Woogal's website can be found here!
Hooka: When did you get your GP32?
Woogal: Sometime in May 2003 I think.
Hooka: Why did you decide to get it?
Woogal: I first heard about it when Jeff Minter got one and posted about it on his llamasoft forum. After a little research I realized the homebrew scene was very much like the Amiga pd scene was over 10 years earlier. It didn't take much persuading after that :)
Hooka: Are you still working on a level editor and the final version of Bob the Amazing Lemon?
Woogal: Yes. Probably :) I get distracted too easily, but I promise I will finish BTAL.
Hooka: Why did you decide to make a pacman-ish clone with wide-open area's?
Woogal: Can't remember why now. BTAL was started in '93 and I have enough trouble remembering stuff from last week :)
Hooka: Lazy Reader is a very cool text reader, what inspired you to make a scrolling text reader?
Woogal: I've owned various Palm devices for many years now, and the killer Palm app for me was a scrolling text reader called Smoothy. As the screen on my old Palm Vx is crap compared to the GP32, I decided that I'd recreate Smoothy for the GP32.
Hooka: What kind of stuff do you read/write with lazy reader and EdgePad?
Woogal: I read a lot of old sci-fi, particularly H.G.Wells.
Hooka: You started EdgePad before you had a chatboard, I remember trying to use it and not getting the hang of it. Why did you decide to do an EdgeWrite style writing for GP32?
Woogal: I had tried using the existing text entry systems on the GP32 but wasn't really happy or comfortable with any of them. I started to do a little research into alternatives and came across a paper on using EdgeWrite for joystick input. The idea intrigued me and fitted all my ideal criteria (able to use it without looking at the screen, and not have most of the very limited screen space taken up with an on screen keyboard), so I thought I'd give it a go.
Hooka: One question: Was it fun to edit it on him?
(It's one of your posts from GP32X)
Woogal: Yes :) I know my own use of grammar is crap and I often don't know how to spell words, but at least I have the common sense to check spelling and to re-read things before I post them. I think I get it from my girlfriend - she's a copywriter and wrote her dissertation on the effect of sms on the English language and literature. Ever since then I've h8ed al ths cutng letrs out crp.
Hooka: So you're a Dragon 32/64 and/or Coco fan too huh?
Woogal: Oh yes :) I still have my original boxed Dragon 32 (even though I sold it once). It's the only computer I've ever kept (I've got an Amiga, Speccy, and ZX81 again, but they aren't my original ones).
Hooka: What inspired you to write YAFL?
Woogal: I've always liked the Palm launcher interface with it's categories (Pocket PC's windows style stuff is just crap on a screen that size) and after a conversation with NiN^_^NiN I decided to create a version for the GP32.
Hooka: For YAFL the categories icon's are flipped and rotated 90 degrees clockwise, why did you decide to have the icon's like that?
Woogal: I didn't decide to have them like that, it's just the way they turned out. I didn't even notice myself for a few weeks, and when I did I couldn't be bothered fixing it :)
Hooka: Who is Zoltar?
Woogal: Good question. For BobTron I asked one of the designers I work with if he'd create the main game screen for me. I explained how it was a 2 player game and one of the players would be Bob, but I had no idea what the other player would look like or be called. When he gave me the screen, there was Zoltar. I think he said something about getting the name from Futurama, but I'm sure there was also a Zoltar in Battle of the Planets. I've not got a clue where the image came from though - he is probably an original creation.
Hooka: It's neat to see that you made a 2 player game for a one person console, BobTron is really cool cause of the nostalgia factor but it would be cool to see CPU opponents in a game like that, do you have any plans on updating it?
Woogal: Yes. In fact the update is half done, I just need to sit down and get it finished :) There will never be any CPU opponents because I feel that the GP32 needs more 2 player games. The only update planned so far is the addition of a third player (using the chatboard). The problem is testing a 2 player game by myself was hard enough - testing a 3 player version is becoming quite a struggle.
Hooka: I'm so glad you got rid of the water bug in gpQuake, was it a simple fix or something harsh?
Woogal: Almost all the bugs were due to memory problems. Quake is using every available bit of memory it can get it's hands on, and the bugs were all caused by various areas of memory being overwritten by mistake.
Hooka: What all have you done to the gpQuake source?
Woogal: Most of the other changes have been finishing porting things that Anders didn't get round to, particularly loading and saving, which added a lot of stuff (config loading, mods etc), and fixing the timing and other little things that were slightly broken. My plan was to get gpQuake to a stable state before trying to add any new stuff.
Hooka: Did you ever figure out why it used to work on some GP32's and not others? (I'm guessing so as you squashed the bugs apparently)
Woogal: Not really. The bug was a memory problem again, but I have no idea why it would work in certain situations and not others.
Hooka: What are you planning on doing to the code or what features might you add in the future?
