Ravenger Comments

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  • The making of Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior

  • Ravenger 10/07/2017

    I was lucky enough to visit Palace Software when they were developing Barbarian. I was a C64 artist back then and was looking for freelance work. I managed to get in touch with Palace via Richard Joseph who saw a demo picture I'd drawn based on the their game The Secret Armour of Antirad.

    The offices were in the basement of the Palace Cinema, and my main memory is the walls were covered in concept sketches of the various fighting moves, along with plastic toy barbarian swords, which I presumed were used for acting out the moves.

    Unfortunately though I visited a couple of times we didn't get to work together in the end, but I really enjoyed meeting the team and getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Barbarian's development.
    Reply +5
  • A great explanation for how oldschool graphics worked

  • Ravenger 21/08/2015

    Here's my C64 art website.


    Got loads of images from the c64 years when I drew loading screens under the 'SIR' alias.

    It's got some info about how my images were created, and a potted history of my C64 days.
    Reply 0
  • Dream a little bigger: the legacy of Mike Singleton

  • Ravenger 21/10/2012


    Here you are:
    Reply 0
  • Ravenger 21/10/2012

    I was very fortunate to meet Mike several times in the mid 90's when he was a director at Philips Media's studio Curved Logic.

    I went out to lunch with him and his colleagues on a few occasions, and he came across as a really decent bloke. He was one of the best and most creative developers I've ever met, but very modest with it.

    At the time I had a Psion Series 3a palmtop, and someone had written a version of Lords Of Midnight for it. I showed it to Mike and he was amazed that a portable computer could run his game.

    Thanks Mike, your legacy lives on and as long as your games are played you will be remembered!
    Reply +4
  • The Commodore 64 turned 30 today

  • Ravenger 02/08/2012

    My computer games career started on the C64, so I'm incredibly grateful to the talented people that designed, built and marketed the machine back in the 80's, and of course immensely nostalgic about that era.

    They built those machines to last - mine still works, as does its monitor and tape drive. Pity the disk drive doesn't read floppies any more though :(

    As far as the C64 vs Speccy wars go, despite being a C64 fan I still have tremendous respect and nostalgia for the Speccy. Though I didn't own one (I could only afford a ZX81 initially) my school friends did and I spent many a happy weekend programming them and playing games on them. The stuff the games developers made that machine do was amazing considering its limited hardware.

    Happy birthday C64!
    Reply +1
  • How Bad is PC Piracy Really?

  • Ravenger 01/10/2011

    Personally I believe the most damaging piracy, and the only one you can really do something to prevent is zero day piracy where the game gets leaked before release.

    When games leak before release some people are tempted to get a pirate version just to get it early, or for bragging rights. They may not then buy the game on release. If you prevent that then you stand a good chance of converting potential pirate copies into sales.

    With initial internet activation the majority of PC games are now immune from zero day piracy, unlike console games. It's not unusual to see pirated console games being playable far earlier than PC games these days.

    Once the game is released then the only people who are inconvenienced by DRM are your paying customers. Companies should go out of their way to make it easy for customers to buy, install and play their games, not add artificial barriers that make your legitimate product a worse experience than the cracked pirate version.

    Let's face it, if the pirate version is a better product, then you've lost the piracy battle right there.
    Reply +3
  • The Keepers Of All Games

  • Ravenger 01/06/2011

    I did a lot of 8-bit artwork back in the eighties, and unfortunately I lost the original files over the years. Luckily most of it ended up in various retro-collections and eventually made its way onto the internet. Due to all those retro-fans collecting and preserving the old games and content I managed to get back nearly all of my artwork, including a lot of it in its original format. So I'm very keen on the preservation of old games.

    One of the things that worries me most about the preservation of current and future games is the tying of games into DRM servers, onlne services and social networks that may not be around in the future. How can we play the games if the online infrastructure isn't available? It's already happened with the original Xbox.
    Reply +10
  • Retrospective: Mirror's Edge

  • Ravenger 10/04/2011

    One thing that's not really been mentioned is how beautiful the game is.

