Head over Heels Tomaz Kac talks to us about his remake of Head over Heels
Date of interview: 08.05.2005.
Interview with: Tomaz Kac
Interview by: Michael Zymler
Interview about: Head over Heels


 - Where do you live?
 - I live in Slovenia - a little country on the sunny side of the Alps.

 - What is it you do for a living?
 - I do software engineering - surprise :) Unfortunetly nothing gaming related... currently I am working on software for a mobile phone.

 - Have you got any hobbies?
 - I would say my biggest hobby is playing around with old computers and making remakes. Unfortunetly lately there hasn't been much time for either.

 - Any favourite website?
 - I would say I hang out mostly on www.worldofspectrum.org , www.lemon64.com and eab.abime.net and their forums for ZX Spectrum, C64 and Amiga - my favorite computers.

 - Have you got a favourite genre of game?
 - If I would have to pick one it would be arcade adventure. I love the old isometric adventures (thats probably the reason why I remade HOH) and can't get enough of them. It is nice to discover a "new" one every now and then

 - You decided to remake HoH just because you like isometric games? No other reason at all?
 - Well, I decided for HoH because Bat-Man was already remade by Kakarot. Even though its a DOS (and GBA) only game it was a really nice one. HoH came as a natural succesor so I just went ahead and remade it. I did play it quite a bit in the old days, altough I never actually finished it. Now I can do it almost blindfolded ;-)

 - Since you were making a remake, did you feel limited at any time?
 - Not really. I could basically do everything I wanted to do, and with the pixelating abilities of Graham Goring it was really a lot of fun to see all pieces come together.

 - As a programmer, were there any particularly difficult things to program, or something that just wouldn't work?
 - Dynamic lighting was not as easy to do as I first tought. Some rooms in the game have multiple light sources and that can slow them down a bit. But with carefull optimisation it is not that bad. Also the shadows that are casted on the floor and other objects were not trivial to code (I think HoH is the first isometric game to cast shadows onto other objects beneath), but everything worked out fine.

 - What makes making remakes so much fun, for you?
 - It is pure love of the gaming as it used to be. Today noone makes games where playability and addictivness of the game comes first, so I love to make games with that feeling. I could make a new game ofcourse, but for me nostalgia plays a big part, so I rather recreate old games than make new ones. It is just fun to see the old game put to a new glory :)

 - Do you think the commercial games of today are lacking in quality, compared to the old arcade games?
 - Short answer - yes. For me all the quake clones, warcraft clones, racing games, etc. just don't cut it anymore. I think all the "feeling" is gone out of the gaming today, but it might just be that we are getting old and way too much nostalgic about good old days to be able to cope with the new kind of gaming.

 - What programming language did you use to create HoH?
 - I used C++ to create HoH together with a couple of free libraries like Allegro for graphics (with some optimised routines to do lighting/shadows fast) and FMod for sound/music. If anyone is starting out in remakes business and knows C/C++ then I can only recommend these.

 - How popular would you say is HoH now?
 - I am not sure, but it has been advertised and mentioned in a lot of magazines and internet sites and judging by the constant feedback I would say it is pretty popular :-)

 - Any projects you're working on, or planning to work on?
 - Currently I don't have much time to work on retro projects because most of my time is taken up by work and university. But this might change in a while and I would love to re-start the remake of Saboteur or do one more isometric adventure.

 - Your favourite character: Head or Heels?
 - Hard to decide but it would probably be the big-eyed Heels :) He is definetly the cuter of the couple :)

 - Which is your favourite planet in the game (Egyptus, Safari,...)?
 - Definetly Safari. It was one of the last to be drawn by Graham and it really shows his progress with the pixelation - it is just beautiful. It also has the cool rain effect and the thunder in the background.

 - cappucino or espresso?
 - Cappucino :-)


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