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Old 28 November 2004, 19:06   #1
Tim Janssen
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Grandslam previews

How's the AGTW site going? I have found two more games which did not see the light of day: Seventh sword of Mendor and Realms of Darkness. Both were previewed with Reunion in Amiga Joker, September 1993 in a special about Grandslam Video.

If you want a larger scan, just ask.
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Old 02 December 2004, 21:44   #2
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Arrow Realms of Darkness Preview CU Amiga

...and here is the Realms of Darkness preview in CU Amiga, August 1993 (if anyone is interested).
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Old 02 December 2004, 22:17   #3
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Tim raises a good point - what exactly is the status of AGTW? Is anything being done on it?
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Old 06 December 2004, 07:41   #4
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Janssen
...and here is the Realms of Darkness preview in CU Amiga, August 1993 (if anyone is interested).
There was also a nice preview in The One too, if memory serves-though the combo 2 or 3 different games in one scenario always gave an impression of gameplay crapola waiting to happen.
Nice scans Tim!
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Old 07 December 2004, 20:15   #5
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@7-Zark-7,
I think Realms of Darkness is previewed in more major magazines and if the screenshots differ from magazine to magazine, it must be a playable preview and it is very likely it will come to surface the next couple of years. Some people must have it on disk. Oooh well, one can hope.

@Codetapper,
I really do not know who moderates/creates the AGTW site but I know Akira is part of that team. Maybe the final full-fledging site will be introduced with a big bang?

Anyway, in November 2004 Games TM magazine had an interview with Frank Gasking of the C64 Games That Weren't site. Frank mentions an Amiga variant is being developed and I sincerely hope he refers to 'this' AGTW initiative.
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Old 13 December 2004, 01:33   #6
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Oooh...Realms of Darkness! On the C64, probably one of the rarest games ever!
I wonder if anyone read the ultra-long story how a 100% version of this game was assembled!
Really a MUST read!
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Old 13 December 2004, 15:14   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreas
Oooh...Realms of Darkness! On the C64, probably one of the rarest games ever!
I wonder if anyone read the ultra-long story how a 100% version of this game was assembled!
Really a MUST read!
Not as rare as the C64 version of US Gold's "Murder".
Completely diff. game to the Amiga Grandslam effort of course, but a huge effort to compile. A great read,never heard of this one-some nice gfx for a C64 RPG. Nice one Andreas.
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Old 13 December 2004, 19:14   #8
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Saw the Realms of Darkness entry in HOL2. C64 RoD is completely different from the Amiga version - Same title different games.
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Old 25 August 2005, 15:05   #9
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I was the Graphic artist for RoD on the Amiga. I can tell you the reasons why this game NEVER got finished. The reasoning was that Grandslam was paying us pittance (when they paid us). I worked on that game for two years in total. Originally Bullfrog Software was interested in it, We had meetings with both Les Edgar and Peter Molynuex and at the time Bullfrog was looking into going into publishing. But EA Bought out Bullfrog before they got round to it. And as you know Bullfrog are no more and Liohead Studios is the result.. anyway, after the deal with bullfrog fell through, Grandslam kinda picked up the pieces. We lost our programmer, and our other artist left to work for Microprose. Grandslam offered us payments on milestones, but we had to find a PC programmer and a new Amiga programmer (yes there was going to be a PC version). Our Amiga programmer ended up being Trevor Brown who used to work for Ocean Software.
Grandslam fired one of the managers to save money and I was only getting like 400 quid a month for working in the games industry (which is pittance). Eventually Grandslam didnt pay us at all, but expected work to be done on the game.

I had to travel 15 miles a day there and 15 miles back, pay for lunch, pay for travel, and they expected that I did this out of my own pocket. I was like 22 at the time, my first major job in the industry, still living at home and had no extra income. Eventually the team just had enough of Grandslam's bullcrap and we went down to London to meet with Steven Hall. We told him to pay us or we just shut shop.. He promised to pay us, and even showed the box artwork they ahd commisioned for the game (it wanst too bad)... but we did not see any monies owed, and we closed. Our team was called Mystical FX btw. and we was based in Manchester, UK.

