When backing up disks from Darren Melbourne in December 2015, we found a preview called Wildfire, which we believed to be an early preview of the very same game by Starlight. Well, we were wrong!
Wildfire was actually produced in 1985 by Richard Paynter, and before his Worron game. It just by chance was taken to Darren Melbourne, who made a copy along with Worron. Richard produced this game when he was just 14/15 and the game was inspired by the MOD base just opposite his house in Gillingham, Kent called HMS Wildfire (which was a WWII relay station).
The game would act as an exercise for Richard, but never got any further apart from this demo. Richard believes a title screen may have existed separately, but that is now probably sadly long gone.
It is a miracle that this preview has been saved, and its been over 30 years since Richard last saw it. See his thoughts below about the finding.
But very much a case closed!….
Contributions: Darren Melbourne, Martin Pugh
Richard Paynter talks about Wildfire:
“I used to start a lot of games and then either lose enthusiasm or run out of memory/both or have to get on with some school work. Wildfire dates from around 1985.
This was a game/idea whose name was inspired by the MOD base opposite my house in Gillingham, Kent, called HMS Wildfire. It was a WWII relay station. Some kids broke it open one day and me and a friend went down there and discovered 100s of rooms. But that’s a different story.
The graphics were kind of a pre-cursor to the type of graphics I would use in Worron later, with the animated bas-relief. The parallax scrolling effect, I’m sure, was used in the final version of Worron, but I can’t say for definite.
The MPH speed readout was lifted straight from an Uncle’s Audi Quattro dashboard that impressed me at the time. That was about it really. There was probably a title screen for this, with the usual raster interrupt/bas-relief effects that everyone was using at the time.
Apart from that, there isn’t really much more to say other than it was never used for anything. It certainly wasn’t sold to any company or used as the basis for anything.
The disk was in the hands of Paranoid/Nexus, because I no doubt took it up as a demo to show what I could do as a programmer to Darren Melbourne, hence why he gave me the gig for Exodus.
Thank god I did, else it would be lost. And I thought it was until now so I’m thrilled to see this little bit of nostalgia!”
08/04/16 – Not the Starlight game – updated review and confirmed as Richard Paynter’s game.