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Chemical Rock
The Definitive Sid-8580 collection,
by Paul Kubiszyn.


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History (from XLCUS to StudioX64)

Yes it really is the end of XLCUS (as we know it) although I (Mr. Paul Kubiszyn <- see picture on left) am sure Mr. Jonathan Hunt (see picture below) will continue the flame (even though not in a C64 sense (see www.xlcus.co.uk)), as he has become known as Mr. XLCUS. So where does this leave you - the loyal XLCUS fan?? Well fret ye not, before you decide it's no longer worth living, please turn to the profile page. Before doing so though, I would like to take you on a journey (if I may?), through the past 7 years of XLCUS. Strap yourself in (it's going to be a bumpy ride :) and grab a bowl of popcorn.


In The Beginning.....

So where did it all start for me then, well as I recall whilst sitting at school. I have always longed for that 5 minutes of fame, and wanted it very much so back then. I think the first moments came when my brother (Mark) and I were one of the first to complete The Last Ninja 2 on the C64. Mark being the fantastic artist that he is began mapping out the game, which later featured in the then very popular "Commodore User" magazine. I began (as always) learning BASIC, writing the odd program or two, but ultimately giving up because it just wasn't quick enough. It wasn't for about 1 year or two that I decided to learn assembly language. When I did though, I never looked back. My first game "Square Scape" or should that be "Square Scrap!" really sucked (and I will always be first to say this :o), we all have to start somewhere though. I remember going into town later that some month, and constanly looking through every page in Commodore Format magazine (whilst in WHSmiths :o) until finally there is was..... The Review! - I quickly hid it from both Mark, and my mum after reading the dreadfull (though fully justified) review of the game, 35% I think it got. A few weeks later came a little known tank game "MegaForce", a game written solely to prove that I could actually program! - This time the game looked nice, but the game play sucked, not to mention some hideous bug which meant if you played it for about 20 minutes it crashed (CF didn't notice this before paying me though :o)

I must at this point appologise if any details here conflict with those in my Story of XLCUS page on freeserve, I thought instead of reading that and trying to fill in the gaps I would just re-write the story from memory again. Doing things this way I may even remember some interesting facts missed out the first time round :o) - that and I am totally lazy!!! Anyhow back to the plot, where was I? - Oh yeah, basking in the glory of "MegaForce", I followed this up with the game "Amorphous" the title for which I came up with after reading through a dictionary (looking at random pages!). I sent both titles off to Commodore Format and they previewed them, I was a bit upset because they never reviewed them though :o( - I realised at this point that I had a good little game "Amorphous" which I could actually commercially market, and a rather not brilliant game that I could use as advertising leverage "MegaForce". So I decided to sign some contracts to write games for Commodore Format, then to keep the rights to "Amorphous" and market this myself (an idea which later paid off). After the release of "Amorphous" came a couple of demos I did with Ewen Gillies (also featured on Commodore Format), along with the CF publication of "MegaForce". I then programed 3 new games written especially for Commodore Format magazine, these were "Square Scape 2", "Colouration", and finally "Capture" (which many years later I followed up with the aptly named "Capture2").

I then became involved in the importing business with the now defunct BIB Developements, we imported two titles from a company in Germany, CP Verlag gmbH. I think these games flopped pretty big time, that was after BIB mastered 500 copies professionally done too :o) Still you win some, you loose some. Around this time Commodore Format decided it was no longer a viable option to remain on the shelves of our local WHSmiths, and closed it's door on the C64. With the demise of CF pretty much came the end of commercial gaming on the C64, and it all became very mysterious from there-on-in. The "Scene" as it now were moved underground, with it came petty recriminations about one group ripping off others works, and chart domination from the likes of Avantgarde and Byterapers. In a way it did the demo scene wonders, as this was all that actually remained on the C64, sure the odd game or two were released but most were just absolute rubbish! - I too became involved with the demo scene, it took a grip on your life, almost like a drug! My efforts were mainly concentrated around promoting a new technology which XLCUS invented, IMAP. IMAP or Interlaced Bitmapping as it was known, was primarily my invention, although Mr. Jonathan Hunt was the man who made my vision reality. Over the years people had tried to do digitised pictures on the C64 but for some reason they always fell into the same trap. They would use all the available processing power of the C64 to actually interlace a picture, leaving very little time to do anything more. I on the other hand came up with the idea of "pre-calculating" the interlaced 2 frames on another computer (in our case this was an Acorn Archimedes). Jonathan (see scary picture on right) had already many years experience on the Acorn and made writing conversion software look a breeze (including all the wonderful algorhythms for avoiding colour clashes he devised). We decided to do 2 frames each multi-coloured (160 x 200) giving us a colour resolution of 320x200 (and full processing power). The technique received much acclaim and people finally accepted XLCUS as a game / and now demo group. We featured in many charts over the next few years, and in one case even got to position 2 if I recall.

Alas eventually I became full time employed and had to kerb my programming time. I always wished I could go back to the days when I would wake up each morning, rush down stairs, and examine the HUGE pile of mail and disk sends I would receive. As time moved on I got a PC and learnt how to program in C++ and primarily now use Borland C++ Builder for my projects. I have moved more towards the musical side of things these days, and occasionally dabble in the art of coding midi applications. I have never felt the buzz on the PC which once was there on the C64, and it is for this exact reason which I recently got my C64 down from the attic. I decided I would produce a musical collection cd of all my greatest C64 tunes. The CD is now finished and titled "Chemical Rock", you can purchase it here should you wish to do so. It took about 6 months to go from the initial idea to full production, and a LOT of listening to my tunes (lucky I like them really :o) For more information on the CD, and what I got upto next I suggest you read the section "profile". I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, it certainly stired a few memories for me :o) - In closing I would just like to finalise things and have the last word on the matter.... XLCUS IS DEAD!!! and may it rest in peace.....

One Last point... Jonathan now uses XLCUS as his programming handle, to confuse matters even more he now publishes his own website at www.xlcus.co.uk. There is nothing much to do with our C64 XLCUS programming days on the site, however please visit it to see some of the wonderful rendered artwork which he produces.