RVG Interviews: Stoo Cambridge.

Stuart “Stoo” Cambridge is an iconic computer game designer and artist, and former member of British software developer Sensible Software. We originally interviewed Stoo way back in 2015, we wanted to do an updated interview to bring it inline we our latest interviews and I am happy to say we have achieved that and much more, icreasing it by around 60%.  It was nice catching up with one of the good guys from the gaming industry and what makes this one even more special is the header image was created by the man himself, I am completely blown away by it so thanks Stoo.

Enjoy!

The Interview

zapiy

Firstly Stoo could you tell us a little about yourself.

Stoo

My name is Stoo Cambridge I’m 40 something and I’m looking for love, oh hang on wrong email…Erm I’m what some would call an industry veteran which makes me sound like some kind of Gandalf like character but I can assure you there’s not a grey robe to be seen anywhere near wardrobeil! In truth I create stuff that sometimes people see and like, one project that seems to have stood the test of time well is a little Amiga game we did called Cannon Fodder which I created all the artwork for.

TrekMD

How did you first get involved in the video game industry?

Stoo

I had a small brush (no pun intended, oh ok maybe a small one) with the industry in 1988 when I hacked together a C64 game using the Shoot Em Up Construction Kit. It was sold to Power House, a small budget game label and was due to be released sometime thereafter but alas it was never to be as they ceased trading just before it hit the duplicators. I don’t think even the box art was done, if it was I never saw it. Thankfully I did get my advance against royalties cheque which paid for an Amiga A1000 and marked a major turning point in my career. Big time happy days! It was called Battle Ball, thankfully restored by Frank Gasking of GTW from an old C64 disk which I had almost given up on finding again until I was clearing out some old boxes from the garage. Seeing it running after all these years I’m amazed I managed to get someone to give me a deal, crazy! )

Battle Ball

Zapiy

What was the first game you created?

Stoo

I used to dabble a bit on the C64 in 6502 assembler which for a teenage boy in the 1980s certainly made me feel like a digital wizard when compared to writing BASIC on my VIC-20; my first computer. The first game I actually finished to completion was the previously mentioned Battle Ball. Before this I had a few work in progress games coded but nothing ever got further than some sprites and a simple scroll routine under the obligatory joystick control, (port 2 of course). I think if SEUCK hadn’t come out when it did I would have eventually finished my little scrolling demo game and turned it into a full release but whether I’d have got it published, who knows, maybe I’d have taken a whole different direction within the industry, if at all.

TrekMD

You’ve written, designed and produced games. Which is your favourite role in the game development process?

Stoo

As an artist I guess the art side is an obvious answer but I really just like the process of just making it! The initial design stage is good, lots of ideas flow some better than others, you end up with quite a lot of stuff that may or may not work so a cull is often required to create the final design. That design then spawns the development process and that’s what I like the most, just doing it. Oh but not the last bit when there’s bugs, fixes, tweaks and never-ending to do lists, that bit is not fun at all! Finishing off Cannon Fodder was and I can still remember it now, a real long hard slog!

Zapiy

What games from back in the day (and now) would you say are your biggest inspirations?

Stoo

I’m a big big fan of the 80s classic arcade games from the early ones through to the Konami/SNK/Capcom days. Games like Galaxian, Galaga, Time Pilot, Nemesis, Salamander, Side-Arms, Strider, and of course Metal Slug to name but a few (oh and I could go on and on, I love games from this time). As for today, I don’ t really get the time to play that many games, certainly not as much as I’d like to. The last games I played on the PS4 was Polybius and Lumo.

Greyfox

What is the biggest challenge you face with the limitations of the hardware, particularly as you continue to expand features title-to-title? (Memory? Graphical capability? Speed?)

Mega-Lo-Mania (Megadrive/Genesis)

Stoo

There have always been limitations with one machine or the other. As a developer you just work around them and do what you can to make it work whilst staying true to the design. Certainly when converting a game between different machines, these limitation can make for a more challenging job.

