31 мая 1996

Part 4 - The ritman interview.

<b>Part 4</b> - The ritman interview.


Here   it  is!  The  first  ever  Emulate!
exclusive  interview. Our roving reporter,
Blood, has tracked down a Speccy God - Jon
"Head   Over   Heels"  Ritman!  I'll  hand
straight over to him! ED.

"One   of  the  things  missing  from  the
current  computer  scene  is  the  'famous
programmer'.  Back in the good old days of
the  Speccy,  everyone  knew  the  name of
their  favourite  programmer  and often it
was  who  wrote  the  game rather than who
published  it  that affected the sales the

"One   such  programming  genius  was  Jon
Ritman,   the  man  behind  (amongst  many
others) classics such as Match Day, Batman
and  Head  Over  Heals.  These days Jon is
still around (although not programming for
the  Spectrum any more!) and is still very
much involved in the industry."

"Putting on my best 'cheeky young scamp of
a  journalist'  hat,  I scampered over and
asked  him  outright  if he'd answer a few
questions.    And    guess   what   -   he
agreed......!  Here  we  go with Emulate's
first Exclusive Interview!"

Me: How did you get started in computers?

Jon:  I  used  to  mend TV's for a living,
working  for  Radio  Rentals  -  they were
going  to rent computers so I decided they
would  need engineers and bought a ZX81 so
I could learn - the rest is history.

Me:  When did you first see a Spectrum and
what were your first impressions?

Jon: Can't remember - pretty cool!

Me:  Can  you  remember the first game you
ever wrote? What was it like?

Jon: Of course I can, it was called Namtir
Raiders   and   was   released   by  Artic
Computing  on  the ZX81 - it was a movable
ship at the bottom of the screen.

(Retro-fans  with a ZX81 emulator can grab
a   copy   of  Namtir  Raiders  from  NVG!
Download the following snaps pack :

It's the file called 'NAMTIR.P'.......)

(And  it's  in this month's snapshot pack!

Me: What was your first commercial game?

Jon:  See  above  (In those days you could
get away with a 2k game).

Me: What was the first game you wrote that
you were really happy with?

Jon:  I  don't release games I'm not happy
with  - of course each game should/must be
better than the last.

Me:  Did  you always program full time, or
did   you   start  out  like  the  average
computer  hack working in the back bedroom
in the evening? ;-)

Jon:  I  stayed  at  Radio  Rentals for my
first  3  games  before  going  full  time
(remember that I was making 4 games a year
at this time).

Me: Did Knight Lore inspire you to do your
isometric 3D games, or was it all your own

Jon: It was Knight Lore!

Me:  Did  you  use  the same 3D engine for
Monster  Max on the Gameboy as you did for
your 3D games on the Spectrum?

Jon: No - it was a complete rewrite.

(In  case you didn't know, Monster Max was
Jon   and   Bernie's  only  game  for  the
Nintendo Gameboy. It's a 3D isometric game
in a very similar style to Head Over Heals
and  is  well worth a look if you're a fan
of the genre!)

Me:  Head Over Heals is still probably the
finest  isometric  3D  game on any machine
and  features  on  MANY peoples' favourite
games list. What were your favourite games
for the Spectrum and why?

Jon:  Match Day II - Cause I could win ;-)
Knight Lore - Cause it blew me away when I
first laid eyes on it!

Me: Out of all the games you have written,
which is your personal favourite?

Jon: Head Over Heals.

(Not surprising, eh?)

Me:  What  was  the  last  Speccy game you
wrote?  Did you leave anything unfinished?
(and  if so is there any chance we'll ever
get to see it!)

Jon:  I  have trouble remembering that far
back  but  it  was either HoH or Match Day
II!  I  had  started  a  new  game  called
Starship  (working title) when I moved on,
the  source  for this has now gone missing
so don't expect to see it!


Me:  What  made  you  leave  the  Spectrum
scene?  It sounds like it wasn't something
you expected to happen......

Jon:  The  article about Ultimate appeared
(I'm  sure  you remember it) and I went to
see  them  and  then  started working with

(If  I  remember correctly, the advert Jon
is talking about was placed by Ultimate in
the  late  80s  just after they had become
RARE.  It  advertised  for  programmers to
help  them  progress  into  the arcade and
console  business, and appeared in most of
the popular Spectrum mags.)

Me:  Were  you sad to see the Spectrum go,
or  were  you  eager  to  move  on to more
powerful machines?

Jon: The more power the better!

Me:  Is  there anything you miss about the
old days?

