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(8/5/2001) The fans of their games know them as AM and TM, but years from now these two former QB programmers will be remembered for their solid games.
If you haven't read the official transcript yet from http://www.tmb.f2s.com/files/tmb/newways.txt, then you might not be aware that TMB Productions has stopped making QB games and has moved into Windows programming. The transcript explains that TMB had got caught up in a QB-pushing race, and had sacrificed too many special effects in the past while producing QB games. AM, the programmer of TMB Productions, made the decision to switch to WIndows Programming in order to have access to more high-end effects to produce better-looking games.
But what isn't explained in detail from the transcript is the extent to which AM and TM have been programming games in QB. Six years of programming in QB doesn't even begin to explain the tracks left behind by these QB programmers, and why they believe that going into Windows programming is the next logical step. To really understand this, you have to play through their videogame lineup, and discover how TMB evolved to the efficient programming team they are today.
The Little Pixy was the first of TMB Production's public releases. This game, which involved finding a Christmas present, was more of a testing ground for the technical capabilities of the QBasic language than anything else. At first glance, the game seems pretty short, but from a programmer's perspective, the pixel by pixel scrolling, the snow effects, and flickerless animation were all very impressive, especially when considering when The Little Pixy was released.
After The Little Pixy, TMB started work on a curious video game called The Little Ball. A step up from Little Pixy, screenshots of the Little Ball fail to tell the whole story as to what TMB accomplished with this game. Whereas the Little Pixy had pixel by pixel scrolling, The Little Ball goes the next logical step by featuring double-layer buffering. The background scrolls at a different speed than the foreground, allowing for an effect rarely seen in QB games during that time.
Later on in the TMB timeline, The Little
Ball re-surfaced in a new title, The Adventures. Featuring a new
character named Handy the Hippo, the Adventures raised the graphics and
technical standards of TMB Productions; first off, The Adventures features
two-player simultaneous play (an extremely rare but entertaining feature
among for a platformer along any console or PC). Second, The Adventures
was the first installment from TMB to really show off the skills of graphics
Around the World was the first TMB game reviewed by V Planet. The game got 19 out of 35 points.
Testing all of QB's strengths and weaknesses as a programming language allowed TMB Productions to concentrate fully on the gameplay during their fourth attempt on a platform game, called Around the World. Continuing on the themes and techniques learned from attempts before, Around the World became TMB Production's first major project. The platform game featured Mr. Wolf, who not only jumped around moving pillars and explored secret passageways, but also was the first of TMB's characters to have thrown weapons.
Satisfied by Around the World, TMB Productions decided to pay tribute to one of their favorite PC shooters through their Apogee-themed masterpiece, Percussor. Modeled after the helicopter game Raptor, Percussor featured some of the best graphics and effects that TMB Productions produced yet. Sprites were carefully rendered, there were many on-screen objects at a time, and the QB game even featured a shadow effect. But what really sets apart Percussor from TMB's earlier games is that Percussor is much more polished and bug-free, allowing gamers to concentrate on the task at hand. To date, Percussor is TMB's best work.
Perhaps in a clever way of going full circle, TMB's last QB game was the sequel to the first QB game they ever made. The Little Pixy 2 was released in Christmas of 2000. Though much simpler in gameplay than Percussor, Little Pixy 2 shows off just how far TMB Productions has come since they started programming in QB from a graphic standpoint. Game length is also longer, and there are more things to interact with in this sequel than the original Little Pixy game will ever see.
All things considered, while TMB Productions will definitely be missed in terms of the QB games they produce, it may be appropriate to observe that very few QB programming teams have been trying to make QB games as consistently and with increasing quality as TMB has, during their last six years of programming. Windows programming represents the road that TMB wishes to take, and we wish them the best of luck. But like the presents often left behind, the QuickBasic titles made by these making brothers will continue to be enjoyed by thousands of gamers for many seasons to come.
Article Written by Vance Velez, Editor
V Planet! Archive