16 August 1999
Q. Tell us about yourself (age, where you are from etc.)
A. I'm 35 - I was 26 when I started working on GP for the Amiga! I was born in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, UK, but moved to my folks' hometown of Leeds when I was a teenager. I lived in the Cotswolds for five years before coming to work in the USA.
Q. What qualifications do you have that have enabled you to work as an artist?
A. Hmm, qualifications...well when I first started in the games industry I didn't have any qualifications as far as computer graphics were concerned, and that was generally the case with game artists in the eighties, in Britain at least. I had done some graphics at home on an Apple II and on my friend's Spectrum, but nothing of any consequence. I did have an A level in art, and I did an art diploma at Park Lane College in Leeds which I didn't complete as I got a job. The job involved hand painting bone china plates, and was terribly dull. A friend of mine who worked as a musician at Source in Otley, near Leeds, asked me if I might be interested in making computer games. I went along and did an animation test on a ST, and surprised myself by doing a sixteen-frame animation of a rotating wireframe cube - but hand drawn with a line tool in OCP Art Studio. This was what got me the job. I also have a degree in Communication Studies, but that's not at all relevant to the job I do.
Q. How did you get involved in the Microprose F1GP project?
A. I heard about it and it sounded good. I asked to work on it. MicroProse were going to give the art to a contractor, but they let me have it. I didn't follow F1 at the time, but I have only missed maybe three races since 1991. I also learned to drive in 1991 and I believe that playing Grand Prix improved my driving skills.
Q. How long did the your work on the project take?
A. The Amiga version started in June 1991 and the artwork was completed by October 1991. The Amiga version was released in January of 1992. The PC version began in late 1991 and ran into spring/summer of 1992 with revisions. The PC game was released in October of 1992. I learned 3D Studio whilst working on this project.
I also wrote a driving guide for GP which was published in a number of Amiga magazines, and ended up demoing the game on the MicroProse stand at ECTS in 1991 - I was the guy NOT wearing a suit...
Q. What part of the game graphics were you responsible for?
A. All the pre-rendered 3D Studio sequences (which are horribly dated now!) and all the graphics used in the game interface i.e. outside of the 3D game engine were either rendered in Autodesk 3D Studio, or hand drawn in DPaint. For the PC version the background images were hand painted on heavy water colour paper using gouache and watercolour paints, and watercolour pencils. These were scanned and converted to 256 colours. I then touched them up in DPaint on the PC. I also did the cockpit for the PC version (Geoff C did the Amiga/ST cockpit). I had two helpers, Suzy Lockyer and John Reitze, who did admirable work with a lot of fiddley finicky detail work. Very impressive. John also had the job of converting my Amiga graphics to the ST.
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