    There's a sense of hyper-realism - more real than real-life - in the starkly lit rooftops with the crisp clear blue sky.

    I loved the game, especially because the sense of being there is second to none. It's only marred by some seriously difficult bits of navigation later, the clunky gunplay, which is very difficult to avoid in later missions, and a story which isn't really that epic.
    Reply +1
  • Metacritic rates individual developers

  • Ravenger 28/03/2011

    Completely inaccurate - misses out most of the games I've worked on, and includes two I've never worked on! Reply +4
  • Resi HD remakes hitting PSN, XBLA

  • Ravenger 24/03/2011

    I wish they'd do a decent PC version of RE4, using the improvements they made in RE5. Despite GFWL, RE5 was a stunning PC conversion.

    I loved the Gamecube and Wii versions, but I would buy a remade PC version in an instant if it were as good a conversion as RE5.
    Reply +1
  • Crysis 2: Crytek defends DRM

  • Ravenger 21/03/2011

    DRM wouldn't be a major issue if devs and publishers promised to patch it out once peak sales had passed - like SEGA did with Alpha Protocol.

    The only DRM which does work is zero day piracy protection which prevents games being leaked before release, and even then that DRM should be patched out on release, and a stand-alone patch released too to allow install without contacting the authentication server.

    I regularly play 15 year old PC games - if they'd had limited activations back then the servers would have been offline years ago, making it impossible to legitimately install and play them. It's a massive problem when it comes to preserving our gaming heritage for the future.
    Reply +11
  • Microsoft admits Games For Windows flaws

  • Ravenger 08/03/2011

    My two main issues with GFWL are the undisclosed, unrevokable limited activations (not a problem on some newer titles) and encrypted saves that are very difficult, if not impossible to transfer to a new machine or OS.

    Sort those out and maybe I'll accept it.
    Reply +9
  • Pre-order pre-owned games at GAME

  • Ravenger 04/03/2011

    No-one moans about second hand books and DVDs because they're not sold in direct competition with new stock by high street retailers.

    You can't buy second hand books, DVDs or blu-rays at HMV. Waterstones don't sell second hand books. Asda don't sell second hand anything, except games.

    Imagine going into HMV and having to hunt for a new copy of blu-ray box set you want because most of the store is given over to second hand stock, and it's only the top 10 chart they have new in any quantity. Imagine that after you manage to find the blu-ray you take it to the counter and the sales assistant keeps pushing you to buy the second hand version for a quid less, then when you stand your ground he reminds you that you can trade in all your old blu-rays if you want.

    Ludicrous? That's the shopping experience you get from one of the glorified high street pawn - sorry, game - shops.
    Reply +4
  • PC gaming is growing everywhere

  • Ravenger 01/03/2011

    The biggest issue is that digital sales aren't tracked. All the digital distributors keep their sales figures secret, citing customer confidentiality.

    I've got over 100 games on steam, and none of those have counted to any of the UK sales chart figures. It's difficult to see just how well PC games are doing if the sales data is missing at least 50% of its sales.

    There are over 30 million active Steam accounts, which gives an indication as to the size of the hidden PC gaming market.
    Reply +5
  • Retrospective: The Witcher

  • Ravenger 21/02/2011

    I love the choices you have to make in this game. They're very much catch-22, damned if you do/damned if you don't. Not showing the consequences straight away is a stroke of genius. It prevents you re-loading to alter your choices, making it really matter what choices you make.

    The game isn't perfect - it drags in places, and the voice acting can be dire (despite being re-translated and recorded for the Enhanced Edition - but I absolutely love this game.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the music - it's excellent. Different from the orchestral scores you hear in many RPGs, but incredibly atmospheric.

    I'm really looking forward to the sequel. I've pre-ordered it from GOG to support the DRM free release. Here's hoping it's a massive success.
    Reply +3
  • AC Brotherhood PC system requirements

  • Ravenger 17/02/2011

    My internet is currently unusable for multiplayer gaming at peak times due to oversubscription. If I were to compromise my principles and buy this game (and I won't) then undoubtedly I'd be booted out of my game multiple times during a gaming session.

