On the Slab with Cadaver

Cadaver (aka Lasse Oorni) is known for his work with Covert Bitops a small group making C64 productions (mainly games & music) and related free utilities on recreational basis. His site is dedicated to these productions, utilities and C64 programming-related articles (rants), he has become well known for his code theory articles about the development of his games. I had the opportunity to chat to him this week, read the full interview below.

Metal Warrior V1.6When did you first use a C64? What is your first memory?

Playing Pitfall 2 at a friend’s. This must have been in 1985, when I was 7 years old.

So what games inspired you to get into design and development?

The spark began from some early C64 games, like Green Beret, Commando, Uridium, Parallax etc. However it was only the beginning of a long journey that had many obstacles and detours, like actually learning to create larger projects on Amiga & PC first before returning to C64.

Which coders inspired you to become a coder?

David Collier, Chris Butler & Chris Yates must have been the most inspiring on the C64, where what they had done was skillful, yet sufficiently simple that one could start to reason how they had done it. Naturally I’d only be able to tackle some very small and isolated parts at first, like scrolling. SEUCK was a large inspiration on the selfmade level editors I’d write later.

Metal Warrior 3 V1.4Who are your favourite SID musicians?

The usual; Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Matt Gray, Jonathan Dunn, Reyn Ouwehand. The scene is full of absolutely masterful later time composers but it’s these early heroes that have inspired me most.

What was your first piece of code?

Probably some Basic program that wrote an image on the screen with PRINT statements.

Have you ever coded an intro or a demo?

When learning to code, I’d also write simple intros, but these were unpublished. Nothing special, but it was a good way to learn the basics, like raster interrupts and music playback.

As a member of the scene, have you ever done a crack?

Not a proper one, meaning a crack of someone else’s game that would be spread. I have been involved in joke cracks of my own games, though, which is not something to be proud of.

How many games have you had commercially published?

All Metal Warrior games were published as limited runs by Simon Quernhorst + Hessian, so that would be 5.

What were the challenges you face whilst developing Hessian?

Technical challenges were mostly related to disk and memory use. Hessian uses one disk side practically completely and packing / rearranging data took some effort to fit everything in. Game code was also constantly optimized for size. Due to the fixed scrolling directions and relatively few enemies on screen, there isn’t that much of CPU use / slowdown issues. Design-wise, there were some challenges related to game balancing, and opening the gameworld routes gradually so that the player doesn’t have to backtrack hugely. Testing-wise, the game has many optional ways to complete the plot, and thus it needs several complete runs to test all the permutations.

Have you had a good retail return on Hessian?

Relatively good, considering it’s a new and not hugely hyped game.

Steel Ranger DemoWhat game projects are you planning for the future?

I’m improving my internal C64 game engine technology, for fun and challenging myself. This may or may not result in new actual projects.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and we look forward to your future productions.

Lasse is now working on his latest game, Steel Ranger.

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