Amigamers: Hi Glenn thx very much for give us a piece of your time to make a little interview for our followers and Spanish readers, my pleasure. We are a Spanish group that have a YT channel of amiga reviews (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRaZCcAKmco-k6QlUKyCeVA )
Just for fun for the moment only Spanish but working to translate all to English soon. So.
When you start with the amiga 500? Just for fun? Make games for any 8 bits platforms?
Glenn Corpes: The first Computer I saw was a Commodore Pet in 1980, the first I owned was a ZX81 in ‘81
They started off as a company called Taurus doing Database and CAD programs for Amiga before switching to games
Amigamers: Ok. So, Populus, the first godgames based, wich really have the idea about that one?
Glenn Corpes: I designed and wrote the landscape system and the graphic engine for Populous, also drew all the graphics, Peter Molyneux wrote the game
Populous was Bullfrog’s first game, I did art, level design and a little code design on the first two, Druid II (C64 port) and Fusion
Amigamers: Wich difficults you encounter in order to manage a very big landscapes, cos the idea about modify it was very original.
Glenn Corpes: I was just playing with isometric graphics, I wrote a landscape generator because I didn’t want to have to write an editor.
I suspect they were done cheaply, there wasn’t much of an Amiga market early on
Amigamers: Yep I know about Druid II and Fusion. Why you think ports from 8 to 16 bits, not this one, where not so qulty in general?
Glenn Corpes: Amiga (and ST) didn’t really take off until the 8 bits had almost died
Amigamers: So you let the player with the generator to make all games and all lands as diferent as the may and make player modify terrain correct?
Glenn Corpes: I added the raise and lower land because the generator made useless levels that looked like intersecting pyramids. I just wanted to make the landscapes look nicer. I had no idea that it would become the basis of the gameplay, neither did anyone else. I did that initial work in three days, two of them over the weekend and showed everyone else on Monday morning, we had no plans of what to do with it, but Peter took it and added the idea of people building houses in the next week. it happened by luck, it wasn’t planned. Peter wouldn’t have come up with it without my engine, and the Engine would never have become Populous without Peter
Amigamers: LOL! So you hav a landscae generator on monday but no idea who put in in to do what?
Glenn Corpes: Exactly that
Amigamers: that its impresive! Most games with best original ideas become by lucky!
Glenn Corpes: yes, I think so. Maybe this is less true now but that was how it worked in the ‘80s
Amigamers: So, the many many expansions and sequels of populus, become as a part of the succes of game? Or maybe you as a comp has a very good engine to make games and whant to make as many games as possible with minimu effor?
Glenn Corpes: The whole game took 7 months to make on ST and Amiga with me and Peter doing almost all of the work, we had a little help with sound, load screens and some system level Amiga code, but 95% was the two of us, the first data disk was two weeks work for me and a trainee artist. +an hour for Peter to make the level info text file
Amigamers: Base of the game was Amiga and ST at a time? Or use another system (bfr port) to make the main version?
Glenn Corpes: I worked on ST, Peter worked on Amiga, almost all of the code was portable, we passed floppy disks to each other. The amiga version barely used the Blitter, I just wrote CPU screen code that worked on both machines. Populous II was different, I actually programmed the Blitter for that, the screen driving code was twice as fast
Amigamers: I supposed none of you were involved on the rest of ports including consoles, cos the Master System its infamous!
Glenn Corpes: No, those ports were handled by various people, it was incredible that it got squeezed onto 8 bit platforms, I did make some screen mock ups for the Gameboy version but that was all.
and of course by the time Populous The Beginning was made the whole company had moved to PC
Amigamers: Yeah I Know cos i was playing many spectrum games even when own and amiga and cannot explai for example how Sin city could loand at specy
Glenn Corpes: some of those 8 bit ports were insane, those machines were so underpowered. The gameboy slowed to 1 FPS when more than 20 people were born. there was an even slower NES version but that never got released, it was just terrible
Amigamers: Any idea or featured that never included populus as a ram limit or hurry to end game that u remember?
Glenn Corpes: not really, the nearest I can think of are the random monsters that turned up occasionally. they were triggered by the game running out of free people memory, the game would send one out and hope it would kill a few off, otherwise people just couldn’t leave houses
Amigamers: So after Populus, comes powermonger. Resources, srategy and war.. U think it was 1st real time strategy game?
