I was inspired to pursue a career in graphics thanks to various individuals; lucky for them as it means they get a good pat on the back some 20 odd years later as I can remember each of those that gave me so much inspiration.
Back when I was using the IIGS as my sole digital outlet in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I dreamed of producing graphics for games, for which I did a lot of work for which nothing was ever released. Diamonds GS was an exception though (and can be found on the pre-installed System 6 with shareware and freeware games 32 meg image), but unfortunately the last of my graphics were not added to the final release. The problem was that I moved from one gaming idea or concept to another too quickly, already bored with working on one game concept before finishing it and then moving onto another. A blog for another time, I think, and possibly a long overdue apology to Ian Brumby who could have coded the games completely had I ever stuck to my guns with one idea!
For me, there was more than a little hero worship for those already producing game and demo graphics on the IIGS. Firstly, there was Matt Crysdale, who single handedly was responsible for all the graphics in Alien Mind, Great Western Shootout and Task Force, not to mention having made contributions to the Sword of Sodan demo, Gnarly Golf and Rastan. There was Jason Rubin, who created the cartoon worlds of Dream Zone and Keef the Thief all by himself. Around the same time, the work of Ian Gooding burst onto the scene with Zany Golf and later, The Immortal.
Another revered champion of the super high resolution mode was Olivier Bailly-Maitre of the FTA. This guy had a flare not only for great illustration but also user interface design, as seen in the Nucleus and Modulae demos, and NoiseTracker program especially, which drew together balance, ease of use, great colour palettes, functional but stylistic typography and easy to use navigation. Olivier could also hold his own when it came to the ‘digital graffiti' found in the rest of FTA's demo catalogue. Chronologically, the last great IIGS artist to appear was Clue (Christopher Heck), the guy behind all the great visuals of Ninja Force, including their Mega Demo, Wolfenstein 3D for the IIGS, and the recently released Kaboom! He even did a great of job skinning Ian Brumby's Finder alternative Instant Access v3.
And then there's Dave Triplett. Dave was an integral part of the duo that was Pangea Software. Coder Brian Greenstone had developed his first IIGS specific title as freeware, Grackel, and one of the very best action romps on the IIGS, Xenocide, before meeting Dave. Luckily, Dave was able to add some of his own flourishes to Xenocide just before its commercial release making it an even better game and then went on to work with Brian to produce Copy Killers, Senseless Violence, Quadronome, Orbizone and Cosmocade (featuring Journey to Calibus and Naxos) for the IIGS.
Dave got in touch with me a couple of years ago - he needed some help setting up his MicroDrive and in turn, getting back to using a IIGS again. It wasn't smooth sailing and unfortunately a power surge zapped the MicroDrive not long after I had mailed him a working compact flash card. But salvation arrived for Dave when the CFFA3000's third batch of cards is available in September 2013.
In the meantime, Dave was keen to recover some old graphics he was working on for a game that was never finished similar to the Bard's Tale, called Realms of Fantasy. I had a time convincing him that the rest of the Apple II community would love to see these never-before-seen graphics and eventually Dave relented and sent me his floppy backups and I was then able to get them onto my Mac Book Pro (courtesy of the CFFA3000) and then back onto Dave so he could view and store them from his modern Mac.
Additionally, Dave also had some graphics that were done purely for art's sake, one of which appeared in A+ Magazine's Speaking of Graphics Gallery in the April 1988 issue entitled ‘The Coming of Ages'. I always get a thrill (I've had two so far) of actually receiving the original file for artwork that appeared in this regular column for A+. If anyone has any files of graphics that appeared in A+'s galleries, let me know.
I decided to ask Dave, as one of my personal graphic artists heroes, some questions:
Alex Lee: How did your career path lead to working in computer graphics?
Dave Triplett: I have been drawing and doing artwork for as long as I can remember. I was an art major in college, so it was inevitable that my work would progress to computers. As soon as I got my first computer, a Woz IIGS, I got Paintworks Plus and had more fun then I could have imagined! Soon after that I got Deluxe Paint II and I was in heaven! I began changing graphics in other games for fun. I also loved playing games in the arcades, on the IIGS and the Nintendo. It was just inevitable that I'd soon be making games.
AL: How did you come to buying an Apple IIGS? Were using a previous model of Apple II before or did it appeal more than other computer models of the time?
DT: When I was in college, a teacher suggested I get a word processor or a computer. I had never owned a computer before and my only other computer knowledge was playing games on a mainframe at a local Jnr. College when I was in grade school. I also played Zork and King's Quest quite a lot on someone else's Apple IIe. That was my only computer experience.
AL: How did you first get in touch with Micro Revelations, publishers of Xenocide, and beginning work on the unfinished title 'Realms Of Fantasy' title?