    I don't know why Ubisoft consider it reasonable to discourage people like me who actually would buy their games in the vain hope of getting freeloading pirates to buy them instead. It's almost like they consider the pirates to be more important customers than me.

    It's not like Assassin's Creed 2 was a multi-million seller when all the pirates suddenly decided to buy it because of the DRM either. Just release the darn game on Steam without extra DRM and it's a day one sale for me. Otherwise it's bargain bin territory, or with DRM like this, never-buy-at-any-price territory.
    Reply +2
  • The Show Goes On

  • Ravenger 13/02/2011

    I've always found it deeply ironic that Activision was formed by disgruntled developers who left Atari because they were getting no credit or royalties for their work, and were fed up with tight deadlines and resources with no chance for creativity or innovation.

    EA was also formed with the intention of making the developers into the gaming equivalents of rock stars, and released games in album cover style sleeves with the developer's photos and bios on the back. Then of course like Activision today they bought out some of the best developers in the world - Origin, Westwood, Bullfrog and milked them dry, and cast the remains aside in favour of yearly sports games.

    Is it always the destiny of these companies to turn into the type of organisations their founders despised?
    Reply +3
  • Eurogamer Asks: Are second-hand games killing the industry?

  • Ravenger 01/02/2011

    I would argue that games can actually appreciate in quality over time - new releases can be very buggy, and buying the inevitable GOTY version six months to a year later can get you a fully patched up game including all the DLC for less than the buggy DLC-less version costs at launch. Reply +8
  • Ravenger 01/02/2011

    Look at the PC market for an indication of where it's going. Most games now have DRM or account locks making it impossible to resell, trade-in or even give away your games. And we're not just talking about online games - many single player games are impossible to resell.Retail has almost abandoned PC games because of this - they can't make money on trade-ins for PC games so they stock fewer of them in preference to second hand console games, and have effectively pushed PC gamers into buying online via online retailers, or via digital distribution. (And then thrown a huge hissy fit when the digital retailers out-compete them, but that's a different issue.)Luckily there's plenty of competition at the moment in the PC online distribution market, so prices (at least in the sales) are competitive, but consoles don't have that - each console has one digital store, which is exclusive to that console, so there's no competition, and prices are high as a consequence.As a PC gamer I don't want to see console games go down the same road that PC games have gone, where you're stuck with a game even if it's buggy and not fit for purpose, but if retailers (who are now glorified pawn shops) continue to over-exploit the second hand market I can see exactly that happening. Reply +4
  • The Case for PC 3D Gaming

  • Ravenger 22/01/2011

    When you can get a 120hz IPS monitor I might be interested in going 3D. I don't want to go to a TN panel with dodgy colours and narrow viewing angle. Reply +3
  • MS hints at official Kinect PC support

  • Ravenger 08/01/2011

    I'm really hoping Kinect will come officially for the PC just so more games can support headtracking. The ability to head-track without having to wear a hat with LEDs would be great. Reply 0
  • Eurogamer's Game of the Year 2010

  • Ravenger 31/12/2010

    The first playthrough was amazing. The second I just can't complete because the mission structure and combat mechanics become too obvious. The 'room full of waist high boxes' becomes a mechanical spoiler, signalling that you're entering combat again.

    The first game feels much more epic, and the reveals are much more astonishing and dramatic. The environments are bigger, the plot missions longer. The second game spends far too much time putting a huge team together, visiting planets which are represented by four or five rooms with corridors between.

    As was said in the article the 'improvements' and excessive streamlining have removed a large part of the original's soul.

    Still enjoyed the first playthrough though.
    Reply +10
  • Is a 3DS cart bigger than a DVD?

  • Ravenger 20/12/2010

    If it's anything like all the other cartridge based Nintendo machines the biggest carts will be prohibitively expensive for third party publishers, leaving only Nintendo games using them. Reply -3
  • Are pre-owned sales killing gaming?

  • Ravenger 07/12/2010


    Publishers aren't against second hand sales. They're against the aggressive promotion of used sales over new. You don't see major high street retailers selling second products in direct competition to their new ones - Waterstones don't sell second hand books, HMV don't sell second hand Blu-rays (and many of those are expensive as games).

