Hooka: How did you get into the whole Homebrew scene?
Guyfawkes: Are you doing the questions as you go along, on the fly interview or do you have some questions planned? Just asking as I don't know how much to answer in the first, if the other questions are continuing the theme... I talk for England, so I go on and on if nobody tells me to shut up :)
Hooka: I don't really have prewritten questions for this one, I figured I'd go with something a little more like your interview style from the GP32Emu days, but I do have extensive knowledge of the subject ;) been around the scene a couple years remember ;)
Guyfawkes: Cool. I got into homebrew specifically when the GBA flash carts came out. This opened up a new genre of homebrew coding and I saw some great software being released for it. I had my emulation site emuholic.com for some years before the GBA but this was a PC based emulation site. My site gbaemu.com was set up specifically for the GBA and homebrew/hacking news and covered news, releases etc. After a while I got into the coding side of homebrew, I had coded before in school and college but mostly just coursework so the GBA really opened things up for me.
Hooka: So from there you basically started out with patching GBA roms?
Guyfawkes: I wasn't exactly responsible for this, one of my team members Costis and a few others made the patches mainly. This evolved into a program called FAT which automatically patched roms to work on the first generation gba flashcarts. The second generation of gba flashcarts fixed the timing problems found in the first generation so the need to patch kinda ended so we concentrated more on homebrew.
Hooka: What homebrew releases did you make for the GBA?
Guyfawkes: I only made one main public release for the GBA which was Pong Fighter. It was a mix of Pong and Street Fighter, as a joke we used the Street Fighter music in the game and then asked Capcom for permission. To our surprise they said yes provided we didn't use it for bad purposes. It was a fun game and even got included with an emulator for people to play. Pong Fighter homepage at http://www.emuboards.com/guyfawkes/pongfighter.htm if you need more info. I made a few other programs for GBA but they were never released as I lost the source code in a hard drive crash
Hooka: When did you get your GP32?
Guyfawkes: I got it just after its release when it was only available outside of Korea via Liksang.
Hooka: Good old Lik-Sang ;)
Guyfawkes: For the first year or so the GP32, after its initial rush of development, fell pretty much off the radar. Craig (GBAX) decided it needed a kick start back to life so he started heavily promoting the GP32 which lead to its revival. There was soon a flood of new developers which lead to the 'glory years' of the GP32 and some amazing releases. I did some early work on GP32 software, but it wasn't really until the revival I started working on more 'complete' software such as Darts, Memory, Bunny Traps, Doom and Bingo to name a few.
Hooka: Yeah, didn't you place in the top three of a competition for darts?
Guyfawkes: It was one of the GBAX coding compos which I co-run, so I couldn't win anything, but the game was very popular and many said it could have won. I had comments such as it was the best darts game they have played, etc. I still get emails asking if I will ever port it to the GP2X.
Hooka: Ahh, that was it, nice :)
Guyfawkes: That kind of stuff makes me proud of my software. I put a lot of effort into my games now so comments like that some years after its release are great.
Hooka: Yeah, makes you proud to know you left your mark ;) Did you release the source for it in your GP32 source release right near the end of it's (major) life?
Guyfawkes: Unfortunately no, I don't have the source for all of my gp32 games, just the later stuff which I have already ported to GP2X.
Hooka: Ohh, harsh (part of the reason I like cvs/svn ;)
Guyfawkes: I have everything backed up now, learnt my lesson :) Darts and Doom were my personal favourite of my releases.
Hooka: Yeah, gpdoom was a fantastic port!
Guyfawkes: Craig, Rob and I had a lot of fun continuing the port.
Hooka: What all did you do code-wise?
Guyfawkes: Just bits and pieces, optimising some code for use on gp32, getting it up to speed, helping with menus. Craig and I did what we could, rob rewrote most of the file handling code as it was very buggy. Bit of everything really, if something needed fixing one of us would do it.
Hooka: Nice :), Robster optimised the music parts too from what I remember.
