Go back to part 1 of the interview
TR: There's obviously going to be comparisons between Bugdom and Disney and Pixar's A Bug's Life. What response do you have to those that will call Bugdom a spin-off of A Bug's Life?
BG: Well, this is my curse. Every time I do a game this kind of thing happens. When we did Power Pete, right before we released it we heard about "Toy Story". We couldn't believe how similar they where. When I did Steel Harbinger we saw the "Independence Day" trailer in the theater - extremely similar to our game. And now "Bug's Life". The "Quicksilver" prototype that Bugdom grew from dates back to June of 1998 - well before anyone had ever heard of Bug's Life or Antz. It is yet again a 100% coincidence that really irks me. The game and the movie have virtually nothing in common at all. The 1st level of the game does have some visual similarity because of all of the grass, but after that there's no comparison whatsoever.
TR: What different kinds of ways does the main character travel in the game and how does that aspect lend to the game's entertainment value?
BG: I'm a big fan of the old NES and SNES games which had a lot of diversity in game play. I liked the ones that were not just the same thing over and over, so I wanted to give Bugdom a degree of diversity that we haven't seen in years. I wanted each level to be like a whole mini game into itself. You can jump, swim, kick, ride a water taxi, ride a dragonfly, swing on ropes, get carried by fireflies, etc.
TR: What kind of different locations does the game progress through and how obvious are everyday objects when you're seeing them from the perspective of a bug?
BG: When we started the game we had intended to use lots of everyday items in the game, but as the game progressed we realized that those only distracted from the feel of the game - we wanted it to feel like a bug microcosm. There are some items like matchbooks, water faucets, nuts, and stuff, but not a lot.
TR: Do you think the fact that Bugdom currently only runs on ATI cards will hold back the wide acceptance of the game or is the #1 priority compatibility with the standard Apple configurations like the iMac?
BG: I don't think it matters at all. Every single Mac (including Powerbooks) sold for the last, hmmm, I guess almost 2 years now, has ATI 3D acceleration. Most importantly, every iMac and G3 has ATI acceleration. ATI has added features to its RAVE driver which let me do things that I couldn't do with other 3D cards, therefore, the game simply looks and plays better on an ATI card than anything else. People seem to think that the speed of a 3D card is the most important thing - its not. Not hardly. 3Dfx may be marginally faster, but its the features of the card and driver and the stability and availability of the drivers that are the most important thing to making the game good. Speed is nice, but I'll take good features and compatibility over that any day.
TR: What kind of features would you like to see companies like 3dfx or nVIDIA add to their cards?
BG: Everything that we added to RAVE 1.6. RAVE 1.6 makes all of the ATI special features into legit features of RAVE that any card vendor can add. But, there are also hardware problems. For example, the 3Dfx cards (some of them at least) cannot do 2D and 3D on the same screen - this is absurd. Also, 3Dfx doesn't do 1,5,5,5 video for 16-bit. 1,5,5,5 is the standard 16-bit mode on the Mac, but not on the PC, so they display a different mode (5,6,5 I think) which causes color wackiness.
TR: You've recently said that for your next title it will likely use OpenGL. Why will this be a tough transition for you and what, if any, restrictions will it put on the next title?
BG: This will be an *awful* transition. The problem is that I'm going from a high-level API to a low-level API. It means that a huge amount of functionality that QD3D did for me I'm now going to have to rewrite and do myself. I'm really demotivated right now by the prospect of spending months and months just to port my existing code over before I can do anything at all about working on the next game.
TR: What's in store for Pangea now?
BG: A looooong vacation to try and build up the energy for the long OpenGL porting process and then I'll have to see what game I wanna do next. It depends a lot on how the sales of Bugdom go.
TR: What kind of long-term vision do you have for the company?
BG: Good question... I want to keep the company small like it is now. I want to keep doing Mac-only games. I want to do the kinds of games that make people think happy thoughts about me and Pangea.
TR: Can you give us a hint or two of the ideas swirling around in your head for Pangea's next title?
BG: Well... I've done toys, dinosaurs, and bugs. Where to go next... perhaps space or underwater, or perhaps inside the human body - do one of those "Incredible Voyage" things. I also want to do a race game.
TR: Do you have anything that you'd like to add?
BG: Just that I think Bugdom will open the eyes of a lot of other developers who are skeptical about the Mac. My goal is to prove that you can still do Mac-only games or at least games that start on the Mac and still sell a lot of copies and make lots of money.
TR: Brian, thanks for answering these questions and I'm looking forward to Pangea's future Mac titles.