As an example when we converted Mega-Lo-Mania from the Amiga to the MegaDrive the biggest challenge, though not the only one, was how would we fit the graphics into the Sega consoles memory. The Amiga version used lots of set graphics and a fair old number of sprites which were just too big to fit within the memory of the Megadrive. The level art had to be scaled down as a result and converted into 8×8 character based tile maps. Thankfully a machine like the Megadrive has some pretty cool attributes that can be applied to graphics in order to save memory. For example tiles and sprites can be flipped so immediately you can half the overhead on those, different colour palettes can be applied also, again this means you only need to store one set of graphics switching to a different palette for use in a different colour, great for the sprites that made up the armies!

Code wise both machines shared the same 68000 CPU clocked at about the same sort of speed, so that made life a lot easier leaving just the sound and graphics to get right.

The Executioner (Amiga)

Greyfox

Do you have a favourite game that you were involved with?

Stoo

Hmmm, I wouldn’t say I have a real favourite game, Cannon Fodder is up there for obvious reasons but graphically I do have a soft spot for The Executioner, a game I worked on in 1991 for the Amiga. I’d tried experimenting quite a bit with the look and was really pleased with the way the look of the game turned out. The actual game was pretty good but for reasons I still cannot fathom we had no keyboard controls? I’m sure this was probably a request from the publisher to make it Joystick only as in hindsight it makes no sense to omit key support.

The other title that holds dear in the graphics department is the unfinished Amiga game The Last Starship. Very much influenced by the arcade shoot em ups of the day it never saw the light of day but with the power of the web a few of the graphics can be seen on my website. I do have a demo somewhere of it (if the disc still works), which was pretty slow and unplayable. You can see some of the graphics HERE.

TrekMD

Was it hard adapting to the changing hardware over the years?

Joe Blow (PS1)

Stoo

I stopped mainstream game development as my prime job many years ago, I certainly found the transition from 2D to 3D at the time was quite a challenge prior to my leaving Sensible. It was just so different to what I’d been used to from the 8-bit and 16-bit machines. I’d taught myself how to use 3D Studio 4 at Sensible for the Playstation 1 game “Have a Nice Day” which unfortunately I don’t have the models for. Thankfully I still have the textures I created so maybe one day I’ll recreate these models for posterity and post them on my website.

After leaving Sensible I set up Abstract Entertainment where we used 3d Studio Max for all the game art on our 3D platformer, Joe Blow for the PS1. Lightwave was used for the character models and animations. Most of my time during these 3

Joe Blow (PS1)

years was spent managing the company and the project so my output as an artist during this time was greatly reduced, though I did manage a few bits seen in the game.

These days Blender is my choice for anything 3D related, not that I class myself as a 3D artist I’m really not but I can knock up a few game models and do a bit of texturing if needed. Before 3D became the defacto-norm as a games rendering technology, most 2D systems were pretty similar at their core with sprites, background tiles, scrolling level maps. This meant that for the most part the learning curve from one format to the other was more about memory usage and colours than having to learn something completely new each time. For example creating a sprite on a C64 compared to creating a sprite on a Sega Megadrive is the same process, just different resolution and colours.

Zapiy

What was your time like working at Abstract Entertainment?

Stoo

It was full of many, many highs and some pretty dire, dark lows. I started Abstract with a programmer mate who I had known from my pre-Sensible days. When he started at Sensible it wasn’t too long after that the place began to feel different and we both decided to work on a concept for a game which initially was an overhead 2D game called DJ Fresh Adventures in Dreamworld. We later redesigned it for 3D and retitled it to Joe Blow Adventures in Dreamworld. Let’s just say it didn’t work out and things didn’t go to plan. 3 years later it was no more and I pretty much lost everything as a result, my career in the games industry took a seriously dark turn for the worst and though I came through it the experience cut deep and I lost everything as a result.
For this interview I’ve uploaded a never before seend video I took of the main 2D version of the character to my Youtube Channel. This was shot with a Hi8 camcorder so not the best quality compared to today but does illustrate him fairly well.

