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Luc Miron
& Eduardo Mello

Luc Miron and Eduardo Mello partner to create some
absolutely fantastic game titles for the beloved Colecovision.
Their operation, Opcode Games, has already released several
titles. Plus, more software, and even new hardware, is in the works!

MT> From what I have gathered, you and Eduardo are very different individuals.
        What is it like working with Eduardo? Are you 'Yin' to his 'Yang'?
LM> We both have a passion for the ColecoVision that translates in us being perfectionnists. Neither of us is willing to compromise if we don't need to, even if it takes longer to finish projects, so that's why we make a good team. However, there's one area where Eduardo and myself are like "Yin and Yang", and that's actual programming: I have a strong aversion to assembly language and will always gladly settle with C language for developing games on the ColecoVision, while Eduardo wouldn't touch C language if his life depended on it. :P

MT> When you convert games such as Sky Jaguar, Road Fighter and Magical Tree from the Japanese MSX to the Colecovision, what exactly does that entail? Are the games reprogrammed from scratch, or is some of the MSX code used or altered?
LM> Eduardo disassembles the original MSX software into workable assembly source code, and fixes this source code so the software will work on the ColecoVision.

M> More specifically, I fix all address mappings, sound routines, interruption handling, joystick and keyboard routines and MSX BIOS routines that the game uses.

MT> What are the actual differences between the US and Japanese versions of the Space Invader games?
LM> Good question... I never really took the time to look closely at those differences, to be honest. :)

EM> For the original game, I don't remember anything important besides color. For SI Part II, differences are the points you get for destroying the flashing UFO, and the invader formation after round 4. Maybe there was more, but I cannot remember.

MT> How did it feel to release the only fighting game, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, for the Colecovision?
LM> The game was released years before I came onboard the Opcode train, so only Eduardo can answer that question in any relevant manner.

EM> Actually I didn't realize that Yie Ar Kung-Fu was the first CV fighting game until the game was well into development. When I decided to port MSX games for the CV, I tried to select the best games available that didn't use more than 1KB of RAM, and games from different genres. So initially I got a shooting game (Sky Jaguar), a platform game (Magical Tree), a racing game (Road Fighter), some sport games and a fighting game (Yie Ar Kung-Fu).

MT> Opcode's conversion of Road Fighter is excellent. It even went beyond the MSX version by including an additional arcade intermission. Does Opcode plan to enhance future projects in a similar manner?
LM> Yes. I believe Eduardo can provide some additional details...

EM> Actually I always enhance MSX ports in a way or another. For Sky Jaguar, a tweaked the game so it runs smoother. Yie Ar Kung-Fu got a complete graphic rework that makes it closer to the Famicom version. I also added a two-players versus mode. I also increased difficulty, because the original was too easy. And finally I also hid the original, unaltered version inside the game. For Magical Tree I also tweaked the game so it runs not just smoother but also faster. And I added an ending music that was already in the original game ROM, but for some reason didn't get used, though it was obvious that it was an ending tune (perhaps they created the music but forgot to change the program to use it). Finally for Road Fighter we added the game ending screen and some extra music, not present in the original MSX version. For the forthcoming Knightmare, I added a new "easy mode", because the original game was so insanely hard...

MT> It is known that the Colecovision and MSX have very similar hardware. This makes game conversions understandable. Eduardo is currently working on the SG-1000 game Gulkave for the Colecovision. How does the hardware and conversion process between the Colecovision and the SG-1000 compare?
LM> From what Eduardo and others have told me, converting a SG-1000 game to the ColecoVision is easier than an MSX game.

EM> Much easier. Memory mapping is still different, but at least sound is the same, and the SG-1000 doesn't have a BIOS, so I don't need to worry about that too.

MT> At one point Konami Sports Collection Vol. 1 (including Tennis) and Wizard of Wor were being considered for a Colecovision treatment by Opcode. It is obvious that they are both far from being released anytime soon, but please tell us that they are not (sigh) cancelled.
LM> I don't really know what the future holds, but those games are mostly off the radar for now. They're not really cancelled, they're still on Eduardo's to-do list, but in the end it's really Eduardo's decision.

EM> No, they aren't cancelled. I hope to finish them at some point. It's just that right now we have higher priorities. We are currently working on this expansion module for the CV, so for now we want to concentrate on games that demonstrate the device's advanced features.

MT> Please explain the upcoming Opgrade Module for those unfamiliar with the project.
LM> I'm not at liberty to discuss this project at the moment, beyond any details that Eduardo is willing to share.

