Baileyk85 Interview


~ August 2001 ~
On my first anniversary as a game developer, the future remained untold and anything
was possible. Here, Baileyk85 asks me about my ambitions for the years ahead - which
seemed to centre around walking into a job as a mainstream developer! Who knew...

OK Mat, let's start with the predictable stuff that you've been asked so many times before. Let me ask, how did you first break into games design?
After a lot of experimentation with C++, i came across DIV Games Studio in a shop one day and bought it right away - not knowing anything about it. A few days later i was making my best games yet, and within weeks i had a playable game (Hardyz Stunt Challenge). I approached a wrestling site, called Tha Warzone, with the game and the webmaster delivered it to thousands of visitors. No one had ever seen anything like it, so it was extremely well received. The success of that game put my name on the map and fuelled everything that followed.

Do you recieve a lot of media attention (magazines, etc)?

I've had countless magazine/newspaper spots, i did a radio show, and most recently i had an article published on a TV magazine. I receive more attention than most amateur developers, but i'm still not happy with my exposure. I've got big plans for marketing myself, so i haven't even started yet. Ask me about the media nearer Christmas, and hopefully i'll have quite a story for you...

I have asked many people that have played your games which they consider the be the best and many of them say Federation Online - including myself. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
Federation Online is my greatest achievement in one sense, because it's my first decent wrestling simulator and it's the product of all the 2D games that i ever made. On the other hand, Big BumpZ signifies my 3D debut - which is very important. I'm reluctant to give Federation Online too much praise because the concept has a long way to go yet...

Tell me more about Federation Online and what it was like to make.
Wrestling is a toy that i was born to play with. Even as a kid i eagerly acted out my own show with WWF action figures. While other kids were banging them together, i was staging my own PPV's and developing my own angles. Federation Online is an extension of that desire to play with wrestling. The game was extremely difficult to make. Remember that all those 16-bit wrestling games like Wrestlemania and Fire Pro were made by dozens of professionals. I did a similar thing by myself! I wouldn't have it any other way, but it did present quite a workload. It was enjoyable though because i had faith in the end result.

You've recently moved a step up from the (no offense) graphically simple 2D games and onto the more complex 3D games. We all know they look better, but in terms of design is it a lot harder to work with?
Dark BASIC is very difficult to work with. The fighting that was so easy in DIV will be a nightmare in Dark BASIC - which doesn't bode well for wrestling games. I have to learn how to program wrestling all over again, but the end result will be even better.

Do you see a future for the Big BumpZ series or have we seen the last of it?
Big BumpZ has gotten over huge with most people - more than i expected - but it is on the way out. Most recently, i released an updated version which gives you a human opponent to aim for. That's it for this first version. It will be a long time before the concept is resurrected. You haven't seen the last of it in its current form though. There's a good chance that the prototype will be showcased at E3 next year...

Your latest project is a game based upon the hit American sit-com, Friends. How are you hoping to turn that concept into a playable game with a lifespan?
That's the big problem - i have no concept at the moment! I've scrapped the acting idea, due to it being such a lot of work for such a lame experience. I just took a shot and recreated the Friends world. I don't know what will come of it. I intend to pass it on to a Friends fansite and see what they make of it. If their fans can think of a good idea then i'm ready to run with it. It's only one of 4 games that i'm developing, so it's not important.

We've talked a bit about the past and the present, but where do you see yourself in a year's time?
Well i'm studying on a videogames course at university, so my future for the next 2 years is etched in stone. However i would like to move to the USA or Canada and start working in the mainstream as soon as possible. It's only been a year since i made my first game, so what i'll achieve in this second year should be amazing. It's guaranteed that we'll see a 3D version of the Federation Online concept over the next 12 months, so that should shape my professional future.

Have you been approached by any professional game teams or publishers?
No, i don't think it works like that - i've got to make the first move. That's what i intend to do after Christmas. I'll be bombarding companies with my games, looking for employment of some description. I don't like the idea of working for someone else, but i'll have to do it.

I once talked to Adam Jennings (of Promotion Wars) about the idea of getting his game commercially published. He was strongly against the idea for reasons concerning the loss of control over the game's path and future, etc. I know that you're trying to get Federation Online published on Gameboy Advance. Don't you have any problems with handing over your work and ideas to a commercial company to adjust as they see fit?
Developers aren't stupid - if you're talented they will kill themselves to keep you on board. The creator of Worms, Andy Davidson, took his game to Team 17 and got pushed to the very top of the company because they needed his talent, his input. A developer would look at Big BumpZ and Federation Online and see more than "ideas". They're looking at absolute franchises - great design, original concepts, professional logos, etc. - all created by one man, and they want a piece of whatever comes next. Besides, I don't have to be scared of anybody in this business. If someone steals my ideas and abuses them, i'll just laugh it off and develop something even better. I'll always be one step ahead because i'm the creator, the source. If you're over-protective about a project, it means it's the only good idea that you'll ever have. I think that applies to Promotion Wars to be honest, but a text game would never get published nowadays anyway...

Maybe I'm swimming out of my depth but I know you've always been open to game suggestions. Now I've always wanted to see a wrestling game in Tekken style with combos and stuff like that. A straight fight with nowhere to run, but where wrestling moves are incorporated among the usual kicks and punches. Like when you play as the "King" character in the Tekken games. I'm getting excited - how sad! What are the chances?
I've still got a lot to learn about fighting before that will be possible. It'll never be my main goal, but I think we'll see your game on the long road to a wrestling simulator. I don't do things that have gone before, not even Tekken, so I would probably give it a slight twist - like the confessions in Case 3:16...

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