Woogal: The two most important things to be done for gpQuake are improving speed and fixing the saved game corruption, so that's all I'm really concentrating on at the moment. One addition I have recently made is from a suggestion from Craigix - it's a screen stretch mode so the screen size can be shrunk to improve fps, then doubled to fill the screen. I'd like to see if networking (via bluetooth) would be possible, but that's probably a long way off. Everyone else seems to want sound to be added, but I'm a bit worried about the low memory :(
Hooka: So you coded all of your 15 and 16 day competition entries in just the given 15-16 days time?
Woogal: Yes, kind of. BTAL was started a couple of weeks earlier, but I'd only done a few hours work on it, so I still count it as having been done in 15 days :) YAFL was something I was thinking about doing, but didn't start to code until the compo start. Lacuna was the only one completely created in 16 days (I didn't even start thinking about ideas until the compo start was announced). I really like short compos, partly because of the challenge they give and partly because I don't have enough spare time to work on larger projects :) My favorite compos are themed ones because they almost guarantee that all entries were completed within a certain time scale. Unfortunately I couldn't enter the pdroms game and watch compo because I was on holiday right in the middle of it :(
Hooka: Lacuna is a very difficult (for me, they say I have stupid thumbs) but it's very addictive and fun! How do you feel about how it turned out?
Woogal: I'm really pleased with it. I spent about 90% of the time just playing the game and perfecting the feel of it (which is why the menu looks like crap) and I'm really happy with the way it plays. It's probably the only piece of software I've ever written that I'm 100% satisfied with. Well, maybe 99%.
Hooka: What was your inspiration for Lacuna?
Woogal: I didn't really have any. My objectives were to create something as simple and addictive as the excellent Falldown, and to only use drawing primitives (that's lines and rectangles and stuff to you non-coders). Because I didn't really have a fixed idea of what I was aiming for, Lacuna slowly evolved into the game it is now.
Hooka: Are you happy about having two finished projects for GP32?
Woogal: It's 2 more than I thought I'd have :) But the only reason Lazy Reader is finished is because !Reader has now been released which contains all of the updates I was going to put into Lazy Reader, plus much more.
Hooka: What other systems have you Dev'd for?
Woogal: ZX81, Dragon32, Speccy, Amiga, Windows, Linux, and Pocket PC. The Amiga is the only other platform I've released homebrew stuff for. I've only really coded for Windows, Linux, and Pocket PC at work (although there are half completed versions of Bob The Amazing Lemon for Windows and Pocket PC somewhere). I've been meaning to start deving for DC for months now, and I'll probably do some Symbian stuff too (I'd like to port Lacuna to Symbian and DC).
Hooka: What is your favorite GP32 Game/App/Utility?
Woogal: Game - Falldown. Very, very addictive!
Woogal: App - Tobi Drummer. Makes me laugh every time I see the little guy drumming :)
Woogal: Emulator - XRoar. An optimized and almost perfect emulator of the greatest ever computer (who needs more than 4 colours?)
Hooka: What should we look forward to in the future for releases or new
stuff for the GP32 from you?
Woogal: There will be updates for BTAL, BobTron, YAFL, EdgePad and gpQuake at some point. As for new stuff, the only thing I have planned is a strategy type game called Bobs in Space, but I wouldn't expect that any time soon - it's been in the planning stage for 10 years :)
Hooka: What would you like to see for the GP32 in the future?
Woogal: I'm really excited about the new hardware Nigel Brown is putting together, especially bluetooth. This almost turns the GP32 into a whole new machine, so the future could get very interesting :)
Hooka: Would you ever think of getting those red/blue 3d glasses and making a special version of Lacuna?
Woogal: Now that's a bloody good idea!
Hooka: Does Lacuna have anything to do with this? :
Bringing you the revolutionary painless non-surgical memory erasing process.
Woogal: Ah, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, excellent film, watched it for the first time just the other night in fact :) Someone told me the company in Eternal Sunshine was called Lacuna, but only after I'd chosen it as the name for my game.
Hooka: Did you know Lacuna was Word of the Day for Monday February 19, 2001?
Woogal: Where do you think I got the name from ;) I spent ages looking through every word of the day on dictionary.com trying to find an interesting word that matched my game.
Hooka: Did you call it Lacuna because you have to guide the small square through gaps (the definition of lacuna)?
Woogal: I certainly did. The word fitted the game description perfectly.
Hooka: How did Donskeeto wind up giving you the music for lacuna?
Woogal: I asked for a musician on #GP32dev and Don was the only person to reply. It made things a bit awkward because I didn't want to give a beta to a competitor so all he had for inspiration was an early screenshot. I love the music, it fits the game perfectly.
Hooka: Do you enjoy the GP32scene?
Woogal: If I didn't I would have left a long time ago. The scene does sometimes have it's ups and downs, and a lot of people have an unhealthy obsession with these emulator thingies, but it's definitely the most enjoyable scene I've ever come across.
Thanks for doing the interview Woogal, I hope you keep on enjoying the GP32scene ;)