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100th Strife celebrations - Interview with Todd Replogle

Long time friend of Strife Todd Replogle once again steps into the limelight to answer another barrage of questions.

Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Duke Nukem 1 and 2, these are all great classic games you programmed. What stands out in your mind from these glory days?

Moving to Texas was really a big step in my life. It was a big lifestyle change that took a some getting used to. The whole experience was a bit euphoric in that here I was with my own home, driving in $60,000 sports cars in an unknown land doing what I always wanted to do. I was also surrounded by people who were tops in the industry, where I received nothing less than a crash course in professional video game development.

Your past has seen you having heavy involvement with Scott Miller and George Broussard, 3DRealms head honchos. Have you got any funny stories about your times with them?

There was a funny time when the whole gang flew to a software awards ceremony in Los Angeles. In no time we were exploring the town, checkin' out the sights and getting familiar with the territory. One night we stopped by a strip club to do some "research" when all of a sudden Chris Farley walks in! We couldn't believe it. For a time we were more interested in watching him than the strippers. He appeared to be there on business, talking to a fully clothed woman while paying no attention to us or the show. He looked kinda sweaty and wobbly. After the show was over it was our turn to get a lap dance. When we strolled back there Mr. Farley vanished into the bowels of stripper heaven.

In your mind, what makes a game fun?

I think the ease of movement and controllability of the player is the most important aspect of any video game. The user should be able to control the character in predictable ways with minimal effort. Fun video games do not always have to involve good verses evil - pushing dirt around with an excavator or a bulldozer can be just as fun.

I know you don't play games anymore, but what are your favourite computer games of all time?

My favorite video game of all time has to be the really spooky ones. The original arcade version of Williams' Sinistar is a game that stood out among the rest. It had a simple premise with complex gameplay attributes.

How did you become involved in games development?

enjoyed drawing mazes on paper for my friends when I was young. It was fun to have someone enter an artificial world of my own creation. I suppose that has always carried through to adulthood and materialized into video game makin'.

Do you miss the days when small teams could make big hit games, compared to these days where most games have big teams and even bigger budgets?

Yes I miss the glory days when developers had to make do with much less. Coding small indepth games with well written optimized code, especially those under 64 KBytes is a lost art. Every now and then I'll do various searches on the internet looking for something well-programmed, small and fun to play, but are difficult to find. Most projects nowadays are hundreds of megabytes, jumbled with high resolution graphics and sound. Sadly, a broad range of games today replace creativity and innovation with controversial imagery and dated gameplay with limited appeal.

What are you three top tips you'd give to people reading this, who'd like to work in games development?

Tip #1. Be patient with your programming. Sacrifice large amounts of time to remove all bugs and "programmer tricks", no matter how insignificant. Bugs in video games are a distraction and will ruin the mood completely.
Tip #2. Have confindence in knowing you're doing something unique. With enough originality your project will be treated as an artform and hopefully last throughout the ages!
Tip #3. Work with a motivated team that's willing to unite egos with compromises. We were very lucky to have the right people working together, all dedicated and eager to impliment new ideas at obscure hours of the day and night, with each having a similar vision of the final product.

Are you still driving those big cars? : )

I now own a nice compact 4 wheel drive truck.

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I am Peter Bridger -- That Strife: 2000 - 2005 Version 4.1