(I shall be uploading lots of Joe Blow and Earlier DJ Fresh stuff as I plan to do a proper archive of it)

Zapiy

When you first started, did you ever think that the video game industry would become as big as it has and still be going strong all these years later?

Stoo

I used to think we worked in a bit of niche market, something only real computer gaming types were in to. That’s certainly not the case today but then it has taken an evolutionary and somewhat natural path when you look at the technology that parallels it.

Zapiy

Are you a gamer yourself? Do you own any retro systems? Modern systems?

Stoo

I used to play games quite a lot but don’t really find I have the time these days. As for retro systems I still have a fair few of them kicking about which I set up from time to time when nostalgia gets the better of me! My sons play on the PS4 and the XboxOne but I don’t really play on them that often.

TrekMD

When you’re not working on games what are some of your favorites to play?

Stoo

When I get the chance it depends on the mood but I do like playing retro games quite a bit. I recently set my MegaDrive up and was playing Ristar which was great. I also like Pinball FX2 and Pinball Arcade on the Xbox 360, not really played the new ones yet. 2D platformers are always a good laugh and I really like shot em ups, especially the ones where you run and shoot. Commando, Mercs and Search and Rescue spring to mind.

Zapiy

Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?

Stoo

If I’d been asked that question in the 90s I’d have said yes, but I have to say sitting here in 2018, no not at all. The old games (and systems) were representative of a time when video games were still seen as a fad, something we’d all grow out of but it was exciting, fresh and new at the time. The hardware held more interest with each release and that sense of nostalgia is so powerful as it represents something you can be reminded of when you play them today, a magical time.

I remember back in the 90s there was a Galaxian emulator that appeared, I think it was called Starcade or something like that and it totally blew me away; bare in mind the old 16-bit machines were still very much the current generation and the 8-bit stuff was not quite old enough to be used in any warm fuzzy nostalgic way. Fast forward to now and we can play retro games without even having to own the physical media or even the original hardware to play them on. Awesome as that is I don’t think you can beat playing on the original machines and thankfully I still have most of my old computers and consoles. Having recently set some of these up, it’s just nice playing them again, and I guess that sentiment is the correlation as to why there has evolved such a strong retro scene and industry around it.

Greyfox

How different has it been to work in the gaming industry through the years?

Stoo

It was certainly different in the 80s and 90s as technology was far less complex but that also applies to the development tools. Today there’s so much out there to assist in creating games and in some ways it’s overwhelming knowing what to use. The tools we used back then were usually written by the coder for the game , certainly with Cannon Fodder we had a custom level editor which sat on top of the actual game code so we could put together the levels exactly how we wanted.

Granted many games today still use custom tools but a lot of the work has been done for you now, certainly with tools like Tiled (Mapeditor.org) it’s allowed devs more time to develop without the need to write lots of base level tools at the start. We used Tiled on Blobbit Push which worked out brilliantly. Of course with 3D there’s many options to consider, Unity being one of the well-known ones and for something that’s free, GODOT is pretty awesome I have to say.

Zapiy

What company back in the day did you most admire and why?

Stoo

Now that’s an interesting question, I guess if we’re talking about the 80s then I’d say Ultimate Play The Game were pretty up there as they had this image that exuded quality. Later I guess the early Psygnosis captured that same sense of quality.

As for developers and this probably sounds a bit corny but Sensible Software during the 8bit days, huge fan of the stuff Jon and Chris produced in the early days.

zapiy

What was the inspiration and concept for the Molotov Man?

Molotov Man (SNES) Early Mock up with ‘NOT’ the main character but a rather naff stand in.

