i. What is it like to work with Peter Molyneux?
ii. What is like to program computer games?

Employee Descriptions:

i. Steve Jackson
ii. Mark Webley
iii. Tim Rance
iv. Paul Nettleton
v. Russell Shaw
vi. Mark Healey
vii. Jamie Durrant


i. Black and White
ii. Lionhead and the black and white goldfish

Frequently Asked Questions

Peter sickeningly lives up to his creative reputation. He knows where the current project is heading, and yet seems constantly distracted with other things. He is regularly known to break office silence with "I've just had a bloody good idea for a new game". Then with everyone held in suspense, he usually refuses to reveal the idea, and leaves for a cigarette grinning from ear to ear. Working with Peter is good fun, I constantly find myself in the office until dawn, having spent hours both programming, and playing games. Peter is a strong believer in that the best work is done into the early hours of the morning, which is something he practices regularly. When playing multiplayer games, Peter is possibly the most competitive person alive, which makes winning all the sweeter. However, he suffers from memory loss when he loses, or if it's Black & White he loses at, it is conveniently a design fault or bug in the game, and it must be amended for the next version. Peter is a renowned cheat. He was recently caught changing Dungeon Keeper in a 'Programmers versus Testers' challenge match. Although I must confess, I too was guilty. We cheated even more than they realised, yet Peter and I got annihilated after six hours of play. Peter of course blamed me, despite being destroyed first.

If you love computer games like I do, writing computer games for a living is completely excellent. To be honest right now I feel like I’m being paid to do my hobby with a bunch of mates. It’s the start of a new game, which is very exciting, and the game is completely open to new ideas, and experimentation. Working on computer games involves continuous problem creating and solving, some serious mathematics, and frustrating bug fixing. Which despite popular belief, can be hard work. There can also be an incredible amount of pressure on you to get the work completed quickly. At some stage in development, I believe you have to be prepared to lose your social life to work the stupid hours required to make the deadlines, and you have to enjoy what you do to cope. Dungeon Keeper was an extreme example. During the last five and a half months of development, we all worked at least sixteen hours a day, for almost everyday including weekends. Which was insane. The best part of creating computer games is seeing the results. It doesn’t matter what you think about a game, or how much work you have put into it. It’s what the people who play it think. You really know its all been worth while when you’re sitting on a bus, listening to two strangers talking positively about a game you helped create.

Steve is not your usual business man - he’s good to have around. He seems to really enjoy life, and brings a joyful feeling to the office. It’s also rare to have such a creative, and enthusiastic chap handling the company accounts. I believe Steve used to be a mischievous child, who’d play around with buttons and dials on electrical equipment that he shouldn’t touch. He is always doing sneaky things on the quite to surprise us with, and I swear he is desperate to get his fingers into Black & White. I once offered to teach Steve some programming so he could write a line of code, but he smiled, and backed away content with his confusion. I think he believes that programmers are Aliens anyway. Steve loves his job. He’s obsessed with saving money, organising things, including games to play, and I think he is finding development completely intriguing. Essentially Steve is a fun lover, but he doesn’t take any shit. He can smile off any situation, or just dismiss it with a ‘Pa!’ or ‘Twaddle’. Steve doesn’t swear, and never seems to be angry. I’d love to wind him up though, just to see what happens! For someone who can be incredibly serious, Steve is totally bizarre. Peter once suggested that if technology got good enough it would be great to do body swapping so you could rent a fit body to go out in. Steve agreed, but suggested it would be great because you could be a woman and shag all your mates… hmmmm… not quite what Peter meant Steve. I’d watch out if was Iain Livingstone!

Mark is the man with the massive mug for his tea. He claims to have the fastest kettle in the west, and I believe him. He is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, and has a sense of timing that can shatter any situation that is becoming unnecessary serious. I guess Mark is just a big kid at heart, besides, he loves buying presents for his children, which I swear are for him. He is damn organised, managing to keep everyone focussed on the job at hand, while being completely subtle about it. He also comes up with good ideas, and programs with a sense of pride and polish. Mark is also a really tactful chap, however this tact becomes less and less noticeable on a level relative to the amount of alcohol he has consumed. On Lionheads first big company outing. Mark had had a few ales, and we had just picked up Cathy Campos (our PR agent) on the way to an awards ceremony. Cathy had made herself gorgeous in a way that only She can, sat down in the taxi, and said to the driver “I’ve had you before haven’t I?”. That was like waving a red rag to a bull to Mark, he went into full on comedy mode for the whole night, digging himself progressively deeper into trouble with Cathy, which I must add, is not advised. Cathy hit the roof, Mark was silenced, and we were all left in stitches of laughter.

