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Zub (1986)      

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Mastertronic Ltd
Binary Design Ltd, John Pickford, Ste Pickford
David Whittaker
Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Audio cassette

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Amstrad CPC
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Sinclair ZX Spectrum

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Your Reviews

John and Ste Pickford (Unknown)   22nd Mar 2013 12:45
Zub was a platform / shoot em up game developed for the budget label Mastertronic, and was the first game developed by John Pickford and Ste Pickford working together as a team.

This was another game with a 12 or 16 week deadline. By this time we'd given up telling the management that we couldn't make decent games in this amount of time, and started more or less ignoring the deadlines completely and just making the game the way we thought it should be made.

However, Zub was still released in what we felt was an unfinished state, even though it included a free, hidden game called Lightfarce.

Ste Pickford writes: "I remember that Binary Design had expanded and reorganised a little by this point, and had split development up into multiple teams. Each team consisted of a Spectrum programmer, an Amstrad programmer, and a C64 Programmer, one of whom was designated as Team Leader, all of whom sat together working on the same game.

We couldn't justify a dedicated artist per team at that point, so the 3 or 4 artists and one musician sat at one end of the room we all shared, and served the 5 or 6 development teams taking up the rest of the space.

Zob (as it was originally called) was a great project to work on, as it was the first time we (well, John mainly) had been given free reign to create our own game. We didn't start with a title or license or 'high concept' from the publisher. John came up with the concept for the game from scratch, and pushed it forward within the studio to get it made. In that respect this game marks the true beginning of our development career, as this method of originating game concepts and getting them made (often through force of sheer will) in environments not always friendly to original ideas has been the pattern we've followed together ever since.

Consequently I've got a real affection for my Zob character. Its just a shame we didn't get to finish the game off properly. The game is a bit lightweight, even by the standards of the day, as we weren't allowed the time we wanted to add a few more planned features, like bonus items and pickups, which would have fleshed the game out a bit.

In those days we had no formal testing process, and a game was only any good if the people working on it actually played it and tweaked the gameplay, rather than just programming features until it was considered complete. I remember John would spend a lot of time just running and jumping around with Zob, making small adjustments to gravity values, jump height, movement speed etc., to get the feel he wanted. Not only was this relatively unusual within the studio, it also used to get him into trouble as he was spending the days working on parts of the code already marked as 'complete' on the development schedule, and thus he was considered responsible for making the game late.

This was a time of working constant late nights and weekends, all unpaid, and although there was a fair amount of pressure we were working those hours because we wanted our game to be as good as it could be, not because the boss made us. Plus we were both such geeks that we didn't drink or have girlfriends at this time, so we also had nothing better to do, hehe."

Issue 36 (Crash)   14th Mar 2011 05:17

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This title was first added on 15th May 2009
This title was most recently updated on 18th February 2016

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