Glenn Corpes has been involved in the video game industry for over 20 years. He spent 8 extremely successful years working for Bullfrog and was involved in massive titles such as Syndicate, Populous, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper. He then spent 4 successful years as Head of Research and Development & Project Leader at Electronic Arts.
Here at Arcade Attack we feel privileged to have the opportunity to interview such a well respected player in the games industry, We would like to take this opportunity to thank Glenn for taking the time to answer our questions. Follow Glenn on twitter @GlennCorpes
Question 1 –
Populous was pretty clearly groundbreaking from before it was even really playable. The gameplay came from a really weird place: the rules governing how the landscape blocks fitted together, not by anyone’s genius design. It always reminded me of a Rubik’s cube which is a remarkable bit of weird engineering which also just happens to be a perfect puzzle. Syndicate and Theme Park were released after we were getting pretty cocky about success so were less surprising to be honest.
Question 2 –
Was it controversial? I know the blood was green in the German version, I suspect we then used that fact to get some press or something. Like all of the old Bullfrog games the story was just there to justify the gameplay, considering it happened that way round I was impressed that it also managed to be a pretty complete dystopian future with even a few original ideas. I blogged about this: http://glenncorpes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/syndicate-
Question 3 –
To be honest I never really liked or played Theme Park or Rollercoaster Tycoon beyond just taking a look. I think the idea that nobody working on Rollercoaster tycoon had seen Theme Park was preposterous though. It even had the ride names scrolling across the entrance in the same way! I guess maybe they were telling the truth though because I know they accused the sequel, Theme Park World, of being an RCT rip off.
Question 4 –
There was so much of that stuff in there, a lot of it coded by a very young Demis Hassabis. It was all rather too subtle to see though. I know almost all of it was removed from the console versions to save memory and you couldn’t really spot the difference.
Question 5 –
Magic Carpet was great fun to work on, it was the result of me moving to the PC with it’s lovely byte per pixel screen and 256 colours. It was the result of a year or so off messing with texture mapping, translucency, fog etc… Sorry about the nearness of the fog though, not my fault honest, check out my blog on the subject http://glenncorpes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/magic-
Question 6 –
Which Magic Carpet spell? I can’t even remember many of them. I think I’d rather just have the magic carpet itself.
Question 7 –
That’s a good question. Presumably it would be hard to use for intercontinental travel. Probably hard to go over about 20MPH. I think on a magic carpet it’s maybe more about the journey than the destination.
Question 8 –
Question 9 –
No, it only took 7 for the PC original. My contribution was the almost finished Dungeon Keeper engine but a lot of talented people worked their arses off for those seven weeks because Peter Molyneux had asked us to accept the challenge of releasing a game in an otherwise empty month for EA. It was actually a lot of fun to work on.
Question 10 –
Possibly. For what it’s worth my first iOS game Ground Effect was my take on what had made Hi-
Question 11 –
To be honest I don’t know exactly, Gary Carr was lead artist so has to be a suspect. The reality was that the game had to have silly diseases to keep it from being too dark.
Question 12 –
Peter’s original idea of “a reverse dungeon game” seemed like it just had to work. To be honest, my involvement (the graphic engine and world data management) was over before the gameplay even started and there were famously a couple of attempts at that. It’s nice to see that Dungeon Keeper’s stack-
Either Populous or Battle Engine Aquilla.
Question 14 –
Probably the ST as I was solely responsible for that platform at Bullfrog. Other than that, my 15″ macbook pro or maybe the original Gameboy.
Question 15 –
Yes, loads of them. (I guess we’ll have to tweet him to find out what they were –
Question 16 –
My perspective is slightly limited as console games are something I only see others playing these days. I’m more into smaller indie stuff on iOS and occasionally mac. Free to Play is shit though.
Question 17 –
For fucks sake? really? I dunno, the square in Tetris maybe?
Question 18 –
Yes, I’m working on updating Topia World Builder, an arcade-
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