    Imagine if you walked into Waterstones to buy the new Harry Potter book in hardback and right next to the new copies were shelves full of second hand ones for a quid less. Then when you took the new book to the till the sales assistant asked if you had any books to trade in, then tried to sell you the used copy instead. Ludicrous?
    Reply +4
  • Ravenger 07/12/2010

    One of the reasons that PC games are almost non-existent at retail is that you can't trade them in due to DRM and account locking.

    Retailers can only sell a PC game once, but they can sell the same console game over and over again, making a large profit each time.

    The retailers are only just realising that in their push for pre-owned profits they've created a digital distribution monster that will eventually lead to their own demise. They're complaining about Steam games which include the Steam Store and allegedly competing with them, despite retailers only stocking a small fraction of the games that can be found on Steam and other digital distribution services.
    Reply +1
  • Retrospective: Tron 2.0

  • Ravenger 05/12/2010

    Tron 2.0 is one of my all-time favourite games, and gets re-installed and replayed every time I upgrade my computer. It's a shame that due to the new film it can't be considered canon, as events in the game conflicts with the plot of the film.

    There's a fantastic mod called 'Killer App' which adds proper widescreen support, new cheats, and extra stuff to multiplayer. It also includes all the previous patches (which could be tricky to track down).

    Reply +2
  • Witcher 2 torrents could net you a fine

  • Ravenger 22/11/2010


    I've worked on several games that took several years to develop, some of which were massively pirated, so I believe I'm qualified to make a point here.

    Pirates are not your customers. CD Projekt normally gets this, which is why I'm a big fan of theirs. I loved the Witcher so much I bought it twice, and may well buy it twice again - digitally and store bought copies to get all the extras.

    However I'm firmly against the sort of blackmail CD Projekt are proposing here. They will wrongly target innocent people because IP addresses are not proof of identity. They can be easily spoofed, and mistakes will be made.

    The best way to defeat piracy is to provide a better service than the pirates do. Steam does this, as does GOG, so I'm not sure why CD Projekt would wish to use a discredited method in a misguided attempt to scare and penalise pirates that will inevitably hurt their own customers.
    Reply +5
  • Tech Comparison: Call of Duty: Black Ops PC

  • Ravenger 14/11/2010

    It's still laggy for me in multiplayer, despite the patch. Much more stuttery than COD4 or WAW which run much much better. The single player is now relatively smooth for me, with occasional lag, but for several days was unplayable.

    This is on an i5 760 PC with a GTX460 that I built myself, and which can handle much more demanding games like Crysis without breaking a sweat.

    Treyarch's response to the problems has been poor too, ignoring the various forum threads and instead posting dismissive messages on Twitter which did nothing to address the game's many problems. At the very least I'd expect an apology and a promise to fix it rather than comments like "It's only been one day".

    At one point I seriously wished I could get a refund - which is impossible on the PC as the game is locked to a Steam account. At least the console owners have the option of returning a game for refund or at least trading it in if it doesn't work well.

    If companies are going to remove our rights to refunds and resale then they should ship games that work on day one, and also ensure that their community reps are up to speed on PC issues and sympathetic to the needs and problems of the game's PC community.
    Reply +7
  • SEGA: Alpha Protocol sales were "slow"

  • Ravenger 31/07/2010

    I passed on the game due to the limited activation DRM, but judging by the reviews and user feedback it turned out to be a good thing anyway as the game was a relatively poor console port on the PC with major control and technical issues.

    I will not buy any game with limited activations, no matter how friendly the system. In this case even the Steam version had the same DRM, so even when it dropped in price during the recent Steam sale I avoided it.
    Reply -1
  • Game prices unaffected by VAT rise

  • Ravenger 02/07/2010

    chrisjm is right - I've recently been ebaying some 15 year old PC games, some of which still have price stickers for £39.99 on them. Not many PC games cost that much these days, and that's without allowing for inflation. Reply +3
  • Molyneux: Demos are "horrible"

  • Ravenger 30/06/2010

    I'm getting a big sense of deja-vu here. This is essentially how ID started with Wolfenstein and Doom back in the 90's; releasing the first episode of the game for free, then inviting mail-order purchases when you'd completed it.

