Thursday, May 28, 2009

About Me

Dan Bress

My business card says “inventor”. My brother and I hold six U.S. patents, 2 international and are patent pending on over 20 more. Our patents range from computer security hardware to new ways of manufacturing and playing Pinball!

The last few years I have been focusing on Massives, with the goal of replacing the DikuMUD system (level and grind, grind and level) with a system with more umm gameplay. Or in other words, Massive Systems that are: Less Grinding and More Fun.

My design philosophy is simple. I envision gameplay I would enjoy, then work backwards to figure out what systems are needed to support it. My blog will discuss various aspects of Massives that have influenced my thinking.

Below is a bit of my involvement with games.

In the Beginning. I published “The Book of Monsters” the first add-on to the original D&D boxed set. I was the first to put out full D&D scenarios for GMs along with maps and color covers, such as The Lost Abbey of Calthonwey. I designed and published wargame rules for miniatures; the best was for 15mm Napoleonic miniatures called Imperial Guard.

Wargame/Strategy Games. As president of Phoenix Games, I won a “Charlie” Award for producing Streets of Stalingrad, which some people consider the best wargame ever made. I designed and produced wargames covering everything from The Boxer Rebellion to a game on Rapi Nui (Easter Island). Working on wargame and strategy games has given me a perspective that is orientated on games systems and game play, in contrast to a lot of current games which feel as if they were built up using feature lists.

Atari 2600. I designed a game based on Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs Spy.” So I gave Mad Magazine a call. I was completed floored when I was transferred to William Gaines himself. He explained that Paramount owned both Mad Magazine and Atari, and Atari was under contract to put out three cartridge games based on Mad Magazine. My brother and I put together a demo, which was quickly approved and off we went.

C64 / Apple II. My brother Steve and I had created a game for the 2600 called Revenge of the Phoenix. We didn’t have any luck marketing it. My brother came up with the idea of using the game as a teaching tool, so he wrote Commodore 64 Assembly Language Arcade Game Programming which included the game and source code on a floppy. We created game demos loosely based on the board games “Trireme” and “Source of the Nile”. We had interest from publishers, but our choice was either do the game and starve, or get a real job. So not starving won.

Early PC. We designed and produced My Town a children’s educational game for Reston Publishing. Sega America gave us a call to discuss porting Sonic the Hedgehog to the PC. Our conclusion was that we could only port Sonic to top end machines with VGA cards, which didn’t work for Sega. They asked if we had something quick we could do for the PC. We came up with a demo we called Blobster. It was 3D Lemmings-type game starring a purple Captain Kirk-ish Amoeba with flopping cheap hair piece.

CDs. We teamed up with LunaCorp to produce educational CDs, such as Return to the Moon. Sci-fi author Jerry Pournelle wrote “if you have any interest in the Moon, this is the one you need.” We produced numerous CDs such as Penthouse Guide to Cybersex and Dan’s Guide to the National Park Service. During this period we created a hybrid graphic novel demo for Penthouse Comix.

PC. We were offered a contract to do a game based on the movie Home Alone. We could not produce a quality game with the money they were offering so we passed. I got very involved playing Warcraft II®, but there was not enough maps. I brought to market 734 Maps for Warcraft II. I eventually sold it to Aztech and it was republished as Aztech’s Armory: Campaigns for Warcraft II. We got credit in Ensemble Studio’s The Age of Kings manual.

Arcade Games. We brought to market a six-degree-of-freedom motion platform arcade game called Lunar Defense. Additionally we created a Lunar Rover Simulator that made national news and is perfect for museums.

Currently. I am working on two new gameplay systems for Massives. Additionally I am working on integrating mobile devices into the Massive experience.

This is a brief look at some of my work in games. As time allows I will freshen up my web sites and link them here.