Oh, hello there. Do come in. How are you? Good. Me? I’m fine, thanks. I must admit you’ve caught me off-guard. I wasn’t expecting you this early, but never mind. Shall we make a start, or would you like a drink first? Tea, perhaps? Or coffee? (But there’s one particular brand I don’t have, so be careful with that one.)
Er, anyway. That’s from page 275 of ‘Stalling So You Don’t Have To Bother Writing A Decent Intro, Ever’, a book I have practically learnt off by heart. I’m a bit rubbish at introductions. Introducing myself, introducing other people… and now I’ve discovered I can’t even introduce a fictional blue mouse. A mouse called Maxwell, if you must know.
Some of you may know Maxwell. Some of you certainly won’t. Let me explain before it looks like I’ve forgotten to take my tablets again (though come to think of it…). Maxwell Mouse (for that is his rather fortunate name – imagine the embarrassment if he turned out to be an aardvark or something) is the star of, um, Maxwell Mouse, a game that I am programming and (largely) designing for the Amiga. There are other actual real human beings involved, too, and I might mention them a bit later if they’ve been good.
If it does sound slightly familiar, then that’ll be because a game starring this anthropomorphic rodent has already been released. Admittedly, it’s more of a demo, or perhaps a dress rehearsal, for the full game, but Maxwell Mouse And The Missing Game Mystery was reasonably well-received on its release in January last year, being awarded 9/10 in Retro Gamer magazine, and getting lots of positive and constructive feedback from many people who took the trouble to play it, which was most pleasing.
Maxwell goes shopping for a new computer in the demo version.
For those who missed it, Maxwell is heavily influenced by the old 8-bit arcade adventures and flip-screen platformers. Think of the Oliver twins’ infamous talking egg Dizzy, and you’re getting the general idea. You explore a map, collecting objects and then giving them to largely suspecting people who happen to be loitering, who in turn may well give you more items to play with, and so on until you’ve made everyone happy and you can go home to watch TV. Mix that with some basic platforming skills and the odd bit of baddie-dodging and there you have it – that’s essentially what Maxwell is.
Look, it’s Dizzy, one of Maxwell’s major influences. Sorry, but how did a walking, talking egg with boxing gloves ever come across as a good idea? It’s mental when you think about it. As opposed to a blue mouse wearing sunglasses and a backpack…
So that’s the background. How about this blog, then? I thought that if I make development more public, it will prove to be interesting and/or amusing for those who wish to follow it (although don’t hold your breath, eh?), as well as raising the game’s profile and putting me under ridiculous amounts of pressure to work on it more regularly than I have recently – and for ‘recently’ read ‘the best part of the last year or so’. It’s going to be four times the size of the demo version, and will have a brand new storyline and improvements ‘under the hood’ too. If all goes to plan, I’d even like to release it as a tangible, physical product – with a box, manual and everything. That’s all for another time, though, and with any luck I’ll give the uninitiated an insight into the weird and wonderful world of game programming – from a 16-bit perspective, anyway.
Here’s a peek at the development of the new game. As you can see, there’s plenty to work on here but it’s looking bright and colourful. Thanks to my artists Wayne Ashworth (for giving Maxwell a facelift) and Chris Clarke (for the background graphics). They have been good, so I decided I ought to mention them.
Stay tuned, and it’ll be worth your while. Or your money back. (Not that you paid any money, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?)
Oh, and one more thing: his name is Maxwell Mouse. This isn’t to be confused with Maxell, purveyors of floppy disks:
For the less technically-minded, he has nothing to do with a certain coffee brand. I hate coffee, but I definitely wouldn’t purchase this one even if I didn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t resist changing the ‘H’ in subtle yet humorous ways:
And last but by no means least, I can categorically say he has no connection with this man:
Rumours that he was to star in a game called Robert Maxwell And The Missing Millions Mystery are totally unfounded. Mind you, it would paint the boat that will be found at the end of the first level in a completely different light…
Ahem. Better out than in, so to speak. On that cheery and hopefully not too legally perilous note, that’s it for the time being. Stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment of whatever this nonsense turns into.