Interview with Ian Upton

While I was art college I had an idea to set up a mobile club disco. This was the time of the Synth Pop bands (Gary Numan et al) and I needed an edge. So I saw these ZX81 things in WHSmith and thought I could build stacks of old TV's and pump relevant info through them (most at the time had flashing coloured lights). So I bought one and taught myself to program. I then discovered that the fledgling games industry had lots of technical expertise but no one who could really design or draw, So I wrote a basic graphics package (Photoshop did not exist in those days), did some demo work and booked and showed it to a local games company PSS. They gave me a job. The disco never came to fruition....

Games Designer

Beyond The Ice Palace was designed as a sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins. Elite had produced the original conversion.

At the time we had a multi platform development team. So I worked on the design (I had an actual Ghosts 'n Goblins coin op next to my desk and basically de-constructed the game-play). Created visual designs and then worked with the development team to work the game up. I think the lead in this case was the C64. The Amiga version was produced once the design was set. Of course we could go OTT with graphics on that platform. My direct involvement with the Amiga version was a bit of motivation and art direction.

Audiogenic was an idiosyncratic company. I used to pop down to the office once a week from Coventry. I liked Audiogenic as they were independent. No big corporates pulling the strings :-)

My original name for Loopz was 'bathroom game. I desperately needed to refurbish my bathroom. It was produced completely independently - although I was working for Audiogenic at the time. It was a very methodical exercise. I looked at the skills and resources I had at my disposal and did not. I then set about creating a game that exploited the resources I had to work with. That probably sounds all very cold and calculating but it was the reality! By that time it was clear a 'puzzle' was the way forward. I had been working with concepts involving joining point A to point B and can remember angsting about all the different possibilities and how contrived they were with a friend when whammo. I had the idea of making the start point the end point - ie you joined to yourself - and Loopz was born.

Some trivia. The original name for the game was 'Convolution'. The name was changed to Loopz as it was felt to complex to pronounce... !

At the time not really. And a key element of Loopz - that it did not get harder and you played it more like a meditation - just did not connect. It was interesting as in my own trials people who got it really got it and would sit playing a single game for hours and hours. The only way you could lose was by making your own mistakes and these compounding rather than the challenge getting harder. Alien territory for an industry that had just started to glimpse the first person shooter....

The original was more minimal. It amused me that it was felt necessary to add 'bells and whistles'. The people marketing it never really got the concept!

No. I developed the original on the Atari ST. It was principally a game to be played with a mouse.


Nope. I had lead a very sheltered life :-)

The game design initially came out of the need to save memory. We wanted good animations but these took space. So the idea of using the same animations for the good guy and the bad guy were the basic inspiration for the game.

Multi platform.

My original brief was to look at text. We had this idea of augmenting the experience with atmospheric sound and colour. For example you made a choice to enter - say a scary forest clearing - the soundtrack would go scary forest and the text all change a chilling blue kind of thing. It never materialised.

The implementation work was done with a company called Mr Micro - based in Manchester I think. The engagement was high level. Discussing demos and providing direction to the development team.


I left Audiogenic before the 8 bit versions were released. So am not sure what happened re the 16 bit versions of the game.

I currently work as a Virtual Worlds Consultant. Principally with 'Second Life'. My Avatar is called Ian Pahute. He is very 'Google-able' unlike me (who hides!)!