Brian - first of all, thanks for agreeing to do this interview - right, where and when abouts were you born?
I was born in Seattle, Washington on November 15th way back in 1967. I'm a Seattle native although I now live across the lake in Kirkland (about 5 minutes from Monolith).
What sorts of things did you get up to when you were a little Goble?
I was usually riding my bike (often to some arcade to play video games) or building something. We built model airplanes, cars, boats and even go-carts that we would bolt lawn-mower engines to! It's not until you take a corner in a "home-built" go-cart and the wheel falls off until you really appreciate what a rear-differential does. :)
How did you get into computing and in particular programming? Was it a gradual progression, or did you one day decide that you wanted to be a programmer?
Around the age of 12, I saw a commercial for the original Apple computer on TV. I was hooked. In 7th grade, my school offered a computer class and I started learning BASIC on a Commodore Pet computer. I was even more hooked. Then, a friend of my dad's let me borrow a Timex Sinclair computer for about a month and I wrote my first "real" game. This computer had no way to save (not even a printer) so I had to write down my program on a piece of paper by hand! I was totally and completely hooked.
I eventually got an Atari 800 computer and played a lot of games on it and also programmed a lot of games (and I could actually save them-but don't ask about the battles between me and my cassette recorder).
At one point, I had written a "Text Adventure Maker" program that let you make text adventure games. It was fairly cool so I submitted it to an Atari magazine called Antic. Then, I received the letter that would change my life forever. Antic replied saying that they had accepted my program for publication in their upcoming book of games and that I would get a small percentage of royalties from the book sales. This was very exciting for a 15-year-old and I was bouncing off the walls. Now that I knew I could make money from programming, I had found my destiny and from that day forward, I only focused on writing programs that I felt had a chance to make money.
(the book of Atari games eventually got cancelled and all I really got was a free T-shirt...but, the course of history had already been changed)
I've noticed on your homepage - http://www.users.lith.com/~goble/ - that you created a lil' shareware game called MicroMan back in the heady days of Windows 3.11, tell us a little about that title and how it came about.
Back when Windows 3.0 had just come out, I had already written a nifty graphics engine for DOS and had made a few games with it that were published by SoftDisk. I decided to see what was possible, graphically, with Windows and proceeded to create "WAP" (Windows Animation Package) which was (as far as I know) one of the first 2D gaming engines (with flicker-free software sprites) created specifically for Windows.
I needed to create a demo game for my new engine so I stole some art from a DOS game I had been working on called Alien Planet. Alien Planet ran in 320x200 (in DOS) so when I brought the graphics over to Windows, the objects looked tiny in 640x480. This was a minor problem -- I just called the game MicroMan. :)
When the six of us (the Monolith founding members) got together and created Monolith and The Monolith CD, one of the things we did was to create a special version of MicroMan with a rendered intro movie, pumped up sounds, and new music. I still get emails from people asking for more MicroMan adventures.
On a related note, I eventually rewrote WAP from scratch for Windows 95 and DirectX, called it WAP32, and it's the engine we used for Claw, Get Medieval, and Gruntz! :)
Also on your webpage you have a nice collection of cars that you've owned - describe your dream car and who you'd most like to drive in it with ;-)
That's a tough question. There are so many awesome cars out there so it's hard to just pick one. For some strange reason I just have a need for acceleration...and I have a need to accelerate from 0-60 in under 4 seconds in a car. So, I would have to pick the Ferrari F-50. That car is so rare and so awesome that I would give anyone who wanted a ride, a memorable ride in it. :)
You seem to have quite a lot of Disneyland links on your homepage - care to elaborate?
Didn't you hear the news? It's the happiest place on earth. (In a related story, Seattle seems to be the rainiest place on earth lately.)
What's the best moment of your life to date - don't hold back!
Everyone always asks what people would do if they had a day to live - If you had a day to live, what wouldn't you do?
I wouldn't obey many laws that I currently do. ;)
What are you aspirations for the future?
Monolith is a huge part of my life and I am very motivated to continue working hard to make it a success. I also want HDTV. :)
Kudos to Brian for agreeing to and going through with this interview - you're a top man Brian! We luv ya!