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Seite 2: Apex Designs


Autor: Iceman

Kategorie: interviews
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Game Boy Advance Artikel vom 18.11.2002

PlanetGameboy: Could you give us a short description of Apex Designs?

James Daniels: Apex Designs was originally created by myself in 1994 as a name to publish our freeware Amiga titles under. The response to these titles was very positive so in 1998 we started work on our first commercial game, Payback. This was released for the Amiga (and got very positive reviews) in 2001. Since then, we've been working on porting the game to other platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux, Intent and, of course, the GBA.

PG: Since when are you working on GameboyAdvance-projects and why did you decide to develop for the GameboyAdvance ?

James Daniels: We started to experiment with the GBA at the beginning of the year, but we didn't start working on it 100% until July. We decided to develop for the GBA because it suits the game's requirements well and there's a big market. Not to mention that it's rather a neat little machine.

PG: Payback has a impressive 3D Engine. How can you mange all this one the GBA?

James Daniels: With a lot of work. Basically, what it comes down to is understanding what the GBA's hardware is good at and what it's not and spending a heck of a lot of time optimising the code. For example, we've pretty much
eliminated all the divides from the code because the GBA's CPU is extremely slow at doing them. The texture mapper is especially important to the speed of the game and gets a theoretical peak fillrate of 5.5 MPixels/s (4.5 MPixels/s in practice) which is roughly the same as a PS1.

PG: Can you tell us a little more about Gameplay and Features of Payback?

James Daniels: Payback's main gameplay features are varied missions (stealth missions, missions in buildings, as well as the usual gung-ho missions), good physics and lots of levels. The game has also got loads of neat extras like replays, multiplayer and the ability to optionally play any of the maps with randomly generated missions.

PG: On first sight, you might think Payback ist a GBA Version of "Grand > Thief Auto", what do you think about the PC Game and in how far was > Payback inspired by it?

James Daniels: The basic gameplay (answer phones to get missions, get points to complete the level) is the same, although Payback frequently deviates from GTA where I think that game could be improved. For example, on one
level you have to escape from prison unarmed.

PG: How many people are working on the Game?

James Daniels: It's just me doing the GBA port, but dozens of people (translators, graphic artists, musicians, beta testers) worked on the original version. The GBA version retains all the features of the original.

PG: Are you satisfied with the possibilities of programming on the GBA?

James Daniels: Yes, I rather enjoy the challenge and having a fixed system does open up new possibilities for optimisation.

PG: Do you have a publisher for your game yet?

James Daniels: Not yet. We're planning to approach them once the game is fully playable.

PG: When will we be able to get "hands on" Payback?

James Daniels: That depends on the publisher but it's likely to be early next year.

PG: Are you planing future projects?

James Daniels: I've got some ideas for future projects but for the time being the main emphasis is on getting Payback done.

PG: What do you think will be the future of the GBA?

James Daniels: I think it's got a bright future.

PG: What do you think about other 3D Engine Developers like, AGB, Raylight, etc.?

James Daniels: Their engines are impressive but I think mine's the best.

PG: What are your favorite GBA games?

James Daniels: Right now I've only got one GBA game - V-Rally 3 - so I guess that'd have to be my favourite. Advance Wars looks good though.

PG: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers ?

James Daniels: Please visit and join our mailing list so we can let you know when the game is released.

Thanks go to James Daniels vor the support!

The interview was held by Kevin Jensen [Iceman]

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