From Bedroom to Billions – Lost Mike Singleton Interview

BEDROOMS_TO_BILLIONSAnthony and Nicola Caulfield of Gracious Films have been making a documentary about the games industry, titled ‘From Bedrooms to Billions‘ @FromBedrooms

‘From Bedrooms to Billions’ ‘A 90 minute feature length documentary film telling the remarkable, true story of the British Video Games Industry between 1979 – 1996. The film shows how the creativity and vision of a relatively small number of individuals allowed the UK to play a key, pioneering role in the shaping of the billion dollar video games industry which today, dominates the modern world’s entertainment landscape.

They originally contacted Mike Singleton for an Interview which he agreed to, but due to his health at the time was unable to do. To put it in perspective he’d just had a chunk of his jaw and tongue removed, and even by the time of his death he was not talking clearly, although close friends and family were able to understand him.

The only known footage of Mike was from a BBC interview for the program Get Set which was transmitted Saturday 28th May 1983.

Unfortunately, the BBC have long since deleted this VT!

Anthony and Nicola are trying to track down anyone who may have recorded this program, and still have it.

Of note, Ultravox and China Crisis performed on the show, and therefore it is likely to have been recorded for either of those performances.

If you can help, please get in contact at http://uvuperformance.com.

Here is the full details of the show.

GET SET – Broadcast 28/05/1983

NMRN314N TX 28/05/1983 (programme Junked by BBC!)

MAG PROG 1:37:10

Kids mag prog pres live from NBH M’cr by Mark CURRY & Deborah APPLEBY.
Guests Ultravox, China Crisis, Mike SINGLETON, Mike READ. Items; competitions, music, cartoons, the VideoVote, guests, COMPUTER GAMES, dinghy sailing & fun, fun, fun!
live studio; sp s, ex-lib & cpyt film inserts; sp s, ex-lib & cpyt promo

ITEMS; MUSIC: Ultravox perf 3 songs live – ‘Hymn’ (5m26s), ‘We Came to Dance’ (3m52s) & ‘Serenade’ (3m24s). Videovote – viewers phone to choose their fave pop video from 4 clips; winner – ‘Bad Boys’ by Wham! China Crisis – Mark

INTVs Eddie LONDON & Gary DALY from China Crisis & intros promo vt of their new single ‘Tragedy & Mystery’.
Demonstration of latest COMPUTER GAMES with Mike SINGLETON.
Summer Scene -vt/film round-up of events around UK. Also; dinghy sailing,

INTV with Mike READ re ‘Great Rock & Roll Trivia Show’, Book Tokens competition, cartoons.

SUBCAT LONPROG FILING DATE 28/05/1983 CIN LISC 244292

REPORTERS : APPLEBY Deborah, CURRY Mark
CONTRIBUTORS : DALY Gary, DEMPSEY Mick (DIR MAG), HARRISON Tony (PRD MAG), LONDON Eddie, READ Mike, ROACH Barry (DGN), SINGLETON Mike

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A Trilogy in Two Parts

1001004006264943_Hunger-GamesI’ve been reading The Hunger Games recently. I enjoyed the first book, and upon watching the film, was reasonably happy with the adaptation. In fact, there are parts of the film that are more coherent than the book. With maybe another thirty minutes, the film could have been a near perfect adaptation.

I finished the second book, Catching Fire, and it confirmed something that has been nagging me for a while, ie: some trilogies need to be reduced to two books. Don’t get me wrong, I like a long story told over a number of books, but there seems to be a need to squeeze more out of a story than there actually is. It’s similar to the need to split films into multiples, Hobbit, Twilight:Breaking Dawn, Hunger Games:Mockingjay.喜羊羊灰太狼

Catching Fire is an ok book, but it feels like a transition, it feels like its only purpose is to move the story from book one to book three. That in itself is not a unworthy goal, it’s just that it meanders. The Hunger Games part of the book only takes up about a hundred and fifty pages, so it feels a little stilted. The first act is just a tad boring. My overall impression was that the book could have lost an act at the front, and gained one at the end; drag in some of the material from Mockingjay. My daughter doesn’t like the second film, although she loved the books and the first film. I think that the source material is probably to blame here. I’ll let you know when I’ve watched it.buy inflatable cowboy bull

Mockingjay redeems the series. It’s a very different style of book than book one, and I like that change in tone. The subject matter is interesting even if the progression through the book is not necessarily so.