Guyfawkes: Yeah, I think so... my memory isn't that good, was a few years ago so I can't remember the specifics, but everyone did a great job!
Hooka: Yeah, the source is even up on sourceforge.net now too ;)
Hooka: (Blatant tooting of own horn there ;) )
Guyfawkes: Heh, yeah it's good to see it on there. After the GP32 I got into the Zodiac, if you want to talk about that...
Hooka: You know it ;)
Guyfawkes: During the GP32 revival the Zodiac was released. I started up a new site and had a very strong relationship with the company Tapwave. It was a great device, but had its problems with the joypad which resulted in games being unplayable due to it reading the input incorrectly i.e. press right and it goes left.
Hooka: Nice system though, especially for RTS' with touchscreen ;)
Guyfawkes: As a commercial device it never had a major following as many games that were announced such as Neverwinter Nights never got released, but for homebrew it had some great software. Skeezix was one of the main homebrew coders, he came from a palm coding background so he was at home creating some great emulators.
Hooka: Thing's a bloody pain to code for, so it's good on him!
Guyfawkes: Yeah, I am just getting onto that :)
Hooka: Shows how strong his Jedi coding is! Anyways, continue...
Guyfawkes: I tried coding for the Zodiac but failed miserably. I just couldn't get the hang of coding for Palm, partly because I was used to the ease of GP32 programming. I only coded one game for the Zodiac which was unfinished, a port of my GP32 game Yahtzee. It is a pity that the Zodiac failed, it really was an impressive device and I still think it has the best design and looks like a new device even today.
Hooka: You did make a release?
Guyfawkes: I made a release of Yahtzee last year when I put my software homepage online. http://www.emuboards.com/guyfawkes/ If it was easier to code on I think it would still be going strong today. There are still some releases being made such as MAME, so it's not quite dead yet.
Hooka: Yeah, I've noticed a few still give it some lovin'... I tried and failed miserably :P Might dig into it once again later, but by then nobody'll care.
Guyfawkes: The media player TCPMP is great, movies look amazing on it!
Hooka: Ohh, you don't have to tell me :) Many a spare at college I was watching movies on it ;)
Hooka: Picard did some great stuff :)
Guyfawkes: Yeah, Tapwave should've really pushed the Zodiac in this area.
Hooka: Metaview, Vilmos, Zodttd, Skeezix, etc. too
Guyfawkes: Yeah, all great coders for the Zodiac
Guyfawkes: I wish I could have coded more, but was well out of my league on Zodiac, so hats off to the Zodiac coders for their work!
Guyfawkes: I had a very good relationship with most of the Tapwave staff, I got the chance to meet them personally at a trade show.
Hooka: Very cool :)
Guyfawkes: I was initially allocated a 15 minute slot to chat about the Zodiac, but when I entered their room at the show and told the receptionist who I was, she called over one of the staff and he shouted out to the room I was there. All the staff dropped what they were doing and came over and greeted me, it was very funny and a bit embarrassing, like I was famous or something. The 15 minute slot was scrapped and I talked to the staff for around 2 hours about the Zodiac and other things, totally lost track of time.
Guyfawkes: Very nice people, you wouldn't think they were owners of the company.
Hooka: Maybe why they didn't last long? Harsh to say though...
Guyfawkes: I think the main reason is that it was a 'jack of all trades' console, but it didn't have the software to back it up. Say for example, if the video playing was promoted as a main feature of the Zodiac it would have done great, or even games, if it had more exclusive content available for it. There wasn't anything especially wrong with the Zodiac, but there was nothing great either, which could have been solved by pushing the Zodiac into a specific area.
Hooka: Yeah, it was slightly aimless and they didn't push any one envelope far enough. I personally wish Paintforge had been completed... use it all the time!
Guyfawkes: It had everything going for it, touch screen, built-in rumble, compact design, hardware acceleration, etc. Ahead of its time.
Hooka: Yeah, lots of nice features!
Guyfawkes: It could have been what the DS is now, if done properly...
