RVG Interviews - David Perry.

RVG Interviews - David Perry.

I am pleased to announce that RVG has bagged an interview with the very talented David (Dave) Perry. Dave is famous for some amazing games and the man who founded Shiny Entertainment some of those games are listed below .


Messiah (2000)       
Sacrifice (2000)       
R/C Stunt Copter (1999)       
Wild 9 (1998)       
MDK (1997)       
Disney's Aladdin (1993)       
The Simpsons Game (2007)     
Enter the Matrix (2003)       
Disney's The Jungle Book (1994)     
The Jungle Book (1994)   
Cool Spot (1993)       
The Terminator (1993)       
Captain Planet (1991)       
Dan Dare III: The Escape (1990)       
Overlord (1990)       
Savage (1988)       
Earthworm Jim HD (2010)       
Earthworm Jim 1 & 2: The Whole Can 'O Worms (1996)     
Earthworm Jim 2 (1995)       
Earthworm Jim: Special Edition (1995)       
Earthworm Jim (1994)       
Cool Spot (1993)       
Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators (1993)       
Extreme (1991)       
Paperboy 2 (1991)       
Dan Dare III: The Escape (1990)       
Overlord (1990)       
Smash T.V. (1990)     
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)       
Beyond the Ice Palace (1988)       
Savage (1988)       
Trantor the Last Stormtrooper (1987)     
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)         
Hostile Makeover (2009)     
Overlord (1990)       

Can i say a huge thanks to Dave for his time and awesome replies.. Enjoy the interview people.


zapiy

Can you talk us through your career, where you started right up till now and what games you worked on?

Dave

I grew up in Northern Ireland when there was no video game industry, so I got to watch it start and learned to program computers as quickly as possible.  There was no Internet so to get a book on the subject was like being given a bar of gold!  I made lots of games for magazines/books (in the days when you had to type in a game to play it).  My internship in England was at Mikro-Gen working under Chris Hinsley on a game called Pyjamarama and after going out on my own, I realized the power of working with big brands.  I made games like Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Paperboy II, Smash TV etc.  After making Dan Dare and Supremacy I started working for Virgin in the USA on games like Terminator, a Global Gladiators (for McDonalds), Cool Spot (for 7-UP), Aladdin for Disney etc.  After moving to America and starting a new company Shiny Entertainment, we made Earthworm Jim, MDK, Sacrifice, Wild 9, R/C Stunt Copter, Messiah and the Matrix video games.  These days I’m now with Sony to help build their video game streaming solution (PlayStation Now, Remote play & Share play.)  In my spare time, I have kept a toe in the water helping on a game called SXPD for Charity.


zapiy

Can you tell us what it was like working for for Shiny Entertainment back then as a game maker and the owner?

Dave

Shiny was a perfect example of “Full Steam Ahead”, we just kept jumping over any hurdles in the way.  For me that’s become an important element when hiring people.  I ask myself “Are they hurdle jumpers, or do they prefer to point at hurdles?”  Shiny had a really fun culture and we became very unpredictable by just taking an idea and running with it.  So MDK for example invented the Sniper system you see in games today, yet then we’d make a Helicopter Simulator to make the PlayStation controller act like a remote control transmitter.  It was impossible to guess what we would do next.  That was fun!


Greyfox

What are the logistics involved in producing games across various formats, do you feel this is a minefield at times?

Dave

When you have lots of expenses there’s a lot of pressure to maximize the revenue from a game, so the teams tend to try to develop lots of platforms at once.  That’s why I co-founded Gaikai as I believe that if the game runs in the cloud, then it can be sent to any device, you can pick up and continue were you left off.  Most importantly a developer gets up one morning and another X million people can access their game as we added support for another device.  So in the future, the developer should focus on PlayStation first (it’s the #1 platform anyway)  and let us stream it to more and more devices over time.


Greyfox

With an amazing history in game development, what was your biggest achievement from your point of view?

Dave

I’ve been lucky and have had the chance to work with some incredibly talented people.  If anything I think that’s really what I’ve learned, is to spot the people that can really move the needle.


