[Acorn Gaming]


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 of money?
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 Archie.

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 this?
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 my games.

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!)
Favourite beer
Stella Artois
Favourite games
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...
...back to the top...

MIDI: Monolith
Show reports

PC card

Older Stuff
Archive of info
Old news and previews
Full Tek review now online - finally!
Any comments on Acorn Gaming? Send me an email!
Latest updates
Email Acorn Gaming
©Gareth Moore 1993-2003

Acorn Gaming is a completely independent publication and has no official connection with any company