Hooka: True enough, also the limited market was probably a hindrance... (Took me forever to get one at a decent price sent to Canada)
Guyfawkes: It was released in store for UK, but shelf space is very limited here and never got the promotion it deserved. That reminds me I can very briefly talk about the Gizmondo if you want only a paragraph or so.
Hooka: Sure, it's got some interesting history, personally never had/seen one.
Guyfawkes: Ok, Gizmondo, well the name says it all! I actually met them at the same time as meeting Tapwave, most of the staff were not happy with the name and I found out they allegedly picked it from a hat full of suggestions! While trying the Gizmondo, it crashed several times, I really wasn't impressed at all... Their PR man was crazy but good fun to talk to. I did start a site for the Gizmondo, but after seeing it in action I knew it would fail. My thoughts were correct as I think they sold under 20,000 units, had a poor release of games, and the manager was more famous for his personal exploits rather than the console itself, says it all really :) That's about all for Gizmondo :)
Hooka: Did you merge all the sites into Emuholic before or after you got into PSP?
Guyfawkes: Was around the time PSP was out I think, the separate sites got too much to handle, so it made sense to merge them.
Hooka: So, that leads us round circle to NDS and GP2X, eh? or did you spend a bit on PSP?
Guyfawkes: After that was PSP, I got a PSP just after homebrew was possible, and released two games, Yahtzee (always port this first to a new platform) and Higher or Lower.
Hooka: Did you redo the GFX to fit the PSP resolution, or did you just scale it, or box it in at normal res?
Guyfawkes: Redid them to fit the res.
Hooka: Can understand that.
Guyfawkes: I didn't stay actively involved in coding on PSP though. I didn't like the way some sites exploited the homebrew scene to make money. I won't mention any names, but I think people will know which site...
Hooka: I think I get your gist, and remember having the same conversation with Kojote.
Guyfawkes: Yeah, I didn't want to be involved in the PSP scene after that as I just lost interest.
Hooka: I lost interest in buying one when the UK Importer BS started...
Guyfawkes: I never saw the point of Sony going after UK importers, if they treated Europe the same as US and Japan they wouldn't have the problem!
Hooka: Yep, don't tell videogamers they have to wait... they're impatient and violent from all the killing that the company itself feeds them ;)
Guyfawkes: There were plenty of PS3s for Europe, didn't need to delay it any longer. I think enough for a real worldwide simultaneous release, nobody wanted them :) Want to move onto GP2X? I guess this part will be quite long...
Hooka: LOL, sure :)
Guyfawkes: Heh, ask away :)
Hooka: Alright, cut to the lean right away... how did it feel to get 1st in the GP2X community coding compo?
Guyfawkes: I felt I had a good entry and was kind of expecting a place in the top 3. It was a fun game, easy to pick up and play for a few minutes. Having experience in judging competitions I knew it ticked all the right boxes, so I was very happy to get 1st place! It was the first time I had entered a competition, I am usually involved or have a conflict of interest in other competitions, so entering and winning 1st place in my first compo was a great feeling!
Hooka: Yeah, always seems that way, but at least you still release something! (well, I think you missed one GBAX compo...)
Guyfawkes: For the GBAX competitions I always try and enter something for fun, I think I missed one competition, I'll check now... Yeah, didn't enter the first GBAX as I wasn't expecting so many entries and didn't have a chance to make something :)
Hooka: Why did you decide to add mouse support to Squares so early when only the dev bob was available? (Don't get me wrong, that was a cool touch)
Guyfawkes: I have a thing for gadgets and try to make use of them just because I can. I have been thinking up ideas to use webcams now there are drivers for them ;) Squares was originally a mouse based flash game, so it made sense to include mouse support. The BOB made it possible and I knew the cradle would be available eventually.
Hooka: Was Escapa also based on a web game?
Guyfawkes: Escapa is also based on a web game, notice a theme here? ;) You can read more about it at http://www.emuboards.com/guyfawkes/escapa.htm I'm really into the quick five minute style web games now.
Hooka: They are fun!