Stoo

I can’t quite recall how the project came into existence other than at the time it was quite heavily influenced by Bomber Man. All I can remember is being absolutely overjoyed to be working on the SNES and having what at the time felt like an endless colour palette compared to what I’d been used to with the Amiga. The SNES hadn’t been out long, I’d got a Japanese one which came with Final Fight Guy and Chris had got a development system in the office. Seeing how a game was put together on this previously mysterious machine from the East was a real joy at the time and tickled my geekiness levels to the max! Only downer I can recall was the 256 pixel wide-screen width compared to the standard 320 pixels the Amiga and Genesis used. I really wasn’t too keen on the smaller yet fatter screen but the rest of the hardware made up for that!

zapiy

Why was it never released?

Stoo

I don’t know what really happened with it. We never got it past an early prototype stage so there was never a finished game that would have stood up to a release. It played but was more an advance concept demo than a game. Chris had the Molotov cocktails exploding and the blasts radiating outwards, BomberMan style. I think there was even a few baddies moving about to blow up but that is as far as I know where it finished. I suspect it was a funding issue, maybe it was too close to BomberMan and nobody wanted to take a chance on signing it. I really don’t know to be honest. Shame as I was genuinely very excited about working on the SNES.

Zapiy

Do you have any thoughts or plans on creating a game for a retro system (Amiga/Megadrive or something else)?

Stoo

Wouldn’t that be something. I have a great fondness for the Megadrive having worked on the machine in the past and loved every minute of it. Seeing titles like Xeno Crisis and Tanglewood being developed after successful crowd funding campaigns I do wonder if it’s something I should consider; would it be worth it financially to revisit Sega’s classic 16bit console some 30 years after it was released? I do have a lot of ideas which I think would work really well on the Sega machine, certainly food for thought.

Zapiy

Can you expand a little?

Stoo

It’s an idea I started to have when I read there were a few Mega Drive games in development that had successfully been funded via Kickstarter; that thought buried itself in my head. Now that these games are out and seeing the positive responses online I do have to consider whether it is seriously worth looking in to.

Zapiy

Can you share any info on your ideas?

Stoo

Now that would be telling…I’ve had lots of ideas over the years like I guess many of my peers have I expect. I’d have to say most are just filed as notes but there’s always a couple that stick there in the back of your head waiting for the right moment to shine light upon. I’m a huge fan of run and shoot’em up games, as I am games that have some key objectives in order to complete the level stages. I’ll leave it there for now as I don’t really have too much to give away at the moment, it is of course just an idea.

Zapiy

Also, have you ever been approached about releasing the last starship?

Stoo

Actually continuing on from the previous question.. that would make a rather interesting MegaDrive game. I’d love to update all the art on it as there’s so much that could be done with it especially seeing as those graphics are just 16 colour and the Megadrive can display more than that, who knows? As for anyone approaching me to use the art, no I’ve not.

Zapiy

Tell us about you work with mobile games, Blobbit Push was fantastic, tell us about the development of this?

Blobbit Push

Stoo

It’s funny as Blobbit Push was originally the sequel to Blobbit Dash a web-based browser game that we converted to run on the old Java mobile phones.

The story of how Blobbit came to be is really quite bizarre , almost by accident. I’d worked with Mark (Ripley) in the past on a few projects and during a conversation one day he just happened to ask if I had any graphics that would beef up this rough demo for a game he’d written. The game was really simple; the player had to pick up things whilst avoiding the baddies roaming about a single screen play area, this was back in 2005 by the way. It looked pants visually as it was just a load of squares moving about. After a bit of a natter we agreed a cute’ish character would work well, and after further discussion the TV show Trap Door was brought up as a favourite of Marks (mine too). It was decided that a simple bogey blob like character would do the trick as it’s easier to create and animate. Blobbit was born! At this point it really was just a green blob on a single screen, very basic. That game was called Blobbit Run initially, but we soon renamed it to Blobbit Dash which sounded a bit better and just in case we wanted to do another game we could tag the game title after “Blobbit” and build some kind of brand IP identity in the process.