Well after that I got out of the whole games industry pretty much, as it left a stale taste in my mouth. The only thing I did that got released was the GFX conversion for Suburban Commando on the PC, and that was just to pay off some bill thanks to Grandslam.

There was mistake done on both sides of the fence, but we lost out the most.
RoD was way too ambitious for the Amiga, we had so many ideas and plans that there was no way we could have fit it all on 2 850k floppy disks. In Hindsight the PC would have been a better market/platform for it, but the PC back then was pretty lame and was expensive.

Me and one of the managers there had a better idea to do a not as ambitous game for our first release and forget RoD. It was a brainstorm and we wanted to do a Dungoen Master type game, but based on Aliens, and we could have knocked it out in just a few months, but the other manager (who got fired) Overturned it and we ended up trying to get RoD published. Thats was a BIG mistake on our part as the whole fiasco showed.

If anyone has any good scans from Amiga Action (The only magazine that came down and interviewed us and took photos) then please let me know. I would love to have a copy of them as I dont have anything to show from back then. No GFX, Nothing... I was promised them, but I never got them.

So there you go, thats the gist of what happened. And I hope it clarifies some stuff. If you have any questions, let me know. I will try to answer them by looking back in the mists of time..

Last edited by Cythrawl; 25 August 2005 at 15:34.
 
Old 25 August 2005, 17:09   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Janssen
@7-Zark-7,
I think Realms of Darkness is previewed in more major magazines and if the screenshots differ from magazine to magazine, it must be a playable preview and it is very likely it will come to surface the next couple of years. Some people must have it on disk. Oooh well, one can hope.
Very unlikely. The game was nowhere near playable. Most of the core stuff was done, the mutating Isometric Landscapes, The 2D side scrolling system. Tilesets, etc... but the World map wasnt done, the story wasnt implemented, nothing flowed together, and most of those screenshots were just that. Screenshots. I mocked most of them up with what we had done.

The game was re-written at least 4 times. What we showed Bullfrog was waaay different to what we ended up with. Losing our main and only programmer was disaterous and it had to be re-written from scratch by Trevor, as taking over someone elses' code thats not well commented is a nightmare. So we was back at square one with lots of GFX, but no game, no engine, nothing... But things were progressing before the end.. Another couple of months and we would have started to have something playable, but we pulled the plug due to not being able to afford to keep it going, Pay rental for offices, travel, food, etc..

The only people who have anything are maybe Grandslam themselves (they tried to off load the project to someone else If I remember right. And as far as I know they have now gone under) and the Managers Colin Jones and JP Banks Mercer.

I know Colin is unsucessfully still trying to get into the games industry (he was the one fired just for an FYI) and that JP went into acting instead, and has appeared on a few commercials in the UK.

I went into PC Building and eventually was the System Admin for a large iInsurance firm in the UK, before I met my wife on the Internet and moved to the USA to get married. I now repair Cellphones for a living which is quite fun, but sometimes I wish that we did make it..

If we had done just what I suggested - Make games that werent quite as ambitious so we could make some money and fund RoD properly, then we might have just still been around today and maybe successful. Hell me and JP had even thought of some stuff that was similar to Baldurs' Gate way back in 92. Just think if we got that out first... Oh well.,.

Last edited by Cythrawl; 25 August 2005 at 17:22.
 
Old 26 August 2005, 12:47   #11
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If anyone has scans (or can scan) the Amiga Action article for me, I would be most pleased.
Issue is 48. Pages 84+

Just trying to collect back some of my past... thanx
 
Old 26 August 2005, 16:43   #12
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ahh finally someone who knows something !! Sad thing with Grandslam...

