Unreal maps, demos and Quake demos

During a bit of a tidy up, i’ve dug out a bunch of Unreal 99 Maps that were produced by myself and colleagues at my old work place back in 2005/2006.

Also there are some recorded demos in both UT and Quake… all of which can also be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/user/fgasking/videos

Here are the files for downloading:

10th anniversary of full time employment

I can’t quite believe that it’s been 10 years already since I started my very first full time job, and probably one of the best jobs I could have ever started with back in January 2005.  This post is one my usual annual reflection posts on a particular past event/time period, this time (with it being 10 years this month) on my very first proper job and the challenges involved…

I had just graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University in July 2004 with a 1st in my Computer Science degree, still not entirely sure how – as this was all done whilst bringing up our daughter and not getting a huge amount of sleep for about 2-3 years.  Since late 2000, I had been working at my local Co-Op, and gradually increased the hours after I moved out and set up home with my future wife and child.   For a small period after graduation, I was offered the chance to begin teaching part-time on the very same Computer Science degree I had just graduated from, as well as running a multi-media class on the HND Multimedia course being ran at the time.  The hourly rates were very good, and it seemed ideal to teach something I had just been freshly taught myself.

Before that I had been applying to quite a few jobs over the summer without much luck – many jobs wanted the experience part, which I just did not have.  It was a pretty stupid situation, but I was gathering experience at least in CV design and interview skills.  I did almost get a software development job in Chatham for a company that specialized in Rail timetables, but with a lack of experience – I was initially only offered a tester job – which wasn’t quite enough to cover the travel costs and leave much left over, so I had to turn it down.

I was doing OK after a month or so into the lecturing, though I felt completely out of my depth to be fair in the new role.  As it was just part time, I was still doing my student job at the local Co-Op every Saturday and Sunday.  My lecturer and friend Dr David Bennett kept telling me that I shouldn’t just stick to doing teaching, and should get out there and do a real IT job to get the experience under my belt.  He then one day dug out an advert for a new job in the Web Team at Christ Church University, which looked great and right up my street.

Although I hadn’t no work experience in the field, I was a graduate from the University and had done a fair chunk of web work for myself and as part of the course, as well databases and general programming.  The team were now looking to expand.   Stupidly, and I don’t know why – I didn’t get my CV in straight away – and it took a kick up the backside from David for me to see sense and go for it.  I got my submission in (after a little help from David), and to my surprise I was granted an interview!

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Hidden secrets in games

Update: 28th November 2012 – See below for additions from Vinny Mainolfi.

I’ve always had a bizarre interest in the things we were never meant to see – I don’t know why, it’s something i’ve had ever since the day I discovered a cheat which allowed me to be immune to fire/water in Fantasy World Dizzy and helped me to discover odd looking screens which were not part of the game.  The desire for discovering unseen materials is why I run a preservation project for games that never saw the light of day.  Getting hold of and sharing something that we waited months for back in the day when magazines showed promising previews of a particular game, and which eventually never showed.

However, it’s not just unreleased/lost games which interest me, but its the little details within the games that DID make it.  Most of you are probably well aware of the term “Easter egg” in the computing world, being a small piece of code which is buried away and unlocked in a particular way (Via a code or a key combination).   With C64 games, there are loads of easter eggs buried away in the shape of mini-games,  demo’s and messages from the developers – unlocked via a combination of key strokes or accessing a strange part of a game.

Finding an easter egg is pretty neat, but there is much more awaiting discovery that we may not be aware of – things classified as easter eggs maybe, but not intentional ones…

No, i’m talking about bits of unseen ‘assets’ within games …  unused sprites, music, background graphics and even levels!  There is a lot of this kind of thing tucked away in the games we all love and know very well, but unless you’re actively digging around – you most likely will never get to see these things.  You may not for instance get to see the cheeky message hidden away in Army Moves Part 2 (See below) unless you were hunting around in the code with a Machine Code monitor.

After starting a thread recently on Lemon64 forum, it seems others out there are interested in this kind of thing – and its got me hungry for starting up a new segment/category on the up and coming new GTW portal site (Which btw will be here soon!).  Very quick fire pages/entries for particular titles with hidden bits and pieces, showing you the assets or even how to get access to them.  It’s a slight expansion from just covering unreleased/lost games, but I think it will be an interesting one.  Let’s see how it goes….

As a taster, below are some samples of hidden bits and pieces discovered in a few C64 titles (Thanks to those over at Lemon64 for discovering them)…

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GTW64 xmas update 2013

Well, part of the usual promoting of what we’ve done recently for GTW64, here is the xmas update doing the rounds ….

The GTW64 xmas update has been published today with the following additions:

(*) 3 previously unseen full games recovered
(*) CDU Games Disk 6 recovered (Including 3 new full games)
(*) 12 previously unseen previews/prototypes recovered
(*) Potential Spore 2 finding
(*) Odd Melbourne House title surfaces in loading screen form (Questerious)
(*) Tangent and RISK prototypes found and added
(*) 31 other additional new entries added
(*) 10 other additional updates added
(*) Frank Gasking work disk collection added

Full news item and updates can be found at:

http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64

Slightly Magic kickstarter

Author of the Codemasters graphic adventure Slightly Magic, Colin Jones, has set up a new Kickstarter project to resurrect the game in a 8-bit legacy edition (with faithfulness to the original graphics), but also with an extra special incentive which will be of interest to those into unreleased games like us….

As you will know via GTW64, there was a sequel planned called Slightly Spooky – which sadly never saw the light of day.  Well, if Colin’s Kickstarter is successful and OUYA funding is obtained as well, then Slightly Spooky will also be produced and given free as digital copy to those who are eligible for Slightly Magic’s remake.

But that isn’t all!  If the stretch goal of £12,000 is met, then the third title in the series will be produced also.  A title was set originally for a 3rd game, but never started after the non-release of Slightly Spooky.

An additional bonus is that Allister Brimble will be re-recording his original music score with his latest instruments and equipment for the game.

For more details, check out the Kickstarter page here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/colinjones/slightly-magic-8bit-legacy-edition

Sound of the colossus

Just recently i’ve been speaking with Gari Biasillo regarding some of his past C64 work.   You see, I grew up with most of Gari’s work on the C64 and have particularly fond memories of Target Renegade (brought from a now long gone newsagent which had a rack of budget titles for £2.99 each – with a “Star purchase” label on them).

One thing about Gari is that not only did he code, but he was a great musician too – the likes of Slayer, Steel, Basket Master and Target Renegade all featured tunes by himself.

Gari is still producing tunes today – and recently released a superb album released called Sound of The Colossus, which you can check out here:

http://soundofthecolossus.bandcamp.com/album/sound-of-the-colossus-ost

Maybe some day Gari will do some reproductions of his old classic tunes? … we’ll see!

Games That Weren’t xmas update 2012

Well, ever since the upgrade of GTW64 was completed – it was straight onto preparing for the Christmas update. No rest for the wicked. Hopefully we won’t disappoint with some big findings to keep you going.

Our main finding this year is:

Otherworld full game

Followed by:

(*) Otherworld full game
(*) Fuzzball music found + more!!
(*) Epsilon preview recovered
(*) Exodus (Nexus) reconstructed
(*) Martin Piper racing game recovered
(*) Two full White Wizard adventures found
(*) Andrew Morris game graphics added
(*) Paddle Mania screens found
(*) Mountain Combaters new entry
(*) Beauty and The Beast tape file
(*) 67 new entries added
(*) 81 updates added

More details about the update can be viewed at:

http://www.gamesthatwerent.com…12-update/

Enjoy everyone, and Merry Christmas!