    All this has happened before, and all this will happen again...
    Reply 0
  • Fable III "first step" of big PC push

  • Ravenger 23/06/2010

    Microsoft arrived very late at the digital distribution party. Steam had already arrived with a crate of beer, a load of party balloons and a big box of cool games to play. When Microsoft eventually turned up with a small bottle of non-alcoholic beer (which they tried to charge for) and a battered copy of travel scrabble they found that PC gamers were having too much fun with Steam to care, and they were kicked out of the party because no-one wanted to play with them anymore. Reply +2
  • TRON: Evolution

  • Ravenger 14/06/2010

    Bigtime Tron fan here too, and I saw the original film in the Cinema when it was first released :)

    I've already got my Encom ID badge and Space Paranoids pin from the Flynn Lives Tron 2.0 promo site, and I'm really looking forward to the new film. This new game looks the part, I just hope it plays well too.

    Anyone re-playing Tron 2.0, get the KillerApp mod. Adds proper widescreen support and a load of other stuff too. I've just finished re-playing the game and it's still excellent.
    Reply 0
  • Fable III confirmed for PC

  • Ravenger 21/05/2010

    £40 is even worse when you realise that you can't re-sell many PC games due to DRM, unlike the console versions, and it's likely that Fable III will use the latest GFWL DRM which locks the game permanently to your account.

    Hopefully retailers will discount it.
    Reply 0
  • Passed Around

  • Ravenger 03/05/2010

    One of the reasons you don't see many PC games at retail these days is that you can't sell them second hand due to DRM/CD Keys. Retailers have done their level best to kill off PC gaming because of that fact. Why settle with selling a game once when you can sell the same copy over, and over again making big profits each time - and not a penny going to the publisher/developer.

    I'm not against second hand game sales, what gets me is the price gouging and the promotion of second hand games over new. When making one of my rare PC game purchases at GAME a few weeks back (I had a gift voucher to use) I was asked if I had a console and if I wished to trade any games in. It's obvious that's their whole strategy.
    Reply +2
  • Retrospective: Impossible Mission

  • Ravenger 04/04/2010

    I actually finished this when it first came out. The puzzle game was strangely relaxing after the frantic platforming. I didn't try to do the puzzle until I'd got all the pieces though.

    Seeing Atombender shout 'No, no, no' followed by a female voice saying 'Congratulations! Mission accomplished!' was a fantastic ending to a very difficult game.

    I've tried replaying it since, both on an emulator and on the C64 DTV Joystick, and I'm no good at it anymore.
    Reply -12
  • Free Bad Company 2 DLC dated

  • Ravenger 11/03/2010

    More maps for free = nice! Sega/Rebellion could learn from this: don't fragment your userbase by charging for multiplayer maps.

    On the subject of high street stores and second hand game pushing, there's a reason that major game stores don't stock much in the way of PC games anymore, and that's because they can't sell them second hand due to CD Keys and DRM.

    PC copies of Bad Company 2 don't need a VIP code - they get all the new content anyway because the multiplayer is locked to your EA account and can't be transferred to a new owner.
    Reply 0
  • Ubisoft defends risky PC DRM plan

  • Ravenger 27/01/2010

    As I said in the thread in the forums, my internet service was dire recently due to oversubscription, meaning that I found it difficult to get online at all. GFWL and Steam would take ages to log in and then disconnect randomly. I couldn't play any multiplayer games so I had to fall back on single player games with no internet requirements. Under Ubisoft's system I wouldn't have been able to play any games at all. At least with Steam I can play my single player games in offline mode. Reply +1
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

  • Ravenger 20/04/2009

    I'd picked up this game on the PC if it didn't have the limited activation DRM - only 3 installs, non revocable.

    I love the original on the PC, but not enough to put up with those sort of restrictions - if the original game had the same DRM system I'd have run out of activations by now, because I've played it on every PC I've built since the game came out.

