Interview


Handle: Alta - / -Homepage

How did you come up with your alias ?
I was playing around with a logo on paper, looking like /|_ which I happened to put upside down. Then I kind of liked the shape of /|_»|/ but ALTV wasn't particularly readable so I changed the last letter to an A as well (/|_»|\). This handle can also be pixelled into one 8x8 character! I called myself Asterix for a while, but Walt and Mack from Melon Design convinced me that Alta was better!

City / Country:
Currently Gothenburg, Sweden! But don't be surprised to find me in a more summery country in a couple of years!

Born year:
1972

What was your first computer, and when did you get it?
My own first computer was an Amiga 500 which I bought for the money I sold my sailboat for.. But the first computer I programmed was a one-line LCD/calculator thing with 1 K RAM. I and my brother later got a c64 some time in 1985-86.

How did you get into the scene and what groups have you been a member of ?
I got into the scene during a long period. First I had some friends at school (Silicon and Zeta) and I did some programming with them. Then I sort of joined a local scene house (KDK) where I programmed some demos and then the scene thing sort of happened to me. I was a member of Heptagon and The Electronic Force at the time. TEF later joined AmigaLords and I did some demos productions in that group. Later, I joined ZYX when I first visited the Blue House. ZYX was sort of struggling to not die out so we formed a new group called New Beat. In this group we did one megademo which we didn't release because we joined Rebels and felt that it needed at least some new logos and some bugfixing. After a lot of work (and taking out all the parts except for one) we released that demo as Rebels MegaDemo II. Then we were in Rebels for a while and after some time we wanted a change, so we all (except for M:et who we didn't feel were part of the team) joined Silents. We (who joined Silents) decided to be our own "subgroup" and made up the label "Blue House" which was really the house we coded in during Weekends. We released Blue House, Tropical Sunset and BluesHouse during this time. I got a bit tired of the scene and I met M:et in a jeans store and he talked me into joining Rebels again. This time we had a lot of fun in the group, I got to know many more cool people (including Nick, Oliver, most of the Danish people and not to forget all the Finnish people!!!).. And the rest is just history, I did my military service, programmed Blue House II and the Blue House Cruncher (which beat the crap out of PowerPacker for packing SEGA Genesis graphics).. Later on I joined Movement, but left because of all the internal problems in the group (mostly caused by 911 and the French ppl). Then I was working at a Norweigian games developer so I didn't feel like engaging too much in the scene anymore.

The full list of groups I have been a member of are: HUGE, TBLC, Heptagon, The Electronic Force, The Crimson Crew, AmigaLords, ZYX, New Beat, Rebels, Silents, Rebels (I joined again), Movement, Pornos...

What was the proudest moment in your career ?
It was when I finished Pocahontas (well, not JUST me, we were a big team) for Disney Interactive and I got a mail from one of the assistant producers at Disney Feature Animation saying:
"We have the final Poca and the overall consensus here is that it looks pretty darn good. (which is a high rating coming from a bunch of artists!) Definitely better than any previous Disney Game." (I was the lead programmer of that game) But in the Amiga Scene? Well, that would definitely be all the critics I recieved for Rebels MegaDemo II!

And of course every time I find myself in voting charts, that gives me a nice warm feeling! Or when Blue House was #1 in Crackers Journal..

For what specific reason(s) do you think that you are remembered ?
The Blue House productions.. All those little demos and intros I coded :) And for some reason, a green towel and a white house....

And of course all those ZYX stickers I happened to bring to a demo party (sorry, Conqueror!!!!!)

What would you like to be remembered for ?
The demos I made and the person I was in the scene!

What made you stop the scene activity ? (and do you remember when?)
I sort of halted scene activities around mid 1994 when I was working 100 hours/week with a christmas game. I didn't have any more time to do any scene stuff.. But I did an invitation demo for the Gathering (1994) after that.

Thinking back on the good old days, is there anything you regret?
Not being the outgoing person I could have been at the time.. But now, all days are party days and I think I got a quite unique youth period from the Scene activities!

