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The Making Of Bombaman
(or Why Things Take So Long)
Somewhere near the end of 2002, snout, one of the members of msx.org asked me if it wouldn't be a good idea to make a text about the Making Of Bombaman. Of course I agreed, since it would both be a cool reminder to Team Bomba about how this never-ending project started, and because our audience (you!) might be interested in how things work in Team Bomba and how things came to be. In this text, you can read all about this Making Of Bombaman, let's hope you enjoy it

Jorito, 24 January 2003
Once Upon A Time...
A long time ago, in 1998 to be exact, there once was a diskmagazine called the FutureDisk. The FutureDisk had the habit of including small games along with their magazine, games that were often made by the FD crew itself. Back then, in 1998, the idea was to make a FutureDisk with a Southpark theme. It was decided there should be a small game for that issue as well, and a Bomberman clone with Southpark graphics sounded like a cool idea. This was supposed to be a simple game, with just the opportunity to play against each other, with 4 players at the same time, so you could take out your friends with Kenny or somebody else from the Southpark cast.
Oh my god, they killed Kenny!
However, developing the game took quite some time, because Arjan Bakker, the coder, had to go to school too. Of course, the same goes for the rest of the team; progress isn't as fast as you want when you have a job or go to school. Also, there were some other problems that kept no delaying this Southpark issue. On a sidenote, another Southpark-themed game, called Kill Kenny was created because there was no real foreseeing when the Bomberman game would be finished. In this Kill Kenny game, you had a flat building in front of you, with Southpark characters appearing in the windows. The aim of the game was to shoot Kenny (hence the title). Last thing to say about the FutureDisk is that this Southpark issue still hasn't been released, and nobody knows if it ever will be. The same goes for the Kill Kenny game...

Some screenshots of a very early version of Bombaman (around 2000)
How Team Bomba came to be
On one of the MSX fairs in Holland (I think it was the Tilburg fair in 1999), Arjan demonstrated me (Jorrith Schaap) an already reasonably working version of the Bomberman game he had been making. In that version, with graphics ripped from the SNES game Bomberman, it was already possible to walk around the playscreen with a character and place bombs and pick up items. A nice start! At that fair, I was asked if I wanted to compose some music for this (at that time still very small) game, me being the FutureDisk composer, Arjan being a FutureDisk coder, and Bomberman at that time still a FutureDisk product. Of course I agreed, and that started something that would be the beginning of a loooooong road. During that time, Arjan and I had some discussions about adding new things to the game to make it more exciting, the multiplayer game was perfected some more, and some initial music was made. At some moment there, we decided it would be very cool to turn Bombaman into a real game, with a single player mode in which you have to work your way through some levels, and adding enemies in those levels as well.
Hey, we need cool graphics!
At that moment, however, we had one small problem: we didn't have anyone to make the graphics! All graphics we had at that time were ripped from the SNES version, and it was obvious that it just would not do. After some searching, we found somebody willing to make some graphics for us. Patient as we are, we waited a long time for new graphics, but after months of waiting for signals of life it became clear that we shouldn't expect anything useful from this person, and so the search began anew. After a while, a new fair was approaching, I think it was Bussum 2000, that we encountered Robert Vroemisse. He had been participating in quite a lot of projects lately that never were finished (mostly Sargon games like Curse of Kaijruu and Angel), and was a bit skeptic about our game actually being finished. However, after some more talking, he decided to join us, and the problem with the graphics was solved!
Uhhmm... don't we need levels for this game?
Then, after some time developing the game further, and expanding the list of ideas and new things we wanted in the game, it became clear at some point that we wanted a lot of levels in the single player mode of the game. Unfortunately, we were so busy working on the game, that none of us had the time to create any levels for the game. We decided to let the level editing rest for a while, until we had time to focus on that. However, we also had been hanging around on IRC, the #msx channel on Undernet a lot, and #msx became our standard meeting place. A lot of Bombaman development had taken place there already (and still does), and some of us were talking about this problem with the lack of levels we had. We had some discussion about this in #msx as well, and some people volunteered to create some levels for the game. Unfortunately that didn't work out as well as we hoped, there was a problem with graphics on the one hand, on the other hand people had some problem finding the time to create levels. One of the people that volunteered to create levels was Saeba. Unfortunately he wasn't very active creating levels (you know it's true, Saeba ), but he mentioned that a friend of his was very good at creating levels for games, and that his friend had done so for games like King's Valley 2, Eggerland, and so on. Saeba brought us into contact with this friend of his, who turned out to be Jesús Pérez Rosales. After having done some freelance work on the levels, he was officially added to the team as of March the 12th of 2002 for the creation of the levels and finetuning gameplay.
Team Bomba
After this looong introduction, let's sum it up real short. Team Bomba consists out of 4 people at the moment, which are:
  • Arjan Bakker (from Holland, coding of the game and the editor)
  • Jorrith Schaap (from Holland, music, sfx, some graphics and the website)
  • Robert Vroemisse (from Holland, graphics, design of packaging, some music)
  • Jesús Pérez Rosales (from Spain, leveldesign and gameplay)
But, of course, there's a lot of people out there that have contributed in one way or another to the development of Bombaman. There's too many people to mention here, but most of the visitors of #msx have been asked and/or tortured to participate in Bombaman in one way or the other! To all these people, a big thank you is at its place!
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