Simon Butler – Lost Arc Dev games

Thanks to Ross Sillifant, Simon Butler sheds some light on a lost Arc Developments ST game:

Ross: So, Simon, what could you tell us about various ARC Development titles on ST/AMIGA you were a key part of?

Simon: Blimey I’d forgotten about the Arc titles. StarBreaker was one of Steve Cain’s babies. He designed it, such as it is and I merely created the graphics. I actually had to check out a YouTube video to remind myself of it.

I do remember spending ages on spaceship design for the main craft, although looking at it now makes me wonder why. It seems to have been a coding demo more than anything else with several layers of parallax sitting uncomfortably on top of a very lackluster side-scrolling shooter.

When you consider the shooters that had been created on the 8 bit machines then this is a very shoddy piece of work. But a lot of my titles from this era were less than stellar. I’m not talking graphically, there were one or two that I was particularly proud of from this period, 9 Lives being a case in point. But others left a lot to be desired.

The whole ARC thing was very hit and miss with ideas just being snapped up without allowing anyone to flesh them out. I actually left Ocean to work on these titles because a certain Mr Bracey had announced that at no point would Ocean be moving into 16 bit
development. Maybe I misheard him, maybe he meant “not right now”, but it wasn’t a decision I regretted. It did allow me to did my toe into the 16 bit waters a lot earlier than I would if I had stayed at Ocean.

Ross: What became of the ST Tube-Shooting game you and Jon Gibson
were working on?

Simon: The Tube Shooter? Hmm I only have the vaguest of recollections regarding this but I think we were going to attempt a kind of fake 3D. It might have been inspired by something I’d seen in the arcades or just one of my mad ramblings from that period, who

I used to throw out ideas on a daily basis, ideas cost nothing. I should imagine that the reason behind it never seeing the light of day was most probably due to the fact that Atari just dropped our development team like a hot brick after a while.

They were never the best of clients, unreliable if I remember rightly. Sorry I can’t shed any more light on things, but it was a very long time ago and not quite as memorable as the Ocean days.

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