Richard Bayliss is alternatively well known in the c64 community, and infamous in the c64 demo and cracking scene. He is known for his many SEUCK games, SID tunes, and finally his own original c64 games such as Trance Sector, X-Force and Sheepoid.
I chatted with Richard on Facebook recently about his life with the c64, his music and coding career, and what’s in store for the future. Read the interview below.
When did you first use a c64? What is your first memory?
My first ever computer was a Commodore VIC 20, which was shared with the family. It was really difficult finding games for the VIC 20, and classmates at my local school suggested I should get a Commodore 64. I asked my parents for a C64 as my next Birthday present. I ended up with one on Christmas day, with a tape deck, light fantastic games pack, Defender 64 light gun and also SEUCK.
That explains your well known fascination with SEUCK Did you create many SEUCK games back in those days?
I created loads of games using SEUCK in the past. I even remember submitting a game, which I made with friends for Commodore Format magazine. The game in particular was called Snow Storm. Unfortunately the game with many other creations were long lost, due to broken tapes and faulty disks, which eventually got thrown away. I was very obsessed with the Nyaaaah! series in the 1990’s. Now today the Nyaaaah! games are a thing in the past.
So what games inspired you to get into design and development?
There have been so many C64 games that were created in the past. A lot of great commercial titles inspired me to create new stuff for the machine. Subterranea and Powerama by Hewson inspired me to create X-Force, with Saul Cross doing the graphics. Sheepoid was inspired by Jeff Minter’s fun Lazer Zone game, which I created for a retro gaming event for the big screen in Oxfordshire.
Which SID musicians inspired you to become a SID musician?
A very difficult one to answer here. Mainly because I learned to compose SID music when I used to have Public Domain Utilities tapes and disks. I used to mess around with the music editors, and decided to compose tunes with various programs such as Dutch USA Music Assembler, Voicetracker, Future Composer, Demo Music Creator, etc.
Which coders inspired you to become a coder?
Various programmers. Probably too many to name
Any one prolific game developer in particular that takes your fancy?
Jon Wells. Because of his talent in enhancing SEUCK games, it made me want to do the same thing. Archetype was a great example.
When did you start programming and on what platform?
I started programming in 1994, using BASIC on the C64. I created my first ever game, which was called CIDCOM. A simple reaction game, in which eventually was turned into ‘Coloured’. The game also involved IRQ music player and custom made charsets (Which I learned about in a commercial UK C64 magazine).
Have you ever coded an intro or a demo?
Not a proper scene dentro or anything like that. I did however program loads of TND intros to link my games and tools with. Had a lot of fun with that as well.
Who are your favourite demo scene coders?
Graham/Oxyron coded some really awesome stuff. Also Censor Design did amazing demo effects.
What was your first SID tune, and which SID release are you most proud of?
I cannot remember my first every SID tune. It has been a couple of decades or so. However my most favourite SID tune I composed has to be Zap Fight 2 – Title Music.
What is your favourite SID production software, and why?
On a native C64. DMC V4.0 and DMC V5.0. On PC GoatTracker V2.7 (That is the main composer I used to make hard thumping soundtracks for games like Trance Sector, X-Force.
You’re infamous for your love of SEUCK, what’s your favourite unmodified SEUCK game you have released?
Nyaaah! 9. It was different, and quite funny. You could move up and down ladders and lick the baddies into oblivion. It was very laughable and fun to make. Of course, I am done with Nyaaaah! games now.
You’ve been running SEUCK competitions for several years now, what are your favourite releases that have come from those competitions?
Pour Le Merite by Bamse was good. It felt like a true classic retro shoot ’em up with some potential. Stormbird by Eleanor Burns was absolutely breathtaking. A great homage to the 1942/1943 inspired games. Alf Yngve’s Forgotten Forest was brill, and as an extra prize. I submitted it to Shoot Em Up Destruction Set 2 as a bonus game. There were quite a lot of outstanding entries submitted to past time competitions. Sheer Earth Attack by Gaetano Chiummo had really nice graphics and music, etc. Out of all of the games from the compo. My number 1 choice has to be Gigablast by Alf Yngve. What a stunner of a game that was.
Tell me about the other game concepts you have planned for the future?
I am working on the final version of my single screen platform game, Vortex Crystals, which now feature alien teleporting – giving the player the chance to escape before it gets killed. Other features are to include a better front end, hi score table. YogiBear/Protovision might be doing music for the game as well. Also the new version of the game features in game sound effects. Sen2itive is another game I’m itching to do, after seeing the awesome Sensitive puzzle game, back in the 1990’s. A game in which controlled a blue ball which has to destroy all the yellow radioactive tiles, and reach the exit. There’s also a SEUCK Redux game, which Alf Yngve and I are working on, called Precinct 20 – Dead Strange. A horror game with big surprises. I also hope to do a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up, but not SEUCK this time
Excellent, we certainly can’t get enough of your original game concepts, and can’t wait for the next one! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!