Interviews:Adrian O'Grady

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This interview with Adrian O'Grady was taken by Wraggster in 2002 for ConsoleVision.com.

Consolevision: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born, where do you live... ?

Adrian: Well, I was born in and brought up in Hayes (near Heathrow) and I now live in Hatfield while I'm attending university here. With any luck, I should graduate in June and be moving on to somewhere much nicer. :-)


Consolevision: What qualifications do you have?

Adrian: Just A-Levels now, but Hopefully, I should have a BSc Computing and Networks degree within a few months. So anyone who has a job available...

Consolevision: What made you get into computers?

Adrian: I'm not sure I can say what exactly as I've always had computers around me. I know my brother got his first computer before I could remember (it may have even been before I was born), it was a kit I believe. The first computer I remember using was an Atari 800 which my Dad bought.

Consolevision: What made you get into programming? What was your first program?

Adrian:

10 PRINT "ADRIAN"
20 GOTO 10

I think I was about 4 years old at the time. I seriously got into programming though when I was about 12 or 13 though. I used to type up a lot of the programs from books like 1001 BASIC programs and change them for my friends. I did write a snail race program once though.

Consolevision: What got you interested in GBA coding in the first place?

Adrian: I'm not sure really. I think because it was more of a challenge than programming for a PC or DC. Certainly the idea of a web server in the palm of my hand was part of the motivation. It very nearly didn't happen though. My original idea for my final year project was a word processor for the Dreamcast. I wanted to write something that was technically perfect but practically useless so that the university couldn't make any money out of my project.

Consolevision: Your GBA Web Server project is a great idea, how close are we to seeing the fruits of your labour?

Adrian: Very. Very, very! :-) I'm currently writing up my final report. The reason the web site has been quiet is because I've been busy on the report and other university coursework. Fortunately, I'm able to give you a date. Thursday, the 18th of April. This is the date that my project must be handed in, therefore my web server has to be finished by then. I can't say when it'll be hosted though, but you'll at least be able to download a working version with all the tools required to try it out for yourself.

Consolevision: Is the project everything you hoped it to be?

Adrian: There are a couple of ambitious features I originally aimed to have but have been dropped. As it turns out, they just weren't required and so functionally, it remains the same. When I'm holding the web server in my hands when it goes live for the first time, I'll know that I've achieved everything I set out to do.

Consolevision: After the initial release of GBA Web Server, what features are you hoping to add further down the line?

Adrian: A simple scripting engine. This would allow you to hook the GBA up to any PPP server, such as the Windows one, or even an external modem!

Consolevision: On the Dreamcast side, did you get anywhere with your work on LinuxDC, if so can anything be added to what could be a significant piece of software for the dreamcast?

Adrian: DC Linux is a bit of a sore point at the moment. :-) I did recompile a new version of the kernel with PPP support and a few other bits, but I broke my coders cable. And I blew up two of my Dreamcasts. They're currently sitting in a box waiting to be repaired but I've been told that'll have to wait 13 weeks for the parts I require. I think there has been a lot of confusion as to my input into DC Linux. Most people who email me think that I've actually ported it myself or have been part of the team. This is not the case at all. All I was doing was creating CD images that people without Linux or Cygwin could use. I was also just cross compiling applications for the SH4. Anyone else who was interested in it could easily carry on DC Linux. I simply haven't got the time or the resources. I can offer the web space and bandwidth though if someone was genuinely interested.

Consolevision: Do have any projects in the works? Or would love to do?

Adrian: I have had a couple of idea for what I will do after I finish the web server. They are mostly GBA related. However, I did start work on a version of BASIC for the Dreamcast but never had the time to put some real work into it. If I was to pick up work on that again, I'd like to do it as part of a collection of other application. I miss the days of a front room computer as opposed to a games console, you know, the Spectrum through to the Amiga. I feel that the Dreamcast could actually fill that gap. After all, when does a games console become a computer? I can do most things to a certain extent on my Dreamcast that I can on my PC.

Consolevision: Apart from your own projects, has there been a homebrew game/project that you have played more than once? Or something that you can't wait to try?

Adrian: Foon! I really, really love that emulator. It's been sitting on my flash cart now since the first version was released.

Consolevision: What are you thoughts on the GBA homebrew scene, How do you think it could be improved?

Adrian: I think the scene is coming along very nicely, much faster than I ever expected it to. One thing I would like to see more of though are the unique project you'd never think of doing. For example, one of the first homebrew projects I saw for the Gameboy was a control unit for small robot. Stuff like that, when people have looked at it and said to themselves, "This is more than just a games console..." really interests me.

Consolevision: Whats your opinion on the current next gen consoles Dreamcast, Xbox, GameCube, Playstation 2?

Adrian: Dreamcast: This is a great little box and I don't think people realised just how powerful it was. If it had a bit more memory and larger VMUs, you would have seen some truly amazing games. I'm really sad to see its commercial end as it's the console that I've probably enjoyed owning the most. If homebrew interest keeps building, I think the DC will have a long future in that area.

PS2: Nice games, but it just doesn't excite me enough to buy one. If I were do to another console project, I'd rather do it on the Dreamcast to be honest.

Xbox: I am really impressed with it but hate the way the general public is dismissing it. This I imagine is because of the price though. I'd love to get hold of a dev kit and start programming for it. I recon I could get a web server running on it in no time! :-) Someone I know has ported a spectrum emulator to it and I'd love to give that a go. It's just a shame that retail boxes are locked to stop running independent code. I guess that's the cost of piracy prevention.

Gamecube: I will probably buy one sooner or later. I'm interested to give the GBA to GC link up a go. I'm sure there's a good project in there somewhere. As for a pure GC project though, again I'd have to say I'd just rather do it on the Dreamcast.

Consolevision: And the mandatory question, what are your favorite games on every system you've owned?

Adrian:

  • Atari 800: Miner 2049, Orc Attack, Centipede
  • Spectrum: Manic Miner, Trap Door, Ranarama
  • Amiga: Walker
  • Atari ST: Chaos (it's a PD conversion of a classic spectrum game)
  • PC: Far too many.
  • SNES: Super Mario World
  • Jaguar: Tempest
  • Saturn: Sega Rally, SWWS 98, Nights
  • N64: Mario Kart, 1080
  • Dreamcast: Revolt, PSO, Alien Front Online, MSR
  • Xbox: Halo, Project Gotham, NHL 2002
  • Gameboy: Alfred Chicken, Zelda
  • GBC: Tetris DX, Cannon Fodder, Zelda
  • GBA: Advance Wars, Chu Chu Rocker, Mario Kart, Doom