An Interview with Tim Tyler
A while ago I interviewed Tim Tyler about Repton, this is a transcript of that interview
Why did you decide to write the original Repton game?
I’d written three previous games. I found it great fun – addictive, even.
Indeed, writing programs and learning to write programs was why I’d bought a computer in the first place. Ever since reading the source code to a primitive adventure game in “Which” magazine I’d been facinated by the field.
The possibilities of wealth and fame beckoned. School holidays arrived.
There was only one thing to do.
Was the original Repton a ‘one man game’ or what?
Yes. Only on my first game did I have a co-author.
What made you choose the name Repton?
“Rep” from “Reptile”. After “Rep” something else was needed. Repton was the name of a public school (and I was aware of this). Consequently “ton” was the syllable that first came to mind. It seemed to fit. It stuck.
Why did you choose a Lizard?
I’m not sure I can remember. It was underground – and eggs hatching into things had been decided upon as a puzzle element. This was probably what led me to reptiles.
Looking back I’m amazed I didn’t incluse any multi-segment snakes (as baddies). The head kills, and the body can’t be crossed. It seems like such a simple, obvious idea, with such positive potential for improving the game play, and is simple to implement. I completely missed it.
How long ago was the concept of ‘Repton’ first developed?
Longer than I care to remember 😉 It came out in 1985.
I started work on it before I left school – I remember showing a prototype of it to my CompSci teacher – and grinning 😉
It was published fairly soon after it was finished.
Which was your favourite Repton game (original versions)?
The ones I wrote. 2 should have been better than 1 – but I fouled it up a bit (the falling rocks used a stupid (and slow) algorithm) and I ran out of space for the music. The original probably gets my vote – mainly because it was first.
Would you like to see a version of Repton using modern technology?
I don’t mind. I’ve still got a soft spot for that sort of puzzle-game.
I remember at one point I got a bit fed up with Repton the character. Indeed at one stage I would rather he died off completely.
These days, I don’t mind one way or the other what happens to Repton. I doubt I’ll be writing too many games again, though.