Guyfawkes: They are games you can come back to again and again to beat your scores. I don't have as much time as I used to for playing games, so games of this style are perfect for me.
Hooka: I find myself still digging out the GP32 and playing drunken arcade master and lacuna, etc. for the same reasons...
Hooka: Did you know that your Deal or No Deal beats the DVD version people paid $40 for by miles? (Well, besides the real cleavage part on the DVD)
Guyfawkes: I am very happy with how DOND turned out. I put A LOT of effort into the game to make it as best as I could. I think the end result is a quality game if I may say so myself.
Guyfawkes: It's partly one of the reasons why I went into a rant about donating to homebrew games developers, it was partly me disappointed that I asked for donations and received very little (but still much appreciated)
Hooka: Well, just so you know I apologize, and I only don't cause I'm poor... so I interview to show appreciation ;)
Guyfawkes: And also for other developers that spend a lot of time working on games. If you can't afford it, that's fair enough, I don't want people to feel they have to donate when they are unable, but if you can spare even £1 for your favourite homebrew software, it all adds up!
Hooka: One of these days I'll have money ;)
Guyfawkes: Some people took my donations rant the wrong way, which I agree with I should have worded it better, but I felt it needed to be said straight down the line. Homebrew devs do it for the fun and probably fame, but a bit of money to help out is a good gesture.
Hooka: Well, it's just like some people and their bias towards GPL just because it means free programs for them... Unfortunately, dev's have bills too!
Guyfawkes: Yeah. I smoke like a chimney when I code. It probably cost me a few hundred just on ciggys :) I know some coders spend a hell of a lot more time than me working on software when they can be doing other things. I think that's what makes the GP2X scene great is that we have some amazing devs that spend a lot of their time pushing the hardware!
Hooka: Very true! And it usually works out to a benefit for all of the other dev's also (like rlyeh's stuff, puck's usbjoy lib, paeryn's SDL, etc.)
Guyfawkes: The GP2X is still seen as an emulation device, but now that everything is just about emulated we are now seeing more great games being made, as proven with the GBAX 2007 compo. It kind of happened with the GP32, emulation takes the front then dies out, then the great games start coming out.
Hooka: Yep, once no more emulation is feasible the homebrew begins to shine through ;)
Guyfawkes: GP2X is the easiest to code on from all the previous consoles I've been involved in.
Hooka: Almost straight linux ports with minimal changes needed, just playability tweaks/optimizations.
Guyfawkes: Some homebrew is now on the commercial quality level, which I have seen evolving over the years from (and I will be honest) crap quality up to now, very good quality.
Hooka: And the commercial stuff (little that is available to us anyways) is all quite good :)
Guyfawkes: I haven't actually played any of the full commercial games, just the demos. I don't really get the time to play and my GP2X joystick is knackered.
Hooka: Well, I dunno about Blazar, it's ok, but...
Guyfawkes: Payback is great though, one of the best examples of what can be done with the GP2X, but I think one of the downfalls is that people see the GP2X as a homebrew device i.e. free software, so commercial software can be tricky.
Hooka: I couldn't resist Vektar and Payback, and was impressed with Apex Designs for releasing updates.
Guyfawkes: I'm all for commercial software, but we need more of it for GP2X if it's going to be a major point.
Hooka: I'd say not lots of it, but a good catalogue... enough to be affordable to buy most, if not all, only problem is making something that out classes the homebrew so people feel ok about spending money on it ;)
Guyfawkes: Yeah, it's a tricky balance... Payback and Vektar are two must buys if you are into games.
Guyfawkes: We could talk about homebrew on GP2X?
Hooka: Good idea ;)
Guyfawkes: I'll talk about some of mine first then :)
Hooka: I also wanted to say thanks for getting HW Accel SDL Compiled for DevkitGP2X!
Guyfawkes: I only play a very small part in that. A trained monkey can compile it :), but not everyone wants to set it all up just to compile something once, so it's a great time saver.
Hooka: :( I knew I wasn't as smart as a trained monkey, but you didn't have to rub it in :P (I had some troubles...)
