Mr Flibble Talks To... Game For Anything
Mr Flibble gets interactive with Peter Scott, the man behind Red Dwarf: Simulants' Revenge.
4 July, 2003
Peter Scott
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

Mr Flibble looked up from his mobile phone game long enough to nod hello to Peter. After that, he was back to simulant blasting, leaving Andrew to ask what prompted BLUE BECK's interest in creating Red Dwarf games.

We have created some very good online space shoot-em-ups in the past, however for our first foray into mobile games we wanted to do something a bit special. We decided we wanted a really strong concept to work with, and ideally a concept where nobody had previously created games. Red Dwarf fitted the bill perfectly, and when we learned more about the size of the fan base we were convinced that this was the right company and concept with which to partner.

First of all, tell me a bit about Blue Beck - what you guys do, and what your role is...

Blue Beck are an Interactive Entertainment developer, we have created online games for Electronic Arts and have recently started to use our Java development skills to create cutting edge mobile games. We are based in England's North-West, which is a global centre for computer games development. As CTO [Chief Technical Officer] my role is primarily focussed upon games development and management of the project team.

Mr Flibble remained primarily focussed on blasting simulant scum. What's the storyline of SIMULANTS' REVENGE, and can you talk newcomers through the game's style and features?

The game is a space shoot-em-up. Starbug has ended up in a Simulant hunting zone and, faced with waves of extremely upset Simulants and their terrible creations and allies, you must fight your way through.

Using various power-ups like the Nitro blaster, battle scutters, lasers and side rockets you shoot everything that moves. Each level introduces a completely new baddie culminating in the terrible GELF Lord at the end of the game.

What phones will the game work on, and what prompted the decision to go that route?

See this handy table:

Phone Model
Nokia 7650,7210,3650,3510i
Motorola T720
Siemens S55
Sharp GX10

These are the main mass-market handsets that currently support Java games in the UK, so hopefully we are providing access to the widest number of people. Over time we anticipate expanding the above list and developing for the US and Japanese market, where the programming language on many handsets is different.

Speaking pre-launch, what kind of feedback have you had on Simulants' Revenge so far?

We showed Simulants' Revenge to senior members of Nokia's Game Application team out at E3 (the global games Expo in LA) and they were blown away - the comment was that globally, in terms of shoot-em-ups on phones, the Simulants' Revenge game is as good as it gets. Certainly we are the first developer to put 3D models into a game on a phone.

Mr Flibble was called a gimp for not killing more bad guys. Time for another go. Andrew rolled his eyes and pressed on. Is the 'ONLINE ARCADE' a fairly new concept in this kind of format? For the uninitiated, how will the arcade work?

The online arcade that we are developing has a number of unusual features. It's a subscription arcade - i.e. you sign up for three months at a time, and that gives you unlimited game play, and a chance to compete against fans across the globe for the monthly prizes.

I don't think any programme or movie has ever had a high-quality online arcade with a large number of games for its fans. We're building in global high-score tables, and we're looking forward to seeing which countries dominate the high-score tables. [Plus] the idea of monthly prizes - show memorabilia and merchandise - for the featured game of the month is an interesting twist.

What games will be in there, and what's the style of each?

We are currently working on six games:

    6000 and Falling - An addictive puzzle
    Midget Blues - Blue Midget in a high skill space shoot-em-up
    Grav Pool - Pool rules, but not balls!
    Rogue Scutters - Catch and save scutters from destruction
    Moon Rescue - Search, fight and rescue Kryten
    GELF-Space - An 'invaders' style game

All are Java 1.1 games that can be played online using any PC. The skill levels required to complete these games vary - some are easy to master, whilst with others it takes time to build up your skill level.

How have Blue Beck captured the feel of the show? Do you have fans in the office?

Our Creative Director, Alan Lawson, spent a long time viewing videos of all of the shows. We feel we have managed to capture the blend of sci-fi and humour. It helps that Alan has a background in comedy script writing. Whilst for the animation and programming team this was a dream project, we've all watched Red Dwarf over the years and it's great to work on something that is so well known.

The Arcade will also be selling phone LOGOS - again, what kinda thing have you got there? And are there any plans for ringtones as well?

We've developed quite a wide range of logos, and it's going to be interesting to see which ones prove to be a big hit. The current logos range from a straightforward Red Dwarf [ship] through to [the] Diva Droid International [logo], and everything in between. We are looking at ringtones and hopefully this will be something we can add in the future.

Mr Flibble has defeated the Simulant nation... at the cost of being left permanently cross-eyed. Wandering out the room, he bumped into the doorframe and knocked himself out, leaving Andrew to finish the interview. If the RD arcade and phone game are a big success, what does the future hold?

In an ideal world we would love to do a full PC game to coincide with the launch of the movie! A lot of progress has been made with high-quality games that you can download online, and this route might provide an opportunity for the entire fan base globally to purchase a future game, rather than us having to fight for shelf space in retailers across all territories.

Mr Flibble enjoyed talking to Peter Scott, and now that it's over... Mr Flibble is very cross.