After the game had been out a while we talked about another title using the same character. We’d not really made much from the first one, so I had a think and during the process I referred to some of my notes penned during the development of Blobbit Dash. There was more there than I first realised which spurred on a whole thought process meandering around my head about this funny green character? What sort of world do these Blobbit creatures inhabit? Are they friendly? Do they get grumpy? Who are their enemies? It wasn’t long before the ideas had evolved into far more than what we needed for a follow-up game and I soon realised I had something more than just content to create game assets from.

Blobbit Push New Version

I started writing it all down so as to not forget anything, and apart from some key design markers most of it was not referenced within the follow-up Blobbit Push; a web game released late 2006. I’d included some of the locations for the level art and the main antagonists the Vernimbs made a more prominent appearance than before, but that was about it. On paper this whole world began to emerge and that’s when I started writing the story in a more structured format with small references being made within the game designs. It’s funny as the idea had literally branched into 2 directions with a lighter “hinted at” version seen in the games, and a deeper more “in-depth” version within the literary world I’d created. There are cross over elements between them dropped in for continuity but for the most part the 2 are quite separate, for now anyway.

Blobbit Push New Version – Fast forward to Autumn 2017; Mark and I were talking about getting a game out on the new Facebook Instants gaming platform, which was being promoted as a new way for Facebook users to play games instantly and for developers to be rewarded with some certainty over the roulette lottery model of the usual app stores seen on mobile. It looked good, so we opted to take the old Blobbit Push game assets, re-write it, update it, and release it with a view to taking it further on to other platforms at a later date. After a few months of development the game was about 80% complete and we realised that the whole publishing platform was just not really going to pay us anything like the number we were led to believe. So we put it on hold and that was it for Blobbit Push. We also had a 2nd game also in development which was also put on hold, Blobbit Drops which is a puzzle game about 5% complete.

Zapiy

Did I read somewhere you was working on Dwarves of Glistenveld?

Stoo

Yes, having not really done many games in recent years I was recently asked if I would be interested in recreating some of their pixel art sprites for a game currently in development by the Colchester based Nysko Games. The old sprites were in need of an overhaul as the game neared a release and of course I said yes after seeing it in action when I visited them early in the year. It’s such a great game with oodles of character and a real testament to the great team who are developing it. A couple of months later the game now includes some of my sprites and I can’t wait to play the finished version once it’s released. You can see more here Website

Greyfox

Have you any anecdotes you’d like to share about your time at Sensible Software?

Stoo

Erm, where do I start. Ha ha. One that springs to mind is during the development time around Sensible Golf and Sega World Championship Soccer II, I was sitting at my desk (I shared this office with Chris Chapman) which had a window located behind and to the left side of me. I started hearing some laughter echoing from outside followed by loud bangs with the underlying accompaniment of things smashing. What the..’#?!, well it turns out Chris Yates was getting rid of some old computer monitors and various other bits of techie deadwood. Chris being Chris thought it would be cool to throw them out of his office window which was located directly above my office. By the way we had a nickname for Jops and Chris’ office, it was called Suitland. Anyway so you can imagine the sound this stuff was making. Thankfully I am so pleased that I didn’t open my window and look out! I did peer down to the alleyway behind the office where there was indeed a growing pile of broken electronics, cathode ray tubes and tangled wires but that was behind the safety of a closed window. Ahh them were the days!

JoeMusashi

How much did Sensible Software change during your time there?

Stoo

The early days when I joined were fantastic. I don’t just mean that with rose-tinted specs wearing a cap of nostalgia, I truly do mean it was awesome!  The work was great, the team were great and although we did work very long hours it wasn’t really work for the most part, I say that now but it was really just like having a paid hobby. I was heavily into the Megadrive and SNES and I recall playing Sonic at my desk during the times when my creativity was hitting a brick wall.

Unfortunately as we grew as a team and I suppose a brand of sorts, some of the projects required larger teams of people not just a handful like the earlier days. With it the feeling in the office changed and that magic that once whispered around place was lost. I’d say around 1995/1996 is when it became apparent that it wasn’t the same place anymore and so I made the decision to leave. We were luckily enough to sign a deal with Telstar for the project that what would later become known as Joe Blow.

zapiy

Who was or is your favourite artist, on the C64/Speccy and Amiga/ST?

