Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Commodore & Amiga - EXCLUSIVE

We caught up with Sam Dyer at the point of printing his new Commodore 64 book at the printing press to see what his views on the Kickstarter success are and to the future with his Amiga book

Q. now you are at the proof stage how real does this all feel to you now? 

It still feels massively exciting and I can't wait to hold an actual book. I think it will be surreal to actually hold one as I've dreamt of doing for so long! But I've loved every minute of the campaign. From initial concept,  promotional stuff,  kickstarter and the actual design it has all been a blast! 

Q. seeing the proofs now are there any spreads / games in the books that really stand out for you? 

My favourite spread had always been Total Recall. Stephen Ian Thomson's pixel art in that game is stunning. Too see his image of Cohaagans eyes popping out on Mars across a double page spread is a joy to behold! The game maps have also come out really well and the detail picked up by the print is fantastic.

Q. how do you as a designer feel about this being your own hard work that is coming to light - a reality now?

It feels very odd to be honest! I've worked on the book every night for the last 6 months in some form or another and it really has been a labour of love! To answer your question,  it's a mixture of excitement (and relief!). But most of all I feel proud of what I have created. 

Q what would you like to say to the community out there who has supported you? 

You are ALL amazing. I have been seriously touched by the support I've had from all corners of the retro gaming community. Everyone has been so kind and to be honest, none if it would have been possible without this support. I must also say a huge thank you to a few people that have given up their own time and have been giving me advice along the way. So huge thanks to everyone at GYL, Andy Roberts, Mat Allen,  James Monkman and Steve Jarratt.

Q what is it about the Commodore 64 book that made it your first gaming book to focus on? 

It was my first computer as a child and the one I remember with the most fondest memories. Also I felt there was a gap in the market for a visual book on the C64. It hadn't been done before and that appealed to me massively. I also knew that the C64 had a very active scene so drumming up interest would have been easier than picking a niche computer with a limited fan base. And most importantly,  I'm a HUGE fan of pixel art and the C64 has some of the best ever (in my opinion!)

Q. what have you learnt managing the kickstarter - positive and negative - any tips? 

Ive learnt LOADS. I made some mistakes but I've learnt from them. Starting a small publishing business and running a Kickstarter was a huge learning curve for me and I must give a huge thanks to Tim Nicholls here. Tim ran the hugely successful Artcade book campaign and he very kindly gave me lots of advice at the start. This advice gave me the confidence to 'go for it'. Cheers Tim!

As far as tips go... I would say: Before launching your Kickstarter, spend a couple of months, drumming up interest,  join relevant forums, gaining a following on social media and produce a promo video. That way, when launched, you will already have done a lot of hard work around promotion and getting the word out there. People will not find you,  you have to find them. Get your numbers right! Do all the maths before you begin and set your total. Take into consideration all outgoings and TAX etc... by getting your numbers right, it means you won't have to stress about this side of things and can concentrate on enjoying the campaign.

Don't rest once funded! The C64 book was funded after only 1 week and it is natural to maybe take your foot off the gas and think 'Ive done it!'. It was at this point I had some fantastic advice from a friend that I should push on and make the campaign even bigger and better. "Don't stop now" he said. "Release some exciting stretch goals, more pledges and keep pushing the campaign 100%". Im so glad I took this advice as it really gave me that final push to make it as successful as it was.

Q give us some juicy gossip about the forthcoming Amiga book you have planned?

OK! The Amiga book will be next book in the Commpendium series. It will follow the same style as the C64 book book and will act as a kind of big brother (or sister) to it. As far as gossip goes,  I have been working behind the scenes with Matt Wilsher on ways to make the Amiga campaign even bigger and better then the C64 one. 

All I will say is that we will be resurrecting a famous unreleased game as a physical product. Printed box, instructions and actual floppies. That is all I can say at the moment, all will be revealed soon!

To order the C64 book go here: http://www.bitmapbooks.co.uk/
To follow Sam on twitter to find out more about the C64 book and hear the latest on the Amiga book go here: https://twitter.com/MrSidC64

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