Those were Mine - Graeme Richardson
Many well-known Acorn games programmers have left the scene to work for established games
companies, but few are higher profile than Graeme Richardson, author of some of the
best-selling 32-bit Acorn games ever, including such well-known titles
as Nevryon, Enter the Realm, Technodream and the Spobbleoid games. Now
benefitting Krisalis with his
experience, Graeme still takes an interest in the Acorn gaming scene, and
Acorn Gaming recently took the opportunity to ask him some questions about his
experience and view of the Acorn world.
Acorn Gaming: You're perhaps most famous for Nevryon. This was one of the best-selling
Acorn games ever, wasn't it? 4D sold several thousand copies, so you must have made a lot
Graeme Richardson: A decent amount I guess. It was a large amount of cash for a
sixth former (As I was back then!)
It's generally agreed that the BBC version of Nevryon was (computer for
computer) considerably better than the Archimedes version. Do you agree? Did this
version sell well, too?
I thought it was more playable. I've often tried to work out exactly
why. I think its the 'rough and readiness' of the Beeb one. With the
Archie I was finding my feet, where as I was used to the Beeb. I still think
the Archie one was good, but yes I agree. It did sell very well on the
Since Nevryon was such a hit it seemed obvious to follow it up with a
sequel. The 4th Dimension claimed Enter the Realm was a sort of
quasi-sequel. Was this how you saw it?
No - a progression in technology more like. That game literally
squeezed every ounce of CPU bandwidth out of an A3000 (That's why there
was no music in-game).
It was a sequel in that I think it had a similar feel. I guess it's
just a piece of my own style (like Jeff Minter has his own style!)
The graphics in Enter The Realm were some of the best ever seen on the Acorn platform. Were they done by professional graphics artists on expensive software?
No, by myself on !Paint. I also used Minerva's Atelier (which I still
rate as being ACE!) There were no decent 16-colour art packages except
for !Paint. I spent more time drawing Enter The Realm than coding it!
Enter The Realm was crippled by the disc protection which forced you to
run it from floppy, thus making it incredibly slow to start a new game. Why did you do
I didn't - The 4th Dimension did. It works well from my Hard Drive!
Did Enter The Realm do as well as Nevryon?
Better. It was still selling (albeit poorly) at Christmas.
Nevryon 2 was a long-awaited title. 4D were hyping it for ages. But then
it vanished and resurfaced under the Superior Software moniker as Technodream. Was
there any truth to the rumours that 4D pulled the plug because it was too poor?
We fell out due to it being late. I was not prepared to let it go out
in the state which it was in. I just wasn't happy with it (I could
only get 50 sprites on-screen at once, whereas I needed over 80 for maximum
effect!). Superior snapped it up. As for it being poor, I feel it was
my best ever Acorn work, both graphically and gameplay-wise (fast,
colourful and, above all, two player - which is very important).
Technodream didn't sell very well, did it? Why do you think this was?
Was the game too poor, or do you think the marketing let you down?
The marketing let it down. Acorn User claimed it was 11th or 8th - I can't
remember which - best Acorn game at one point (out of 100). All my games were
in the top 20 (I think!).
Recently you came back with Spobbleoid and then later Spobbleoid
Fantasy. 4D did publish these. Have these done well, and if so
will we be seeing any more of your unique style of game on the Acorn platform?
The Acorn market died on me due to the usual Acorn piracy and theft
problem - people killing their own market. Acorn users will not see any more of
How many people worked on your games, on average? Graphics artists, musicians, disc
protection people, designers?
Me and a couple of musicians (separately - Lee's music in Technodream
and one track in Spobbleoid were stunning). I wrote the in-game/menu screen
music on Spobbleoid myself.
What are you doing now?
Working for Krisalis - just finished UEFA Championships League. I'm working on the
new EIDOS racing game at the moment, doing 3D hardware patches.
Anything else you'd like to tell the world?
Here are some more questions I'd added:
What car do you drive?
A VW Corrado 2.0 16v. (Sorry but I insist!)
MDK, Wipeout 2097, Pandemonium, Panzer Dragoon
Least favourite game
Any footy game, Mario 64, Turok
Thanks very much for all that, Graeme!
Graeme Richardson can be contacted via email to Graeme@groundzero.demon.co.uk.
...this page last updated: 24/9/97...
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