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Zub

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Zub was a platform / shoot em up game developed for the budget label Mastertronic, and was the first game developed by John Pickford and Ste Pickford working together as a team.

This was another game with a 12 or 16 week deadline. By this time we'd given up telling the management that we couldn't make decent games in this amount of time, and started more or less ignoring the deadlines completely and just making the game the way we thought it should be made.

However, Zub was still released in what we felt was an unfinished state, even though it included a free, hidden game called Lightfarce.

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Zub screen shot 1 Zub screen shot 2 Zub screen shot 3 Zub screen shot 4 Zub screen shot 5 Zub screen shot 6

Project details

Started:

Wed, 01 Oct 1986

Development studio:

Binary Design

Main client / publisher:

Mastertronic

Status:

Finished

Proper Pickford Bros game?

Yes, this is definitely one of our games!

Core studio team:

John Pickford

Game Designer, Programmer, Team Leader

Pete Gartside

Programmer

Phil Alsop

Programmer

Ste Pickford

Graphic Artist

David Whittaker

Music and Sound Effects

Zub ZX Spectrum EU cover

Platform:

ZX Spectrum

Territory:

Europe

Release date:

Sun, 01 Feb 1987

Title:

Zub

Publisher:

Mastertronic

Developer:

Binary Design

Sales:

60,000

» Download this game!

John Pickford

Programmer

Zub Amstrad CPC EU cover

Platform:

Amstrad CPC

Territory:

Europe

Release date:

Sun, 01 Feb 1987

Title:

Zub

Publisher:

Mastertronic

Developer:

Binary Design

Sales:

50,000

» Download this game!

Pete Gartside

Programmer

Zub Commodore 64 EU cover

Platform:

Commodore 64

Territory:

Europe

Release date:

Sun, 01 Feb 1987

Title:

Zub

Publisher:

Mastertronic

Developer:

Binary Design

Sales:

60,000

Phil Alsop

Programmer

Ste Pickford

I remember that Binary Design had expanded and reorganised a little by this point, and had split development up into multiple teams. Each team consisted of a Spectrum programmer, an Amstrad programmer, and a C64 Programmer, one of whom was designated as Team Leader, all of whom sat together working on the same game.

We couldn't justify a dedicated artist per team at that point, so the 3 or 4 artists and one musician sat at one end of the room we all shared, and served the 5 or 6 development teams taking up the rest of the space.

Zob (as it was originally called) was a great project to work on, as it was the first time we (well, John mainly) had been given free reign to create our own game. We didn't start with a title or license or 'high concept' from the publisher. John came up with the concept for the game from scratch, and pushed it forward within the studio to get it made. In that respect this game marks the true beginning of our development career, as this method of originating game concepts and getting them made (often through force of sheer will) in environments not always friendly to original ideas has been the pattern we've followed together ever since.

Consequently I've got a real affection for my Zob character. Its just a shame we didn't get to finish the game off properly. The game is a bit lightweight, even by the standards of the day, as we weren't allowed the time we wanted to add a few more planned features, like bonus items and pickups, which would have fleshed the game out a bit.

In those days we had no formal testing process, and a game was only any good if the people working on it actually played it and tweaked the gameplay, rather than just programming features until it was considered complete. I remember John would spend a lot of time just running and jumping around with Zob, making small adjustments to gravity values, jump height, movement speed etc., to get the feel he wanted. Not only was this relatively unusual within the studio, it also used to get him into trouble as he was spending the days working on parts of the code already marked as 'complete' on the development schedule, and thus he was considered responsible for making the game late.

This was a time of working constant late nights and weekends, all unpaid, and although there was a fair amount of pressure we were working those hours because we wanted our game to be as good as it could be, not because the boss made us. Plus we were both such geeks that we didn't drink or have girlfriends at this time, so we also had nothing better to do, hehe.

 

† Sales Estimates
Almost all sales estimates given are educated guesses. Being lowly developers we rarely had access to the publisher's sales infomation, and in many cases hadno contact with the publisher whatsoever after each game was completed. Even in cases where we were the owners of the development studio and on royalty deals, for various reasonsit was very rare that we received accurate sales figures from the publishers involved. We'd be delighted to correct any errors, or hear more accurate sales figures for any of the titles here.Please email the webmaster if you know something we don't!

‡ Downloads
We don't condone video game piracy. We would prefer that all our games were still available for purchase by those who wanted them,but unfortunately most of our games are not commercially available in any form, with the IP or code in the hands of defunct commercialentities with neither the will nor the ability to commercially exploit these products, if not forgotten about completely. In such cases we're happy for the game to be madeavailable free for enthusiasts to download, rather than being consigned to the dustbin of history. If you would like us to remove a link,please email the webmaster to explain why.

Credits
The credits listed are accurate to the best of our recollection, but if we've made any errors or ommissions (quite likely!) please email the webmaster to let us know and we'll try to make a correction as soon as possible.

 

We are The Pickford Bros, veteran independent video game designers based in the UK.

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