DT: One of my graphics was put on the cover of A+ magazine and Micro Revelations saw it and called me. They said they were working on an RPG and wanted me to make monsters for them. I worked with them for a while. Then when I met Brian Greenstone, and the focus switched to his game. I was young and naive when I started working with Micro Revelations. I ended up losing a lot of time and money working with them; they were very dishonest and because of some embezzlement problems, the company quickly folded. I broke all ties with them, cut my losses and kept woking with Brian Greenstone. I regret ever having to work with Micro Revelations.
AL: How did you meet Brian Greenstone and begin your wonderful partnership at Pangea Software? I remember there was a Pangea BBS - what was that like back in the day? Additionally, you were also an AppleLink member during the era of the IIGS weren't you?
DT: I ran a BBS of my own called The Inner Sanctum – I was a part of Oggnet and The GS Express, but it was not a Pangea BBS (Ed - details of which can be found from the Senseless Violence main menu). Yes, I was an AppleLink member and I met Brian on AppleLink. He had Xenocide up and running under a different name and he was looking for a publisher. I was very impressed with his game, and I knew it could be a hit. He sent me his game editors and we began to work together. He was an amazing programmer and he worked very fast. We worked quite well together. It was really fun working with Brian on Xenocide as we polished and edited his game.
AL: Cosmocade, the last IIGS release from Pangea, was originally to include 3 games according to its documentation. Apart from Journey to Calibus and Naxos, can you recall anything about the uncompleted third game? Did you start any graphics work on it?
DT: I do not recall anything about the game we didn't finish. I just remember we were going to make 3 arcade games with an arcade type theme. I do not have Cosmocade. Let me get back to you on this. I don't remember the name of third game that we didn't finish.
AL: Which of the IIGS Pangea releases is your favourite? Which game do you feel you had done your best work?
DT: Mighty Mike/Power Pete is my favorite Pangea game, released for the PowerMac. But Xenocide was my favorite IIGS game. It was groundbreaking. Brian and I worked hard on that. Brian was an amazing programmer. Brian had the main part of the game all hammered out long before he ever met me, however. Let me see, I loved all our mini games. Senseless Violence 1 was very fun to play! Naxos and Orbizone were fun for me too. I really loved making those games with Brian - so much fun.
AL: Beyond the IIGS, you worked on Firefall Arcade and Power Pete (later to become Mighty Mike when re-released as shareware) for the classic Mac OS. The work was divided between you and another graphics artist - how did this new arrangement go? I remember I was very happy to come across Power Pete in the first year of using a PowerMac, with former IIGS developers now creating new and original gaming content for the Mac and I still have my boxed copy today.
DT: I'm glad you liked Power Pete. It was a masterpiece! The other artist I worked with was Scott Harper. He was very talented and lived about 30 minutes from me. Scott had heard that I was making games. He called me asking if I would look at his artwork and give him a job. We could not afford to pay me, let alone another artist. So I didn't look at his work for quite some time. Brian and I were just two guys woking from home. Scott was persistent, so I finally looked at his work. I was so impressed that I called Brian and told him we needed to figure out a way to hire him. Scott and I worked together quite well - he was really talented. We just took turns working on what ever inspired us at the time and everything just fell into place. One problem with our games was our publisher dropped the ball and didn't support it. The publisher also totally screwed up the cover artwork and green lighted it without letting us see the proofs. The cover art really hurt us.
AL: More recently, you've had some scary brushes with cancer and survived. How have you coped with your illness?
DT: I did indeed have some recent scares with cancer. After I found out I had cancer, I began to do research on alternative cures. I found a researcher in San Francisco curing cancer with substances called Cannabidiol/CBD and tetrahydrocannabino/THCl. This is what I used to treat my cancer. I made a small documentary about it. It has been seen by millions. The first version has been translated into many languages that can be seen here. You can find my updated video at www.kurogroves.com. News on the subject can be found here. The American Cancer Society has a web page that explains a lot about it. There is lots of information on my website. My website has just been put up and I will be adding much more information all the time. I've learned a lot about cancer and the cancer industry over that last few years. I now have a vegan diet and do all I can to keep life stress free. Almost all my symptoms have resided, and I feel better than I have in years. It's ironic that Brian and I used to ask people to donate to cancer charities. I no longer do that. I feel that the cancer charities are ignoring many cures that are already available. It's amazing what you will learn when you are faced with cancer. It has really opened my eyes. The treatment I used is quite controversial. But it's backed up by lots of research and plain science. Over the next few years you will hear more and more about CBD. It's an amazing breakthrough in how we can treat illnesses. [Ed - I certainly can't verify whether the findings in this research have genuinely seen results in treating cancer, so I ask all readers to make their own minds up after seeing Dave's evidence presented].
So there you have it folks. I hope Dave gets his IIGS up to speed again and starts producing fabulous art with our favourite Apple platform again. Until then, enjoy some of Dave's graphics from way back when:
Download the Artwork of Dave Triplett (5 meg 2image)