This interview with Roddy Toomin, aka DJGeki, was conducted by Mickey McMurray, aka MetaFox, for the first issue of Dream On magazine, which was released at the Midwest Gaming Classic in 2004.
How did you first become associated with Cryptic Allusion?
This is a long story, so I’ll try to get right to the point: I met Dan at the University of Texas through a mutual friend who wanted to start a game business within the next few years. Even though that company never got started, Dan’s “demo group” named Cryptic Allusion was just kind of ‘there’ and we decided to make something of it after we got started on Feet of Fury. FoF was originally planned to be a free-release game, with just a few of my own songs in it. Nothing fancy…but it blew up into a full-size project after we decided that this might be our shot to “break into” the elusive boys-club that the industry seems to be.
We’re finally starting to see some of the effects of that now (i.e., EGM taking notice of the DC homebrew community), and I’d like to think that the commercial release of FoF had something to do with the rise in interest.
What was your position for Feet of Fury?
I played quite a few roles. I was first and foremost the primary composer of music and sound effects for FoF. I did around 20 tracks and loops specifically for the game. Don’t even ask me to count how many sound effects I made. Secondly, I was the business contact and “department head” for all things that involved licensed music. I also gave a lot of feedback to Dan about gameplay, came up with some ideas for items/attacks present in the game, some menu structures, and other design ideas that never quite got to the “complete idea” phase. 🙂 I also ended up vetoing some gameplay along with Dan so that the game would be a more enjoyable experience.
That was mostly his idea, though… I think I’m a packrat when it comes to gameplay options. I almost never want to get rid of anything!
Do you have a preference for the style of music that you make, or do you feel comfortable making music encompassing any genre?
Woo…there’s a toughie. A preference for the style of music I make… I’d like to say I don’t have a preference. I enjoy dance music in general, but there are specific genres I don’t like, and others that I prefer; however, I feel that if I needed to make something specific, I could do the research and make it happen (yes, even country music…FEH!).
As was seen in the bonuses included on the FoF disc, I am capable of composing classical-type music. It may not be John Williams nor Mahler, but I kind of like what comes out of my brain.
Now that I’ve danced around your question, let’s see if I can answer it. I really like Breakbeat. I’d love to be able to get into doing some stuff that sounds more like it, but right now whenever I let my mind take over the music-making process, everything becomes jazz-like. Meaning, there’s no real hook to most of my songs, as the melodic lines just tend to take themselves in whichever direction they please.
Is there anything that you wish Feet of Fury could have had if it had a bigger budget and a longer development cycle?
I think that if we’d had some capital, we might have paid for the first run of discs on our own. It’s just technically simpler that way than going through a 3rd party.
More specifically, we had planned for animated characters fighting in mid-screen (a la “Puzzle Fighter”), and a “charge up” mode that could have been extra special. It’s way too involved to describe here, but it would have taken a longer amount of time to program this mode. It also would have removed FoF many steps away from DDR (no pun intended), not to mention that it was relatively intuitive, and made gameplay much more interesting. This mode could have replaced “Item Battle” as the main mode, but there wasn’t enough time or complete ideas to make it happen. It broke quite a few rules from the standard DDR-style play.
The thing that really makes Feet of Fury stand out from other music games is the typing of fury mode. What are your opinions on this feature?
My opinion is that Dan is a freaky genius. Not a “Freaking Genius” (although he is that), but “freaky”. I think he played “The Typing of the Dead” one too many times 😀 Excellent, excellent use of the existing engine to make up a totally different game.
It’s way too hard though 🙂 It was all his idea, in case you couldn’t infer that from my statements, but I really do enjoy getting my butt handed to me by the computer.
What are your thoughts on the commercial future of the Dreamcast in the homebrew realm?
The commercial future doesn’t look amazing _right now_, but it’s by no means going to go away or die. I think we’re just off to a slow start.You give this scene another two years, and I think we may have an explosion of epic proportions on our hands. I mean, the DC is still new in the way of dead systems. Once our current lot of systems decides to die out, there will be a lull in terms of new games for the new slew of systems. In that time, we won’t see anything interesting minus the “graphic demo” release titles that we’re bound to see. You know the kind… the ones that “push 3D reality to the next level” and such. I just get this feeling that people are going to turn back to their old systems (like they usually do) and see that they had something great in the Dreamcast. Lots of quality games, the systems are super cheap (when you can find them), and the accessories are pretty much ubiquitous. Ooh…I used “ubiquitous”! (and it made sense!)
There have been talks lately about making producing Dreamcast shareware games as were done quite alot for the PC and Amiga in the early 1990s. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m all for it! I LOVE shareware. I remember going to high school (way back in 1992-96) always having a store-bought shareware copy of Doom in my backpack. Any chance I got, I’d install that sucker on an 486 and impress the hell out of whoever was around.
I used to go to the WaldenSoftware store in our local mall just so I could watch the bad-assness of the demos on the Amiga 500 they had on display. That was also the first time I’d ever seen “Shadow of the Beast”. God bless thee, Psygnosis. Too bad Sony bought them out. In any case, I never had an Amiga until around 2 years ago, so I didn’t really get into the demo scene back then. It looks like it was a good time for all from what I’ve seen recently of that era.
Dan is the big proponent of DC shareware, and at first I was opposed to it. What section of the mass-market wants to download something for a console system? But the more I think about it, the more I like it:
Johnny downloads the shareware, burns it to a disc and goes off to show his friends. They like it, so he gives them a copy legally. Legally? Wait a second…that shouldn’t be! Ah, but it is my good consumer. Eat it up! Shareware games don’t happen as much as they should these days.
Let’s hope this idea takes off.
Any insight towards what Cryptic Allusion has planned for the future?
Heh heh…i do i do. We hinted a bit at the RPG we had been working on (on the FoF disc) until we started in on Feet of Fury. I’d love to get a team to finish that. There is so much groundwork laid down, and yet so much left to do. It’s just a project I’d love to take up again.
Other than that, I came up with an idea for an online game that is quite unlike any games we’ve really seen here. It would require a relatively large budget (well, relatively large compared to $0.00), though, so don’t look forward to that anytime soon. In any case, we do have lots of stuff planned, just nothing has been made solid yet as far as what our next project will be.
I’d be expecting an announcement from us semi-soon, though. Maybe not something ground breaking, but definitely something worth looking forward to. Especially if you like old-school games. 😀
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, and sorry for procrastinating so much to get them to you.
No prob. Hope you get these off in time to get them into the mag 🙂 Good luck with it, and let us know when it’s finished so I can buy a copy or twelve! BTW, it seems that Dan never received any questions, are you going to interview him as well?
Note by MetaFox: Dan Potter’s interview can be found here.