Greyfox

When conception and design took place with Earthworm Jim, did you believe that it would become so popular with gamers around the world or was it deemed as another excellent platformer from Shiny Entertainment's stable?

Dave

Earthworm Jim had a design hook that I really liked as he would go from weak to strong and back to weak.  So one moment you’re kicking butt, the next moment you are a fleshy naked worm.  Getting back into the super suit was such a relief and I think that was a fun gameplay element.


Greyfox

Who came up with the name Earthworm Jim and the humour that the is so enriched within the games plot and game play?

Dave

The name an character was part of a test to see if we would hire Doug TenNapel.  He passed with flying colors when he showed us his skills.  I was lucky to work with such an amazing group and by throwing in a good character idea, it wasn’t long until we had a TV show, Marvel Comic Books, lots of magazine covers all over the world, Game of the Year awards etc.


Greyfox

With a vast array of games developed by Shiny Entertainment, like the Matrix titles, Disney titles, what were the companies like to deal with during this operation, helpful, obstructive?

Dave

The really big companies I’ve had the chance to work with usually have two elements, the creative and the business.  Things go well when they both like video games and I’ve been VERY fortunate there.  Jeffrey Katzenberg really wanted the Aladdin game to be great and he (with a stroke of a pen) moved mountains for us, and the same for the Wachowskis and Joel Silver.  The only challenge for us (where we bit of a bit more than we could chew) was to try to deliver new engines and platforms all on the same day.  That was insanely complicated and another great reason what Gaikai needed to happen.


Greyfox

Out of all the games you've help create and develop, which ones are your favourites?

Dave

My favorite was the first Earthworm Jim game as that was the last one that I personally programmed.  I definitely miss those days even though I ended up sleeping on the floor.


Greyfox

Was Supremacy your first ever 16 Bit title and do you realize just how bloody fantastic that game was?

Dave

Supremacy was indeed my first 16 bit game and it is a perfect example of working without a design document.  I had my ways of programming, Nick Bruty had his amazing art style and Jeroen Tel made us fantastic audio.  It meant that instead of struggling with this new Amiga/Atari ST, we could relax and just do what we do.  That make it an incredibly fun project.


Greyfox

Dan Dare Eagle comic strip and the 1st 2 Dan Dare Games on the Commodore 64 and Spectrum do you feel you might of 'cheated' Dan Dare fans somewhat, with Dan Dare III:The Escape which started off as a solo project (Crazy Jet Racer) but had no publisher, and thus was changed to suit when they landed the Dan Dare Licence?. Great as game was, it didn't really 'feel' part of the Dare Universe, can you shed any light on this?

Dave

The game really had nothing to do with Dan Dare, it was indeed Crazy Jet Racer, but Virgin liked it and wanted to rename it.  What we were doing was seeing how far we could push Sinclair Spectrum hardware, so the final game we made was called Extreme and we put every technical trick we had learned into that final Spectrum game.


Greyfox

There was lots of talk about the Dreamcast version of " Messiah", did work ever get started on the DC version?

Dave

We did do some R&D on the Dreamcast, but Sony PlayStation ended up being our main focus.  Phil Harrison was a good friend and he did a great job of convincing us that PlayStation was the future.


Greyfox

Talking of Lost Games, Earthworm Jim 1 and 2 often crop up as being worked on for the Atari Jaguar platform, Were you aware of Atari or any 3rd party licensing EWJ?

Dave

Yes, Interplay did a bunch of licensing of Earthworm Jim.  There’s a bunch of different versions but the originally team wasn’t involved.


Greyfox

Sacrifice was one of the greatest PC games, yet seemed to pass so many people by. Why  do you feel that was the case as it remains a cult classic? and were there any plans for a sequel and conversion to console?.

