DM Interview

The following is an email interview I conducted with Don Jordan in October 1998. Don was the programmer for the Apple II system version of DM. A very big thanks to Don for the Email interview.

How did you get involved in writting Dungeon Master for the Apple?

Wayne Holder, the owner/founder of FTL Games (a.k.a. Oasis Systems Software), started out doing spelling checkers for the PC. Wayne hired me to write spelling, thesaurus and word search modules for the Apple II. The licensing of these OEM modules I created helped finance the Atari ST development of Dungeon Master. Wayne wanted to see if it was possible to get DM to run, in an acceptable manner, on the then new Apple IIgs. I managed to get it going and the IIgs version of DM was off and running. The port of DM to the IIgs was being done while they were developing it for the Atari ST--talk about a nightmare!

What did you actually do in the DM project for the Apple and were you able to input any idea's into the project?

I *DID NOT* have anything to do with actual development of the game. I got everything to run on the IIgs. The only "new" things I contributed to the game was the capability to handle stereo sound EFX with the Ensoniq sound chip on the IIgs and a load of new sound EFX that appeared on the IIgs and subsequent versions of the game. The Atari ST had only Monaural sound at that time. Additionally, I did the copy protection for the IIgs. Which, in a twisted sort of way, was the funnest part of the project. ;-)

What where your favourite things in DM?

My favorite thing in DM was the "real time" feel of the game. I believe that it was the first of its' kind anywhere. The stereo/multiple channel sound EFX made the game a whole lot more fun. We played it on Waynes big screen TV once and put the audio from the IIgs through his stereo. It was fun to hear sounds of the monsters and doors opening and closing in the distance.

What where the Rabbits feet actually for!

If I remember correctly from the source code (this was ten years ago now!), the rabbits feet tipped the odds in battle a little bit in your favor, but not enough to do anything much. I may be wrong about this though: there is something in the recesses of my memory that says there was something else. I will have to double check with the guys about that.

Does Cursed Armour make any difference to normally armour?

Again, if I recall correctly, the cursed armour was supposed to do something, but that something was abandoned when the game was finally released.

Are there any little things that you know about DM that not many other might know?

Nothing that I can recall....hmmmm I could swear I left some kind of Easter Egg in the IIgs version somewhere....

What have you done since?

Things worth mentioning: I have been a co-author of the original Adobe Home Publisher for the Macintosh. Still being sold by Adobe. The same guy I worked with on Home Publisher and myself have a new application soon to be released from Sierra called Web Studio. This is for Windows 95/98. This will appear in the stores in November. It is, without a doubt, the EASIEST web site creation tool available. See it for yourself! Sierra made a lot of, in my opinion, bad changes to the GUI. They own it now, oh well.

Do you have any orignal files / pictures / maps or anything that >wasn't used in the final game I could have for my web site?

There were things, but I don't have them anymore after I left FTL games for greener pastures. Besides, they would be protected by copyright, and I don't think Wayne would be too happy about that!


Interview copyright of D.Durgan 1998. Interview may not be reproduced without express written permission.