We start a series of interviews with one of the oldest, best known
AROS developer and with multiple AROS game ports under his belt -
Matthias Rustler (aka Mazze)!
Some of the ports include:
And many more...
AROS Playground: Hi Matthias - can you tell us a little about yourself?
Mathias Rustler: I'm a 45 year old male who lives in a small town in Germany. I'm working as engineer. Computers are my main hobby. I'm playing table tennis in a local club.
A.P.: Could you give us a history of how you became interested in Amiga's?
Did you possess any classic Amiga's or still own?
M.R: When I still had a VIC-20 I had read about the wonder machine Amiga in various magazines. I couldn't effort one at that time. In 1987, when I earned some money as an apprentice, I bought an Amiga 500. It was my only "real" Amiga. I've used it till 1998. Till I've joined AROS I've fought the withdrawal syndrome with Win-UAE.
A.P.: In the old days 8/16 bit computer times, did gaming take a big part of your life?
M.R: I had owned some games for the VIC-20 but I was more interested in writing stupid BASIC programs for it.
A.P.: In what form you came to be involved with AROS and how long have you been involved with it?
M.R: I had already written/ported some Open Source applications to AmigaOS3.
I found out about AROS and originally I only wanted to port some of my work to that OS, too. Somehow I was hooked. In 2005 I got access to the Subversion repository. I started with overhauling the documentation. Later I became more courageous and added some source code. A big step forward was when I found out about how to use the debugger. The lines of source I added to AROS aren't that much but my bug reports and sometimes fixes helped a lot to make AROS more stable.
A.P.: Have you any idea how many game ports have you worked on?
M.R:I think I have ported about 15 games. Most of them are quite simple, though. More important are my application ports like YAM, SimpleMail, Scalos, Scout etc.
A.P.: What were your favorite ports? Would you suggest one for us?
M.R:Perhaps Rocks'n'diamonds, Kobo-DL, Abuse.
A.P.: What were your most difficult ports?
M.R:The spread sheet Ignition. It isn't finished because I was fed up at some point. Regarding games: I can't remember. Those which were built from "configure" scripts caused the most hassle.
A.P.: Would you like to revisit some of the ports and redo them in another fashion or taking advantage of new features in AROS?
M.R: If SDL is available as shared library I'll probably port some games again.
A.P.: Some of your older ones are still being played nowadays, does that gives you a feeling of job achieved?
M.R: I had that feeling some time ago. In the meantime others have done more advanced ports.
A.P.: What operating system do you use for developing?
M.R: I have currently Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS. I'm usually building AROS from the source code with full debugging support. That helps a lot in finding the reason for crashes.
A.P.: Is it more easy to develop for AROS in general and in the gaming porting area currently?
M.R: Yes, of course. When I started in 2005 there was no SFS, no OpenGL, no Autotools, and some parts were buggy as hell.
A.P.: Gallium 3D was probably the latest most known achievement on the development side. What are your thoughts about it?
M.R: That's really a milestone. Krzysztof did an impressive job.
M.R: There is no market for all Amiga-like systems together. No serious company will release a commercial game for AROS only. "BOH" was only possible because it was written for SDL so that it could be easily ported. I don't want to prevent a developer to create a game and release it for free or low budget but I don't expect that this gives AROS any significant gain.
A.P.: How do you feel about AROS game panorama nowadays?
M.R: I'm impressed. A lot of advanced games have been ported to AROS recently.
A.P.: Is there a particular game/gaming tool you would like to see available for AROS?
M.R: Some games which need the Boost library like Battle for Wesnoth are missing. IIRC BSzili wants to port a game editor to AROS.
A.P.: What general features and applications do you think AROS really needs right now?
M.R: I'm doing most computing under Linux. If I'd have to survive with AROS only I'd first miss some developing tools:
- editor like "Scite"
- GUI builder (MUIBuilder is too limited)
- spread sheet (Ignition is half done)
- paint application (If I had more time I would write a libCairo based
- Zune fixed
- ABIv1 done
- support for multi-core processors
A.P.: Any near future plans regarding AROS?
M.R: The problem is: whenever I make plans I'm soon doing something else. I want to finish the "R" clone I've started recently. I could continue with translating some static libraries into shared ones, like libpng, libjpg. There are other unfinished things like a Palette Preferences editor. The Autodoc grepping script needs and overhaul. Last not least I should look if I can do something for ABIv1. I don't have plans to make more game ports. There are currently some guys which are quite good in
A.P.: Is there anything we did not cover or that you would like to add?
M.R: My wishes:
- more developers
- less wish lists
- more Open Source releases of native Amiga software
- bug reports which are no guessing games
A.P.: Thanks a lot!