Puck2099's website can be found here!
Hooka: Would you like to give us a little introduction to yourself?
Puck2099: Yes, of course. I'm a 24 year old man, I study Computer Engineering and work part-time as a Systems Administrator in a company partner of Microsoft (although Microsoft doesn't like me at all). I only use Linux as my OS at home and I love "old school" videogame consoles: SEGA and Nintendo.
Hooka: When did you get your GP32 and GP2X?
Puck2099: I bought my GP32 the same day that it was "officially" launched in Spain, around June 2004. I reserved my GP2X as soon as we knew about it and it arrived about October 2005.
Hooka: Lady Killer was your first GP32 game correct?
Puck2099: No, my first game was Samurai. I started Lady Killer a bit later.
Hooka: Why did you decide to make it?
Puck2099: The original Lady Killer arcade game was a game that I loved when I was a child, every time I went to the video arcade I spent some coins playing it and after that I looked at how other people played. One of my favourite games for GP32 is Balloon & Ballon, an arcade conversion that shouldn't be missing on anyone's SMC. After playing it a lot, I thought that I could make a game as addictive as it and I remembered Lady Killer; later, GP32Spain had an arcade remake contest, so I found an added motivation to make this game. It took me about 1 year to fully realize (I had to take about 13,000 screenshots to "rip" the sprites), but I think it was worth the trouble.
Hooka: Do you still plan on making a "kid friendly" version of lady killer for gp32 and/or gp2x?
Puck2099: Well, I don't know about GP32 because it's using 8bit color and it's quite arduous to add new images because of color palettes, but for GP2X I think that I will include a way to use personalised packs for backgrounds and text, so anyone could add their own images and phrases, being able to make "kid friendly" packs.
Hooka: Why did you decide to call your version of othello Samurai?
Puck2099: My first introduction to videogames was when my parents won a videogame console called Philips Videopac G7400 (the European version of Magnavox Odyssey2) in a raffle. Our favourite game, the one that my father and I played for hours, was a version of Othello called Samurai. That is where the name comes from.
Hooka: Why did you decide to make Samurai for the gp32?
Puck2099: As I said in the previous question, I did it as a nostalgic homage to the game that gave my father and I so many hours of fun and as a simple way to start programming for GP32. As a matter of fact, the splash screen of my Samurai is a scan of Videopac's one and sound effects are captured directly from the original game audio.
Hooka: Are you still planning to release the source to Samurai and port it to GP2X?
Puck2099: Yes. I want to release the source, but I think that I will have to clean it up first because, since it was my first project for GP32, it isn't quite refined. As for porting it to GP2X, that was my intention, but as I saw that there is another Othello with better graphics, it doesn't make much sense to release my version.
Hooka: So your a big fan of the ultima series, is that what prompted you to port Exult?
Puck2099: Yes, of course. Ultima VII is my favourite game ever. It was my first PC game and I'm very fond of it, so since I couldn't port it to GP32 because of its limited RAM, my first objective for GP2X was to port Exult.
Hooka: Do you still have any plans for updating Exult or is it seeming like a very complete port now?
Puck2099: I think the last version is almost definitive. In my opinion there is nothing to add, so new versions will include only bugfixes. But I won't release a new version until I recieve some bug reports!
Hooka: Where did you get the background image for your GP2X port of Fenix? (The splash screen, it looks pretty cool)
Puck2099: On Fenix's official website, I used one of the wallpapers downloadable there.
Hooka: Have you made any progress on squashing the last few bugs in Fenix for GP2X?
Puck2099: Not really. I'm waiting to collect information about new bugs before trying to fix them.
Hooka: How is progress on Chocobo Crazy Championship going? It sure looks nice!
Puck2099: :) It is progressing quite well. Misato and I are waiting for Neostalker's graphics in order to code the places where they are used, but we hope to release a playable version in a short time.
Hooka: Why did you decide to make a 2D chocobo racing game?
Puck2099: Well, it was really Neostalker's idea. I thought we should work on a Gauntlet-like game (that's another of my favourite games ever) and, while he was doing graphics for this game, he made me a proposal: to do a chocobo racing game. I thought that it was an original idea and knowing that he would be more motivated, I decided to work on it. After that, I only had to "recruit" Misato to gather the actual team.
Hooka: I've noticed that you have been working on Beat2X also, are you one of the main programmers or are you just helping somebody out with their project?
Puck2099: No, Misato and I are not part of the main programmers, we are just helping Miq01 to implement some import functions to use dwi files on Beat2X.
Hooka: You've also ported Pentagram to GP2X, have you made any progress on that and/or do you think you'll release a public version sometime in the near future?
Puck2099: To tell the truth, I'm not convinced. I think the current state of Pentagram's PC version is still in its early stages and I'm not sure if it is worth playing...
Hooka: So you can't be goity's lesbian lover cause your a man, but how about his/her just normal, straight run of the mill lover?
Puck2099: Well, I don't have a girlfriend, so I don't reject any woman without meeting her xD
Hooka: I'm so glad you ported OpenJazz, it's a classic PC platformer... what was your motivation for porting it?
Puck2099: I liked Jazz Jackrabbit a lot when it was released. It was like Sonic for the PC, so when I saw that someone did an interpreter port to the Dreamcast I thought "why don't do the same for GP2X?". I had a look at the source code and saw that it was quite easy to port, so I spent an hour on a busy day and there you have it.
Hooka: Is OpenJazz pretty much a complete port for the time being?
Puck2099: Well, my port is practically finished, we have to wait until the original OpenJazz advances in order to update and release new versions of my port at the same time as the official.