    Oh and there won't be a revocation tool. Tages state on their website that they will never offer a way to revoke an install.
    Reply 0
  • EA responds to Spore DRM concerns

  • Ravenger 17/09/2008

    I don't think EA would have dropped the 10 day re-activation, increased the activations to 5, or announced they were working on a way to deactivate an install if they hadn't had consumer pressure applied.

    I think they seriously underestimated the depth of feeling in the PC community over the unfairness of the DRM, as it stood originally.

    Just goes to show that protests against this sort of thing can work.

    Let's hope they apply the same changes to Mass Effect too.
    Reply 0
  • Ravenger 17/09/2008

    Glad to see there's going to be a patch to deauthorize activations - my biggest problem with the DRM. Now can we have one for Mass Effect please, and any future game that uses this DRM. Reply 0
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

  • Ravenger 17/09/2008

    The important thing is that there are no bad choices in the Witcher. No choice is good and no choice is evil. All the choices have good and bad consequences, but not all the consequences are readily apparent when you make the choice. You have to live with the long term consequences of your actions, which makes the game much more immersive. if you're curious about what the alternative paths are like you can always read up on them once you've completed the game, like I did. Reply 0
  • Ravenger 17/09/2008

    I played through the first game and loved it, even with the patchy voice acting and script. So I've now got the enhanced edition on order as I want the definitive version of the game.

    The best bit about the game is the choices, which aren't obviously good or evil like they are in the other RPGs. Instead you're stuck between a rock and a hard place, with the consequences of a choice only becoming apparent much later on in the game - by which time it's too late to do change them. It's the only game I've played where I've agonised over a decision for several minutes before making my choice.
    Reply 0
  • EA officially reveals Crysis Warhead

  • Ravenger 06/06/2008

    I'm really looking forward to this. I thoroughly enjoyed Crysis, especially the first few levels, and it played very well on new home-built PC. More of the same is great!

    I think Crytek's biggest mistake was holding back some of the graphic effects for DX10 and Vista, especially when the community found that with config tweaks you could get 99% of the supposedly exclusive DX10 effects on DX9.
    Reply 0
  • Mass Effect PC authentication changed

  • Ravenger 13/05/2008


    The problem is that's 3 installs EVER, and there doesn't seem to be a way currently to free up any existing installs.

    I've re-installed some of my favourite games dozens of times over the years. I like being able to re-install a game I've bought without having to go cap in hand to the publisher and beg them for permission.
    Reply 0
  • Ravenger 12/05/2008

    The main issue is still there - max 3 installs, with no guarantee that you can get more. There's been no word from EA as to how you can get more activations if you use all yours up. I'm not worried about installing on multiple machines, in fact I'd be happy if you could install it on only one PC at a time. I just don't want to have to go beg EA for activations if mine get used up from installing/uninstalling the game over a long period of time. Reply 0
  • C&C Kane actor speaks out on games

  • Ravenger 28/03/2008

    When the BBC website starts categorising game stories under 'Entertainment' rather than 'Technology' then I'll know that games are accepted in mainstream 'culture'. Reply 0
  • Cruis'n and C64 games on Virtual Console

  • Ravenger 28/03/2008

    There's only two C64 games I would consider buying for £3.50, Archon and M.U.L.E., and that's only because they're multiplayer games that need to be played on the telly rather than in front of a PC.

    As someone who once worked on the C64, I'd be very annoyed if my work turned up on the VC and I didn't get any royalties.
    Reply 0
  • Ravenger 28/03/2008

    Too expensive - especially when you can get a C64 joystick with 30 games built in for a fiver. I wouldn't have a problem with the price if I knew the original authors got a decent royalty, but I bet they don't get a penny. Reply 0
  • CliffyB likes PC gaming again

  • Ravenger 29/02/2008

    I've said this before, that one reason I like PC gaming (apart from the controls, and the types of games available) is that it's separate from the telly. I don't have to kick my wife and children off the main TV to use it, it's permanently setup in a separate room where I can game in comfort and privacy. My kids PCs are sat next to it, so I can also game but supervise them on their PCs too. Reply 0