Scott's game Hired Guns took many years to finish, but was well recieved by the Amiga community. The PC version didn't do so well, as Doom had already been seen.
The EGA colour palette had a very limited selection of colours, so the choice of how to colour the lemmings was limited by the PC version.
The Complete History of
Lemmings started life as a simple animation back in August 1989 when DMA Design had just moved into their first office (which only consited of 2 small rooms), and were begining a new game called Walker (based on the walker that was used in Blood Money).
Scott Johnson (author of Hired Guns on the Amiga) had just been hired as a freelance artist after being rescued from a 2 week streach behind the counter at MacDonalds, and assigned the task of creating the graphics for Walker.After building the walkers head, he set about drawing little men for the walker to shoot at in a 16 by 16 pixel box.
I however maintained that they could be done in less; 8 by 8 - or so I thought. One lunchtime I borrowed some one's Amiga (probably Gary's, although it might have been a spare), and set about trying to prove him wrong.
The resulting image is shown above, which only took an hour or so to make. I created the men at the bottom, the gun, and the 10 ton weight. Once everyone had seen it had a good old laugh, Gary Timmons added the mouth, the clapping hand and the rotating thing - and everyone had another chuckle.
Gary also made significant improvements to the character, and you can see Gary's almost complete lemming, just right of the chewing mouth. My one, is a bit "stiff", while Gary's is clearly the one that was used in the game.
The demo itself came about for a couple of reasons; first I had just done the animation, and Russell was keen to use the little guys in something, but the second reason is probably the more interesting.
Russell and Dave were having a discussion about weapons in Blood Money, and Dave was thinking of adding "salamander" style missiles that followed the landscape, but didn't really know how best to implement it. Russell however, had figured out a way, and used the Lemmings to demonstrate it. Dave decided against it though, and added the bombs that are in there today.
Theres been much debate over the choice of colours as well, but the colours were selected, not because they were the easiest to choose, but because of the PC EGA palette. With the limited choice, it was decided the green hair was nicer than blue, and with that, the final Lemming was born. I was actually the next person to code up a demo on the Commodore 64, but I only got so far as having a single Lemming walking over the landscape before Dave put me onto another project.
Dave was now at a lose end after just losing the race to build the first Amiga Action Replay cartridge, and so decided he now had time to start another game, and finally picked Lemmings - which is probably the best decision he ever made.
After coding the defender style explosion, Brian Watson ( who wrote most of the Atari ST version - I started it... he did most of it), almost fell backwards off his chair laughing!
Gary did all the animations, and Scott drew all the background. This was mainly because Gary insited that he couldn't draw backgrounds, so Scott produced the first earth and rock style, and Dave decided to let him do them all. Gary meanwhile, set about creating the animations the game needed.
Walker was an Amiga only game and was well recieved, particually its unusual control method of a joystick+mouse.
My Walker on the left, and Gary's improved one on the right.
Text © Copyright 2006 By Mike Dailly
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