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Amiga Flame Interview with Thomas Frieden of Hyperion Software

It has been roughly one year since Hyperion Software first entered into the games arena and announced their intentions to convert Shogo to the Amiga acquiring the rights from Monolith. Since then they have closed agreements with various companies to convert games such as Freespace: The Great War, Heretic II, and Worms: Armageddon. It therefore seems only fair to interview Thomas Frieden of Hyperion Software to find out more about the people behind this ambitious and games-loving company.

1. Its one-year on since the creation of Hyperion Software, looking back, what has stuck in your mind as the most memorable moment for the company?

Probably the day we've got the source code for Shogo. Especially the shock of discovering that the CD contained 75 MB of data. Fortunately, it turned out that the actual source code was "only" 15 MB....

2. Hyperion Software has an incredible line-up of games planned for Amiga gamers, how do you convince companies such as Activision that they should be interested in a conversion deal?

Let's not beat around the bush: money talks. When you put 50,000 US Dollars on the table, most companies will deal. Most, not all. Some companies have people working for them who are 'OS racists': if you are not running Windows, then you have not earned the right to run their product, no matter if a potential deal would generate substantial revenues for a company without any cost to them. You'd figure that if somebody approached a company offering 50K or 100K, risk-free, no expenses, that they would accept it but that is simply not the case. Knowing who to talk to inside the company is also vital: the higher up you get, the better chance you have. It's also important to find out who actually has the rights you are after: the publisher or the developer. Who owns the company you are approaching? The subsidiary might think Bill Gates is God but maybe there are some sensible people in the parent company. It's fair to say that we have gotten pretty good at it.

3. Some people have wondered whether Hyperion Software have over-stretched themselves for you have mentioned that you had a lack of "development resources" for Worms: Armageddon? Do you intend you take on more staff?

Yes, we'll probably be hiring more people in the future. The reason why we secured so many licenses is that we want to show our commitment and we also want to show the Amiga users that it's still worth upgrading their hardware. It's true that we are somewhat stretched right now, especially financially because the Gateway plans didn't materialise and no new PPC hardware is available: the PPC Amiga market can't expand due to lack of hardware. We are very worried about that and we have had to shift significant development resources to Linux and Mac development. We certainly hope Amiga can address this situation and soon. We have some ideas how this can be done and they are not calling for large amounts of cash.

4. Amiga President, Bill McEwen has said that they are working closely with Hyperion Software, pointing out that Hyperion Software and the Tao Group have been working together, "to make the development of games for the Amiga a cut above the rest". Can you perhaps explain what type of relationship you have with Amiga Inc and the Tao Group?

We are working on an OpenGL implementation for the new system and will be doing drivers for certain graphics cards. We are advising Tao on the features that we would like to see incorporated into their 3D API. You may or may not know this but by the time the new system is slated to hit the market, IBM/Motorola will have released their new evolution of G4 processors running at 700 Mhz and up. These G4's have two Altivec units and in combination with a state of the art graphics-card like the Geforce 2 will be able to deliver stunning 3D graphics performance.

5. Do you think that Amiga Inc under the new reigns of Bill McEwen have the potential to succeed in creating a new Amiga system?

Yes, I think they have. There are numerous reasons:
For one, I think the concept is good. The Collas plans were considered by some as bad because he brought in Linux as a underlying kernel. The current solution will also allow this, but it will also be able to run standalone. So, you may consider this the middle road. Also, The concept of platform independence is really promising. This makes the whole system very scaleable in terms of performance and price-point.

Another reason is that I think that right now is a good time to come out with a new system. The recent turmoil concerning Microsoft, the possibility of powerful PPC hardware like the POP boxes, and the overall "feeling" that the time is right for new concepts may help Amiga in their new start.

6. There are said to be more game announcements from Hyperion Software regarding future conversions. Can you give us any hints as to what type of games you have in mind?

We have a wide variety of titles coming up, from shooters over real-time strategy games to role-playing games. Among them are some absolute top titles, including very recent games. We will disclose more information when we can.

Thomas Frieden

Amiga gamers will be pleased to know that Hyperion Software has signed on another two games. This time however, they are not conversions. If you want to know more, then you'll have to pick up a copy of Amiga Active.

If you wish to contact Hyperion Software, then e-mail them at:-


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