Confused Pelican Games

Personal ramblings

I'm a programmer (and design & pixel art dabbler) who has been making games since the 8-bit days - I had to do everything on my own originally, since I didn't know anyone else to help out. I started off "Indie", making games at home while I was still at school\college, and then trying to sell them to a publisher. I managed to make a few games and get them published while studying. You can read about them below.

I've also been working in the 'proper' games industry since 1995.

History in games

The first computer I ever owned was an Acorn Electron (and that was shared with my brother and sister). It had the full 8 bits, 8 actual colours (if you count black, and you couldn't typically use all of) and ran at a blistering 1Mhz (or about half that if you wanted "hi-resolution" or more than 4 colours).

It was awesome.

It was like the baby brother of the BBC Micro which was just starting to appear in schools (in fact, due to the BBC Computer Literacy Project, every school) in the UK. Naturally, I quickly decided the only things computers were good for was games, so I learned how to program, first in BASIC, and then in assembler (because you really needed to use assembler to write any sort of game).

Perhaps if I'd had a spreadsheet program, I'd have been fascinated by that and become an accountant.

But I didn't. And I didn't.

Hobgoblin 1 & 2

Hobgoblin was the first game I had published, on the BBC Micro / Acorn Electron. I followed it up with a sequel, Hobgoblin 2. I managed to scrape together enough money from these games to buy an Atari ST.

Erik

It took me a bit of time to get traction on the Atari ST - I had a whole new assembly language to learn, and I managed to break the ST when trying to fit a RAM upgrade, and the repair took months.

But eventually I made Erik, and managed to get it published. I then bought an Amiga, and converted it to that.

Trog! (Og!)

Having had a bit of time to play with the Amiga, I wanted to use some of its custom features. So, I made a sideways-scrolling platform game called Trog (or is it Og?).

My publisher was going to publish it, but they went bust and I kept the publishing rights, so I released it as shareware.

Morton Strikes Back

Next I made yet another platform game for the Amiga, called Morton Strikes Back. I released a demo into the Public Domain Scene (the demo was called "Smidge", and quite why I decided to change the name for the full version I do not know - not the greatest marketing decision).

When I'd finished studying I went to work in the games industry, and subsequently had little time for doing my own stuff. I did still try though, and made a start on various games (mostly platformers, Gauntlet-style games, and cave-shooter games). For one reason or another, I didn't get very far with anything until about 2007 when I started working

Into the industry

Some points of potential interest

My first industry job was working on a 3D racing game (in the days of software rendering). I didn't do anything interesting on it really, and I wasn't fond of the company (though most of the people there were great), so I found myself another job.

My second job was at a company called Intelligent Games and they were much more organised. Eventually I was fortunate enough to work on Dune 2000 which was something of a dream project, having played the original Dune 2 a lot, and then Command & Conquer, and Red Alert.

It was a lot of hard work with a very small team, but I think we were all pretty happy with the game we made (even if the press weren't so much). I left the company shortly after it was finished.

I worked in various other companies, but didn't work on anything particularly noteworthy.

Contracting

In around 2005, I started contracting - this suited me, as I often felt I needed a long break after a project was completed, and this gave me flexibility.

Gravity Crash

Sometime in 2007, I started work on another game in my spare time. It was a vector-based cave shooter, in the style of Thrust or Oids.

I made a lot of progress, working entirely on my own, and effectively had the whole game working. Eventually I ended up working with Stewart Gilray (from Just Add Water ) on a contract, and was I working on the game during my lunchtimes. He saw it, and having fond memories of such games and also some contacts at Sony, suggested we try pitching it them for PS3.

Sony seemed keen, and I spent much of 2009 converting the game to PS3 and finishing it off (not alone!). I will post a bit more about Gravity Crash in due course.

Current stuff:

I'm currently working on a little arena shooter for the PC (Windows) called Iron Fisticle I'm hoping it'll be ready to release at the end of September, but we're only able to work on it in our spare time, so progress is slower than we'd like.

STARLIT is a bigger project, designed by Rudolf Kremers with art from Dugan Jackson (Tikipod) and that is what I'm currently working on full-time.

Computer and video games developed by Dave Parsons.
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Current projects

IRON FISTICLE is a collaboration with Dugan Jackson (Tikipod).