by @Luca Abiusi

When Reshoot R was in its last stages of development, and given that we were following its realization thanks to various sources of “retronews” in force on the net, we asked to his creator Richard Löwenstein for availability about a possible interview, since we remained dazzled by the demo of this sequel to Reshoot, a remarkable “survival shoot’em up” dated 2016. If you need to, let’s make it clear that we’re talking about an authoritative game designer... 

PF: Would you like to talk about how you came to develop Reshoot and Reshoot R, and then what led you to develop for a machine out of production for almost thirty years?  

Richard: To cut a long story short: I began developing a horizontally scrolling Amiga shoot īemup in the late 80s, but could not finish the development due to my career as a games journalist taking off in 1991. These was just not sufficient time to finish my game. Much later, like four years ago, I resurrected my whole Amiga collection which I put away sometime in 1996 or so. With that I also found the original development disks. At the same time my daughter was born and cried very ofter at night, like babys usually do. Very often I gave her some food, but could not get back to sleep afterwards. So what to do in the middle of the night when you canīt sleep? Well, why not develop game. Thatīs how I began to work on Reshoot, based on the original code from 1991.

PF: Would you talk about your previous programming experiences, in particular the commodore 64 version of Persian Gulf Inferno?

Richard: I begin learning how to code on a TI 99/4A in 1984 and switched to the C64 soon after. I quickly managed to develop a few games which were published as a listing in the pioneering computer magazine 64er and Happy Computer, which led to professionalizing this career: Telecomsoft, Magic Bytes and few others approached me to develop a few games, like the two player jumpīnīRun Twinky Goes Hiking and the C64 adapation of the Amiga runīnīgun Persian Gulf Inferno.

PF: A distinction is usually used between japanese shooters and european ones. What “current” were you inspired by the two Reshoot? We seem to capture influences, especially for Reshoot R, about Stavros Fasoulas works (Delta) as well as the Konami shooters (Gradius and Salamander)… 

Richard: Exactly. I adore a combination of great visuals and smooth challenging gameplay. Loved to play Delta and Nemesis (Gradius) on my C64, and later Hybris and Silkworm on my Amiga. My favorite ever shmups on home systems must be Thunder Force IV and Last Resort though. So these are the games which inspired me to do Reshoot R.   

Persian Gulf Inferno - Commodore 64, 1990

Reshoot - Amiga, 2016

PF: Would you tell us about the development times of Reshoot and Reshoot R and what were the main implementation issues? Have you developed in assembly?

Richard: While Reshoot only took about one year, Reshoot R needed three years in order to look and feel the way I imagined it to be. My goal with Reshoot R was to deliver a very smooth experience. So, a framerate of 50 Hertz was set. I imagined the game to be intelligent, fast, diversified and good looking. In fact I wanted visuals of a quality which has rarely been seen on the Amiga to this day. To get all of this on a barebone Amiga 1200 or CD32, you need to squeeze out every bit and very cpu cycle from the machine. Hence I developed in assembly language. I hope you find the result is worth playing!

PF: Staying on the subject, did you make use of someone’s collaboration, or did you develop all the code for yourself? 

Richard: Design, code and production was solely my responsibility. In some cases I got hints from the community when I got stuck though. You asked about main issues I had. Well, there were many. For example structuring such a large project is difficult, also getting the game to work on highend Amigas was much more difficult than I first thought. Could you believe that only three months prior to its release, Reshoot R ran smoothly on a CD32 but flickered on much more powerful A1200 with 68060-cpu? To find out the reasons and develop solutions felt like a nightmare on some days.       

PF: We would like to know something about the Reshoot R soundtrack, and who is behind the names of Altraz, d4XX. Have you contributed too? 

Reshoot R: transformer boss, with the Thunder Force IV sky alike.

Reshoot R: the beams of fire align themselves with scrolling in a perspective movement.

Richard: Martin Ahman is the man behind the soundtrack and most of the sound effects. I only contributed a handful of additional SFX and my humble opinion. When I realised that I must have listened to Martins theme sound about 3400 times and still my ears donīt bleed, I thought thatīs a sign of “earworm” quality – thatīs how we say in Germany – and asked Martin if heīd like to do an original soundtrack. He gathered a few of his friends, end of story.      

PF: Patreon page aside, was the game self-produced? Have you ever thought about trusting kickstarter?

Richard: Yes I did think about Kickstarter, but decided against it because it brings with it great pressure and responsibility. I decided to go full risk and produce the game myself to ensure maximum creative freedom.    

PF: After Reshoot R are you still intend to develop for classic Amigas? If yes, are you already thinking about something?

Richard: Yes, I am. The Reshoot engine is fully developed now and is capable of a lot of things. Would be shame not to use it for more games. Itīs too early to talk about that though.

PF: Finally, would you tell us what you think were the most influential videogame platforms of the last century, and possibly why?

Richard: For me itīs the Commodore 64. In general probably the Game Boy, because it opened gaming to such a large community.

 - buy Reshoot & Reshoot R

 - buy Reshoot R Original Soundtrack CD


Interview released on 06/12/2019