Start making some gfx again man, you got skills..
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Old 29 August 2005, 21:27   #13
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I was going to, but most of the stuff required today is with 3DSMax, Maya, etc etc... I never even started to learn that stuff (I dabbled with Lightwave way back before I got rid of my A1200). I have been looking at Zbrush2 though and I do want to learn that even if its just for drawing in 3D (digital Clay). Im 34 now and my brain doesnt quite absorb new material very well anymore.. LOL
 
Old 29 August 2005, 21:34   #14
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ofcourse you can handle it!! Dont be so hard on yourself, learning something new i think you never can get to old for!!

just do it !
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Old 30 August 2005, 14:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cythrawl
I was going to, but most of the stuff required today is with 3DSMax, Maya, etc etc... I never even started to learn that stuff (I dabbled with Lightwave way back before I got rid of my A1200). I have been looking at Zbrush2 though and I do want to learn that even if its just for drawing in 3D (digital Clay). Im 34 now and my brain doesnt quite absorb new material very well anymore.. LOL
Your brain doesn't absorb so well because it's out of practise!!

It's like any muscle in your body.. keep working on it and it'll remain fit, strong and sharp.. stop and you get jelly

Once you get back into learning things will get easier
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Old 31 August 2005, 16:03   #16
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Sorry to hear about the nightmare that occurred. Searches through here should (hopefully) still unearth postings from the developers of Hoi, & of course IFW has some lovely similar stories too in that regards (amongst others). And as I've posted elsewhere Frank Gasking's C64 GTW site has unearthed similar tales of woe-as much as one reflects on the "good old days" of 8/16bit gaming which looked exciting to view in Zzap!, The One, Amiga Power/Format/Action & Co., it seems like it contained many sharks, sadly.

In some ways though the ROD story sounds a little similar to Darkmere's development,albeit in the latter's case enough was salvagable to create an okay game to go with the great looking static visuals first previewed.
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Old 13 September 2005, 18:07   #17
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Yes many many sharks indeed. Grandslam was one, also Alternative software was another, and Hand Made Software yet another. I worked for all three of those. Hand Made Software used to be called Mr Micro and basicly went into Atari Jaguar and Lynx Development. Again I went thru periods of not being paid there. I was working on a D&D Licenced game for the PC that was going to be called Gazateer. Again I ended up leaving due to nonpayment of wages.

As for Alternative, I did the PC conversion of the Suburban Commando Graphics. Took a coupla months and got paid the grand total of 400 quid for it. That was it... Wasnt even worth me getting out of bed. Also they didnt pay any taxes, or national ins deductions out of it. Again taken for a ride, but at least that one GOT released. Like I said I did the conversions from 16 color Amiga to 256 color VGA PC. See here

I have decided that later in the year I will be getting back into Digital art and I'll probably have some galleries on Deviant Art and Elfwood. I doubt I'll get back into the game industry again though, due to being ripped off so many times in the past.

Maybe if I get together with a friendly small team and work on something I might be talked into it again, but I think just doing art for art's sake and maybe get some work comissioned off is probably the best way to go.

Thanks for all your positive support though. I would love to be paid well for doing what I (used) to love doing. But I think getting back to a stage thats going to be acceptable by today's standards after being out of it for 12 years is going to be a very difficult and steep uphill battle, realisticly.
 
Old 13 September 2005, 19:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cythrawl
Thanks for all your positive support though. I would love to be paid well for doing what I (used) to love doing. But I think getting back to a stage thats going to be acceptable by today's standards after being out of it for 12 years is going to be a very difficult and steep uphill battle, realisticly.
Try getting a portfolio together of your old stuff, and have a look toward some of the mobile gaming companies. All your old skills will be perfect and you shouldn't have too much trouble getting a job. Those skills are getting harder to come by these days.

Have a look at some of the Game Agencies:
Aardvark Swift artists section
OPM Jobs
Change Jobs - mobile
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Old 14 December 2006, 22:45   #19
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Shad is that you??? Man when I found this I almost wet myself it's me...J.P...hehe...

RoD wow blast from the past...Good news is we have a copy of all the GFX and the original demo...

I'm now Directing music videos/ film...you can see my reel at...
www.jpbankesmercer.com/reel.htm

Drop me an email, I would love to catch up with you...
If anyone is interested in the full Grandslam story let me know...

Cheers.
J.P.
 
Old 15 December 2006, 00:36   #20
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We'd love to hear about Grandslam
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