Dizzy Dwarves Developer Interview

For this Perceptive Podcast, I spoke with one of the designers about the mobile game Dizzy Dwarves about starting their first major game development, working on mobile in today’s market, and more.

ZOR: Pilgrimage of the Slorfs Developer Interview

For this Perceptive Podcast I sat down with Righteous Hammer Games’s Clint Jorgenson to discuss the work on his deckbuilding survival tactical game Zor: Pilgrimage of the Slorfs. We talked about going from AAA to indie, and the many challenges indie developers face.

A Few Dragons Developer Interview

For this Perceptive Podcast, I’m speaking with Keirron Stach from A Few Dragons to talk about the indie studio. We spoke about their games Lightsmith and The Sacred Acorn and the challenge of working on two projects at once.

Genfanad Developer Interview

For this perceptive podcast, I spoke with Andrei Krotkov who is working on the MMO Genfanad to try and bridge the gap between the live service games of today and MMOG design of the past. Due to google hangouts causing problems, my voice is not going to sound right for this cast. We spoke about the design of the game, trying to make a MMOG in 2022, and more.

Video: Its Programmer, On SNES DOOM

I’ve been doing a lot of high-effort posts lately, even for things that should be fairly quick. Working to make this more sustainable, here’s a laid-back post that’s mostly just a Youtube video of a talk between the guys of Digital Foundry and Randy Linden, coder of the SNES port of DOOM, which uses the SuperFX chip to make the hardware push polygons at a rate that, while not stellar by PCs-of-the-time standards, at least not abysmal.

Let’s run down the differences of hardware:

PC running MS-DOS: targets VGA monitors, displays all its pixels in software, but makes up for it with a minimum requirement of a 386 running (if memory holds up over nearly 30 years) at 33 mHz.

SNES: Its processor is a much slower workalike of the 65C816, a 16-bit version of the 6502, running at 3.58 mHz. While it makes up for its slower clock speed with a simpler design, meaning instructions complete generally in fewer cycles, it’s hard to make up for that 10-fold difference in speed.

Their use of specialized graphics hardware was an important advantage, at the time, of consoles over personal computer hardware. Even many standard home microcomputers, like the Commodore 64 and Atari 800, had dedicated graphics hardware that helped games run better than what most PCs could do. Even when VGA came out, the standard had no hardware-level support for scrolling or sprites.

Consider what it takes to scroll a screen without hardware support: something in the system has to be able to move every pixel from one spot on-screen to another. The NES pulls this task off by having a bank of memory that its PPU can be pointed within, meaning the memory could stay in the same place, and the graphics chip would just work from a different region within it. Sadly, this technique is not amenable to 3D graphics, which usually do require every pixel on the screen to be recalculated every frame, either in software or hardware.

The SNES is known for having a rather slow chip for its time, but more demanding games tended to make up for it with co-processor chips included on the cartridges. The most well-known of these are the DSP-1, which functioned as a math co-processor; the SA-1, which was basically a second 65C816 running at around triple the speed and with a few added features; and the SuperFX, which ran at about the SA-1’s clock speed but functioned as a graphics accelerator. (The later SuperFX 2 ran at twice that speed.)

These were far from the only add-on chips included on Super Famicom and SNES carts. Since the SNES had a much larger address space than the NES’s 6502-clone, the need for mapper chips was much less, but these co-processors were used in a number of more notable games to help it make framerate goals.

Hm. Well, I tried making it a laid-back kind of post. Ah well, back to playing Live-A-Live.

DF Retro: The Making of Doom on Super NES – The Original ‘Impossible Port’

Rogue Command Developer Interview

For this Perceptive Podcast, I spoke with Mario who is currently working on the game Rogue Command: combining deck building, roguelikes, and RTS into one game. We spoke about the design of the game and balancing all these different elements together.

Last Call for Zachtronics

For this cast, I sat down with Zachtronic’s Zach Barth to talk about what’s next for him with Zachtronics’ stopping game development, Last Call BBS and more.

World Turtles Developer Interview

An interview with Gideon Griebenow who is the designer of the game World Turtles. We spoke about working on his first major game and the lessons he’s learned.

Brian Cronin Developer Interview

For this perceptive podcast, I spoke with Brian Cronin to catch up and talk about his next project: Business Challenges at the End of the World and using an AI to generate the art for the game.

Play it on Itch

Dave Gilbert Interview

For this cast, I sat down with returning guest and owner of Wadjet Eye Games Dave Gilbert for a chat about the adventure genre, his next project Old Skies, and discussing the adventure market today. We had a small issue where the stream wasn’t live at the start, but we started talking anyway.

Videogame Fables Developer Interview

For this perceptive podcast, I spoke with Matt Sharp who is the designer of Video Game Fables to talk about creating a subversive RPG while still adhering to the design and structure of the genre.

Chris Knowles Developer Interview

For this cast, returning guest Chris Knowles is back to talk about his upcoming game Hexahedra, going indie full time, and the challenges of building a “Zach-like.” We did play the demo of the game on stream, but that will be in a separate video.