In this special PAX Australia edition of The Black Panel Interview, Erin talks to Man Fight Dragon founder Lance E. McDonald about bringing Black Annex to PAX, Mike Krahulik’s transgender missteps, the ongoing censorship debate and much more. Check out more PAX coverage here.
Erin Marcon: My guest today is Lance E. McDonald. He is the founder of local indie studio, Man Fight Dragon and the creator of Black Annex, the studio’s forthcoming debut. This isometric action game is part of the Australian Indie Showcase at this week’s PAX event in Melbourne. Lance, thanks for joining me!
Lance E. McDonald: Hey, thanks. How are you doing?
I’m doing very well, thank you. I’ve watched a fair bit of Black Annex footage, and it feels to me like a difficult game to pigeonhole. There’s plenty of action, but there’s also stealth and hacking and team building and customisation. If you had to offer up an elevator pitch for the game, where would you start?
I guess I’d say something like, it’s very much isometric espionage and infiltration with a really big focus on business management as well though. That’s probably the easiest way to sum it up.
And the retro style of the game, it’s more than just skin deep. You’ve actually written the game in QBasic, which these days, cult following aside, is a pretty obscure package. What, to you, are the core characteristics of the package? And let’s just assume that I’m a disgrace to my profession and my entire knowledge of QBasic is based on the Wikipedia entry that I may have just read.
Well I grew up using Basic, lots of variants of Basic, like lots of people did with their Commodore 64s and that sort of thing. So when I got an IBM I used QBasic to make games, that sort of thing. I never really grew out of it. It’s like never growing out of the toys you played with when you were growing up. Now that I can actually use QBasic, I have a tool made by another Australian called QB64 that makes QBasic code run on new computers, because QBasic is for DOS. It’s old as. But yeah, with that now I can keep making games the way I used to when I was really young, but I can make them and everyone can play them and enjoy them just as if they were made using tools that were made in the last five years, that sort of thing. So yeah, the whole game, not just the look of the game, but the way that I make it is really a throw back to what I used to do when I was little, the toys I used to play with growing up. Read the rest of this entry »