Interview with MiRRoRMaN / S!P
First of all, could you provide our readers with basic information about your person? I guess our readers would like to know:
- your handle & groups
- your function in the scene
- your real name
- your age
- your real-world occupation
- how long you've been involved with the scene
My name is MiRRoRMaN, age 29, coder/3d graphics artist/writer (games/books) and father of a 1 year old son. I changed my nick to MiRRoRMaN/MiRR0RMaN with capses to seperate me from all the "fake" Mirrorman's I found on the internet and so people will recognise me as "the amiga guy" I've had my nick ever since I was 13 years old and started cracking for Onixs on the Commodore 64. He said I needed a nickname and I took this one from a nightmare I had the night before about a guy who haunted me trough mirrors. I kinda think of it as my destiny to be Mirrorman. My real name is Dirk, but people call me Rio in real life. My function in the scene is (to me) to just make fun products for people, whether it's tools, games, demos or whatever, fun is what it's all about to me. When people like what I do it gives me a great kick. My real world job at the moment is work as a freelancer building websites, which I truly hate, I'd rather be making games again like I did last in 1998 as a 9 to 5 job. Now I only publish games myself as a "hobby", which is very hard. I can't find a publisher for my latest game at the moment.
Surprise!Productions used to be one of the leading groups, and definitely the largest group, in the early 1990s. As far as I know, it was also the first really multi-national group that had members in a lot of different countries without one country being the dominating one. Could you tell us more about the history of S!P:
- When and how was it founded?
- What were its first major prods?
- How did the development continue?
- When was it that S!P became quiet, and why?
Pfew *hangs head in shame*. I wished I knew when it was founded, I have no idea. There's a lot of information on the sites like www.surprise-productions.org and www.surprise-productions.com. The first products of them I know are the demo and intropacks called tuff-stuff which I really enjoyed back then and still whip in my diskdrives from time to time. ;) The development of S!P continued again with Nuke and Reebok I think, Reebok/TMB (The Master Brain) asked me to join them to make some cool stuff. I felt very honored and haven't regretted joining them a single day, it's the first group where everyone is active in, everybody does his little piece to keep the products coming. Still members are joining up every day, we motivate each other by talking about products day and night, and sending eachother test products for bugtesting etc. It's a lot of fun, next to that we look at porn too. ;) okay, just kidding. Although we do look at porn.
When and why was S!P "resurrected"? How has S!P developed since its "second birth"?
I don't really know, I do know it was Reebok who asked me somewhere around 2002, it was the time where I released stuff like Refosearch which nearly got me arrested by some very scary English RIAA type characters. Refosearch was the last product I released for The Feigling Crew, it was a Kazaa like tool, only without spyware and banners. I reverse engineerd it just for fun and practice, then released it. It was downloaded about 1 million times the first day on downloads.com, then after a week or so I recieved scary calls from those English Mr. Smith like characters, and I pulled it out of the air. Then I met Reebok on channel #amigaexotic, we talked and he asked me to join - I didn't hesitate one moment. :)
Future plans of S!P: What can we expect in the next years?
Ass kicking products. I've also heared Nuke and some other people talk about going to some parties soon to release cool stuff, one day I'll go with them to a party, I'd love to meet everyone and code with them like in the good old days. The sources I've seen for stuff they will bring at parties are truly amazing. Evil, Nuke and Reebok are very good at what they do. Snoopen too btw.
About MiRRoRMaN himself
How did you get interested in the scene?
It was somewhere around 1988 when I met Onixs, he cracked games and I didn't even know what that meant. It was on the Commodore 64, I already coded on the Commodore 64 out of pure interest, at first that 64 belonged to my brother and I remember coming back early from school to sit behind it and code secretly in the attic every day. One day my brother came home early too, found me coding and saw some of the stuff I did, he thought it was so cool he sold me his 64 very cheaply to motivate to keep me coding. Then I met Onixs because I was drawing the cover of Target Renegade in the classroom, he immediatly said: "Hey! You have a 64 too?" and things got rolling. In our scrolltexts we cursed at the teachers, said our hello's and told people about the babes on school we wanted to grope, of course in downtown Chili or Nepal, nobody knew of those babes and teachers back in Holland, but we didn't stop to think about that. We also had our solution on AIDS, by releasing our Anti-Aids demo, there's nothing like spreading awareness trough demos. ;)
When and how did you become member of S!P?
Reebok/TMBsen asked me in 2002, it was one of my better decisions to join, my next very good decision will be to buy an Opel Manta and spread world peace. ;)
You've also been a member of the feigling crew. Could you tell us a bit more about this group?
Actually, I really was a co-founder, it all started in Acquisition's house in Amsterdam/Osdorp on Queensday 1995. We found a stand that sold small bottles of Feigling, we got very very, extremely drunk (I still had a good working liver back then) and released a silly textfile on BBS's about Bill Gates being the devil. The replies where overwhelming, then the Witchdoctor, DdAzZ (a 40-year-old guy who had actually worked for Commodore years back) and Mazzelboy teamed up with us. We almost all had our own BBS's and I did the coding for this group, Acquisition did the graphics, DdAzZ the Ascii's/Ansii's, Witchdoctor and Mazzelboy where just in it for fun. Mazzelboy we made a member without him even knowing it, but he's a very cool guy, he's still my best Amiga-friend. Mazzelboy I actually met through a fight on the wall of Temper's BBS, it turned out we both liked Commodore 64's and after that fight we became friends after he had visited my house with the occasional 64 or 1541 under his arm. Anyway, to continue on the Feigling Crew, we made stuff (or I mostly I must admit, which happens a lot in groups although I didn't mind) for years and years up until 2002. The most known are our "TFC-Bill's"-magazines, that even got a small piece in a Dutch Amiga magazine, next to that I recall coding Trip trough your 64 part I and II, ?DramaH! (spelled that way, a game) and Oscillate (game). It was a lot of fun, and we got drunk/stoned and got laid a lot. Once we even stole some traffic lights (you know, the type that flash when the road is blocked), which I must admit wasn't one of my best decisions. I woke up at Acquisition's house to the flashing of those lights in his room.
