Interview with Kwok Man

I first learned to do character graphics on my mate's ZX spectrum when I was 13, and shortly afterwards a bit of game coding with the basic language. My first games were blocky graphic beat em ups like double dragon and streetfighter.

Nope, my classmates told me about AMOS as an easy language designed for games and it was in AMOS and later Blitz Basic that my games started to resemble what was on the market.

In Amos, flipped graphics were slow and X-Fighter suffered from low framerate problems. Overall my games were better in blitz, but in fairness I was more experience by then.

Around that time it was the beginning of the Street fighter 2 boom, so me and my friends did it for fun.

Yeah it was a terrible game in terms of graphics and programming, the start of a learning process.

It started as A500, one day I walked into dixons and tried my game on the A1200 which seemed twice as fast, so I was tempted to upgrade in order to improve the game.

I got about 3 payments and it was probably a couple hundred quid haha. I was an art student at the time so I was happy each time I recieved a payment package. Some poor chap even bought the source code, and my coding was really unreadable.

I learned from the first 2 games that you can only go so far improving a game, and it reaches a stage where you should start from scratch based on new concepts, I think it was around summer 1994.

First I approached Amiga to bundle the game, probably the graphics were too weak and the guy at Amiga suggested we approach the magazines with a free demo in exchange for previews and reviews, it was the nice guy at Amiga Action who got us the Thalion publishing deal when he found out we were independent.

Nope, at first I was just making games for fun, with whatever resources I had without regard to selling them. When I got a hard drive I just started taking liberties with the file size and number of characters.

I started off alone, and later three friends joined in to help character graphics and animations.

It took a bit of a learning process, we played streetfighter and copied a lot from there. and we played to death and balanced the characters of X Fighter. When something didnt feel quite right we would go back and study. Other games we looked at were Fatal Fury and Dark Stalkers. Special command execution and combos needed to be just right.

Luckily for a 1 on 1 beat em up you only need 2 large sprites, a wallpaper and the rest of the resources go into animation frames and those embarrasing sounds (some reversed dragon punch noises). Around that time Terminator 2 inspired the learning AI engine, and I came up with a simple way for the AI to change styles (from cheap, defensive, counter and aggressive) during a round based on which one was doing well, and which one was not.

It was about double the time, but it was actually only 8 core characters, with 4 variations a bit like Ryu, Ken, Gouki, Dan.

It was fully completed and ready to launch.

One day I phoned up Tony King at Thalion and told him I'd like to withdraw, I had doubts about X-Fighter on the current market and I felt that I could do better graphics, design and coding. It was a positive feeling and its become a habit of mine this rush of starting from scratch to make something significantly better.

I got into linking up 2 amigas for an 8 player game engine. It could do a few typical map based games such as r-type, double dragon, mario and ikari warriors, but I deleted the folder when attempting to backup. The last game I did on Amiga was a 2 v 2 version of X-Fighter, but by then I was working in my first job in network games and stopped using the Amiga.

PVP Streetfighter in arcade and snes was our favourite, and I got into worms and other PVP games. I never really liked beat em ups on Amiga, they were usually diluted ports.

My current job is at, a Hong Kong based virtual world played through browser. Mostly doing PVP and co op action games. Also worked on catwoman PS2 and some mobile games. Here are 2 recent co-op experiments: keys are z, x and space (might lag because the server is in HongKong)