Amiga PD Charityware
Amiga PD is a charityware site - if you download any disk images you are encouraged to donate to our chosen charity - Mencap - at our justgiving page.
Suggested donations are £1 per disk image download as this was the cost of obtaining a disk back in the 1990s. Thank you.
INTERVIEW - ADRIAN CUMMINGS
Amiga Pd are very excited to present an interview with Adrian Cummings who was involved in writing some great commercial games for the Amiga. Adrian has very kindly now made some of these games available as freeware. To find out more about the games which are now available for download and the history behind his company Mutation Software read on....
Which of the Games attributed to you on Hall of Light Amiga database are you happy to share as freeware (Bug Bash, Castle Kingdoms, Cyberpunks, Doodlebug, Nucleus, Our-Type, Tin Toy Adventure, Tommy Gun, Vac-Suit Jack ?
All of those are available as freeware now but all I ask is nobody makes any profit from them now or in the future other than to bona fide charity only perhaps - that's about it.
Which of your unfinished games ( Arcadia / Our-Type , Vaporizer ,Outlander ,Beach-Head ,Beach-Head II , Raid Over Moscow ,Man Machine ,Egg ,Flipover , Orb-It ,City Limits ,Outlander II Vac-Suit Jack ,Fantastic Island) - were closest to completion, and are there any playable demos available?
There is indeed a playable demo version of Vac-Suit Jack and the Arcadia, Outlander and City Limits game demos knocking around the net somewhere I recall… maybe even Man Machine I think which was really very early Amiga? Regards the others though, all were mostly only taken as far as graphics and some sound or were lost in the case of Fantastic Island. Factoid: The Monkey and Snake graphic from Fantastic Island ended up 20 years later being used in the iPad, iPhone game 'Tropical Treasures' in 2010 which sold pretty well – they were the only bits I had left really.
Which aspect of game production did you find the most challenging (programming, graphics, music or game testing)
Always programming back then. Although I was a programmer before I fell into the black hole known as the games industry, I used to program industrial boiler/heating computer systems which is not the same animal as games software at all. I.e. you never had to know where the system stack was or how many raster lines your sprite routine was using etc. Speed is not a great factor when updating a page of 200 thermal related values on a terminal to present to a boiler house man with a spanner in his hand LOL :) …so yes the transition from that to games coding was quite a big leap for me at least.
What was the main reason for games not reaching completion?
Time, money and loss of direction/focus in the early days as a group… It took me a few years to get up to speed on my own as an individual writing games which involved doing the coding, graphics and sound/music… It was and still is to some degree a lot of work to do on your own and get it out the door as published product.
Bug Bash, according to Amiga Power Oct 1991, was re-released as public domain quite early after its commercial release - why was this?
Basically I got ripped off to a great extent by a previous publisher so the only route available to me at that time was to release it again as PD to try and make some money out of it. I was so green in the late 80's and just into the 90's that I had no idea about the whole publishing side at all when I started and to be honest neither did the publisher LOL. All very scary really when money is involved in the equation and that lead to a breakdown of many things from friendships to minds. It really was a dark time in my life that I learnt much from, so in a way I'm kinda grateful for the experience I guess though I have no wish to repeat anything like it again :)
A number of Amiga Programmers released their software as Shareware whilst it seems you decided to create your own company Mutation Software - why did you choose this route?
After I had my larger hits with Core Design I had seen the money and to be honest getting paid for what you like doing for a living is always a good feeling, so I tend to not just give work away until I feel there is nothing left to gain from it in terms of revenue.
What were the challenges in setting up Mutation Software?
The hardest part was duplication, distribution & marketing, it was much harder than I originally thought back in the day (away form Core Design at least) We had a cottage industry going back then with Mutation Software pretty much duplicating, printing and running adverts with the glossy mags etc. Although hard, they were actually great days before the likes of digital distribution took over that we have now pretty much. Some of my family who've sadly passed away since, used to help out on a regular basis. Great times and I have fond memories of how it could and used to be done without a larger publisher behind you… though that was great too of course :)
Did Mutation Software enable you to follow your creative instincts or did publishers still influence the games you made or request alterations to games before publishing?
I was pretty much left to do what I wanted and the only changes requested were usually just plain bugs, though I do recall Core wanting to call then Doodlebug 'Pencil Kid' or something in an early meeting with them but it never had the same ring to it so Doodlebug it was :) There was going to be a possible Gameboy version of Doodlebug back then but after the Atari ST version was released and not knowing much about the Gameboy at the time (that knowledge came much later LOL) the idea was shelved… probably would of made a mint too back then via Core perhaps, who knows?
Did the decline of the Amiga mark the end of the bedroom programmer creating their own games or do you think the recent mobile game industry could see a return to smaller software companies or even one man game companies?
I think it's already gone full circle in the last 20 years pretty much when it comes to smaller projects that perhaps don't require an entire team of people now yes. The mobile industry has really come on a long way now and although the situation may not last forever, it is very possible for small indies and one man bands to do amazing things. That said is still requires some time, money and focus to stay the course and create something that will make some returns… that being the harder bit given the huge competition out there now.
Due to the demand for retro games would you consider a limited edition release of Mutation Gold for the Amiga 1200 -CD32 - perhaps taking advance orders similar to the approach adopted by Redspot Games for the Dreamcast to fund the project?
I did consider an all new packaged release version of the Mutation Gold Compilation between 2009/2010 but to be honest decided to make the master disc archive available for free to those that were interested. Therefore I have no plans now of course to do anything else with it. There is an EAB thread here all about it here… This is also due partly because of current projects where some of my older Mutation Software IP is being recycled into newer mobile format offerings.
Do you think the download game format will harm the industry or provide opportunities for programmers to extend the payment cycle of their games?
I actually think it's great! Now as a developer, you can produce and publish your own work and get paid directly without many of the middlemen taking a cut of the cash. The current 70/30 split on offer by most digital store fronts is way more than you used to get back in the day. Therefore although I miss the halcyon days of the physical box and product, there is really no place for it anymore now and certainly not in the mobile games industry of course.
Bug Bash - Adrian Cummings
Castle Kingdoms - Adrian Cummings
Cyberpunks - Adrian Cummings
Doodle Bug - Adrian Cummings
Nucleus - Adrian Cummings
Our Type - Adrian Cummings
Toy Adventure - Adrian Cummings
Tommy Gun - Adrian Cummings
Vac Suit - Adrian Cummings
Are any of your old games updated for modern gaming appliances (PCs / Ipads / Mobile phones / Consoles)?
Up to the current date and in fact today 26/04/11 as it happens, Doodlebug Mini Edition was launched for iPhone/iTouch in Paid and LITE (FREE) formats, plus it's also available as just Doodlebug on iPad in Paid and LITE (FREE) formats (links to all these on App Store direct from www.softwareamusements.com). Other than that Tommy Gun did make it to Java Mobile devices somewhere around 2007 and Tin Toy Adventure made it across to Windows PC back in 2004/5 I may still port some of my older IP to newer mobile devices but currently having just ported Doodlebug to iOS that was enough for the moment given I had to work from the RNC packed floppy data files to do it having lost most of the original Amiga/Atari ST assets many years ago LOL :)
AmigaPd would like to thank Adrian Cummings for his time and support with creating this page. Remember to visit his current website to see his current projects.