often did you come together?
beginning, there were only the two of us, Jesse Blue and Clue. Since
we are living only 50km away from each other, we met about two times
a month, exchanging ideas, graphics and code. In other words, we
weren't really "working" during our meetings - most of the time
we spend together we were fine-tuning things (for example, timing
effects with music) or were just putting together what each of us
had created so far. In addition, we phoned each other quite often
(which our parents were not very excited of because of the phone
bills) to chat about several aspects of the demo, weather and life
in general... :) When we later met Dreamer (who was known as Dakkar
back then), things didn't change that much. Dreamer only showed
up to get an impression of exactly what he was going to do music
for. He also attended when we were finishing the parts containing
his music (BBS Demo, Dotland, Intro) to optimize sample sizes or
rearrange some parts of the music.
it nice work (although the demo says it isn't always)?
Yep, it was just as we wrote. Most of the time, it was a lot of
fun. When you see the whole thing is taking shape, and your ideas,
whether it's coding, graphics or music, turn out to work, there's
always sunshine in your mind. But there were also moments of darkness:
When the hard disk crashed with all the code on it, when an effect
taking hours to code didn't look good, when an idea couldn't be
implemented because of technical problems, and when those always
annoying bugs showed up. For example, Jesse thought he had a bug
in the program where a picture did not decompress properly. Later
it turned out that the cause of the problem was just a loose RAM
chip! Finding that "bug" took about three entire days! Other parts
where very nice to do, for example the Dotland part.
it hard to write the demo?
The hard part about creating a demo is having decent ideas, and
transforming these ideas into bits and bytes. Keep in mind that
a demo is more of a piece of digital art that has to be entertaining
and (traditionally) show off the capabilities of the machine. That
means that coding a nice routine/effect is one thing - presenting
this effect to an audience is another story. Perhaps the best example
of this is the 'Dotland' part which most people who wrote us liked
best. The effect itself is pretty boring. The difficult thing now
is to make it look (and sound) interesting, i.e. include variations,
a theme, etc... Regarding the technical side, it can be a real challenge
to create a demo on the GS. For example, on the "demo machine" Amiga,
you have much more creative freedom because you don't have as much
limitations as on the GS, where you "just can't create a phong-shaded
torus consisting of 500 polygons rotating at 30 fps in real-time".
You are very restricted in all areas on the GS, and you have to
ultra-optimize your assembler code to get the job done. Yet, maybe
the hardest thing for our coder Jesse Blue was to keep himself going
during the two years. :)
the used pictures the one-and-only pictures? Or did Clue create
others too (I saw a couple in an SHK archive that he or you had
uploaded to caltech -- nice pictures)?
Most of the pictures Clue created were used in the MegaDemo. But
yes, there were indeed some exceptions. For example, the first design
of the MegaDemo logo - it looked totally different from what was
later used in the demo. Think of the German Sega MegaDrive logo,
with Sega replaced by NFC, and MegaDrive replaced by you may guess
what... :) Later on, when we were working on the Dotland part, things
got worse for poor Clue. He had painted the Dotland logo you may
know from the 'Gimme A Clue' gfx collection, along with a big 'Dot-Bye'
graphic. He liked the result very much - the only problem was that
dear Jesse didn't! Since in most cases our coder has the final word,
Clue had to create new pictures.
you have any other parts of the demo in mind, did you leave any
out, did you include a few things at last?
Yes, because the demo was not planned from beginning to end (we
started with the ending, and ended with the intro!!). There were
several parts we wanted to include, but didn't make it in the final
demo. One of these was called 'Vertigo'. The big thing about it
was that you'd have had to turn your monitor 90 degrees to get most
of it. It should have featured geometrical shapes morphing into
another. This was popular in many Amiga demos at that time. Jesse
even had coded some lines, but we decided to cancel this one due
to disk space limitations.
is what wonders me most, and I'll quote from an issue of Dark Castle
Magazine: "In this great demo you see a Wolfenstein 3-D look-alike
game. These guys from Germany 'just' program it, and Vitesse can't
even complete the game!" Would it ever be possible to use your routines
to create / write a new 3-D demo program? The 3-D effects are real
nice, and a somewhat smaller screen might speed up the display (like
you can make your screen larger or smaller too in Duke Nukem 3-D
on MS-Dos)... People would LOVE it!
Well (laughter), to be honest, for writing a game we would have
to completely re-write the 3D "engine". For making a new demo, it
wouldn't take too much efforts to build a new dungeon. Making the
screen larger or smaller wouldn't be much of a problem, either.
However, 'Vaultage' was just a show-off thing, nothing more. We
wanted to have a real good looking dungeon, not just a bunch of
rectangular rooms. Yet, we'd not say such a game was impossible
to do on the GS, but why do a second Wolfenstein? Also, developing
a fast, optimized 3D engine takes a huge amount of time. 'Vaultage'
was developed in about two months, and Jesse had never done anything
like that before. Just think of how long Burger Bill needed for
_porting_ Wolfenstein 3D - the engine code was already available.
Moreover, we think that texture-mapped 3D games don't make sense
on the GS - if you want to play these games, get a PlayStation or
a decent PC. That's one of the reasons why we are working on a 2D,
multi-player arcade game based on the infamous Bomberman series.
This type of game hasn't been done before on the GS, it is completely
new terrain (and what's more important, it's tremendous fun to play!).
Check out our upcoming WWW home page to find out more about it!
In the end Ninjaforce took an active part in finishing Wolfenstein
3D for the Apple IIGS together with Eric Shepperd. So while they
did not program a first-person shooter on their own by popular demand,
they helped to make Wolfenstein 3D the cool GS game as we know it