Dave

Sacrifice was incredibly quirky and had very little marketing, for quite a while it was one of the highest reviewed RTS games.  It was a technical marvel thanks to Martin Brownlow with help from the Messiah team, and I used to have so much fun demonstrating the ability to have lots of simultaneous tornado's and reminding everyone that when they buy a computer in the future they will see more detail that was impossible to see on hardware back then.  I remember Intel making me a prototype PC once just so we could get a glimpse of the future.  It was a fun time as we were considered state of the art, but as you know the next Shiny game could be about Goldfish.


Greyfox

What did you think of Biowares handling of "MDK 2"?

Dave

The guys running Bioware are good friends and they came up with their own take on the franchise.  It really showed how every team is incredibly different even when handling the same property.  I was working on getting a TV made for MDK and Interplay cancelled the idea right at the very final meeting.  That was so incredibly frustrating after so much work.


AmigaJay

Do you miss working in the UK? If not why not!?

Dave

I love going back the UK.  It feels like home, it’s what I grew up with.  I’ve also done what I can to help colleges over there.  Queens University in Belfast very kindly gave me an Honorary Doctorate, so it reminds me that I’m in the USA but the UK (Especially Northern Ireland) never forgets.  I also get invited to British events in Hollywood all the time, so somehow the Consul General’s team for the United Kingdom is doing a great job of keeping track of people from there.


AmigaJay

What decade of gaming is your favourite?

Dave

The next decade is always my favorite.  I love this industry it never stops evolving and so it never gets old.


AmigaJay

Megadrive or SNES in terms of programming?

Dave

Megadrive all day long!  I was friends with Nintendo and Miyamoto told me that Earthworm Jim was one of his Favorite western characters, but I’m a die-hard SEGA fan.


TrekMD

How much freedom did you have when working on titles from established franchises such as Disney's Aladdin, The Simpsons, and TMNT?

Dave

We had quite a bit of freedom, but not 100%.  Aladdin was loosely tied to the movie, but the characters were defined before we started.  So that’s one of the interesting design challenges between making your own properties and working with something that already has a ton of expectations.


Shadowrunner

What are you working on these days?

Dave

I’m all about learning, I hate mystery, so I try to stay on top of everything.  I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none.  That sounds bad, but that strategy has worked incredibly well for me as having lots of knowledge of lots of subjects makes you able to communicate with (and fully respect) the work that everyone does.   How can you talk to a programmer if you have no idea what they do or how they think?  Same with an animator etc.   So the more you can understand/experience what they all do the better.  That includes Licensing, Finances, IT, Marketing etc.


Shadowrunner

Are there any old franchises you would like to reboot?

Dave

I was going to reboot Earthworm Jim with Atari, but they couldn’t afford it.  The problem now is that all the team members are successful in their own right, so to re-group after so many years is very hard.  We joked about him starting the game really fat as he’s been waiting all this time.


Shadowrunner

Back when you started, did you ever think the video game industry would get to be this big? And where do you see it going from here?

Dave

My teachers thought I was nuts for leaving school to join the video game business.  They were certain it was a fad and it definitely could have been, but I doubled-down and bet my career on it.  It’s all I’ve really ever done since leaving school.  I see it as the #1 form of Entertainment, but we are not there yet.  So that’s been my mission and a focus of a lot of my speeches to help people discover the game that makes them a gamer for life.  We need the best video games to be as easy to access as movies and music.


Shadowrunner

What are some of your favourite games to play?

Dave

I (like most) get really excited with the latest greatest prettiest thing.  For multiplayer (when friends visit) I find myself firing up EA Sports games quite a bit… FIFA is my favorite.  I do quite a bit of game design judging and get sent all kinds of indie games to play, that leads to really surprising games like “Papers, Please”.  In my nerd moods I tend to fire up Real Flight 7.5 so I can practice flying Quadcopters and remote control planes.  I also have built a cockpit for Flight Simulations with head tracking etc. 

 
zapiy

Did you ever start working on games for the Konix Multisystem?

Dave

Yes, we were working on it.  I still have a case in my garage, I loved the idea that it could have a steering wheel, handlebars, flight yoke etc.  It was cool, but I think they went off the deep end when they invested into moving chairs etc.

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