Not only am I a freeware games programmer, I am also a musician and also a web master of The New Dimension.

HBL

What was the first game you created?

Richard

Back in 1991, while I was still at senior school in my first year. I was learning to make games with the Shoot Em Up Construction Kit. The first game I every produced was the game Clip Clop. The game basically used the attack waves from an example game, and the way I remember it. It looked really horrible with very ugly graphics and design. But hey, I was a child at the time. SEUCK has been a good child hood memory. I don’t have the game no more, but I do remember it very well.

HBL

Which one of your games if your favourite and why?

Richard

I’m torn between Sub Hunter and X-Force. Sub Hunter was the main game which really helped me feel much happier about game development. Working on this game in co-op with Frank Gasking was good fun. Frank did some really stunning graphics and I had very limited knowledge of game coding. All I could do was just wrap a sprite across the screen and code a simple single screen scroller. Frank gave me a lot of great ideas for this game. Frank suggested that I should invite to create some tunes for the production. I originally did some music for the game, myself using the DMC V5.0+ music editor, but Drax’s tunes were way much better. So my music was saved for the Sub Hunter music demo instead. This game turned out to be a top quality release, and really impressed many.

My all time favorite is probably X-Force. I did this game in co-op with Saul Cross, originally as a free release. I always wanted to make my very own sideways scrolling space shoot ’em up. This was also a sort of another learning curve for me. I was fed up with the same old sprites wrapping across the screen, and basic sprites going back and forth. So I did some experimentation with moving sprites, and tried myself to create a sprite movement routine, based on sprite position. Only a short piece of code was able to be written to record the sprite movement data. I ended up writing a little sprite movement engine program specially for this game, which eventually had become the Alien Movement Maker V1.0+. There was also the map scrolling, which was a bit of a challenge. I looked up the code from a scrapped game project of mine, and implemented a C64Studio version of the same map scroller.

HBL

Equally which is the one you most dislike?

Richard

Cetimiex. The graphics were terrible, and the game play was Ugh!

HBL

Which was the most testing and the hardest to create and why?

Richard

Sub Hunter, most definitely. It took me nearly over 4 years to code and produce. At the time I had trouble with producing raster splits and positioning those into the correct place. Frank was the chief tester for this game, and helped let me know how many pixels I was out, when coding the parallax scroller for the diver rescue scenes.

HBL

Why The New Dimension as a label name?

Richard

I did create different labels, but I was more fond with The New Dimension as a freeware branded name for my titles. After all the idea was to bring a new dimension to the C64 productions, and after many years of learning/hard work producing new games.

HBL

Any thoughts for doing games on other systems? CPC464, Dreamcast or SNES.

Richard

I decided to only focus on the C64. I was hoping to in the past, to the future learn to create retro style games on the PC. Unfortunately I only managed to write very little, due to too many instructions, and different code, which was very difficult to understand. Not only that, I don’t really have time to learn a new programming language in my free time. I don’t get enough of it.

HBL

Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?

Richard

I’m very impressed with the resurgence in retro gaming. It was even great to see many classic video game events take place.

HBL

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

Richard

I have Cruiser-X 79. The code is there, I’m just waiting for the 16 level game graphics, before I can progress any further with this project. It is supposed to be a (wait for it) vertical scrolling shoot ’em up, with power ups, which also uses sprite/background collision for both the player and also bullets. Aliens can also shoot.

HBL

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

Richard

I always loved the Commodore 64 since I was a kid. I didn’t just want to play games, but I loved to create games. It wasn’t only that. With the limitations of game programming I had in the past, the internet has been really helpful. The CSDB, codebase and a few other programming sites (and friends/contacts) had helped motivate me to keep on producing C64 productions. Also as a SID composer, I always loved to try to push the limitations a bit further.

HBL

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

Richard

If you mean which games inspired me to create my own game creations… X-Force was inspired by Subterranea and Powerama. Subterranea (The horizontal scrolling map stages) and Powerrama – the end of level boss part of the game. Sub Hunter was inspired by the VIC20 version of Sub Hunt, Sea Wolf, and Nebulus. All ideas were from Frank. I did the code and putting everything together. Starfysh was inspired by I-O, a little bit, although there were no end of level bosses or lasers to dodge.

HBL

Do you have timelines built-in to the management of these games?

Richard

No deadlines necessary. After all producing freeware games are meant to be hobby based, not target based, unlike in a real occupation.

HBL

Do you do all the development individually?

Richard

Yes.

HBL

How did your connection with Cronosoft and Pystronik come about?

Richard

Regarding Cronosoft, I was tracked down, through my email and I was contacted by email inviting me to submit my own games. I allowed distribution of Balloonacy 1, 2 and Grid Zone, and Grid Zone Remix. I was also contacted by Frank suggesting that I should submit Sub Hunter to Psytronik. Which eventually after all the stops were pulled on the final bug-fixing phase, the game got mastered to tape and disk and submitted to Psytronik.

HBL

What keeps driving you to continue C64 development instead of moving your efforts to a more manageable platform with a potentially broader audience?

Richard

I always loved the commodore 64. The type of code the C64 uses, is much easier to use, compared to the modern-day language on modern-day machines. There is just too much to learn from, and I have too little time to learn and try to understand it.

HBL

Whats next?

Richard

At the moment, things are quite quiet on the C64 production front at the moment. Who knows, there might be another unexpected surprise for the C64 some time in the future. I also hope to finish Cruiser X-79. I do have a few updates in mind for a future Assemble It tutorial, including a full game project for people to play around with. (Blastopia). Also I intend to release (some time in July/August 2018) Mix Box #7. A collection of cool tunes, which a couple might be real corkers. I have currently started on making a new menu for the music demo.

Finally

Huge thanks to Richard for taking the time to chat to us, you can download all his games at The New Dimension Website.

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