EM> You can think of the Opgrade Module as a device to unleash the potential of the CV. So basically you have this small black plastic box that is the CV, with its CPU, video processor and sound generator that were all quite powerful for the time but that are all being held back by the lack of RAM memory. So the main goal of the OM project is to give the CV memory sub-system a major overhaul. There are also features that we hope will appeal for those who don't give a damn about homebrews, but want to enjoy the CV in a more practical or extensive way. I lost the count of how many designs we tried or thought of before we finally set to the current design. We believe that it’s the best compromise between features and price and that it has the potential to appeal to the different types of CV users out there.

MT> While not perfect, Donkey Kong on the Colecovision was darn good. Especially for a launch title, and better than most other versions of the same game on other consoles. There is even a Super version of the game floating around that was made for the unreleased wafer module and also a version for the ADAM computer. Why address it for a fourth time?
LM> Because the officially released Super Game only works on the ADAM computer (so ColecoVision owners cannot play it), because the cartridge version of the Super Game is an incomplete prototype, and because Eduardo can do a version of the game that does the arcade game justice in a definitive manner. The ColecoVision can support a better version of Donkey Kong than what we got as the original pack-in game, and Opcode Games plans to deliver such a version. :)

EM> First of all because I always liked the arcade game and because it was my dream from the day I started developing for the CV that I would port what I consider the 3 most important games from the classic era: Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. The other reason is that, as Luc said, as good as the existing versions are, they aren't good enough. As I hope to prove in time, with more arcade ports, the CV can produce truly arcade perfect ports, even when graphics and sounds suffer a bit due to the limitations of the machine. So my goal is to produce ports that make CV fans proud, ports that are better in the gameplay area than versions available for any other classic platform. So sometimes the NES can have an edge on graphics, sometimes the 7800 can have an edge on graphics, but in most cases a 6502 machine cannot beat a Z80 machine when it comes to faithfully emulating arcade gameplay.

MT> Has a decision about using the Roller Controller for Arkanoid been decided yet? I know that I personally want to have another roller controller compatible game, and Arkanoid would be perfect for such a device.
LM> Sorry, but as much as I would like to see it happen, Roller Controller support for Arkanoid is out of the question, because the way that the Roller Controller functions is incompatible with Arkanoid at the software level. What we want to do instead is create some kind of adaptor that will allow players to use Atari 2600 paddle controllers with Arkanoid.

EM> What is easier to find, CV Roller controllers or Atari Paddles? Besides, the Roller controller isn't really analog, and the computational effort to read it is kind of pointless IMHO. Considering that the CV version of Arkanoid requires the extra RAM in the Opgrade Module, and the Opgrade Module includes a bidirectional parallel port, it makes more sense to create a small adaptor that allow users to connect an Atari paddle to the Opgrade Module, creating an experience that is much closer to the original.

MT> It seems that you (Luc) became jealous of Eduardo and decided to give it a try yourself. What was it like trying to make your own games (in progress) Sudoku and Remember the Flag? How are the games progressing?
LM> Well, it's not really a question of jealousy, I wanted to create ColecoVision games even before I met Eduardo. :) So far, I've only programmed Sudoku, which is mostly done except for sound output. I used that first project to familiarize myself with the Hi-Tech C compiler and the Coleco libraries, which I find very easy to use (although the documentation needs a little work). Remember the Flag is on hold right now. In fact, I have plenty of ColecoVision projects I would like to do, but they are all on hold because of one important reason: Sound output. Graphics, controller input and general game logic are one thing, but generating sounds on the ColecoVision is a world in itself, and until I've somehow mastered that aspect of ColecoVision programming, I will find it pointless to work on any game because the end goal of making such games is to release them on cartridges, and there's just no way I would ever release a game on cartridge that doesn't have any music or sound effects. These days, my duties at Opcode Games currently prevent me from working on that problem.

MT> Tell us about the upcoming game Burn Rubber!
LM> Burn Rubber is being developed by a duo of european MSX programmers, Daniel Vik and Vincent Dam, who became interested in converting some of their MSX projects for the ColecoVision. When Eduardo tried a demo of their racing game, he was so impressed with it that he suggested that Opcode Games should publish it, and I evidently agreed. Daniel and Vincent accepted our publishing offer, and the game is still under development right now. We're hoping to release Burn Rubber before the end of the year, but there are certain logistical hurdles we need to overcome, the first of which is the box art, which is taking forever to get done. If I could find a talented artist to handle our needs for box art, especially for some of our future titles like Knightmare, I'd be a very happy camper...

MT> The work and time that the both of you contribute to the Colecovision community is much appreciated. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing a new game come to life from my Colecovision. For that, we salute you both and wish you thebest of success in all your endeavors with the Colecovision!

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