Tim is a well educated chap from Cambridge, with a passion for fine music and piano playing. He is also a techy, problem fixing, computer building, and programming wizard. Who completes requests thrown at him at random with all speed. Tim is rather clean cut, he hasn’t done anything remotely embarrassing, or at least if he has, he got away with it. He knows a lot, so much it makes you sick. The more complicated the problem the better it is for Tim. However, despite his mass intelligence, send Tim on a trivial mission like when we once sent him to the post office to buy some stamps, and he’ll come back completely confused!

First of all, Paul is a beer monster, show him beer and his eyes light up. He’s great to have around at the pub, as you never have to go to the bar, because he’s already getting the next round in, before the current one is finished. Paul loves to program, he is often found in the office tapping away when you least expect anyone being there. He also thinks he is the Nintendo gaming god, irrespective of how regularly he loses at Diddy Kong in the office, he seems to be constantly threatening to “kick your arse next time”. Paul’s great weakness is American woman, which is odd for a Yorkshire man. For some reason he manages to meet and fall in love with them with more regularity than is healthy. He’s even been engaged to one, despite her living over seas. She was nice though.

Mark shares Steve’s mass usage of smiling, in fact his friends call him smiley because when he was at school he used to get into trouble for smiling when being told off. He oozes creativity, his art work is nothing short of amazing, both impressing with it’s style, and the creativity behind it. Mark is not afraid about being blunt, he says his mind without hesitation, and is constantly challenging people with what they’re doing, and gets away with it as he is training in Wing Chung! He keeps us programmers on our toes, as he believes that as he used to program Commodore 64 games, he is all knowledgeable about programming today. Despite all this, Mark is essentially a laid back chap, he loves to play guitar, and he’s good. In fact he’s my guitar mentor. He also regularly kicks back in Amsterdam. He recently managed to arrange a business trip to Amsterdam for a few days, and he was ecstatic. Nothing makes Mark happier than the prospect of visiting Amsterdam. I swear it’s his second home.

Russ is vocally the quietest person at Lionhead, yet he makes all the noise. He hides in his room creating sounds that transform the office daily between a scary haunt and pleasant countryside. He is nothing short of incredible with music. I swear he could endlessly create sound effects and compose tunes without any problems. For someone so talented, Russ is also a completely modest chap. It took me months to find out he used to work in a recording studio doing records with famous artists, and I found out recently from someone else that he’d also worked with Gerry Anderson. Russ even knows the technology behind his creations, he’s programmed the Lionhead sound libraries, and deals with more dials and switches than I can bear to look at. In addition, Russ’ quite character is deceptive, recently at a Lionhead meeting of minds, Russ had lots to contribute, including some really fresh ideas for Black & White. He is also game for a laugh, for his Lionhead initiation he is going to busk in Guildford High Street. I cannot wait.

Jamie is an artist with a wide range of abilities from sculpture to computer graphics for television. As soon as he joined Lionhead Jamie took over the web site, and completely redesigned it. He created it again from scratch, and had it completed within a week. Jamie does not mess about. He is a net surfer of many years, and hence, he is our resident Internet guru with all the answers. Possibly as a direct result of being hooked up to the Internet each evening, Jamie has an allergy to exercise. He recently was challenged to a rowing race, in which he came second. However, seconds later, he staggered off delirious, was sick twice, and had to sleep for an hour to recover.

I cannot express to you all of what Black and White is on paper, if I was to tell you the game specification it would excite you into a question frenzy. Plus, you’d find the concept would open your mind to endlessly cool ideas. As soon as Peter told me the game idea, I wanted to start creating it there and then, as I wanted to play it as soon as possible. In fact it had made such an impression on me, that that same evening when I slept, I dreamt myself through a whole game. Black and White is bigger than just its specification. There is a lot more to it than there seems on the surface. It’s a concept with more meaning than you’d at first realise. The creation of Black and White is quite daunting. Peter keeps reminding everyone, how incredibly ambitious it is. As a result, I think it will really bring out the best work from everyone involved. Already the Artificial Intelligence has gone further than anything we have accomplished before, and the graphics are of a higher quality than we’re used to seeing, and we’ve only just begun. Recently, the whole of Lionhead met for a meeting of minds on Black and White, and the ideas rolled on well into the early hours of the morning. I wish I could tell you more, and as soon as I can, I will. I’m desperate to tell everyone about it to be honest.

Ok, I’ll tell you what Lionhead and Black and White is, it’s a breed of Goldfish.