Entrevista de Xavier del Campo
March 19, 2020, at 03:38 AM (0 comments)
Title: Entrevista de Xavier del Campo Author: mgarcia Date: 2020-03-19 13:38 +1100 Tags: Media, Spanish Comments: Open
Video: retromaniacs.es entrevista a Xavier del Campo
Video interview by: retromaniacs, published June 14th, 2018.
Hi, I'm Xavi (pronounced Cha-vee) del Campo and I'm developing homebrew video games for PlayStation 1. I decided to start developing homebrew, I think when I was little, when I was 7 or 8 years old, when I got my first PlayStation 1. Because I have always loved that console, for all my life I have thought one day I'll have to make that dream come true. For many years, I was looking for a way to do it but there has been no way, at least legally using open source tools. It was only in the last seven years these tools have existed, and when I discovered them, I said "finally there is the opportunity to do it".
I decided on PlayStation, over other platforms because, it's the console that most impacted me the most, I had the SEGA MegaDrive in the past, before PlayStation, but the PlayStation was the one that most impacted me because it has that charm that I can't find on other consoles.
My intention right now is to develop for PlayStation 1, although in the future I would like to play with the Dreamcast, since it is easy to make homebrew and there are many people who do it and it's easily accessible, apart from that I made a small project for an electronic board, called gamebuino (based on Aurdino), which is used to make games using a very small LCD screen but apart from that I focused on PlayStation 1.
How many games have you developed?
In total I think 3, if I'm not mistaken. One while I was studying, which the code was a disaster. Another that we developed in a gamejam in 48 hours, that we managed to finish it in less and the third that is the one that is on the screen ( airport ) which is perhaps is not the most exciting or the most fun but at least for me personally, it is the one that has been the biggest challenge so far, because of it's larger design and implementing new things on the console.
The video game that we made in the gamejam in 48 hours is very simple in that there are two beach balls that are floating on the sea. On the two sides, a little out of the screen edges are two cacti (cactuses). Your objective is simply to get the opposing ball, your opponent, to the cactus, so that it punctures and dies. It is something like Tekken but with two beach balls.
I would like very much to make a physical edition of my video games, but without much time right now, I have work and family and everything. It takes a long time to make a complete game, and one that's well tested.
How do you program games on the PlayStation?
To develop a homebrew game on PlayStation, C or C++ languages have mainly been used, those programmers here will know perfectly what I mean. And in my case, I opted for C since the libraries I use, are already in the C language.
But what is the most important issue right now, is that we are at a time when there aren't many people who develop on PlayStation and I think it is because people don't know that they can, or don't know how to start, that's the funny thing, the games that I released, practically all are open source and anyone who is interested can learn how they work and can ask, use my contact, ask me how to do it because it is not as difficult as it seems.
To develop a video game on PlayStation, it can take whatever time you like, but a simple game can be done for example, two days, because when we did the gamejam we started on Friday at 5pm in the afternoon, at 6pm we had the concept of the video game and by Sunday at 11 am, we had finished it. But it is true that we already had a base made, which are the (open) libraries and a small game engine that I made prior, but for a person starting, 2 or 3 months, even in a month, you can have something made.
What problems have you found developing for PlayStation 1?
The thing right now, is that, how would I say, on one hand 80 or 90 percent of the people who develop things for PlayStation do it with the Sony libraries, where everything is already done and there are examples etc. The other of the 20 to 10 percent of the masochists, of the which, I include myself, who opted for the open source route, the free route, the libre (freedom) route, the legal route, in which everything is not ready for use (in the SDK), that is, there was no support for 3D and access to memory cards. As an example, 3D support in the open SDK (PSXSDK), I implemented it little by little, you have to keep hacking at it, looking through documentation and understanding the hardware is critical. But Once it's done, others can use it going forward.
How do you test on PlayStation?
The first thing people ask, is do you burn a CD-R every time you want to test and then the answer is, no, luckily no. Why no? This is not normal when I develop, 90% of the time I send it to the PlayStation emulator, for example, PCSXR is the one I recommend since it is the most flexible, although it may not be the most precise or prettiest with the graphics and sound. When I do test on real hardware I have two options, I burn a CD-R, I don't do it often because it's silly and a waste, but luckily there are applications that allow you to upload directly from the PC to the PlayStation.
What game are you working on now?
Well, the video game I'm working on now, can be seen on the screen, currently it's simply called airport, later I'll think of something better. The game consists of a kind of mixture between strategy and arcade, in which you are the air traffic controller of an airport. It's a game very similar to a mobile game, in that you are controlling plane movements, landings and take off's, making others wait, basically coordinating them so they do not crash.
Why is a game like this not very common?
I always liked airplane games, flight simulators etc, one of my dreams would be making a flight simulator for PlayStation. But because they require a lot of knowledge, so I'll do things simpler, for example, I can't do it in 3D then I'll do it in 2D. How can I make a game 2D and be entertaining? I thought to make an airport controller, where two people can play, and use your brains, get coordinated, the difficulty is very adjustable, and anyway, it's still a work in progress. I've been working on it since Christmas holidays of 2016, when I came up with the idea and made a few drawings. It's been progressing slowly, very slowly, for personal reasons, but little by little, it is taking shape and I am happy because although maybe not everyone likes airplanes or airplane games, it's a game where I felt knowledgeable by discovering how the console (hardware) works and how to do things correctly and I think it is a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn or wanting to do better games.
The other two games I made for the PlayStation, the first is a clone of Arkanoid, a game we all know, it's a little different in terms of the rules, because if you play with two players for example, one plays at the bottom, the second paddle is at the top of the screen, which still is not very innovative but the novelty is that you can put on the slow motion camera whenever you want because the balls go at a crazy speed and then it becomes insane. The other game was the beach ball game mentioned above.
Well, it has been a pleasure to be with you, this is a very cool place, I love the pinball machines and all your initiatives. And I loved that you have let me, this afternoon, to teach what I do and what I have been doing for a few years now and that, I think that little by little, it'll grow and get better.