You've worked with Amigas for Dutch television. Please tell us more about it.
In 1994 I worked for the Dutch tax office and met an Amiga fan there, who also knew some of my stuff. I copied a lot of my own products for him and he slipped me into his educational classes so I could get diplomas for stuff like Excel, etc. One day he came up to me and gave me an ad he found in his inbox from Francois Boulanger (a Dutch presenter I didn't even know at the time) asking for "Amiga-Freaks" to work for him. I didn't quite know what the ad was about but it read "Amiga-Freaks" so it had to be cool. I went there for an interview and I guess me not knowing him but getting a boner of all the cool Amiga-Equipment there got me hired. I have never seen a more cooler Amiga rendergarden in my life, I still get wet thinking about those days. I got hired, quit my job at the tax-office and we went to Köln to buy me an Amiga 4000 to work with there. It was there where I met my 3rd love next to coding and the Amiga, LightWave. Francois bought these videotapes from America to study from and they got me into some serious rendering. I made the new Lingo-leader, Triviant leader and lots of other stuff including the new leader for Germany's Geh aufs Ganze there. They ran on television for years. After a year and a half or so Francois got into a really bad partnership that costed him a good idea, and me my job (along with the other people there). It sucked so much ass I wanted to declare war to Switzerland just for retalliation. Just kidding. ;) It did suck a lot of ass though. But not for long, because I moved to Drenthe in 1997 and got a job as a games coder here for 3 years. That also ended because of some bad decisions by the boss in those days, he had to declare bankrupt because he didn't have 6 million Dutch guilders laying around he owed other companies. That also sucked a lot of butt, but then again, no Multimedia job is a safe one, it comes with the territory. I would sell my soul to satan for a gamescoder jobs that sticks for like 15 years or more, so any big game bosses that might read this email me on firstname.lastname@example.org :)
What's your opinion of the demoscene in general these days?
The products are great, but the complaining is bad, the demands are very high these days where's me looking at myself as a kid I was content with a nice scroller, bouncing text and great music. I think people should complain less when there's a newbie making demos and give those guys a chance. Constructive critisism is great, every coder needs that no matter how long you've been around, but destructive critisism in the trend of "go home" isn't cool.
What's your opinion on diskmags?
I've loved them, as a matter a fact I'm looking for a classic diskmag (the first one) of Digitech. It featured some intro called the "bone-intro" by their "new member Elf". Oh my God, I'm such a total freak for remembering this, hahahaha. Next I might be quoting Buffy the Vampire slayer. I still love Diskmags btw. It keeps the flame burning.
Your favourite demos?
The Red Sector Megademo (cliché anyone? I guess every Amiga fan says that demo),
Oddyssey by alcatraz,
Catch it by Fairlight on the 64.
Your favourite intros?
The one from Quartex with the flooding logo (I don't know what it was in front of),
The one with the music "Telephone" from Red Sector,
The one from Paradox with the different scrolls,
Horizons intro in front of that zombie game,
DefJam and CCS's with the music "MA.Vision-Copyparty",
Vision Factory's (but I can't recall which one exactly, it had a tune from paranoimia),
Zenith's intro in front of Space balls on the 64,
The Fairlight G.U.T.Z. intro on the 64.
Your favourite music disks?
Any musicdisk from The Jungle Command. Those guys are nuts, I once saw guys in front of a party with their legs tied together, jumping across the road playing real life "Frogger". I asked who those nutters where, Onixs told me they were the Jungle Command.
Your favourite beverage?
Cappucino and malt Beer. Since I had my galbladder removed I can't drink liquor anymore, but that doesn't matter, I was never a heavy drinker except for in my Feigling Crew period. Oh, and I smoke cigars.
Name some legendary sceners.
Strider, the black shadow, Onixs, anyone who was ever in Zenith or Fairlight, Manor, Mad/Max, Gambling Free, Wonderboy Robin, Hobbit & Gandalf, Mazzelboy, the boys without brains, Skippy Helmond, Ikilledher, Temper, Reebok/TMB, Nuke, Snoopen, Evil, Cash (2000Ad), Sid (2000Ad) and the most legendary from all: Jay Miner.
Name some really beautiful women.
Holly Marie Combs (who looks a lot like my girlfriend ;)
Name some famous people who've made great achievements for mankind.
Whoever invented the thong should win a Nobel prize. The guy was a genius.
What are your personal plans for the future?
Just to be happy, and have enough money to pay my bills and do fun stuff. Become a full time games coder again.
Anything else you'd like to tell our readers (such as greets or a special message)?
Well, you can find my homepage at www.mirrorman.cjb.net and if there are any publishers out there that wanna publish my books and games feel free to email me. Next to that to everyone out there: No matter what happens: NEVER sell your Amiga, instead, buy an extra Commodore whenever you have the chance and for God's sake keep Linux off the Amiga.
Thank you for the interview!
No, thank you! :) I always wanted to do an interview, this is my first and I feel very honored. AMIGA RULEZ!