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Old 5th Apr 2010, 10:02   #1
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Made in the UK

http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/retro...de-in-the-uk/1

Kicking off bit-tech's Made in the UK week of dedicated UK gaming coverage, Joe looks back at how the UK has fared since the days of BBC micro. What happened to the age of the bedroom coder and is the UK still valuable contributor to the games industry as a whole?

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Old 5th Apr 2010, 10:34   #2
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Awesome! I nice trip down memory lane, but educational too. I enjoyed reading that
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 10:35   #3
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Nice little read !
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 10:38   #4
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I would like to point out that the talent pool for games programmers suffers from market economics, as in programmers need to choose between the super long hours with relatively lower pay in games compared to working in a bank with normal hours and relatively high pay, I've even know games programmers leave for banks after they decided that the life style of working with games isnt for them. There's lots of evidence of this on the web.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 10:39   #5
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oops "After Bullfrog’s continued success it was merged into Lionhead, which was later acquired by Microsoft"
Bullfrog was bought by EA and became EA Guildford, Peter M wen to to form Lionhead which has been bought by MS.

Good article but could say more about our last big publisher developer - Codies
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 11:22   #6
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I think part of the problem is the inherent British mistrust of all things corporate and big business.

We Brits have a natural tendency to dislike working in companies like EA, Ubisoft, Activision, etc,etc...which are little more than software factory production lines . Its why British game houses never achieve a critical mass to compete.

As soon as the brightest talent within a small company feel they are becoming part of a big corporate entity, they always seem to leave and set up another small company, its what happened to Rare and numerous other once great British softco's.

Its that independent streak that is out greatest strength and weakness. It produces small companies like those which make the likes of Tomb Raider, Batman AA, Little Big Planet, GTA, etc etc.....

Then when they taste success, the big overseas sharks move in, and the founders of those companies cant resist the big payday and sell out.... Media Molecule and Rocksteady being the latest examples....and i wouldnt be surprised to see members of their teams start to drift away over the next couple of years as the drudgery of working on LBP 6 or Batman 5 starts to rot away their independent soul, and the cycle starts all over again.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 12:30   #7
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Cracking article. TYVM.

And that electron had the memory/joystick expansion. How posh did you have to be to have one of those.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 12:37   #8
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Jeff Linter. Ultimate bedroom coder, and extraordinarily-twisted mind. Revenge of the Mutant Camels, anyone?
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 12:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amacieli
Jeff Minter. Ultimate bedroom coder, and extraordinarily-twisted mind. Revenge of the Mutant Camels, anyone?
Corrected.....shame on you.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 13:25   #10
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nice bank holiday read with a cup of coffee and a cheese toasty that was. yum to all three.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 13:37   #11
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Great stuff... I really liked this story

“I can’t knock on the door of three big UK publishers and say ‘Hi! Do you want to work with your local developers?’ because we’ve only got Codemasters left and they aren’t in a strong position, apparently,” he said. “So, we go to America, Japan, China, France for publishers because we haven’t got anywhere else to go.”

Why is Codemasters in a "bad" situation... Every racing game they get out is a hit... I buy everygame from them, I'm really waiting is for their F1 game... :O

http://www.codemasters.com/map.php?d...2010/index.php
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 14:40   #12
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Dragon was a welsh company, they did the Dragon 32, and I think they may have done a Dragon 64/128.
Around the time of the Commodore Vic 20.

I remember seeing a picture of a young bloke sitting on the Porsche he had just bought with the payments from his video game, It was in Computer + Video Games (C+VG)
Back in the early 80's.

A Great read, some of those games are just as enjoyable nowadays as they were then. Especially the adventure games, Elder Scrolls anyone ? The Pawn, Guild of Thieves , and that one where you got to fly the cheese...Mercenary

http://www.archive.org/details/C64GVA256-Mercenary
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 16:26   #13
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Interesting article, but there was, in my opinion, too little focus on the 80s and especially on luminaries of that decade like Antony Crowther (yes, he was mentioned once) and Jeff Minter (still going strong to this day).

But this really took me down memory lane. Been tinkering with computers and games since 1981 (first on the ZX81 and the TI-99/4A, later on the C64 and the Amiga), so I was able to witness many of these milestones. At one point I even considered moving to the UK and getting into the game business for real.

Bah... I'm feeling even older now...
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 16:38   #14
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Acorn Atom, now that was hardcore! - could be bought in kit form, first home computer that my brother owned. Mine was the spectrum 128k with the built-in dodgy cassette player.

I remember trying to track down games for the Atom on sale in computer magazines at the time, it was hard to find decent games, but there were a few.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 16:38   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amacieli View Post
Revenge of the Mutant Camels, anyone?
I remember playing that on my Atari ST
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 17:05   #16
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God, I used to love Mutant Camels. I can still remember some of the passwords for the levels off the top of my head.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 17:09   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Quote:
Originally Posted by amacieli
Jeff Minter. Ultimate bedroom coder, and extraordinarily-twisted mind. Revenge of the Mutant Camels, anyone?
Corrected.....shame on you.
Deep shame is now being felt.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 18:41   #18
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a complete missreading of the uk software development situation, most of us simply moved to earning 100k + in industry.
if games gave similar returns without the risk involved we'd still be there.. some are in the renued flash markets.
the3 simple fact is that coding became out dated, undervalued, and underrated... there are so many jokers in the it world it isnt funny.

coding is seen as a commodity, the best of the uk is still the best but the dross is overwhelming.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 18:43   #19
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kids should be taught to code not to use a mouse - the basic logic is common from euclid to assembler to c... now where is the hash key
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 21:12   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
a complete missreading of the uk software development situation, most of us simply moved to earning 100k + in industry.
if games gave similar returns without the risk involved we'd still be there.. some are in the renued flash markets.
the3 simple fact is that coding became out dated, undervalued, and underrated... there are so many jokers in the it world it isnt funny.

coding is seen as a commodity, the best of the uk is still the best but the dross is overwhelming.
^ What he said. Coding is very much seen as a commodity, clients don't see a single difference between agencies so they want miracles for little outlay. I work on web applications and the number of people who think making a web app is as simple as writing a word doc is astounding. I swear they think the features they don't use in Word are for making apps. Then there's the flood of young 'talent' who have coasted through college / uni and think they make a fortune knocking complete tosh together. Utterly destroying the industry and causing even more outsourcing.

Programming is skilled labour, and anything significant requires significant forward-planning. I wouldn't be surprised if the NHS project is spiralling out of control simply because the people behind it keep amending the spec, and the suppliers are more than happy to oblige since the funding seems limitless.

Seriously you would have to be an idiot to go into game dev. Sure it's entertaining - initially, but the excessive hours, poor pay, and the utter slating you'll get from the community mean you'll end up suicidal. Apparently in the US studios go out of their way to hire (almost exclusively) young single men simply because they don't have a family to go home to, and they're happy to work for very little simply cause they're working on games. I guess at least 'game dev' sounds OK, 'web applications developer' is an instant turn off, regardless of any prefixes (senior / lead / god).

What Hustler said is bang on - the best talent deteste working in large companies. I'm guilty of exactly what he said - as soon as beaurocracy starts moving in, I'm off What would be ideal was if the big companies went up to an independent and gave them financial security without lording it over. The best thing they could do is ensure there are deadlines, small devs can be terrible for wanting perfection and when there's money available - release dates will never occur. Look at Final Fantasy 13 and GT5...
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