Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How you started out programming, and your history with Wings of Fury, for example?
I started out programming because of my old neighbour Thomas Bolhuis. I already had a keen interest in computers starting from the C64, going through an Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000 to various PC's. When Thomas started programming I had to learn it too and was lucky enough to learn a bit of Turbo Pascal from him. In Turbo Pascal I made a few small games and apps, and that's basically how the ball started rolling.
My history with Wings of Fury is the same as most other people, I started playing it on the Amiga and loved the game. I've been playing that game off and on for something like 10-15 years. First on the Amiga, then on the PC using WinUAE (an Amiga emulator).
Your site states how you got to remaking Wings of Fury. Was there any special moment when you realised that you were going to remake the game? Or was it perhaps a logical step to take?
When I was helping Thomas (from TDBSoft) remaking Barbarian it got my blood flowing for a remake of Wings of Fury. I really liked helping TDB remaking Barbarian and I decided it was worth a shot remaking WOF. It wasn't as much a logical step as it was a gut-feeling move. In hindsight I should've waited with remaking WOF and start with a smaller project and perhaps not with a game that I like that much. :)
Was your goal to make the perfect remake, staying as close to the original as possible, or were you planning to incorporate more ideas of your own to create your own vision of the game?
My idea was to remake the general feeling of Wings of Fury, and try to add to that feeling without changing it. At first that meant higher resolution, updated graphics and updated music and sound.
At this point I'm boiling over with additions for the game which will hopefully enhance the experience without altering it too much.
Did you actually do everything yourself, starting from scratch?
Basically yes. I did all the programming on the game and modified most of the original graphics to what you see in the game. Along the way a lot of people helped out with programming problems that came around. The game is programmed from scratch. I didn't have access to original game's code (obviously). I did have access to the original graphics by ways of hard work and Photoshop.
What did you use to code the game, and why?
The game is programmed in C++ using the Direct3D libraries. C++ was used for Barbarian as well so this had the least steep learning curve. Besides the learning curve C++ is arguably the fastest language to produce games in, and a very powerful one at that. Because from the start I wanted to have a cool zoom in and zoom out map instead of two static views in the original game, I needed a 3d library. That basically limits the choice to OpenGL and Direc3D. In Barbarian Direct3D was not used, but DirectDraw, and that has some similarities with Direct3D, hence the choice of C++ and DirectX.
I love the game's graphics. Could you tell us something about how you made them?
I played the original game, made screenshots while playing and then altering those images in Photoshop to make them look sharper on higher resolutions. Nothing fancy since I'm not a graphics designer, but just a little messing about to smooth down a bit of the blockyness of the original graphics. Same goes for the colour; the original graphics had 256 colours. I tried to use a bit more colour to get rid of the old look.
In the game we can hear all manner of sound effects, and the game starts with a pretty cool remix of the original theme. Where did you get those, and how did you find them?
The music was quite a hard find. There are several Amiga and C64 remix sites around that offer a lot of old game tunes in a new jacket. http://www.slayradio.org/ is one of them. I strutted as many of these sites as I could find and at one point I discovered the music you hear in the game. I contacted the musician and asked for his permission to use the soundtrack in the game and luckily enough he gave it.
The sounds are scavenged from various free sound effect sites. While listening to hundreds of sounds and tying to picture them in the game the current sfx were chosen.
Could you perhaps share something interesting with us from the development process?
Hmm something interesting. I can't think of anything really interesting to share. I can share that developing a game might hurt the love for it. Programming it takes a lot of time, and during programming you have to play it a lot too, see if you like the feel of the game and try your darnest to find any bugs. This means I played hours and hours and HOURS of my own game. At some point that hurts the process, like we see now since I haven't programmed on WOF for ages now.
On your site it says that, as the old code was insufficient to implement all the updates you had planned, you were forced to redesign the game from scratch, and I've heard you chose to discontinue development of the game. Does this mean that V0.7 is 'final'?
It means that for now the 0.7 is the final of that codepath. I loved 0.7 a lot, but I think that's just it. Its a 70% game and the other 30% didn't fit well enough in the current code. And since I began sprouting new ideas I knew the current code would be very difficult to use for those updates. Hence I started remaking the remake if you will, the plan is to continue on the new code and work on the new features.
Why specifically was the old code scrapped?
Because adding new features in the current game seemed to be a harder process then redesigning the entire game with the knowledge I gathered programming the old code.
Why did you choose to stop updating the game?
I released WOF 0.7 because I knew I wouldn't have much time to program anymore. A week or so after I released 0.7 my graduation internship started, which meant I was working 8 hours a day from November 2004 (release of 0.7) â??till September 2005. And as of September 2005 I am employed at the same office I did my graduation, so I still work 8 hours a day. After 8 hours of work it's difficult to also start programming for myself at home.
So some features were not implemented. Could you tell us something about what you were planning on adding, just in case you ever decide to pick up developing the game?
Of the back of my head some features I would love in WOF are:
Is there any chance you might return to the game some day?
In my mind I have never abandoned the project. As soon as I have some time on my hands and get my mojo back to programming WOF I will continue where I left off, somewhere in the midst of the new code.
What do you think of the coverage and attention your game has received?
I think its amazing! Never would I have thought so many people would enjoy this game. Never do you hear about the great Amiga (or c64) game Wings of Fury; You hear Double Dragon, Giana Sisters, Paperboy, but only on a rare occasion one hears WOF.
But I got so many positive emails it's unbelievable. It's great to see so many people DID enjoy the original WOF and (apparently) are enjoying the remake.
Do you still get mail from fans? How helpful would you perceive your fanbase?
Yes I do get mail, not as regularly as during the release but I still get some mail, even a year after the release. Most mails are general thank-you's and questions about the game. The forum a friend of mine opened for WOF was helpful for fan-feedback. A couple of fans have stated some very good ideas which will be incorporated, time allowing.
Thanks for this interview. Do you have any last message to pass on to our readers?
I suspect the ones reading this already know this, but (older) games shouldn't be disqualified for their appearances (gfx, sfx) most of the time the game that doesn't look like much compensates with gameplay. Ah yes, one last thing: For heaven's sake stop with the Worms 3D already, I think the original worms was 10000x better then the 3d crap it is now. A terrible waste of gameplay on behalf of overrated 3d looks.