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Andrew Bailey - Veteran Video Game Maker / Software Engineer

Quick History (30 years in 300 words)

I have been making video games for over 3 decades spanning 3 continents. I started in my bedroom with a Commodore 64 game based on the moon landing classic. I produced this with the help of a friend, which we published on to cassette and sold to our local bookshop. It probably sold 3 copies.

I then made a few more Commodore 64 games which were sold through British Telecom’s video game publishing arm, Firebird.Most notable was Druid, which I developed with Dene Carter. I then made the natural progression on to the Amiga and developed Dragon’s Breath, but I left Druid to be ported to the Amiga by a fledgling company called Bullfrog.

I then got offered a job with Beam Software (also known as Melbourne House) in Melbourne, Australia. Here I got to work on consoles, Notable Nintendo NES and SNES. My most memorial title from this era was Shadowrun, which I am glad to see has seen a reboot on Kickstarter.

In 1994 I co-founded Tantalus Entertainment (now Tantalus Media) and was CTO and Director until 2006. Here I saw many consoles come and go where our company, which grow to over a 100 people across three studios, develop a reputation for doing the impossible, like Wipeout on the Saturn, and a rather impressive 3D rendering tech on GBA called CRIS.

I remained CTO until 2009, when I resigned and went independent. I produced a PC game, which was a Druid reboot called Golem Crusades, and made an iOS version called Golem Defense. Also during this time I worked with some friends starting their own company after a long stint with THQ, called Twiitch. Here I worked on an iOS title and got introduced to Flash AS3 games.

Then I got the opportunity to work in Canada, which my wife loved the idea of, so I moved my family of 6 to North America where I first worked as a TD at a small studio, and now as a Senior Engineer at Capcom Vancouver.

Today I am managing teams and working on systems for triple AAA games, where I apply my large number of years of experience to help the next generation of game builders

On this site I have more detailed CV and Game-o-rama information, and also some in-sight to previous games and technologies.

Crazy 8 bit days

I started getting into computers and hence video game programming in 1981 when a friend got a Sinclair ZX81 and we would enter games from listings published in magazines and then improve them.

I then got a Vic-20 (because parental giudance was on a 'proper keyboard') and moved onto a Commodore 64. My first commercial venture was with a high school friend and budding entrepreneur where we published (we actually made the tapes) a simple space game called Mars Lander and sold to a local bookshop.

I then moved on to my first machine coded game, Headache which was published through a new publisher, Firebird, which was backed by the countries main telecom company.

druid spectrum
Headache on the Commodore 64

I then wrote a some more games, plus did a few ports for Firebird.

My next big step was meeting up with a guy at school called Dene Carter (who would go on to have his own fame with a title called Fable) who had a design for a video game he needed coded. This game was Druid, which there is more about on this site.

That had an incredible development time of five weeks, and then came the sequel.

I then went to University and moved onto the Amiga for which I wrote a couple of commerical products. One was a drum machine and the other a game called Dragons Breath, again more infomation on that game on the this site.

druid spectrum
Adrum, Bullfrogs first product.

The drum machine, although niche and impossible to find now, is an important history item for the video game industry. It was published by a company called Taurus publishing, whose main product at the time was a database program for the Amiga. The author of that was Peter Molyneux and that relationship led to the port of Druid to the Amiga and the creation of Bullfrog games, and the move of Peter into video game design and production.

During my final year at Univeristy, I got invited to join and Australian video game company in Melbourne. I took the offer, and moved down under to work on 8 bit consoles like the NES. I worked on a rather infamous boxing title, and then I (as did the company Beam Software) moved onto the 16 bit SNES and Genesis.

The title I am most proud of from this this era is Shadowrun, a RPG which not only was an excellent game, but included some cool tech, including a custom built, high level lanaguage we designed just for the scripters. This was the first title where code was actually written by 'game programmers', coders only interested in the how the game played. This was a first in my career and showed how games were turning from a single author affairs to teams of engineers.

20 years of Tantalus

Tantalus was started in 1994 by Trevor Nuridin, Jamie Rivett and Tim Bennett and myself, in two rooms of my house. Our first project was a sub contract for Probe in the UK doing the SNES version of a game based on the Stargate movie. Tantalus is now over 20 years old, and like the proverbial hammer has had multiple head and handles over its time. Jamie and Tim left shortly after the start and Arthur Kakouris joined the exec team. On the exec team we have Stephen Handbury, and the current owner and CEO Tom Crago.

The company has been sold twice and bought back, once with a UK game company, and also later on with an investor. I left the company in 2009, but am still quite proud of the company today.

Tom has written a nice piece on Gamasutra, which saves me from really writing an awful lot here, as he covers the history in far more detail than my limited penmanship. So I recommend you click here and enjoy. Australian Developer Tantalus Turns Twenty

Drop Spider

So in 2009 I had my indie mid-life crisis. I wanted to give making games myself a go again I had a design for a new Druid game I had been tinking with for a while.

So I resigned from Tantalus and started making this game. I completed it fairly quickly, writing the engine from scratch and designing fairly novel AI flocking systems.

I worked with a couple of ex Tantalus colleagues for the artwork, and even went back to my old UK friend for the audio. I wanted to all it Golem Wars, but had to settle for Golem Crusades as the former was taken.

Needless to day it didn't go too well, as I had under estimated the marketing requirements and couldn't raise funds to fix that.

I then moved on to mobile, and ported the game to iOS, but made to major changes (that even meant removing the Druid) to make it a touch based game.

Of course the same issue of marketing is even worse for mobile games.

I also did some consulation for friends doing their own 'start again' project which included facebook games invloving Flash and AWS, and an iOS title that was a bit more of a success I guess.

Canada - Vancouver

So towards the end of 2011 I was approached by a talent scout for a TD position in Vancouver, Canada. I of course declined as I didn't want to move my family to the other side of the world, but when my wife learned of this she was almost packing her bags.

Turned out she is more of a skiing nut then I thought and was quite prepared for a major life change to be within commuting distance of Whistler ski resort. So I went back to the recruiter and started a 3 month interview process, followed by six months of visa applications.

I spent 18 months as TD (CTO would be accurate) at Koolhuas games before moving on to Capcom.

Capcom Vancouver was a North americian arm of the Japanese company. The CTO there was setting up a new ATG division and I went to join that. There was a fair bit polictics around the ATG and eventually I left for Relic Entertainment famous for RTS style gaming.

I spent a very enjoyable year at Relic but then decided to move on to work for a small task force team that works for Activision helping the Call of Duty titles, housed at the Vancouver based Demonware.

So I am currently still living in Vancouver, still avoiding learning to ski myself but enjoying the trails of the Northshore and the general outside lifestyle this metropolis is famous for.

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