Stoo

Bob Stevenson did some amazing C64 artwork as did Hugh Riley with the rather splendid Last Ninja. I never owned a Spectrum but that’s not to say I think one is better than the other the Spectrum had some fantastic bitmap work and apart from the sound which clearly the C64 is king both had some quality games. I am a C64 man at heart though.

Dan Malone was always inspiring because he had such a prominent style on the Amiga and ST. The use of colour was very clever with such a limited palette. The ST was ok, I just prefered the Amiga for creating art.

TrekMD

Of all the games you were involved in which was the hardest to create art and graphics for and why?

Stoo

Joe Blow. We started the project as a 2D overhead action puzzle game but part of the deal upon signing to Telstar was that we redesign the concept as a 3D platform game using a newly developed 3D engine for the PC and Playstation we were at the time working on.

zapiy

What software tools did you use to create your games and did you create any tools to help you?

Stoo

On the C64 I used Koala Paint to do some screens, one memorable moment was when I did an interpretation of the Iridis Alpha box art on the C64. I took it to a Commodore Show and presented the disk to Jeff Minter who kindly put it on a projector screen which was a fantastic feeling.

For early C64 game dev work I used an editor by Tony Crowther which was great as it did everything I wanted for games art. It was called 3in1 and I believe this is the very same version I used back in the day linked HERE

On the Amiga and PC I used Dpaint2, through to Dpaint 3 and then I later opted for Brilliance on the Amiga as it was very quick! These days I use various software, Krita, Gimp, Photoshop, Inkscape, ProMotion.

Code wise when I coded, a very good mate of mine (Giulio Zicchi, Armourdillo C64, The Kristal Amiga, Obitus Amiga) wrote this pretty cool cross development system so you could code on one C64 and it would squirt the compiled code down a parallel cable to another C64 where the game would run. Back then I was in awe of how utterly cool this was. I later adapted the idea and got an Amiga to Amiga system working for when I dabbled with some 68000 Assembler. I recall using DevPac as my assembler.

zapiy

Looking back at your career, what would you change if you had a time machine and why?

Stoo

Abstract!! I’d have adopted a much more directional approach to the project and would have been less esoteric with the whole game concept. In hindsight the team in year 2 and 3 were fantastic but it just wasn’t meant to be.

zapiy

Did you ever do any work for the Konix Multisystem?

Stoo

No but like many who saw it was very impressed with what it appeared to offer.

zapiy

What’s your Favourite, the C64 or Spectrum and why?

Stoo

C64, I was never in to the Spectrum. I started with a Vic20 which was not my first choice but seeing as a C64 was so expensive it was cool as a first computer. The first games I got for it were Abductor, Lazer Zone and Traxx which turned me in to a life long Llamasoft fan and planted the thought in my head that one day I’d like to make games. The C64 just impressed me with its multicolour graphics and the amazing synth sounds it could generate. Me and my old school mate Paul, used to buy budget games just for it having a Rob Hubbard soundtrack. Good days they were!

zapiy

What’s your favourite, the Amiga or ST and why?

Stoo

I’m going to say Amiga as it was a logical progression from the C64 but I have to say I did have a soft spot for the ST. I didn’t really rate it as an alternative to the Amiga but it did provide a decent enough spec for the money.
What was it about the Amiga that I liked? Well it was a graphic artists dream at the time, it had such fantastic hardware that paved the way for the one and only Dpaint. That piece of software gave so many artists the tools to create digital art that before were just not there, certainly not on a home system. One thing I wish Commodore had done is somehow use a SID chip in the Amiga or a logical progression of the SID. I know the Amiga had samples but I always felt how amazing would it have been if the Amiga had a synth chip to sit alongside the 4 channel of sampling.

zapiy

Have you got any old unreleased designs/art that you would be willing to share?