Glenn Corpes: Powermonger was my first attempt at 3D vector graphics, I learned a lot on it. I wrote the underlying map system too, but never really liked the game much. Also, Peter’s code slowed down my graphics engine too much! It was also the first game I did no art on
Amigamers: I agree about the slowed down and freezys, but the game was great. But real time attempt?
Glenn Corpes: I was just irritated by the way adding 1 soldier to a large army froze for a second, that’s just bad coding!
Amigamers: And Syndicate. Different game, diferent objetives, but not a very comercial one. U know about that bfr the release?
Glenn Corpes: I designed the graphic system for syndicate but didn’t code it. I was working on Magic Carpet by then. It was PC first, ported to Amiga
ported by Mike Diskette who just got Satellite Reign – the spiritual successor to syndicate, funded on Kickstarter. I was working on Magic Carpet at the time but I did design six syndicate levels
Amigamers: Interesting… I see same team working those years, bullfrog one. How u describe friendship and working ambient over there?
Glenn Corpes: I didn’t have much of a life outside work in the early days of Bullfrog, nor did Peter & some others, I think that’s how we got so much done, it was a lot of fun, much more relaxed than big team game dev today, this is why I now work mostly alone.
Amigamers: So you an Peter, after those working a full years, still have good friendship! Good! So the other amiga game to ask you about Flood
Glenn Corpes: that said, I do have a desk in 22Cans office at the moment so I still see Peter Molyneux most days. With Flood I mostly just ported it from ST to Amiga, I was busy on Powermonger, I was sitting next to Sean Cooper who coded it for the whole development though
Amigamers: With all the time busy coding, do u used to play games u work? If yes wich platform u prefer?
And also, what differences did you find btwen Amiga and St in order to make graphics or coding games? Really amiga was best system?
Glenn Corpes: I played Dungeon Master and it’s sequel before we made Populous. It was out on ST before Amiga, I actually stole it’s colour palette for Populous.
Amiga was undoubtedly better than ST but I owned an ST and most ported games were the same on both. Later, Amiga games got a lot better but by then I was working and playing games on PC. By the way, the Amiga lasted several years longer than ST as a viable platform. At least this was true for Bullfrog
Amigamers: we can talk about Dk and your PC games…
Glenn Corpes: sure, we can talk about the PC stuff. I did the graphic engine and world management stuff for Magic Carpet and DK, and bits of my graphic code were used in Theme Park, Theme Hospital, Syndicate Wars, Populous The Beginning
this is what i’m working on now: http://youtu.be/86vpnhDqOWw
Amigamers: What the diference when u code in Amiga or Pc?
Glenn Corpes: The Amiga was much cleaner when programming from assembler and easier, 68000 had plenty of easy to use registers, even in 1990 the PC was held back by being a 32 bit hack on a 16 bit CPU that was a hack of an 8 bit CPU, but the PC had one huge advantage, it had a screen mode where 1 byte was 1 pixel, made 3D graphics far easier and faster.
Amigamers: So you pass to PC buisnes as the 16 bits and amiga era Ends? When and why u think this happend?
Glenn Corpes: PC had become a bigger market, specially in the US and Bullfrog was making games for EA, and we just moved to PC as the lead platform. for me, playing with 3D, I just wanted to use that byte per pixel mode
Amigamers: So bullfrog was merged with EA in 1994 just to close it suddenly? Or just as marketing strategic?
Glenn Corpes : it wasn’t merged, it was bought and kept as an independent studio. It sort of merged in ’99 though, after Peter left actually, that was ’98, I left in ’99 to start Lost Toys
Amigamers: And what about Topia? It´s a project game?
Glenn Corpes: I’ll be adding more to Topia later but it’s a big project. I’m making Fat Owl With A Jetpack because it’s the kind of game I like to play
Amigamers: That´s all for the moment Glenn. You are so Kind and a pleasure to have all this info to shaer with our public. Thx a lot and have a nice weekend keep in touch eh? See ya!
Glenn Corpes: Same to me. All the best with your YT channel and hope see your very good reviews soon in English! Cheers!