A huge thanks to Carl at Songbird Productions for agreeing to this interview.
Can you tell us a little about you and Songbird?Carl
Sure. See my answers below.
Besides that, I've been an Atari fan for about 30 years ever since my dad bought the original 2600 in the stores. I still have his collection of games from my childhood. 'Songbird' was a college nickname of mine because I was always singing or humming, and then after I dedicated my life to serving Christ, it took on even more meaning for me since my songs became songs of worship. The Laird
Can you tell us what the status is of the Lynx version of Ultra Vortek? Carl
It's in development limbo at this point. The game is fully playable with sound effects and collisions and special moves for two characters. I wanted to add more characters to the game but that's looking less likely these days. It could still be published at some point, however. The Laird
A few years back when you released Total Carnage you hinted that Midway might have had more Jaguar hidden away. I have heard rumours of Dactyl Joust and Mortal Kombat 3, any more information? Carl
Dactyl Joust was being developed by High Voltage Software, not Midway. I spoke with some of the programmers and artists for that game years ago and there is a ~5 second demo of gameplay floating on the net somewhere which did come from HVS. No info on MK3, sorry. The Laird
I love Megapak 1 for the Lynx, any plans for a Megapak 2? Carl
Thanks for the kind words; the community really did a great job on that collection. No plans for MP2 at the moment.TrekMD
Can you tell us about Robinson's Requiem's development? What was the process to get this game released for the Jaguar? Carl
The game when I received it was final beta quality, so I didn't make any changes to the game itself. However, it was a very long process of tracking down the rights for Silmarils in France. The company had been liquidated so the rights were tied up for several years with a legal firm until finally things reverted back to founder of Silmarils. Once that happened, he was very gracious to work with me to get the game published for Jaguar fans.TrekMD
Can you give us a hint of what to next expect from Songbird? Carl
I was tinkering with a Jaguar CD game a couple months ago. That's probably the most likely next publication from me, but I don't want to comment on it very much since there is a lot more work to do. Greyfox
What is the hardest element or problem you have found in jaguar game development to overcome ? Carl
The most time I ever spent on a single feature or bug was modifying Total Carnage so it would be suitable for publication. I spent something like 100 hours reverse-engineering the binary so I could disable the "instant level skip" and title screen beta messages. Greyfox
What software is used when creating sprites or 3d polygon graphics, is it a time consuming progress ? Carl
Making games in general is a very time-consuming process. The fun part is getting the initial demo or feature to work and realizing you will have a playable game very soon. The boring part is adding all the options screens, sound f/x, extra animation, and so on.
For the Lynx and Jaguar, I used simple paint programs like Paint Shop Pro and an older program called NeoPaint. You have to create each frame of animation individually, then figure out how to tell the game to animate the frames to give the appearance of motion. I've never made polygon models for either system. AmigaJay
More and more Lynx games are coming out from other 3rd party indies, Songbird has slowed down in production of Lynx games over the last few years, have your Lynx projects been put on indefinite hold? or are there plans to revive and release them in the next few years? Carl
You're right, I have slowed down in recent years. I've made the conscious decision to spend more time with my family and I'm loving it. I still would like to publish Ultra Vortek at some point, and I have another game I developed in J2ME which I hope to convert to the Lynx some day. AmigaJay
We're you impressed with Zaku the game as a Lynx fan firstly? and secondly as a producer, the professional way the cartridge was made to be as close to an original as possible? Carl
Zaku does look like a very impressive game and it's great to see other developers pushing the limits of what the Lynx can do more than 20 years later. And I always respect publishers who go the extra mile to make faithful reproductions; I've taken that approach on the Jaguar but when I first started publishing Lynx games, no one could easily reproduce the cartridge molding so I went a different route. AmigaJay
What's your best and worst selling Lynx title? Carl
Best selling would be either Champ Rally or CyberVirus, and worst would probably be SFX since it's a sound tool and not a full game. Surprisingly, Ponx has been a steady (but not phenomonal) seller over the years. I get lots of great feedback on how much fun it is for two players to play on one Lynx, plus the cheats and multi-ball can make it a frantic game. Shadowrunner
Have you ever considered developing a game for a non atari platform? Carl
I have: it's called Pizza Guy and it was released both in B&W and in color for cell phones about 10 years ago. I think only a few hundred people ever downloaded it, however.
Beyond that, I don't really have time to learn other systems.
Thanks for the interview!