Aric’s World

 

An assortment of projects that I have had the fortune to work on

1980  In High School I worked at Nycom, a computer store in Los Altos and wrote small apps for the Exidy Sorcerer.  In college, I wrote a version of Space Invaders which played sounds by placing a transistor radio on top that picked up the RF interference from the CPU.

1980  Microhome  I wrote the Atari 800 version of Microhome for Compumax, a small company in Palo Alto.  The package included check-book balancing, weights and measures conversion, gas mileage calculations and seven other apps for $79.95.

1981  Star Warrior   I got home from college and my mom told me to go find a job.  I called Automated Simulations and they asked me to come in that afternoon.  I had no expenses, so I offered to write this for just royalties, but they insisted on paying me $100 as well.

1981  Crush, Crumble & Chomp  In Star Warrior, my main character looked like a cactus on the screen, so for my next project I was teamed up with Paul Reiche to do the art.  Of course the screenshot I found doesn’t do it justice, but I certainly learned the value of working with talented artists.

1982  Temple of Apshai  After summer break, I returned to USC with the TRS-80 code for Temple and began the Atari 800 version.  Along with Temple, I also completed the two expansion packs, Upper Reaches of Apshai and Curse of Ra all parts of the Dunjonquest series.

1982  Hellfire Warrior  College classes by day, and coding at night I finished up Hellfire along with the two expansion packs, Danger in Drindisti and The Keys of Acheron.

1982 Datestones of Ryn  This is a bit funny.  I am credited with the programming on this game, I have the box in my collection, but I have no real recollection of coding this. 

1982 Mastertype  At the West Coast Computer Faire I was introduced to Bruce Zweig who wrote the Apple II version of this early typing tutor.  I finished the Atari 800 version in just over a month and used part of the royalties to take my girlfriend, now wife, to Europe for a 6-week graduation present.

1983 Gossip  During my summer break I was offered jobs at NASA working on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and Atari Corporate Research under Dr. Alan Kay & Chris Crawford.  I loved games and couldn’t pass the opportunity to go to Atari.  Gossip was Chris’ experiment in modeling human relationships.

1984 Star Raiders II  After hours, I was writing code for high-speed 3D ship and planet scaling and rotations and I was offered the opportunity to write the sequel to Star Raiders.  Unfortunately before I was finished, the team developing the game for The Last Starfighter re-branded theirs as SRII.  My version is archived away...

1985 Koronis Rift  I visited Lucasfilm Games to show some of my work and a week later was offered a job there.  My first project was to build a game based on the fractal engine used on Rescue on Fractalus.  I was also teamed up with Ron Gilbert who developed the C64 version.

1985 Ballblazer Atari 65XE  David Levine, the original programmer, left the Lucas companies and I was asked to get the code running on a new Atari machine.

1987 Habitat  Chip Morningstar put a proposal together for Microcosm, a graphical online universe that later became Habitat.  I developed the rendering and animation system and built many of the backgrounds for the original world.

1987  Maniac Mansion Ron Gilbert & Gary Winnick designed the game, Chip Morningstar wrote the SCUMM language compiler, and I wrote the IBM interpreter, SPUTM.  This was LFL’s first internal PC game and it supported B&W Hercules, CGA, EGA, VGA and Tandy Graphics and internal speaker for sounds and music.

1988  Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders David Fox started with a design about a US/Russian mission to Mars and ended up with a game about college-coeds turning their VW Bus into a rocketship.  Go figure.

1989  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade  This was Lucasfilm’s first tie-in with one of George’s movies.  This was a very high profile project for the company so everyone joined in to complete this on time.

1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Action Game  Programmer Mark Haigh-Hutchinson did the vast majority of coding on Indy Action, but it wasn’t running properly so I was asked to help out.  Mark was flown in from the UK and after a week working together all of the issues were resolved and the product shipped on schedule.  I even found a way to double the frame-rate on EGA graphics cards.