Fergus McNeill is a Scottish author and award-winning interactive entertainment developer. He has designed and created games since the early 1980s, working with companies such as CRL, Silversoft, Macmillan Group, Activision, SCi Eidos and EA. He was a founder member of TIGA and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association1 and BAFTA. He is the author of a series of contemporary crime thrillers published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Notes from lecture
Technology changes, sales tactics change, games companies stay the same. ZX spectrum (constraints making games, problem solving, doing things people haven’t done, frontier) coding was learn by doing back then, mess around with code (space invader) text adventures (he made The Dragonstar Trilogy) 48k spectrum, added vector graphic, more visually pleasing, limited space/limited graphics, 8 bit graphics, games started to gain a following, technology slowly moved forward with floppy disks, more space, able to create game characters, more complex mechanics in games, CD rom games had 16mb and changed gaming, interactive movie games were a big thing in the early 2000’s, multiple path ways, illusion of choice (frames are half frequent/good) idea strained by technology, windows 95, website/emails were born, making games now with more possibility, more ambitious, programming characters was hard to create more guide lines to follow, Carmagedon, iterative development, what worked/what didn’t, open world racing game, endless possibilities, graphics cards become a thing, more 3D graphics, Space Bastards, games that are provocative can get free press from news papers etc. He worked at a small indie team, punched above weight, turn out football games (Southampton club manager), with the progression of technology, more people are required to create games, how to work as a team, mobile gaming (Tony Hawks Project 8) had experience of having limited options to work with, taking approach of being what can I work with in this hardware, App store was a huge change in games distribution, retail is underhanded, have to pay for visibility, old business model, EA asked to create BATTLESHIP the tactical combat game mobile game, treated Hasbro brand with care, Pictureka! was then given to them, create a good relationship with publishers, games be free on App Store you had to hope it became popular so you can add themes,skins etc to create revenue, in todays world it’s hard to make a game for yourself, working with brand/publisher partner can help, Puzzler was very popular with achievements, social media etc. had to make sure all versions of the game works on different platforms, more and more content is now distributed digitally,