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Street Surfer

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A US developed skateboard game.

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Street Surfer screen shot 1 Street Surfer screen shot 2

Project details

Started:

Mon, 01 Jun 1987

Development studio:

Binary Design

Main client / publisher:

Mastertronic

Status:

Finished

Proper Pickford Bros game?

No, either a work-for-hire project, or we aren't claiming much credit for this game.

Core studio team:

Ste Pickford

Loading Screen / Sprites

Sculptured Software

The rest of the game

Street Surfer Commodore 64 EU cover

Platform:

Commodore 64

Territory:

Europe

Release date:

Mon, 01 Jun 1987

Title:

Street Surfer

Publisher:

Entertainment USA

Developer:

Sculptured Software

Sales:

10,000

Ste Pickford

This was a strange little job. At the time Andy Hieke, the boss of Binary Design, had an idea to expand his development studio to become art and music studio as well. Internally we had the artists and musicians split off as a separate department from the programming teams. Binary Sight and Sound he wanted to call it at one point. Dave Whitakker, the musician and my boss in this department, was incredibly talented and prolific, and very efficient, and I was a decent artist at the time, and reasonably fast, and along with the rest of the artists I think Andy thought he had a little gold mine on his hands if he could bring more work for us to do.

I never liked the separation of art from programming. I always thought the artist should be part of the development team, and sit with the programmers and discuss the game and influence the look of the game rather than just responding to the requests of the programmers, most of whom had no idea about visuals or aesthetics. But artists were much lower than programmers in the pecking order back then, and at one time we even had a system at Binary of "Graphics Request Forms" where the programmer had to fill in a form defining each sprite or character set or map they needed, and the artists were expected to just pick the next form from the top of the pile and complete it whenever they became free, without ever needing to speak to the programming team.

I think the Street Surfer project must have come in as a result of Andy promoting Binary to his clients as a general art resource, but it was presented to me as a 'favour' we were doing for Mastertronic - helping them out by improving the graphics of this game they had which was OK, but looked awful.

Expanded sprites on the C64 were never my thing. I hated the machine, I hated the washed out colours and the fat pixels, and I hated all the art tools available (no Melbourne Draw!), I hated drawing with a joystick instead of a keyboard, I hated the noisy unreliably disk drives, and I hated that stupid Run-Stop / Restore thing you needed to do every 5 minutes. But, I redrew the sprites as best I could. There wasn't really much scope for improvement though, so I did a loading screen as well, so at least I felt like I'd put some half decent work into the game.

I bet the artists at Sculptured Software were fuming that some uppity Brits had the temerity to change the graphics in their game! Sorry guys, only doing my job.

 

† 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!

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.

 

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