Stoo

I do have a few bits, let me go and have a look in my cupboard of creative drafts and see what I can dig up.

Here’s a couple of screens of the The Last Starship that I mentioned earlier and one of my first Amiga screens an interpretation of the classic C64 game Uridium with a few made up bits and bobs.

zapiy

What happened to Ikkyou, that Monkey King game you created with John Bridges looks like it would work great on today’s mobile tech?

Stoo

Yeah it was a great little game to work on. You have to consider that we designed it primarily for the Nokia Series 40 and 60 phones which had very limited capabilities compared to current gen. I think the game ran in a 128×128 screen and on the s60 was 176 x 208 or something silly like that.

John and I have talked about bringing it back for Android and iOS but whether we do really depends on time and the commercial viability of it. Never say never!

zapiy

Cannon Fodder got into some trouble if I remember correctly for having the Poppy in the game, how did you take that? And what was the thoughts of the Sensible Team at the time?

Stoo

I was mightily peeved at the time. I’d just spent ages drawing a poppy I’d taped to my monitor, got the look just right, shading was cool, yeah I was happy with it, then… Well you know the story I then find myself having to dash out, grab a real life poppy from somewhere in Saffron Walden, tape that one to my monitor and do it all again! It wasn’t just one poppy either there was one for the title screen and another two for the end of level Lost in Service screen as well.  I can see why we changed it but the whole context of what Cannon Fodder was saying had been totally misunderstood to such a degree that it became this big thing in the press.

zapiy

Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder are two of my favourite games of all time and i am sure others feel the same, did it ever strike you how iconic these games have become these days? Also looking back at that time did you ever feel old games would still have such a huge following?

Stoo

I had no idea at all that they would become as big as they did. I’d been a big fan of the Sensible games on the C64 before I’d joined the team so it was always at the back of mind that anything I worked on would have had some coverage being it was Sensible. Seeing both games still getting a mention today is amazing and I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of making them.

I couldn’t even look at Cannon Fodder after we had finished it as I’d spent so long day in day out drawing art, animating sprites, testing levels that by the end of it I was sick of the project. I really couldn’t bare to load it up and play it. It’s nice to now be able to look back and see it for the game people said it was, and that makes me feel very proud.

TrekMD

Having worked with games of various franchises, is there one that was your favorite? Was there a franchise you would have liked to develop games for?

Stoo

Not really. The new machines are such work and though Android and iOS offer smaller devs a way in it’s still so hard to make the games you want and retain an element of commercialism about the whole thing. Anyone can make a game but turning that into a living like we did in the old days is far more of a challenge today.

TrekMD

Of the games you’ve worked on, which was the most favourite for you to develop? Which was the least enjoyable?

Stoo

Cannon Fodder was great but intense as times!
Least enjoyable , hmmm, I’d say there’s been a few but I can’t name them as that would be telling!

JoeMusashi

A lot of your early work involved using tiny sprites in games, very effectively. What was the idea behind that?

Stoo

The main idea was to be able to see more of the play area. The evolution of that idea is the basis from which the Sensi look evolved. Megalomania then Sensible Soccer then Cannon Fodder.

zapiy

With all these bands reforming any chance the Stoo and Jops show could be rekindled? Sensible Software, The Return!!!

Stoo

Ha ha it’s certainly food for thought. I’d say probably not at the moment. We have worked on projects together since and we do get together now and again for a natter over breakfast but I can’t see a Sensible 2 on the horizon, not at the moment. (never say never!)

Finally

It’s always an honour to me to be able to chat with people like Stoo who are my gaming idols, we all have them right? Mine happens to be the people behind Sensible Software and Bitmap Brothers. What is very interesting about this interview is Stoo’s hints about a possible Megadrive game, this is something I would love to see, lets see if we can spread the word and make it impossible for him to say no. Please post HERE so we can show Stoo the thread and maybe that might make his mind up.

Stoo on Twitter

Stoo’s Website

Retro head and key holder of RVG.

zapiy

Retro head and key holder of RVG.