March 6, 2006

The Apogee Legacy #9 - Lindsay Whipp

Today our "Apogee Legacy" Interview series continues on with the latest edition, this time with programmer Lindsay Whipp. Lindsay was the author and developer of one of the more amusing titles in our line, "Mystic Towers". This featured a character that originally was in someone else's game, "Baron Baldric: A Grave Adventure".

Baron Baldric (the character) was funny in that he would scratch his butt and fart while during the game - something that was definitely not the case in any other game of ours at the time. Lindsay only worked on the one title with us, but it was definitely one of the funnier titles in our product line. Read on to hear Lindsay's opinions on the Mystic Towers development, and how he has a connection to the current "Destroy All Humans" game.

The Apogee Legacy
Past Pioneers of the Shareware Revolution
Issue #9 - Lindsay Whipp
A Lindsay Whipp "toon"

1) How did you first come in contact with Apogee?

...I was referred by the Australian distributor Manaccom.

2) Was there a reason you decided to work with Apogee, say versus going on your own or working with another company?

...Working out of Australia, I needed a bigger market, and one world publisher was the best option.

3) Looking back, was there anything Apogee could have done better, regarding the marketing and distribution of your game?

...No, I was pretty happy with the results. Modest by today's standards, but, hey! We're talking 286 computers and the end of the DOS era here!

4) Do you think your game was made better or worse by working with Apogee?

...It was made DIFFERENT. What started off as a comic graphic adventure ended up as a comic shoot-em-up. I went along with that quite happily, but still think it lost some of its original humor along the way.

5) Apogee had a policy of letting the designer or studio retain full intellectual property rights to their game. Nowadays, it's rare to find a publisher who allows this, especially if the publisher is providing the funding. Do you believe that it's best for the creator to retain IP rights? Why or why not?

...In my case, that didn't apply. I approached Apogee with a completed product, although it changed radically during Beta. These days, the budget demands are too great to allow small developers to do that, which is a pity in many ways - it cuts out the quirky individualism, and everything has the same blandness. My daughter recently worked as lead artist on Pandemic's "Destroy All Humans" and had to work damned hard to allow that element to be retained.

Lindsay in 1989 on the computer the original Amiga that Baron Baldric was written on.

5a) And if applicable, have you benefited from retaining ownership of your own IP?

...In my case - no.

5b) Do you think there'll ever be a sequel to your game(s)?

...What, Baron Baldric for Geriatrix? Barren Baldric more like...

6) Is there any story/incident that stands out as interesting during your time associated with Apogee?

...Yes. George telling me that there were 3 important aspects of all games and they were, in order of importance: 1. interface 2. interface 3. interface - not the sort of advice one forgets!

7) Apogee was an early pioneer in terms of teaming up with external designers and studios, and continues to do so even to this day (currently working with Human Head Studios on Prey). Why is it that so few other studios do this (mentor and fund outside projects with lesser known teams)?

...The cost! The complexity of todays games are horrifying. The days of the maverick like me are simply long gone, or even small studios.

Mystic Towers game manual cover art

8) What the biggest difference in the industry nowadays versus when you worked with Apogee?

...The scale of all productions, and the size of the teams needed to produce games at that level.

9) What have you been doing since your time with Apogee?

...Working with software publisher and distributor Manaccom in Australia - the company that distributed my stuff here at the time the Baron was active.

10) If you're no longer making games, have you thought about returning to this industry? If not, why not?

...I have a daughter in the games industry, one son in the media business, one in the IT business - enough is enough, already!

11) Looking back, are there any missed opportunities that you wish you'd have jumped on?

...No - I made products for public comsumption, and that's what happened.

12) Other than your game(s), what's your favorite game released or produced by Apogee (or 3D Realms)?

All the Dukes of course! (funny - my tongue seems to be glued to the inside of my cheek...)

12a) And what's your favorite 2-4 games released by anyone else?

Abe's Odyssey, GP3 (great driving fan)

13) Is there anything else you'd like to add about your time here or to fans of your title(s)?

...Get a life!

Screenshot from Mystic Towers

Thanks to Lindsay for sending in his answers, as well as the "toon" of himself used above. We still sell Mystic Towers, so if you've never checked it out, you can check it out with the links here:

Make sure and tune in again next Monday morning, when we bring you the next in our Legacy Interview series.

Posted by Joe Siegler on March 6, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Discuss this story on our forums
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