Actionless Biker, including ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

It’s as I feared. The popularity of Action biker has overwhelmed me, the constant cries of ‘More, more, more’ are just too much for this poor soul to take.

Yes, with the latest demo of Action Biker on offer for three and a half days* over at RetroRemakesand not a single download having taken place, I think we can re-assign Colin to the bin. This isn’t a defeatest attitude, it’s not me taking my ball away, it’s simply that there are so many better things I could be doing with my life than remaking a game that no one wants and that, it would appear, nobody apart from me ever enjoyed originally.

This has made me think about what I consider the important elements to a game. I would seem to be in the minority here, because I like simple picky uppy and usy games. On the Spectrum my favorite games were things like ‘Everyone’s a Wally’, The Magic Knight games ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Stormbringer’ (yeah, I thought ‘Knight Tyme’ was OK too), ‘Sceptre of Baghdad’, ‘The Incredible Shrinking Fireman’ and, yes, ‘Action Biker’. It never occured to me that the whole shoot ’em up thing was a bigger draw and this has kind of worked against me in my desire to remake (and ultimately make) games. My thing appeals to less people than most other people’s things. I can, as the weird hippies amidst us would say, dig that.

So where do I go from here?

I have several options I guess.

I can work on one of my old abandoned games, let’s face it, I have a stack of them. Pick one, go on… ‘Cyberun’ (I have some graphics for this too), ‘The Wild Bunch’, ‘Bard’s Tale 2’, ‘Rock Star Ate My Hamster’, ‘Tir Na Nog’, ‘Grym Jim’… All a little ambitious, possibly with the exception of ‘The Wild Bunch’, but then, FatSegal already made an ace version of that……

I can start a new remake but, as has been proven here, my choices tend to be either overly complex (for me, anyhoo) or that unpopular that it makes the time I invest in making the game worthless. Underlord is a good example of this, a year and a half of coding that seems to have had little or no impact in the world of gaming. Obviously it’s incomplete state does not help here, it’s the bain of my life trying to get good graphics for my games and Underlord suffers muchly for this, that and audio, plus a few bug fixes are all that are stopping this from being complete, so that gives me the next option…

I can finish Underlord. Ha! Are you serious? I couldn’t get Psyren to finish the graphics last time, what are the chances this time? Seriously, I couldn’t ask someone else to finish off the graphics that Psyren didn’t do for me, they would need to be started from scratch again. The audio needs starting as I don’t even have a beeps worth of sound for it, though this isn’t a major, I would have needed to do that anyway, but the biggie here is, who would I be doing it for? Certainly not for me, I know how to beat it, I’m happy enough with it as it is, I learnt a hell of a lot from Underlord and, as such, it was a bit of a triumph for me, but I doubt I’ll get much more out of it. I would also need testers, a component so rare in any of my games (see above) that it really isn’t worth contemplating……. No, none of those three options are really viable at the moment.

So then… What else?

I could learn a little more about the language? Yup, I’m still a wee bairn as far as C (and to a much greater extent, C++) is concerned. I can look, from a game developer’s point of view, how I could improve my C skills for when I settle on my next project. But do I want to stick with C & Allegro? Let’s face it, it’s not been that successfull for me has it? How about then……

I can learn a new language. Actually, not necissarily a new language, but I can learn to code for new hardware using new libraries. I’m quite keen on porting ‘Everyones a Wally’ to the DS, I think the game would be perfect for the platform. John Ward at Karmatoad and I have often talked about writing together for the DS or even possibly the Iphone. The problem here is, again, one of differing game genres. We haven’t yet found a game that we would both be happy to work on for the DS and, though we have had a cracking idea for an Iphone app, my Iphone dev skills don’t even include the ability to possess either an Iphone or a Mac to develop on.

I’m in a quandary, honestly, I am. What do I do when I’m in a quandary? I play games. The more I play, the more I want to develop, the more I want to develop, the stronger the itch to try something new. The Lord himself only knows what I’ll do next, but I dare say, once I’ve decided, I’ll bung it up here.

* I’m impatient, sue me!


4 Responses to “Actionless Biker, including ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’”

  1. shaymanjohn Says:

    Bad (but not entirely unexpected) news. Personally I think it would be a good idea to pick a project which you could reasonably expect to finish in (say) a few weeks.

    Something like Space Invaders (OK that’s my baby) – but there are plenty more out there which would attract some proper retro interest: Galaxians? Scramble (again one of my favs), Asteroids, Defender? Pacman?

    You will learn an awful lot from what at first glance appear to be relatively simple (but turn out not to be), you get the graphics done for you (and sound), and you get a ready made fan base, hence keeping YOU interested whilst you’re doing it.

    After that – port it to other hardware. Best way to learn a different platform is to convert one of your own remakes…

    • spraydough Says:

      Aye, agreed, but it’s drumming up the enthusiasm to put finger to keyboard again that will be the more difficult part of that excersise. I’d not considered Galaxians though…

  2. Bob Says:

    You know that the crowd on RR are a -very- small percentage of your audience, right, man?

    They’re lovely, but I wouldn’t rest my decisions on whether someone on there took notice or not y’know.

    Case in point – possible amount of downloads from my last game -on the RR forums- probably around 15/20 or so at a push (note, this wasn’t published on the front page at any point so that’s to bear in mind also). Total downloads to date: somewhere around 8,000.

    Just a bit of perspective there for you.

    But more than anything, the thing I’d recommend is take absolutely no notice of what anyone else wants. More often than not, they don’t know what they want until they get it.

    Do it for you and don’t be dismayed if initially there’s no fireworks. Get it out there – it’ll find the folks who share your tastes or want the same thing.

    That’s sorta how it goes.

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