Jon: They were great times but we all move
on to bigger and better things, so no, not

Me:  You  have  a  new  company now called
Cranberry  Source.  Are  there  any  other
names  we'd  recognise  from Spectrum days
working  for  you?  Whatever  happened  to
Bernie   Drummond?   Do   you  still  work

Jon:  My  business partner, John Cook, was
Head of development at Mirrorsoft but he's
not  a  programming type so most would not
have  come  across  his  name - inside the
industry  however  he  is  probably better
known than me. Bernie does work for CS.

(There's another couple for the FAQ then!)

Me:  What  are Cranberry Source working on
at  the  minute?  Which  machines  are you
concentrating on?

Jon: Three games each on PC, Playstation &
Saturn  -  Q.A.D.  - A fly over a stunning
landscape rescuing hostages game (2player)
The   Net  -  A  multiplayer  soccer  game
Redemption - An epic game, this would take
me too long to describe!

Me:  Do  you  still program, or do you let
other  people  get their hands dirty these
days? ;-)

Jon:   I   find   there   are   too   many
distractions  for me to program, running a
company  almost  30  strong  means you get
interrupted every three minutes.

Me:  Do  you  miss programming? Or are you
glad you're out of it?!

Jon:  Running a company this size is still
very  much  a learning experience and I've
always  enjoyed  learning (isn't that what
is  fun about programming?) - I still look
at  the odd inner machine code loop to see
if  I  can  optimise it any better than my
staff  (and sometimes I can :-) so I'm not
completely out of programming.

Me:  Any  plans to convert any of your old
games  to  the  PC or consoles? I remember
seeing  Head Over Heals converted onto the
16  bit computers some time ago - what did
you think of the conversions?

Jon:  HoH 16 bit conversions were all done
by a guy at Ocean and they were as perfect
as   any  conversion  I've  ever  seen.  I
wouldn't convert an old game but of course
The  Net  is  a soccer game and I wouldn't
release  it  if it wasn't much better than
Match  Day - For Hoh fans I suggest a look
at  Redemption  (it wont be released until
the end of next year).

(eek! That's a long time!)

Me:  Do  you  ever get the urge to just go
and  write  a  Spectrum  game  instead  of
getting  all hot and bothered over this PC
and Super-Console business? ;-)

Jon: No!

(Shame again... but it was worth a try!)

Me:  Retro-mania  has  arrived with a bang
and suddenly everyone is playing old games
and  getting  all teary-eyed over the 'old
days'.  Do you think that modern games can
really  compete  with  the  old  classics?
Aren't  they  just  all  graphics  and  no

Jon:  Unfortunately  many  games have just
been  FMV  fests  but  that doesn't mean a
great   modern   game  can't  have  superb
graphics - of course it's possible to make
ace  games  on  a  super  powerful  PC and
that's just what CS plans to do.

Me:  Is  it  easier to produce a good game
for the PC / Superconsoles than it was for
the  Spectrum  because  of  the  increased
hardware?  Or  does it just make it easier
for  less  scrupulous people than yourself
to produce sloppy software?

Jon:  It  isn't  any easier for me because
the  games are much larger than the speccy
days,  what  the  PC  does provide is less
restrictions  than  the  old  machines - I
suppose  it  does make it easy to knock up
those  collections  of  FMV sequences that
some people call games though...

Me:  Are you in on the Retro-mania? Do you
ever  pull  out  an  old  computer  or  an
emulator and play some old games? Or don't
you have the time any more! ;-)

Jon:  I've got the Z80 emulator but I only
really look at my own products on it.

(Well, I could think of a lot WORSE things
to use it for!)

And  that  was it! My first ever interview
and  it  was  with  a complete Speccy God!
Hopefully  that's  given  you all a little
insight into Jon and his work - let's hope
his  future  programming projects go on to
be timeless classics too, eh?

For  those  of  you interested in having a
look   at   what   Cranberry   Source  are
producing,  there's a full page preview of
QAD in the September 96 issue of PC Format
and  (so  Jon  tells me) there should be a
playable    demo    with    the    October
issue....probably! ;-)

I'd  like to thank Jon for taking time out
from  his incredibly busy schedule to talk
to  me  -  I hope it's been as interesting
for  you  lot  as it has been for me! Next
month I'll be talking to Matthew Smith (in
my dreams!). ;-)


Другие статьи номера:

Intro - Contents.

Part 1 - Editorial.

Part 2 - Playing tips.

Part 3 - Snapshot Pack VI.

Part 4 - The ritman interview.

Part 5 - The spectrum database.

Part 6 - Emulator reviews.

Part 7 - Faster than basic.

Part 8 - 16/48 Index (Part 1).

Part 9 - A-Z Of Spectrum games reviews (part 6).

Part 10 - Spectrum on the Net.

Part 11 - Adventures.

Part 12 - Past, present and future.

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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