Tell us a little about yourself, and what you have been up to since last updating Overlord.
Wow, it's been a long time since I played VGAP until you contacted me for a developer's interview. I grew up in central Vermont and went to a vocational high school in Massachusetts. Now I’m retired from the military, have finished my BS degree and am now living & working down south. I worked in just about every part of the computer career field over the past 30 years.
What are your favorite computer / board games and how have they affected the development of your projects?
I grew up playing mostly role playing games. Chess, D&D, Might and Magic, etc. I learned how to tweak game stats on a Commodore 128.
Which race do you prefer to play in VGAP & why?
The Borg. My favorite tactic is to expand out in every direction. Drop a few Borg. Assimilate, then tax and mine the planet completely.
Do you have a favorite add-on when playing a game? Something that’s caught your attention and made you think, “I wish I had thought of that!
Anything by Dan and Dave.
What's your favorite Planets game memory?
Not a favorite one but a memorable one. The game lasted about 6 months with 3 or 4 turns a week. It was played by myself and 10 other co-workers. It started out as everyone against everyone until alliances started forming without the knowledge of other players. A group of them even printed a large five foot by five foot map to plot out their strategy. It really got serious for awhile. It really was a great game until players started accusing other players of cheating, yelling at each other, saying they would quit. I really don't remember who won, it got ugly during the last few turns and the game just stopped.
What specifically inspired you? What were the biggest influences?
I got tired of the standard game setups. Overlord allowed the game host to create just about any kind of scenario.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome due to VGAP's mechanics / limitations while working on your projects?
The hardest part was breaking apart the VGAP and Add-ons data files to determine what bits and bytes went to. I would make a few changes using a hex-editor, run planets, then see what the change did (build an engine, move a ship, tax the colonists, etc).
Were there things that you wished you had added to Overlord?
I never really finished the star map part of Overlord the way I wanted it to work.
What do you think are your most important accomplishments to VGAP and why?
That my utility improved game play for everyone.
In this time of graphically intense PC games, what do you think it is about VGAP that has people still playing a PBEM game that came out in 1991?
Simple concept, playing against other people, can be played many times with each game being completely different
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients that a game of this type should have?
VGAP is like multiple chess games going on at the same time.
How has the internet affected the expansion of your programs internationally?
It was really great having people in many countries contact me about Overlord. I was really surprised at how well it went.
Can you tell us, in layman's terms, how you came up with the idea of the Overlord and then how you implemented it?
The idea came to me after playing my first game with a group of players. We were discussing what race to play and which settings to set to run master and complaining about how the game doesn't get interesting until after the first 10 to 12 moves.
The name of the program came from Led Zeppelin's song lyrics "We are your overlords". I'll let you guess the song name and album. It was created in 1995 and the first copy was sold in September 1995 over the internet.
What would your ideal computer game be like if you could have anything you wanted given the limitations of today's technology?
I really enjoy playing multi-play on-line games like World of Warcraft. Getting thousands of players together in one gaming environment is really cool
What’s the status of your product development and do you intend to continue to develop them or new utilities for Planets v4.0 in the future?
Sorry to but at the present time it's gathering dust.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living on a boat in the Florida keys.
Any last words to the Planets fan base?