Profiled: Derek Smart

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Name: Derek Smart

Company: 3000AD

Title: President and Lead Developer

Favorite Classic Game: StarFlight

line of defense

When you have a chance to talk with someone who created over 17 games you’re going to want to pick his brain on the state of gaming today in comparison to gaming in the past. Derek and his independent game development company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has developed a number of games from Battlecruiser 3000AD to the current Line of Defense MMO which can be found on Steam Early Access.

We talked with Derek about his early days, including what influenced him to get into game development and the struggles one can go through when creating their first game. We also talked a little about GamersGate and the evolution and near extinction of the video game manual. We even talked about the rumor of Derek purchasing the IP of the Decent Freespace license.

There is a lot more in the hour long interview so check it out I promise you will enjoy it.

 

My Favorite Games: Part 9

It looks like the R3Play report will have to wait a day or two, the pictures are a pain in the arse to upload and my opportunities to do so are limited. There’s really not a great deal to see anyway, unless you were there and want to see if you can spot yourself! So in the meantime… continuing with My Favourite Games, here’s the penultimate list:

Blast Corps – Nintendo 64 (1997)

Blast Corps - Nintendo 64

This was Rare’s first game for the N64 and what a start! It would also end up being the first in a long, amazingly successful run for the company on that console which many said rivalled that of Nintendo themselves, and with titles like this on offer it’s hard to argue. The premise was simple – a truck with leaking nuclear missiles has been set on a straight path to a safe detonation area. Your job is to demolish everything in its way. Yes, it sounded awesome and happily it played awesome too! Featuring eight unique vehicles custom-built for the express purpose of destroying stuff including three robotic suits, there can’t be anyone who didn’t enjoy the mayhem offered by this game, and the stages were punctuated by time trial stages which featured yet more vehicles and usually involved a race of some sort. Amazingly playable, superb fun, and a thoroughly unique and brilliant soundtrack too!

Fantasy World Dizzy – Spectrum (1989)

Fantasy World Dizzy - Spectrum

Poor old Dizzy seems to be the subject of a lot of vitriol among certain sections of gamers but I, and I’m pretty sure many others, loved his flick-screen, budget-priced adventures. They were available on most other computers of the time but the Spectrum is where the Dizzy games were most at home and it’s here that I played them. The first two were great but the Oliver twins really hit their stride with this third game. Featuring the largest gameworld yet, a broader variety of locations, a more forgiving difficulty curve, hidden secrets, and perhaps most importantly, the introduction of The Yolkfolk, Dizzy’s third adventure put many full-price releases to shame! It would also be the final game in the series to be handled by the Olivers and later games suffered as a result.

Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure – MegaDrive (1990)

Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure - MegaDrive

Psycho Fox has always been one of my favourite platformers and I was disappointed it never got a sequel, so imagine my joy at discovering that its creators, Vic Tokai, had released a similar game on the MegaDrive! This splendidly-named game had many of the features of Psycho Fox (including, perhaps most importantly, the bendy poles) and wrapped them up in a different setting. Replacing our collection of useful animals here is a boy wearing the ‘magical hat’ of the title, which doesn’t really let him fly but it does enable him to float, Bomb Jack style. Magical Hat was released in the West too, but with a radical overhaul of its graphics and theme. The renamed Decapattack instead uses a cartoony-horror theme and is still a great game, but I prefer this Japanese original any day of the week.

Shinobi – Master System (1987)

Shinobi - Master System

This first Shinobi game may have eventually been a little overshadowed by Revenge of Shinobi on the MegaDrive but it’s still a fantastic game, and this Master System version is my favourite. It’s impressively faithful as a conversion whilst also making life a bit easier for us by adding a life-meter as opposed to the one-hit deaths of the arcade game. It does suffer a bit from sprite-flicker (although you could say that about most MS games) but that’s pretty much the only criticism you could level at this classic run n gunner with its five, dual-plane, ninja-infested stages. It’s unquestionably the best game of its type on the system and still plays as good as it ever did. Now if only I could beat that damn final boss!

Starflight – MegaDrive (1991)

Starflight - MegaDrive

Those who know me will be aware that my favourite game of all-time is Star Control 2 on the 3DO, but if it wasn’t for Starflight, I may never have even discovered it! I’ve only ever played the MD version which arrived some five years after the PC original, but it certainly appears that this is where some of the inspiration for SC2 came from. It too is an epic space-exploration game featuring tons and tons of star systems containing varying numbers of explorable planets and features alien races, some friendly, some hostile. It’s not on the sheer scale of SC2, with less stars, less aliens, etc, and doesn’t have the hours of speech or top music of Toys For Bob’s great game, but, considering when it was made it’s arguably even more impressive. Starflight is an engrossing and original adventure and one that it’s still easy to get sucked into today.

I’m not really in an R3Play mood at the moment, so the last part of what will be my Top 50 Favourite Games will be posted tomorrow! 🙂

Anthony Castoro & Tim Schubert: Heatwave Interactive

Heatwave Interactive logo

Name: Anthony Castoro

Company: Heatwave Interactive

Profession: I make games.

Favorite Classic Game: Wing Commander 2 (with Voice Pack)

Quote: So cinematic, great graphics, great combat!  Space Lions (Kilrathi)! What else could you want?


 

Name: Tim Schubert

Company: Heatwave Interactive, Inc.

Profession: MMO Development Zealot

Favorite Classic Game: StarFlight

Quote: “I love games that have a lot of replay value and reward you for exploring.  Starflight was all about both.”