Guyfawkes: Heh, it's fairly easy if you download Oopo's toolchain, but can be daunting.
Hooka: I was trying to use msys and DevkitGP2X to do it, that'd probably be why ;)
Guyfawkes: Yeah, the main reason for me compiling and distributing it was that this process was putting off some newcomers to developing, so make the first steps easy and they are not thrown in at the deep end. Same with the GP2X User Guide.
Hooka: Yeah, I'm sure I've used both multiple times :)
Guyfawkes: Hopefully the majority have read the user guide :)
Hooka: What inspired your Crap Games Compo entries? (How did you think up this crap?)
Guyfawkes: I asked my channel #emuholic for ideas, their ideas were either too good or too much hassle to code. I wanted a game I could write in a hour (excluding gfx) and really bad game play.
Hooka: Nice, I'd forgotten about that channel ;) Much of a crowd there?
Guyfawkes: Under 20 people usually, it's mostly site owners and some of the team on my site, but everyone is welcome! We rarely talk about emulation though :) Oh and a few coders as well.
Hooka: Heh, kinda like a lot of channels on any irc server ;)
Guyfawkes: Yeah, it's better than a large channel where you can't get a word in. So anyway, we made up Car Counter and Extreme Walking Sim, which are fairly good looking GFX games, but the game play is crap :) Lure them in with good GFX and kill them with the crapness :) The compo was great fun and the other entries were deserving of their winning places. It is actually hard to make a crap game as its like a reversal of what you are used to, no bug fixing, no fancy stuff, etc.
Hooka: Nice :) One of these days I'll be able to unleash an entry to a crap games contest, but I can't even do that right yet ;)
Hooka: What was your inspiration for your new GP2X game Round Em Up?
Guyfawkes: There's a browser based game called Round'em Up (http://www.labpixies.com/gadget_page.php?id=13&ctid=), but is very basic looking and more faster paced. I wanted to expand on the idea to make it more playable in the long term, as well as keep the original style of game play. You can read more about the game at http://www.emuboards.com/guyfawkes/roundemup.htm
Hooka: Where did you get that music?
Guyfawkes: The music is only used as a place holder for now, but it's a .mod tune originally called Farmer Charm. I put it in for a laugh when doing a WIP video a while back and it's kind of stuck now.
Hooka: Makes me laugh!
Guyfawkes: Heh, yeah, it gets annoying after 10 minutes though. The next video music will probably be from the Wurzels ;)
Hooka: *Shrugs* Gives you inspiration to finish the level quicker ;)
Guyfawkes: Not sure what I am going to do with the music for the first release, either a media player like squares or get someone to make some tunes.
Hooka: You did all the gfx?
Guyfawkes: The GFX are based on other peoples work from existing software but I have redrawn them for GP2X.
Guyfawkes: The title screen farmer image for example was a basic colour image which I've kind of redrawn and re-coloured to make it look nicer, it's my first go at any proper GFX work.
Hooka: Ok, does it support both mouse and USB joypad, or just mouse?
Guyfawkes: Just mouse (and GP2X joypad) at the moment, I can add USB joypad in very easily though.
Hooka: How long to a release are you guesstimating?
Guyfawkes: The game is already quite playable, as you will have seen from the demo I gave you, but I want to add some more features to the game so there is more variety. I hope to get the first beta ready by September and the first public release by Christmas.
Hooka: (When you do so would you be willing to fire over some example code... I keep on having the worst time with it)
Guyfawkes: I keep meaning to get a new version of SDLTest finished and released. The new version has support for USB joypads amongst other things, so you can test your joypads or learn from the code! I have so much stuff going on at once :)
Hooka: Sweet, an update to my occasional reference source ;) Yeah, you seem quite busy!
Guyfawkes: I want to get a new SDLTest done as a lot of people find it useful... in that case I'll work on it during the week if I get some time or it's raining :)
Hooka: Want to talk about your Rockstar Ate My Hamster Remake?
