2000 Cyber Systems
Platform: Game Boy Color
Blitz was a simple Colour Game Boy budget effort being developed by Jamie Solomons (code) and with myself (Frank Gasking) doing graphics back in 2000 for Thalamus Interactive. This was opportunity for me to get work published properly on an 8-bit platform, being just a little too young to get something released for the Commodore 64 (which was the original dream!).
Jon Wells was one of the developers already at Thalamus who helped Jamie and I to try and break into the industry, and suggested doing a conversion of his Blitz 2000 title from the Commodore 64. This suggestion was taken on board under the development team named “Cyber Systems” which was my label for Public Domain games on the Commodore 64. Jamie Solomons was a recent addition to the team to handle the coding side of things, who was already doing a lot of Assembly Language programming on the Amiga at the time.
I got to work on the graphics and set about producing 6 level maps as a starting point, with refinancing and finalization to be carried out later. In addition to this, some mocked up “Get Ready”, “Game Over” and “Title screen” were produced. Some very early sprites and explosion sprites were created using the tile editor and a Thalamus logo was also designed (which was to appear before the game started).
Jamie Solomons made a start trying to learn C language and attempted to get some CGB code up and running, however this was being juggled along with a long running Amiga game project + a college course and progress was therefore slow. Jamie managed to get a test demo of a guy running around a platform, and then began trying to get some of the graphical assets displaying.
Unfortunately Jamie hit a few problems and snags which were close to being resolved, when Jamie then decided to ditch the idea of producing for the Colour Gameboy and concentrate his efforts on finishing his Amiga space exploration game.
With Jon Wells already busy with larger projects, the project was canned and the assets archived onto CD and forgotten about. In 2011, the remains were recovered from the then deteriorating CD and can now be shared to give a small glimpse of what might have been.
Overall at this stage it looks pretty simplistic, though over time this could have been refined into a fun little title to be released alongside Space Invasion and various others.
Wow… this is a blast from the past! My wife stumbled across this the other day and I was totally stunned in a very nostalgic way! I remember working with Frank on this project, but yes I was obsessed at the time with the Amiga game I was building. It was a space game called Domination which was similar in genre to Starcraft/Supremacy/Command and Conquer. It was a game where you would build up fleets of ships and send them around the galaxy gathering resources and colonising planets.
To be honest at the time I was blinded by the Domination project because it was frustratingly restarted a number of times as my programming knowledge grow and I discovered new techniques. I wish now that more time was spent helping frank with the Blitz game because he is a very talented game designer and graphics artist and the game could have gone a long way. But I was young… hey ho!
I now live in the North East, married to Sharon and the proud owner of a software development business called ProtoByte Solutions. We are going from strength to strength when it comes to web development, having developed a number of products and websites. But Im not here to sell my business, Im here to say Frank please get in touch and lets have a catch-up and maybe chat about starting a new project together! Maybe we could resurrect Domination for the iPhone…
I think the Amiga game was to be a commercial release by one of the companies at the time, or Jamie hoped it would be. From what I saw, it looked pretty neat – though I don’t think it ever fully got completed. If I get hold of Jamie some day again, i’ll ask him – could be another GTW entry ;)
The Colour GB game was being developed as a test really – if done very well and deemed playable, then it could well have been released properly. Otherwise it would have maybe demonstrated our abilities and potentially gotten us a proper assignment to work on.
What a shame that never got done – you’d think by that stage a Gameboy Colour game would be a bigger ‘thing’ than an Amiga game – would it have been homebrew or an official licensed release?
Nice to see though! The dream lives on – one day, Frank, one day…! :)