However, all good things must come to an end. With both developers studying at different universities, the competitive spirit that had driven Leda forward was all but lost. On top of this, the Atari ST's days were numbered - PCs were fast taking over. "InterSceptre" and "Odyssey Island", by Paul and Ben respectively, were the last real Leda shout on the ST, the former being a revised and updated version of Reflekt/Reflexor and the latter, the third game in the "Kev" series. Neither project reached completion. However, the spark of creativity was still burning.

Paul: In my fourth year at university, I wrote a game final as my year project, justified by claiming that it would be an exercise in Artificial Intelligence, which I was particularly interested in. "Get in the Ring" was born - the name taken from the rallying cry around our flat that year for a networked "deathmatch" game of Quake II.

Get in the Ring was a top-down maze based game, the objective was to be the last player left alive. It was written for the PC, using C and Direct X There were various laser machines strewn around the maze/arena, which the players could rotate, and various mirrors, which would reflect the laser beam. Some of the players were computer controlled, and programmed to act intelligently - analyse the map, see if they were in danger, target the other players. It also featured a semi-intelligent map editor.

Paul: "Get in the Ring" was the first game I had written in C, and the first game I had written on the PC using DirectX. It was also the first game for which I had a deadline so it's not the nicest code to look at. But it did help get me a first class degree! After I got home, I introduced Ben DirectX and worked out a standard set of wrapper libraries for DirectX, to make it "more familiar" to us coming from a STOS background.

Ben: The summer Paul finished (university), he showed me "Get in the Ring" and what he'd done in C. I'd got a PC by this time and was struggling - this was around 1996 and things were shifting from DOS to Windows - plus I found that my ability to draw was inversely proportional to screen resolutions and colours! So DirectX looked quite promising... until we realised what was going on with 3D.

Not only was the hardware side of computing changing, but so was the face of gaming. Faster, more powerful PCs and dedicated graphics cards had opened up the world of 3D. Instead of simple grid coordinates and bitmap-based sprites, complicated vector maths, polygon object modelling and texture design was required. Amazing to look at - but at the time, very complicated to code.

Ben: It was 1998, we'd both finished uni and got jobs - and Paul had gotten engaged. We just didn't have the time like before, and a lot of the competitive energy had gone... That, plus having to learn new hardware, language... pretty much everything in fact about the mechanics of writing a game - it was difficult to get motivated.

Paul: Using the libraries, I started writing a 2D platformer called "The Chameleon Factor(y)" - originally for the ST. I decided to bring back Bob with transformation powers - he had 4 personas to switch between which the player would have to switch between to solve puzzles. I wrote a simple platform test, and played about with the light sourcing elements in the libraries, but I didn't really have the time to dedicate to it. I spent all day working with computers, and the last thing I wanted to do in what little free time I had was to sit in front of a computer.

Snapshot: 1996-1998

Platforms:

  • Atari ST
  • PC

Technologies:

  • STOS Basic
  • STOS Compiler
  • 68000 Assembly Language
  • C
  • Direct X

Games:

  • InterSceptre (ST)
  • Odyssey Island
  • Get in the Ring
  • The Chameleon Factor(y)

InterSceptre (ST) Title Screen

InterSceptre (ST) Title Screen (1996)

InterSceptre (ST) Gameplay

InterSceptre (ST) Gameplay (1996)

Get in the Ring Gameplay

Get in the Ring Gameplay (1997)