A huge thanks to Simon at Cronosoft for doing this interview.
What has been the most challenging and technical achievement in producing software for these computers and which do you find the best to work on?
It's often getting the games working on the real hardware, from a tape. Most of the time, new games are written these days using emulators rather than the system it's for. This can sometimes lead to slight differences, or problems getting a good working master copy to make the cassettes from. Strangely, I find the VIC 20 one of the easiest, due to it's very low tape loading speed coupled with the fact that most people will have an almost identical data recorder - it makes it a lot more reliable.
What timescale is involved to create a new IP?
It probably takes around 3 months AFTER a program has been written to get it on sale. Testing for bugs, creating the artwork, creating the masters, to finally putting it up for sale seems to take ages.
Do you think the home brew scene will ever die out? Or programmers etc of home brew developments will simply get tired of all this and call it a day?
I don't think so, or at least, not in the near future. It has a kind of wildfire effect - When someone creates a few games, it encourages others to do the same. It'll maybe die out when there are so few of us still alive to play the things, until then though, bring 'em on!
Apart from your own of course, what do you think is the best homebrew game out there?
There are loads, but DINGO on the Spectrum, by Tardis Remakes, is pure quality. An unofficial conversion of ACG's (Ultimate's) early coin-op game.
Who is your homebrew hero?
It has to be Jonathan Cauldwell. If it hadn't been for him inspiring others to write new games, with his own original and top quality software, homebrew on the Speccy at least would be in a much worse situation. Also, Jonathan Bristow (Twilighte) has produced some of the most amazing software on the Oric platform, and pushed the boundaries of what could be done on the system to the extremes.
What got you into homebrew in the first place?
Most commercial software doesn't interest me. I've no interest whatsoever in the latest edition of FIFA or whatever racing game is in fashion at the moment. Also, I've no real interest in modern day consoles. They are certainly impressive, but because of the amount of development, money, and time that is required to produce software for new consoles, software companies prefer to play it safe, and not come up with anything original. Homebrew isn't like that, as sales figures are irrelevant. Jeff Minter is a good example though of someone who was prepared to take a risk, doing something different and was perhaps the first real homebrew hero, being one of the first to develop unusual, non-mainstream stuff. Programmer's like Jeff, make gaming interesting.
Are you an active homebrew user?
Certainly on the Speccy, and also with other systems like the Vic 20, ZX81 and Dragon 32, I like to grab whatever new stuff comes along.
If so what is your favorite homebrew game not made by yourselves?
I mentioned DINGO previously, but there are so many. FROGGER '07 on the Vic, 3D DEATHCHASE on the Dragon - These are all extremely worthy titles, and should be part of everyones collection.
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