I must admit that I expected the books to be more violent than they were. Overall I liked the series, I just could have done with it in two books or one big one!

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Read more about comic con here.

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Colourblindness – a rant

For some reason recently, I have seen a number of posts aimed at web developers, pointing them to sites that will show them how a colourblind ( colour deficient if you prefer ) person will see their site. Now, let me let you into a little secret, it’s not about how I see your site; we don’t after all know how I will see your site compared to how you can see your site. We can only guess by use of algorithms that simulate the theory of how colourblind people are affected. We can’t even guaranty how two people with ‘normal’ colour vision see your site. I’m probably not coming to your site because it looks pretty.

The real issue is, how does a colourblind person experiences your site. And by experience all I mean is the functionality of it. I’ve lived with colourblindness for 43 years. I get by. The world is not a miserable looking place for me, devoid of pretty colours, it’s one where every now and then, someone has used colour to help someone else make a decision, and sometimes, their choice of colour stops me from being able to make that decision.

So imagine this… 10% of males are red-green colourblind ( other types of colourblindness are available). What two colours do you imagine might be bad to use together in order to allow a male to make a decision? Now if your site, or app makes the following statement, “press the green button to exit” you’ve failed the colourblind test. If you happen to have a red AND a green button, you need a slap to boot.

For the record, I drive, and I can happily use the red, green, amber traffic lights. The reason? I can see their position and I can tell the difference of when they are on or off. If you are using lights, and they are red and green, that’s a problem. I can’t play laser tag by the way. I can’t tell when a single LED is trying to tell me that something is wrong unless the state is on/off or on/flashing – not green, red, amber.

If you have a colour legend for a graph or diagram, I’m going to be in trouble unless you’be managed to find enough different colours to represent each of the elements. Not shades of green. Not reds and green. Let’s say I even manage to distinguish the colours on the diagram, by the time I look across the page to look at the legend, I will not be able to associate the colours on the legend to the colour I just looked at unless you have used light blue and dark red.

I present to you the London Tube map, I struggle to use it. But one small change would make the map work for me; it’s not changing the colours, it’s adding the name of the line, either at the end of the line, or on the line somewhere. Then I could just trace my finger along the line until I find the name I need to know. It will take me longer than you to work it out, but I don’t mind, I can live with that. I’m just happy that I can now use it to find my way around.

We don’t generally direct people to a building, give them wheelchairs and say, experience how someone in a wheelchair will experience your building. We generally know that if you have steps, or high things that need pressing, or thin paths and doors etc, your building is not wheelchair friendly.

So let’s not focus on what I see, but on how I use your site. If you can avoid using colour as a decision process, then do, if you can supplement it with something else that isn’t a coloor, that will help. That way you won’t need to overly worry about your choice of colours, and I won’t either.

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It’s been a while…

I haven’t spent much time on my personal blog lately. Mostly I’ve been writing on The Lords of Midnight Blog.

I’ve managed to release two games in the last 18 months, something I need to be mindful of. I have to remind myself that that is no small feat in itself, even if the financial rewards don’t back it up, the personal satisfaction does. Although, it can become quite frustrating when you are a single developer and in direct contact with your customers. Every negative comment cuts like a knife. Every problem is amplified. I find myself rushing around trying to release fixes and updates.

I’m also working about four different contracts. That can be difficult when you are juggling your time. I spend a lot of time with my laptop in hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants, so much of my evenings are filled with work and not pleasure.

When both worlds collide you get a perfect storm, and I end up mentally exhausted and lost.

