Profile, A&B October 1987
We delve this month into the unblemished past of two of The Arcade's favourite programmers - Martin Edmondson and Nicholas Chamberlain. Perhaps it's because their first release Ravenskull had just been coded when I started this column and we therefore felt a natural affinity for fellow beginners or else that they saw the value of a good games column in the Beeb press for their future financial stability, but they have been meticulous in supplying me with early versions, maps and hints on their work.
Now they step forward and take the spotlight themselves, as well as providing a map and hints for the first two sectors of Codename: DROID.
As they always work together the background profile is of Martin, but much of it applies to them both.
The first computer I ever laid hands on was a Commodore Pet in 1981 running a game called Zooty's Invaders (wow!). When everyone else seemed to be buying a Sinclair ZX81, I hung on for a while to see if anything better would arrive. It did, eventually, and I received a BBC Model A (+16K) for Christmas 1982 and Acornsoft's Monsters which I played virtually 24 hours a day, for weeks.
During the next two months I wrote programs that performed ultra-useful tasks such as drawing boxes on the screen or playing the first few notes of 'We wish you a merry Christmas'!
Not long after Nicholas got a BBC. This was great because it meant that I could swop games -everybody else I knew had VICs or Spectrums.
At long last we decided to write a game. After several feeble efforts that never seemed to get past the 'Press Space to start' stage of production, we wrote an adventure. It was a disc based graphical adventure which was a daft idea to begin with as not many people had disc drives at the time. Despite this we still finished it but didn't bother offering it for publication.
As soon as Paperboy appeared in the arcades, we decided to write a version for the BBC. With this game I think we pioneered '3D flicker-mation' but it looked quite nice. The game was shown to Superior who considered putting it on one of their compilations, but Kix beat us to it!
Before we had really finished Paper-Round Nicholas showed me a four way scrolling routine which was VERY fast. This is where Ravenskull came from - use a Super Speed scroll to see it running at full tilt.
As soon as this was finished we did Codename: DROID. Whilst writing this game we realised just how much more we could have crammed into Ravenskull. Can I just say at this moment to anyone about to copy the game in their twin deck hi-fi - STOP! - I quite possibly failed four A levels to get that game finished! Have a heart!
The next thing we wrote was Stryker's Run for the Electron, which proved very difficult. Our thanks to Kevin Edwards and Gary Partis for their advice on raising the speed of the game. This conversion took longer than we expected so sorry to any Elk owner who had difficulty getting a copy.
For the future? Well, whether we write another BBC game will depend on the sales of Codename: DROID. The ST, Amiga and Archimedes all look inviting. Zarch on the Archimedes looks impressive running at about 15 frames per second - it's actually faster than the arcade game I, Robot.
I now have a room devoted to computers, disc drives, printers and other things which I don't really need but look very impressive anyway!
Games: Paper-Round (unreleased) Ravenskull (BBC, Elk) Codename: DROID (BBC, Elk) Stryiker's Run (Elk conversion)
Interests: Very, very fast cars
Favourite games: Firetrack, Zalaga, Galaforce
Favourite food: Hamburgers
Favourite drink: Cherry Coke with a dash of meths!
TV: Blackadder, Only Fools & Horses, Just Good Friends, Ever Decreasing Circles
Film: Ruthless People
Novels: Wizwam & Martin Under the Sea; 68000 Programmer's Reference Guide and ROM Disassembly!
Hates: Cherry Coke without the meths! Also NUM, CND, NUT and IBM.
Games: As for Martin Edmondson
Favourite Games: Revs, Aviator
Food: Hotdog and chips
Film: Nightmare on Elm Street
Hates: Cassettes, Micro Live and all other TV computer programmes.
Nicholas is too modest to send us a photo and to mention that it is his father who does the excellent title screens on their games.
This article appeared in the October 1987 edition of "A & B Computing", published by Argus Press.
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