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 WITH ROB HEWITT
Amigapd would like to thank Rob Hewitt for agreeing to answer some questions about his game Timebomb.
For more information on Rob and his projects please visit his website.
This interview was completed October 2012.
Thanks to Lifeschool from Lemon Amiga forum and contributors to our facebook page for providing questions for the interview.
Timebomb was originally released for the 16K ZX Spectrum in 1984. For those not familar with the game can you describe the gameplay and what the player is aiming to do?
Rob Hewitt (RH): Timebomb was one of the first games I had for my Speccy, and one of my favourite 16K games. It kept the family occupied on many an evening. The Speccy game was based on an arcade machine called Check Man by Zilec-Zenitone in 1982. The object is to get all the bombs on the level without the timer running out. Making it harder are skulls and, on later levels, randomly moving boots. Moving around the grid wipes out the previous square making it harder to get the bombs. You can scroll a row left or right though which helps and can also go off the screen and appear on the opposite tile. The objective overall is just to get a high score like proper arcade games should be.
You made Timebomb originally for the PC - how did the Amiga version come about?
RH: Once I finished JetHunt for the PC, I felt guilty that I'd started it on the Amiga in the early 90s and finished it on the PC this year. Because of this I decided to take one of my PC releases and convert it to the Amiga as practice for converting JetHunt back to the Miggy eventually. It only seemed fair!
What are the differences between the Amiga and PC versions and which do you prefer
RH: The PC version is in a higher res (800x600) to the Amiga (320x256) and in many more colours (16-bit instead of 32-ish). The in game music on the PC (despite being written on the Amiga in about 1991) is in 4 channels but only 3 on the Amiga to leave space for the sound FX. The main sprite is only animated on the Amiga version. I prefer the PC version for the resolution but the game feels better on the Amiga, especially as I animated the main character. Programming it was far more satisfying too!
Is Timebomb your only Amiga game or do you have other projects you plan to release (Jethunt conversion from your PC games)?
RH: I released Coagulus Pairs AGA in around 1998 i think - http://coagulus.newport.net/c1/downs.html - but I've started many (too many!) games and not finished them. Hard Ammo, JetHunt, Skulldriller, Mr.Earth, A-Bomb and lots of others! My mission is to finally get around to as many of them as I can. JetHunt would be awesome, hope I can convert it. That one is the next to attempt.
You say you made the in-game music using Protracker on the Amiga. What issues did you have with the music, especially on the 512k version of the game as you say you had to chop it down to size?
RH: I'd forgotten how to use ProTracker as I hadn't used it for years. I wrote the bulk of my mods in the early 90s. Shrinking the music down was hard but I am pleased with the results. It's worth setting up an A500 512K chip Amiga in WinUAE/Winfellow to hear it.
Timebomb - Retroguru
Video by S2325
What development tools did you use to make Timebomb?
RH: Blitz Basic mainly (and Amiblitz while copying and pasting the code from the PC version as it seemed to crash regular Blitz), Dpaint IV for the sprites but PPaint for the palette and for converting the gfx from the PC files. Octamed for converting the mods to MED format. Also used WinUAE for a nice environment and coding speed and also WinFellow for testing outside of WinUAE.
How long did it take you to finish the game, from start to finish?
RH: It took about a month and a half, with lots of procrastinating!
Did you get any support when making Timebomb (from forums, friends etc) or was this a one-man effort?
RH: Coding, gfx and music are all mine. EAB helped when I got stuck with finding out the free ram and also with bug reporting when the beta was released.
What type of games do you like playing in your spare time?
RH: Tends to be retro. My DS is loaded with almost every Speccy game and the excelled ZXDS emulator. I do play the odd modern game on my Xbox 360 but mainly it's C64, Speccy, CPC, ST, Amiga, Megadrive/Genesis and PS1 games.
Are there any other games from the Spectrum back catalogue which you would like to convert to the Amiga or PC?
RH: Any that aren't done already. But I think my time will be taken converting JetHunt. I'd love to convert some more games to either (or both) systems. The sadist in me is considering converting Timebomb to other systems such as the Sam Coupe and (*ducks*) the ST!
Recently there has been a sudden surge in Amiga pd games being released on the EAB forum - why do you think people still enjoy programming for the Amiga?
RH: I enjoyed the "limitation". PC programming, although it gets results easily, isn't very satisfying. You can always chuck more code at it. Programming for limited systems leads to better, efficient programming.
Timebomb can be downloaded from Rob's website.
AmigaPd would like to thank Rob Hewitt for taking the time to answer these questions.
We hope you enjoyed reading the interview - remember AmigaPd is charityware - please visit our just giving page to support our chosen charity Mencap.