What was your favorite
GAME(S)
Paradroid (c64)
Contra Hard Corps (Jap SEGA MegaDrive)
Secret of Mana (SNES)
Toy Story (SEGA MegaDrive)
Seven Cities of Gold (c64)

DEMO(S)
There were so many great ones, but I am especially fond of some old Atari st/ste demos because of their limited hardware! I remember when an Atari coder converted some of our demo routines to look perfect on the Atari as well.

PROGRAMMER(S) (OR PROGRAMMING TEAM(S))
The Innerloop team (Game developers in Norway). They have a really great 3d engine in their forthcoming game!

And Mario van Zeist, he may not be the one I respect the most in actual programming, but he is a very cool person to work with and he gets things done fast!

And also Noah/Lemon. who is a really great game programmer! I'm looking forward to his Playstation title which promises (or Noah promises..) to be a real hit!

OVERALL GROUPS :
Silents or Rebels, that's the favourite groups I've been a member of! (or possibly Pornos..) This may not be the answer you are looking for, but I don't really know how to judge a group I haven't been a member of!

COMPOSER(S)
I think Jason is great to work with, he really works hard to get the things right when needed. And Jeroen Tel is a great game musician too! I still listen to most of his c64 songs! Danko is also quite good with MegaDrive music. I love the compositions of Laxity (Thomas P).

BEST GRAPHICS
I think Joachim makes brilliant things, but also M Noguchi and Ole-P and Lin S and Colin Mcmahon and TMB Design!

EVENT(S) (E.G. COPYPARTY)
I think the one I like most was Silents/TRSI summer conference.. But ECES was great fun, most parties in Denmark, like Party I when I met a girl after about 48 hours of programming..

MEMORY(S)
Viper's father discussing Viper's phone bill after a Singapore call.. The White House (which was ex Purple Haze, where a lot of scene people lived.. Like: Jason, Joachim, Jack K, Walt/Melon, Mack/Melon, Mogwie, Fuzzac, me, Jogeir Liljedahl, ěistein Eide, Einar (SCOOP dude) and a million amigas and a lot of Crusaders people... Where did my A500 go? Who really stole the dishwasher? And did the old hag pay crusaders for the burglar alarm?)

DRINK ?
Currently Tab xtra, but Pommac is also one of my definitive favorites! Fanta Lemon is the top drinkmixer! Goes with everything (except milk).

Favorite food ?
Glad you asked! I like food I cook myself and don't have to wash up afterwards! But after a heavy time in Norway, I tend to prefer more salads and pasta than the regular american deepfried shit.

What are you doing nowadays ?
Currently I am waiting out a quaranteene from my previous company where I developed a lot of videogames (for MegaDrive, SEGA-CD, PSX and PC) and when it is over, I'll work for some other company making cooler games! (The previous company have now decided to change strategy and become a 100% internet game company... BOOOORING!)

What are you doing on your spare time?
I sleep most of my spare time, but you can also catch me bicycling from time to time.. I also enjoy partying in most forms :)

Is there anything you'd like to say to the public (read: admires)
Check out an interview I made for a hobby console programming page: http://www.clearlight.com/GameSite/protected/intcarl.html

And.. well, hello to: Enrico Palazzo, Dalai Lama, Don Juan, Torsken, Rekan, Sonja, everyone at Innerloop, JackStackLack, Oppa, Linshen, Kňnkan, Pornos, Romelix, Funcom Management, Maiken, MiMaga, Havok, Coolio, Censor, Che, Jawbreaker, The guys I spoke to at Psygonis and especially the guy who didn't like Marius (who does, anyway?), Erik Gl°ersen, Gaute, Sigurd&Tom Gahl, Disney Interactive and Feature Animation, Midway Chicago (Hi SAL! Like the basketball?), Midway San Diego, Mario van Zeist (Banana!), Pornos, Dental Illusions, ok, that's enough of those pointless regards!

And if you ever think of working at Funcom, ask them some questions about:
Employee shares (actually getting money for them), working hours, size of management vs production, tax in Norway, influence in company after working there for a long time, salary policies (again management vs senior production employees), how many people who have released games still work there, etc. DO NOT ask about further education plan because that will only result in a 3 hours long lecture in how to apply for it.. And I have a webpage at: http://www.torget.se/users/p/PabloE/

What is the meaning of life?
Getting better at things.