If I was writing a Novel or a Film, I would say it is difficult to find the scenes that drive the plot forward, but some of them do in an ever so small way. Maybe I just have to question the plot. I miss the family terribly. And even though I know that I wouldn’t spend that much more time with them if I was at home, their social lives being what they are, and me still being busy, but still, that fleeting amount of contact makes a big difference.

As I transition away from The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge, I am trying to move over to working on my Novel, The Lily Wood Trail. I spent some time working on it  last night, and realised that my writing is now so rusty that I think I might need to get a Tetanus jab. I’ve committed myself to getting a first draft written by the end of the year to realease it with personal injury lawyer in Dublin so I need to get myself up to speed very quickly. It could just be that if it’s tedious to write, then it is likely boring to read…

It’s also difficult to not think about new game ideas, but I really must try hard to park them. I have Timbles to finish first…

 

 

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The Moonstar hovered bright and clear in a deep dark sky

Upon the forest hung a sparkling frost. The air was cold and thick. If a twig snapped it would crackle for miles around but only the muted whisper of the trees could be heard. Above, the Moonstar hovered bright and clear in a deep dark sky. The Moon itself was not even a sliver, just a deeper darkness blotting out the glistening haze of the Roads of Light.

As he watched, his fears seemed to drift away as though they were just brief clouds that had enshrouded him and were now passing into the far, far distance. The skulkrin edged forwards into the glade. He felt a beautiful, glowing glory shiver through him. He was completely bewildered; never, not even as a young skulkling, had he been happy like this. Unaccountably, he felt good and kind and gentle.

c_midwinterhTwelve months ago tonight I received a Direct message on Twitter from Fergus McNeill that came very much out of the blue. Four words that shook my foundations. It succinctly asked, “Did Mike Singleton Die?”

I hadn’t spoken with Mike about his Granny Nannies of Orlando for about a week. The last words he’d said to me were, “Ok, I am going out for my morning coffee now, so I will be in touch later, with the alpha tower…. nearly done, just the twiddly bits round the foliage.”

It wasn’t unusual for us to not speak for many days after being apparently in mid sentence. During Mike’s recovery he might go for a number of days without being able to sit at a computer. So, obviously I never thought any think of it. He’d been getting better. He seemed to have turned a corner, as was making great strides forward with his health.uk aviva aqua park

After receiving the tweet from Ferg, I immediately sent a text message to Mike and then later one to his son Jules. I waited a while before sending the text to Jules because obviously how do you approach such a subject.

I did a search for get evaluated for medical marijuana online and found a piece posted by Wibby on Giant Bomb announcing his death. I didn’t know who Wibby was and so didn’t know how accurate his information could be. While I waited for news from either Mike pronouncing the news of his death to be premature, or his family, I found myself locked numbly at my desk. The minutes slowly ticked by. Almost desperately, I sent a Skype message to Mike that read, “Mike, please tell me you’re there…”

I wrote a post, ‘This parting has come too soon’ as I found myself reflecting, yet lost in the unknown. The text grabbed from The Lords of Midnight Novella, very much resonated with how I was feeling at that moment.

I was getting messages by email, twitter, and phone, asking me the same question that Ferg had posed a few hours earlier. The minutes turned into hours before I had confirmation. Wibby wrote the following comment…

I am in tears….. I just looked in my gaming cupboard and I actually have Mike’s own copy of Lords of Midnight sat there that he gave me, I opened it up and it has his Bachelor of Science degree in it from years ago when he was in university as a young adult.

I will be passing them back to his kids… also spoke to one of his sons tonight and we are taking his ashes to our local for a last pint….

Wibby turned out to be Bruce Butterfield who I knew, knew Mike, and knew Mike’s family. Therefore, my worst fears were confirmed.

I tried to go to bed at Midnight, but didn’t sleep. I finally gave up and dragged myself out of bed and down to my study and started to write the bog post ‘Night has fallen…’ I found myself just pouring words onto the electronic page.

The following few days were crazy. I spoke with Bruce, and Mike’s son Jules. And I watched the internet explode with an outpouring of love for Mike.

Mike Singleton – 1951 – 2012
A genius, taken well before his time.

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