DON PRIESLEYA nice little earner (Popular Computing Weekly
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King Berk!

While we were looking at the preview of Flunky, it so happened that Don Priestley bad Just arrived on the boat from Eire.
Phil grabbed a few choice words with the man himself over a cup of coffee and a fluffy Berk. (Eh? Ed).

When did you start programming?

Before 1981 I'd never touched a computer. I was the parent of an eighteen year old at school, who was getting no hands-on experience of computers. So I enrolled him in a computer club...and just to show willing I enrolled myself as well. Of course the obvious thing happened - my lad lost interest and I got more and more involved.

So where did you go from there?

I bought a computer magazine, and saw that people were selling games! I did a version of an old computer classic called Mugwump, which I eventually sold to BugByte for £75. I'd have been happy if I'd been paid a fiver. So that was it, I was hooked.

Wbat was the first thing you wrote on the Spectrum?

Hmm. Oh yes! The Spectrum came out in 1982. and I thought the easiest thing to do would be to translate my best game, Dictator. So that was my first Speccy game.

How did you gettnig solved in Trap Door?

Well I evolved the style of big coloured sprites and screens which were built in layers for Popeye. Then Piranha got the rights to do Trap Door, and thought that my new technique would be the perfect style for it. So I got a phone call. Oh and is it a trade secret that there's another one.

Trap Door II. in the offing?
No? Oh. well, there'll be a sequel, by the way...

So how do you program a game?

Making the big graphics is no problem. It's making the big graphics do something that is. So it's saving memory all the time and using graphics characters in as many places as possible.

The real problem is to superimpose these sprites over a coloured background without colour clash. This is done by building a map in memory and building it up layer by layer. So as it draws the screen layer by layer, from the 'back' of the screen, it says all colours which go on top of this or that INK, or PAPER, to keep the colours right. Doing it like that you minimise the attribute problems and get a coloured character on a coloured background. I'm getting it down faster as I go along. Flunky is the fastest one yet, but I did that with some partial screens, so it fairly clips along. And that's it. really!

Your Sinclair

GAMELIST Gregory Loses His Clock 1989
GAMELIST Mad Flunky 1987
GAMELIST The Trap Door 1986
GAMELIST Through the Trap Door 1987
GAMELIST Popeye 1 1986
GAMELIST Maziacs 1983, 2013
GAMELIST Minder 1985
GAMELIST Up For Grabs 1988


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.