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Interview with Kelly Samel
(Interview realized by David Brunet - July 2007)


The developers of games on Amiga are rare. But when we meet Kelly Samel, we realize there are still and that they have many projects for the game future of our platform.

Itix - Hello Kelly, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Kelly Samel and I am 28 years old. I live in Canada in the province of Alberta, city of Red Deer. I consider my main job to be working on my various software projects. My regular job is working at a newspaper driving the forklift and doing other general warehouse work.

- When and how did you discover the Amiga?

I discovered the Amiga back in about 1992 when an A500 was given to me. At that time I ran it on a composite monitor without a hard-drive and using Workbench 1.3. I had a lot of fun learning about programming using AmosPro and playing around with programs like Brilliance and Imagine. I eventually ended up with an A1200/68060 system and owned most other models at some point too.

- When and how did you discover MorphOS?

I learned of MorphOS around when the Pegasos with April2 fix was being offered at a discounted price to developers. ($299 if I remember) At that time I was still watching the OS4 situation closely and also trying to get the most of my classic systems.

When I started reading more about MorphOS/Pegasos combination I was very intrigued and decided to take a chance on it. I purchased the inital machine myself and was later given a Pegasos II/G4 system for inclusion of my game Aqua in the now defunct SuperBundle. My first impression of MorphOS was very positive and I have been a supporter ever since.

- Which computers / operating systems / consoles do you own and use?

Regarding computers I mainly use my Pegasos II and MorphOS for daily computer tasks and development purposes. I also have a Mac-Mini perched atop my Pegasos system. I use the Mac-Mini to operate my scanner and do certain internet tasks etc. I have also dabbled with other operating systems like Linux/Windows/BeOS/QNX on occasion but not regularly. MorphOS and MacOS X are my 2 main operating systems.

I am a huge video game fan and have played/owned almost every console at some point. My favourite console ever is the PC-Engine/Turbografx16 which is why getting TG-Emu and Hu-Go! running on MorphOS was a big priority for me. I am particularly a fan of the CD-Rom format software that was released on that system. (I have a sizeable collection of Japanese CD titles) I also own most of the Sega consoles like Genesis/CD/Saturn/Nomad/MasterSystem. I started out gaming with the Atari 2600, arcades and original NES. Right now the Nintendo Wii/DS and Playstation 3 are my most played consoles. Worst console ever in my opinion is the Atari Jaguar.

- You are the developer of Aqua, a clone of the game Myst. How long did the development of the game take you? How many copies did you sell?

Aqua took a little over 2 years to complete, working in my spare time. I did not make much from the game since my original publisher never payed any royalties and basically packed up and left the market. After I started to sell the game through my website things improved and I sold about 40-50 copies through that channel. I also had a deal with Funtime-World in Germany and I did receive 1 royalty payment through them (which I was happy to receive). :)

Aqua
Aqua

- Your current game projects are HyperCannon and Eve. Could you present some detail about these two projects?

When I started work on HyperCannon I aimed to re-capture some of the fun of old Atari 2600 styled "space" games only with more modern visuals and expanded gameplay. Basically the game is designed with quick-paced action and constantly evolving challenges in mind. I think this direct play style is timeless and will always be fun to re-visit in the future.

HyperCannon
HyperCannon

eVe is more in the style of a Japanese action/rpg game. It's particularly inspired by Falcom games like Ys or Xanadu series with a touch of SoulBlazer and Zelda. The combat in the game is very simple and fun, you only need to bump into enemies to attack them. If you hit them from the edge (off-center) you will have an advantage when attacking. The game also takes your current strength, defense and equipment into account. Various magic abilities and other items/tools play a role too. Auto hitpoint regeneration is another element, where you can heal by standing in any "safe" area. eVe will contain more storytelling and specific characters than my previous games, although the initial release will be quite simple in that respect. (the story system isn't ready yet) Expect the game to expand and improve over the course of development. This game is probably the largest in scope I have worked on so far, but it's already moving along at a good pace in the first couple months development. The efforts put into HyperCannon and other previous games has really helped accelerate my development process.

I am currently offering all my games as freeware but I really appreciate PayPal donations which can be made through my website : members.shaw.ca/realstar.