Hooka: So is The Path of the Ninja going to be a shinobi or stryder type ninja platformer or are you aiming at a different genre for it?
Puck2099: We haven't fully specified it yet, but yes, I suppose that it will be an "oldschool" platformer like Shinobi.
Hooka: How far along is The Path of the Ninja?
Puck2099: Well, quite far at the moment. Neostalker is doing the graphics of the main character, but in this kind of games there will be a lot of sprites for different enemies, structures, etc. They are not ripped graphics, but all originals, so it will take Neostalker a lot of work and dedication so we are progressing slowly.
Hooka: Good to hear you finally got ROTT working on the GP2X, care to shed some light on what needed changing and/or what was causing the crashes?
Puck2099: Well, there were some reasons that it didn't work at the beggining. There were mainly memory alignment problems (I had to compile it as it was a SPARC in order to get it working) and incompatibilities with the compiler because using gcc 4.0.2 it didn't find the "tables" of the game, but using gcc 3.4.4 it worked ok. Another problematic thing was the use of relative paths to save the data. By default it saved the game files in the user HOME (in our case mapped to the NAND) and was more complicated than usual to get it to save them on the SD. The sound also sounds awful. I have to examine it more closely because I haven't found a solution yet.
Hooka: How close is ROTT to release now?
Puck2099: When I received the questions I hadn't made it public, but you can see now that it was released some weeks ago.
Hooka: Did you start coding on the GP32 or did you have previous coding experience before?
Puck2099: In fact, I have coded since I was a child. At the age of 12 more or less, a friend of mine and I started coding our own games in Basic for his Amstrad (in those days I only had my SEGA Master System). After that I have always been coding little things. I did a crappy trivia program in Visual Basic at the age of 15 more or less, but I didn't start to code games seriously until got my GP32.
Hooka: When's your Birthday?
Puck2099: The 5th of September.
Hooka: What's with the weird eyed scarecrow looking guy that's always been your avatar at GP32x.com?
Puck2099: He is Rorschach, a character of the comic book Watchmen. I am a big fan of comics and Watchmen. In my opinion, it is one of the masterpieces of art. Rorschach is my favourite character. He is apparently a disturbed man, but he is the only one that can see the truth, because of his illness.
Hooka: Interesting name, would seem he fits it also... ink blots are cool (the truth is their ALL breasts!). Why did you choose the nick Puck2099? I've always wondered about that ;)
Puck2099: Well, that is a long story... First of all, Puck is another comic character, a superheroe from a Canadian team called Alpha Flight. Loooots of years ago, I wanted to register that nick on Irc, but it was taken by another person so I had to think in adding a number... and the choosen was 2099. Why this number?, well, the 2099 universe was a alternate future where some Marvel comics were setted, so I thought it was an appropriate number.
Hooka: Any new and/or interesting stuff you can tell us about? Any new projects you're working on, helping with, ect.?
Puck2099: Uhm, let see... it is already public that I'm working on The Path of the Ninja and Wonderswan and Master System emulators... As I commented before, I want to make a Gauntlet-like game, but in a future; I want also to do a Odyssey2 emulator to play my old games. In the end, Misato and me, with Neostalker's graphics, are preparing a new original game for GP32 and GP2X that will be called Ambassadors. I can't reveal so much because it is supposed that it's a "secret", but it could be defined as a politic strategy game.
Hooka: Have you actually received a decent amount of donations for the work you have done for these marvellous handhelds?
Puck2099: Well, it depends, I have received donations from 6 people (the ones you can see in my website), so I'm happy. I don't code for money, I code because I like it. But every donation is appreciated in order to pay for the hosting of my website where I can inform about my projects and permit people to download them from there.
Hooka: What would you like to see more of for the GP2X and/or GP32?
Puck2099: For GP32, each new game is quite appreciated. I think GP32 is quite abandoned (that is why we try to release our original games for both handhelds, although we have to "cut" some GP2X features in GP32 version). For GP2X I would like see CPS2 emulated in order to play my lovely AD&D games and I would like to play more original games, not only ports and emulators.
Hooka: Are you proud of how many spanish GP2X/GP32er's there are?
Puck2099: Sure, many of them can be considered friends of mine and always help you when you need them or encourage you with your projects.
Hooka: What are your favorite things for GP2X and GP32?
Puck2099: Uhm, I don't play too much. I prefer to code so other people can play my games, but my favourite things for GP32 are Balloon & Ballon, DrMD, DrSMS and PuzzleMix and for GP2X are Beat2X, MAME and Exult.
Hooka: Any tips/advice youu'd like to give to other GP2X and GP32 coders?
Puck2099: I don't think that I am the most appropiate person to give advice, but if I was to give one, it would be to persevere. To code requires much time and effort, but if you decide to continue, don't give it up when faced with your first difficulty. Persevere, fight and you will see new ways to achieve your result. Another thing I would like to comment on is that porting something consists of something more than recompiling the source code. It doesn't make sense to port a GBA emulator if it moves at 1 frame each hour. It doesn't make sense to port a game in half an hour if it is badly controlled and you don't want to continue improving it. If you decide to port something, release few optimised or playable version if you want, but don't give it up and continue improving it until it works as you would like.
Hooka: Any greets you'd like to send out and/or anything I may have missed that you'd like to add?
Puck2099: Yes, I'll always be grateful to Misato and Neostalker for helping me whenever I have needed them, having formed a team with me in so many projects and being very good friends who I can always count on :) I also want to thank Anarchy for taking a risk and importing first the GP32 and now the GP2X and for all the support he is always given to the scene, that's something that some people don't want to see.
Hooka: Thanks again for all your work on your projects and for doing the interview, I'm sure I'll see you around the scene ;)