When thinking of future sports games on the ST, Speedball 2 is the game that comes to mind. But there was another really addictive, fast and furious 2-player game that you may have never heard of. It is called Disc and is an absolute must play! I had the pleasure of talking to its creator, Alexis Leseigneur.
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Alexis worked on the conversion for the ST of this classic D&D game, yet Pool of Radiance was never released for the system.
Dominique Sablons did all the graphics for Disc. Dominique's carreer really kicked of after the release of the French classic graphic adventure Maupiti Island.
The intro tune of Disc was created by Michel Winogradoff, who is not only a talented composer, but has also played small parts in big movies.
1) Hello Alexis, can you introduce yourself to the public?
I’m Alexis Leseigneur, I’m 54 years old. I’m married to Christelle and I have two children: Quentin and Martin and I’m living in Paris.
2) I think you have been a programmer for your whole professional career, but when did you first get in touch with computers and what machine was this?
The first computer I programmed was the Sharp PC 1251. It was a pocket computer. I used the BASIC programming language and assembler on it. The first game I made was a Scramble clone. The ship was only 5 x 2 pixels in size!
3) Did you immediately know that you wanted to make games?
I've always loved video games but I was even more into programming. At my first job I was using a Nixdorf computer (Called mini computer! This was less powerful than the worst phone). But I wanted to create games, so I made a game demo on the Atari ST (a small horizontal scrolling game in which you had to kill birds using a crosshair moved by the mouse) which I sent to UbiSoft. They hired me to work on the conversion of Pool of Radiance for the Amiga and ST.
4) Have you ever owned an Atari ST? And what did/do you think of the machine?
Yes, it was my first personal computer. It was a really good computer for programmers: The Motorola 68000 was great to program and the hardware was easy to learn.
5) I think by the late 80’s you started working for legendary French publisher Loriciel. How did you get there? And what do you remember of those times? What was the atmosphere like back then? Do you have fond memories?
I started at Loriciel right after I did the conversion of the game Beach Volley for Ocean France. I worked on Disc as a freelancer. When the ST version was completed, I had to start my military service. The Amiga conversion was done by the project lead Christophe Gomez. When I returned from service, I was hired as an employee. It was the beginning of the 90's and consoles were booming. I was especially fond of the Sega Megadrive, which also had a 68000 processor. I remember those days vividly because it was the time and place I met my wife
6) Tell me about Disc. What do you remember of this game? Where did you get the idea from? Can you tell us a bit about the history of this project?
It was more inspired by the arcade game Discs of Tron. It was an idea of Dominique Sablons and myself. We proposed the idea to Loriciel, and they accepted it. We worked together with Christophe Gomez, who was appointed as the producer of the game.
7) Disc is a very smooth and polished game and it runs really well. Do you remember in what language it was programmed? Do you remember any of the difficulties you had to overcome in its creation? Is there anything that stands out for you on a technical level that you are really proud of?
It was completely programmed in 68000 assembler. The difficulty was to stay at 50 frames / second. I remember two things about this game: First, I should have done more angles to throw the disc. Secondly, I remember that I had done my API for reading from floppy but I was young and inexperienced. I didn't put any data in a cache. So the floppy was read every time data was needed. I think some users may have broken their discs … Sorry about that.
8) The graphics were created by Dominique Sablons, who sadly passed away in 2015. The graphics are really good. Dominique was well known and loved in the Atari ST/Amiga world for his work on the adventure game Maupiti Island. Did you ever meet Dominique while working on Disc? What do you remember of him? And is there anything you can tell about his work on Disc or the graphics/animations in general?
Yes, he was an amazing artist. I remember he also had done work on comics and dictionaries. He was older than me and I loved his advice. I worked most of the time at his place, since there was no internet back then.
9) You are also credited for programming the games Beach Volley and Ivanhoe. Anything you like to share with us about these games? Any good memories perhaps?
I was the conversion programmer of Beach Volley, I did the ST version. I learned a lot from this project. I don’t remember that I had worked on Ivanhoe. Maybe on some additional functions.
10) After Loriciel you moved on to other companies and consoles, but what do you consider your best work? What are you most proud of? What did you enjoy the most making?
Very difficult to remember the game that I’m most proud of. Adidas Power Soccer maybe. But all games were very fun to make : I have met a lot of people, worked in different domains like AI, sound, video, 3D…, lot of languages like assembler, C, C++…
11) Today, you are working for a company Totem Entertainment and in 2018 you released ‘VR Paradise: Gentlemen's Club’ , which is a virtual Strip Club for Oculus & HTC Vive. Now that sounds intriguing! Please tell us more. How did you start at Totem and what exactly is your job there today?
The founders of Totem were game programmers and I knew them. They wanted me to come work with them and which I accepted because it was the beginning of the Internet. I’m the CTO there and I still program on VR Paradise and other products.
12) Are you a gamer? Do you still play computer games and if so, what is your all time favorite? (Retro and/or new)
Of course I’m a gamer My favorites are Doom, Divinity : Original Sin … I also love the arcade games Pengo and Rygar.
13) I always ask this question … If you could have a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
A very difficult question: Maybe someone like Simone Veil (Contraception) or Badinther (End of Death sentence). I would prefer to listen to them insteasd of asking stupid questions though ;-)
14) Do you have any last words of wisdom for the Atari Community?
The Atari ST was a great computer ... and I had a lot of fun with it!
Thank you Alexis!
IF you want to learn more about the game, check out the complete documentary at our YouTube channel.
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