- Do you need some help with those projects (graphician, musician,...)? Do you plan to form a team behind you to work on bigger projects?

It would be nice to have some help but not many people are willing to put so much unpaid effort into a project that isn't their own. I would appreciate some good music to accompany eVe for instance. I would also like some larger anime styled graphics for character portraits, cinema scenes and shops. If someone is interested in contributing music tracks to be used in the game or helping with something else they can feel free to contact me by email. I haven't given much thought to forming a "team" but if enough people decide to help out then I guess it's possible. ;)

- You have ported several emulators to MorphOS like Genesis Plus, TGEmu, Hu-Go and SMS Plus. All are emulators of 8/16 bit machines. Are you interested in making MorphOS ports of emulators like FPSE (Playstation) or True Reality (Nintendo 64)?

I did attempt a port of "Daedalus" (N64 emu) to MorphOS but it didn't work out unfortunately. If the OS4 FPSE source code was available I would definately have a look at getting a MorphOS native version up and running.

- There is no sound in Genesis Plus. Everybody is waiting the implementation of this feature. Is it planned in the next release?

After reading this question I was thinking about the lack of sound on GenesisPlus and it was bothering me so I spent some time messing around with the code and manged to get the sound working on most games ! The updated GenesisPlus is actually available at my site now.

- Apart from Hypercannon, Eve and the emulators, do you plan to port/write others programs in the future?

I certainly plan to continue working on anything I find interesting. I only have so much time so I have to choose carefully what to focus on. I recently put some work into a new project called MapMasterDX which is an application to help with game creation (also available at my site or Aminet).

- Which programs do you use you to create your games?

MorphED, GCC and the standard MorphOS SDK are used for all of my programming/editing tasks. When creating 3D graphics I use mainly a combination of LightWave3D and Imagine. Imagine doesn't operate well on MorphOS so I use it through WinUAE on my Mac-Mini (I haven't got around to learning Blender3D yet). If I need to create artwork from scratch I generally use TVPaint with a drawing tablet. Image conversion and other processing goes through ImageFX 4. I use SampleManager to edit samples and TheMpegEncGUI/Lame to encode MP3 tracks. DirectoryOpus 4 is installed for a reliable way to manage all of the files involved. My own application MapMasterDX is becoming very handy in creating background scenes as well.

- What are your favorite games ?

On Amiga I like classic stuff like Goblins 3, Ruff'n'Tumble, ChaosEngine, Ishar series, BlackCrypt and FaeryTale Adventure. Some of my favourite console series/games are CastleVania, Mario, Metroid, Zelda, Ys, PanzerDragoon, RidgeRacer, Shinobi, FireEmblem, Nights, Ninja Gaiden, Rygar, Sonic, "Tales" RPGs, PaperMario, ResidentEvil, Skies of Arcadia, PhantasyStar etc. Too many to list.

- You are from Canada. What is the situation of the Amiga in your country?

I think there are still active user-groups in Calgary and Edmonton but basically most Amiga/MorphOS users are scattered across the country. I personally don't know of any other users in my area except my Dad who also uses MorphOS on a Pegasos I system.

- What is your opinion about Amiga Inc.'s projects ? (AmigaAnywhere, AmigaOS 5...)

I had an AmigaAnywhere development kit at one point but there was nothing happening at the time. I have to admit that I have not followed AmigaOS 4-5 too closely since I started using MorphOS. If I had the hardware I would certainly give it a try. I would really appreciate a PS3 version of AmigaOS 5. :)

- What do think about the "serious" of ACK Software Controls, the canadian hardware partner of Amiga Inc.? (ACK have planned hardware for years but nothing have been materalized)

No company has delivered solid hardware products in a long time except for BPlan. Maybe that could change eventually but I haven't seen anything too promising yet. I think the Efika is about the best low cost solution we have seen in awhile.

- Now a 2 cents question : when MorphOS 2.0 will be released? ;-)

Soon, I hope... ;)

- You have the last word...

Thanks for the interview, hopefully this will make the intention of my software known to more people. I hope everyone will enjoy my latest game eVe.


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