Home/BOING/BOING #2/Interview of Mike Parent Last update: 2024-02-25
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Metro Siege is a very promising beat'em up planned for Amiga. Here is an interview with Mike Parent, one of the creators of the game. You can get more details about the product here.

The interview was initially published in BOING French magazine issue #2 (October, 2021). Thanks to our partner amiga-news.de, it's also available in German. Logo of Metro Siege

Hello Mike, could you introduce the team behind the video game "Metro Siege" ?

Alex Brown is the Programmer. John Tsakiris is the musician, sound guy, does some of the pixel art, and co-game designs with me. He's also the guy that brought the team together! I (Mike Parent) am the lead designer and artist Corey Annis is another pro pixel artist (besides myself) who is co-designing and pixeling the bosses and other boss scene related art.

What is "Metro Siege" all about ?

"Metro Siege" is a project I've dreamed of since my teenage years as an Amigan who was very frustrated with the generally sub standard quality of arcade and console style games and especially ports of AAA arcade games on Amiga. I knew the system could do much better, and had always wanted to prove it. John had spotted my pixel art in an Amiga Facebook group. He and Alex had just finished and published "Worthy" for classic Amiga, and were ready to start their next project. John suggested they see if I'd like to collaborate with them and I jumped at the chance to work with such a talented and passionate team. Both John and Alex have exceeded any possible hopes or expectations with their skill and dedication to quality and I couldn't be more happy with how it's turning out.

When I look at videos and screenshots, it makes me think about games like "Renegade" or "Street Fighter" ? What were your sources of inspiration ?

Metro Siege screenshot

The beat'em up genre has always been my favorite multi-player type of game. I grew up playing every and any of them my brother and I could get our hands on. "Metro Siege" is most directly influenced by" Streets of Rage 2" and "Final fight", but there is much influence from many other and more obscure games. For example; "Metro Siege" has a cool blocking and counter-attack mechanic which is inspired by "Knights of the Round", and in "Metro Siege" there are multiple ways to hit enemies once they are knocked down, which is not a feature in either "Final Fight" or "Streets of Rage 2" but can be found in some other beat'em ups.

The other big influence for "Metro Siege" was to go back to the late 80's and early 90's Hollywood vigilante type movies which had been the inspiration for studios like Technos and Capcom to create the genre in the first place. Levels and enemies in "Streets of Rage" and even "Final Figh"t get quite outlandish (such as cyborgs and aliens), whereas "Metor Siege" will put more of its creative energy on gameplay, visuals and story telling that make it a bit more grounded in reality.

Is it your first Amiga game ?

For me, yes. I've been doing Amiga graphics for decades, but this will be my first full game for Amiga, but Alex and John have made or contributed to several complete Amiga games.

Is "Metro Siege" an Amiga-only project ?

No, it will certainly be released on many platforms, but the platform being developed first is classic Amiga, and all other versions will be strongly based on that.

What will be the minimum requirements ?

Classic OCS/ECS Amigas with 1 meg total, 512k of chip ram.

When did the project start ?

I think we started in either late 2018 or early 2019

How many worlds and levels do you plan to include in the game ?

Current plans are for 14 unique environments, each with unique enemies with distinct behaviors and increasing difficulty to keep things interesting, with surprises sprinkled in to make sure things never start to feel too repetitive. We think one of the big mistakes that plagues the genre is making the game take too long to beat, which will often start to make the game feel like a grind to reach the end instead of staying equally fun the whole way through. We'd much rather make a game a strong player can beat in 20 to 30 minutes, but it's so fun they might want to play it several times a day.

Main characters seem quite huge : what about their sizes ?

We made sure the size was very comparable to "Streets of Rage 2" and "Final Fight" character sprite sizes. The general range is from 70 pixels to 80 pixels in height. We can have multi-layered scrolling, 2 player characters, 4 full sized enemies, and over 60 colors on screen all happening at once at 25 FPS on classic Amiga. Everyone who played the demo at Amiga 34 assumed the game was running at 50 FPS because its frame-rate is very stable and its very responsive to player inputs.

Metro Siege screenshot

Which software/tools do you use to draw and animate them ? What are the constraints ?

Most of the art is being done in "Pro Motion NG" (on Windows), but animating the characters takes place in a custom modular animation tool called "RetroAnimator", which was created by Erik Hogan, the creator of "Scorpion" engine for Amiga. Using this tool to create all the animations by re-using body parts and changing their relative positions was critical to fitting so many unique animations in the memory limits. Such a console quality game would not be possible otherwise.

Which programming language is used ? What are the main challenges for coder ?

Alex is using a combination of C and 68k Assembly.

Do you already have an idea of when it'll be released ?

Unfortunately, no, because every member of the team has full time (and sometimes more than full time) day jobs and can only work on "Metro Siege" on top of that work, and with 4 critical team members each having an unpredictable amount of time to work on it in any given week, it's impossible to know for sure when we'll finish. We're back to making good progress though, with many new levels and enemies in the works.

Mike, it seems that you live in France ? Are you French ?

I'm an American but both of my father's parents were native French speaking Canadians who unfortunately abandoned their mother tongue when they immigrated to the USA. My father grew up speaking only English, even though he is full blooded French Canadian. I met and married a woman from Brittany France when I was still living in the U.S and we started a family and eventually moved to France so my wife could live near her sister and parents and so our children could benefit from all the family contact.

Something to add for our readers ?

Thanks very much to everyone for your interest and support for "Metro Siege", and to so many great supporters in the Amiga community in France and all over the world. We are doing everything we can to make "Metro Siege" not just the best beat'em up for Amiga, but a top contender on any platform. We're dedicated to making this game well worth the wait.

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