Guyfawkes: We can do, it's one of my favourite games of all time! For years I've wanted to play a remake or new version of the game, so I started ripping the GFX manually from the Amiga version of the game.
Hooka: Ouch, that can be a labour intensive project, unless you made tools to rip them.
Guyfawkes: Done it all manually, used an Amiga emulator and print screen for nearly all of it, then cut out the GFX individually into sprites. Took a few hours :)
Hooka: No kidding!
Guyfawkes: About 50% of it is coded I guess, all the menus which the game is based around is done, you can create a band, go on tour, buy gifts etc.
Guyfawkes: There are parts which are coded, but you can't access during the game yet as I haven't wrote all the game logic. I am not sure the game will ever get finished, it is more of a sideline project when I am not working on anything else.
Hooka: I have to tip my hat to you for your unreasonable treatment of rabbits in Bunny Traps :D
Guyfawkes: Bunny Traps is a cool game, mostly thanks to Rik Nicol who did the GFX which made the game, without the GFX it would be boring hangman :)
Hooka: Agreed ;)
Guyfawkes: I can't draw to save my life, so I rely a lot on artists... or ripping from games. Only game I've done all GFX from scratch is Squares, which are just squares, even I can't mess that up ;)
Hooka: Simple enough I'd think.
Guyfawkes: Yeah, there are a few other sprites with icons which weren't too bad.
Hooka: Is there anything about the GP2X that I've missed? Do you want to mention some favorites? etc.? If not, lets here some NDS stuff (If you've done anything...)
Guyfawkes: Haven't done any DS stuff, only a few hello world test programs, nothing worth talking about... think that's all about GP2X...
Hooka: Alright, so my (last?) question is this: How come you're still around if you were executed in 1806?
Guyfawkes: Heh, it's all a cover-up ;)
Hooka: I knew it! Catholics are blood sucking vampires!
Guyfawkes: Despite being named Guyfawkes, I'm very patriotic. Name just came about because I was online on Nov. 5th and needed a nickname basically. 12 years or so I've had it!
Hooka: Wow, was it you that someone was accusing of trying to destroy the GP32 Scene... or was that Craigix? Cause if it was you I'd know where they got their notions from ;) (aforementioned Guyfawkes thing :P)
Guyfawkes: Craig and I apparently tried destroying the GP32 scene because we gave away a Zodiac as a prize in a coding compo.
Hooka: Heh, yeah, that was it ;)
Guyfawkes: Not much use giving a GP32 away as the coder already had one :), and there also wasn't really any other GP32 related prizes to give, so it was either cash or a nice shiny Zodiac.
Hooka: Yeah, and devving is weird on Zod, so it really was just a new toy for the dev...
Guyfawkes: Yeah, we got blamed for pushing developers to Zodiac... I suppose it could be seen as that, but that wasn't our intention.
Hooka: God forbid the dev's go somewhere that they'll get donations! (This is just an exaggeration/joke... there are some donators in the GP2X/GP32 Scene)
Guyfawkes: Well, I didn't see anyone complain when all the devs went to GP2X...
Guyfawkes: There's a natural progression, many started from GBA scene, moved onto GP32, then GP2X, etc. I know many people that have gone down the same path through the years.
Hooka: Or like Flav0r & Spiv, went from NGPC to GP32, etc... ZodTTD from Zodiac to GP2X...
Guyfawkes: Yeah, we are like a big traveling circus, spreading joy wherever we go ;)
Hooka: Precisely, and training idiots like me to walk tight rope!
Guyfawkes: Everyone has to start somewhere, better to learn than stand in the audience :)
Hooka: Exactly, how will they ever learn to get fired out of a cannon if they're sitting down ;)
Hooka: Thanks for doing the interview, I'll get ahold of you as soon as I'm done editing and we'll go from there ;)
Guyfawkes: No problem, I'll have a read over when your done and see if I can add anything, etc. Been good fun!
Hooka: Definitely, you have no clue how hard I laughed when I looked back into emuholic forums history and found people debating whether a GP32 could handle OCing to 90Mhz :D