BBSmates Interview with Seth Able

Seth A. Robinson has sent in his replies. Below are the questions that you submitted and his responses. I'd like to thank all of the BBSmates members, everyone who submitted questions, and Seth of course, for his quick reply to all of these great questions.

Toilet Duck: Obviously characters in the game are references to yourself, but are there any other characters in the game which have any relevance to your real life?

Seth: Violet is completely fictional. In fact, I didn't name her, a guy named Jay Wilkes suggested it.  He also did some ANSI art for the game.  Or was supposed to and never did, I don't remember now. <g>

Lady Hope: Do you sing in real life like your bard character? If so, are you good at it?

Seth: I do play guitar and occasionally sing if intoxicated enough. I remember going to local BBS meetings and bringing my guitar for no reason.

EvilThing: Do you have any idea how many BBSs were hosting LORD at it's peak?

Seth: I once estimated LORD was played over a million times a day at one time, based on registrations, my guess at pirated copies and how many players the average game had.

Soul-Crusher: RT-JP and RT-War were some of my favorite Doom 2 maps. Are you planning on making any Quake or Doom 3 maps?

Seth: Thanks!! Yeah wasn't RT-JP cool? We had many a deathmatch on that level. Shawn and I did those maps and three or so more decent ones actually. I've never tried doing levels for anything newer. Greg Smith, another guy I worked with does though, he's pretty good.

nullvalue: When did you first get involved with BBS's and game development?

Seth: In '86 or '87 I guess I started calling around. I ran a BBS on my Commodore 64 and got like three calls a day, woo! Later the big town (well, ok, small but bigger) became a local call and I started getting a lot of calls. I ran 6 nodes during the most popular time I think.

scorpio: Did you ever think that your work with bbs doors like L.O.R.D or TEOS some day will become in a real legend?

Seth: Not really no, I just wanted people to call my BBS!! It really blew my mind. I would have people visit my parents house looking for me (I used their address for registrations even after I moved), and several times parents brought their kids by for autographs and a 'tour' of my garage. Once a girl flew in from Hawaii to meet me. But I guess the really amazing is after all these years I still get emails about it, so that is very flattering.

supercat: Have many users complained about the unbelievably brief "Dragonslayer has killed the red dragon and become a hero" message in the Daily Log? It would seem like it should be perhaps a little bit more noteworthy than that.

What are the winning odds for the "wooden teeth", "glass knocking", and "number guessing" games in the Dark Cloak Tavern? Are they affected by charm, experience, or any other such factors?

Seth: Hmm, actually no one has ever complained about that. Until now I mean. In general, the principle is if something is going to happen semi often (such as killing the dragon in a never resetting game) you give a lot of text to the player as he wins but you don't clutter up the log too much because people are just going to get sick of seeing the text over and over.

Lemmie think. It's either a 50/50 or a 49/51 (odds against you slightly) chance.

Toilet Duck: Has the recent 'revival' of BBS games and the popularity of the BBS culture made you regret selling off the rights to all your BBS related games? If yes, do you feel more could have been done by yourself to contribute to the active development and growth of these games?

Seth: Honestly I haven't seen any revival on my end, if anything my BBS related email gets slightly smaller each month. Or if I check the various bbs related newsgroups (alt.bbs.*, comp.bbs.* etc) it's all dead. Real dead.

However, I think the overall nostalgia factor of BBS'ing is on the rise, simply because a lot of us born in the 70's are growing up and tend to think of that time as a 'golden age' of computing.. I would like to see more of it.

Do I regret selling my BBS games? No. The cash basically financed a PC RPG I worked on (Dink Smallwood) and I had absolutely zero time or inclination to support the door games or make upgrades which isn't fair to the sysop's that were still running it. I 'finished' the games as much as I personally ever could and while I'm very proud of them I'm also glad I was able to move on and am not still upgrading LORD today. I mean, I worked on it about seven years! (off and on of course)

I've always felt there was nothing to stop me from creating a new game or universe in the LORD 'spirit', but doing say, a MMORPG or MMOG of any sort these days is a pretty big undertaking and unless I've got an idea I can get really get excited about I'd rather sleep.

Potter: How old is Seth? How has LORD affected his life and did it influence his choice of profession? Yes, now about Jenny Garth ... What is she doing now?

Seth: I'm twenty eight. LORD's success gave me a unique chance to live off it for like six years as I struggled to learn some programming junk and I was very lucky to have it.

Yes I had kind of had a crush on Jennie Garth, (was a big 90210 fan until Doherty left) - not sure what they've been up to.

Lots of LORD fans sent me pictures of Jennie Garth over the years, and one guy actually had her sign and autograph a picture for me and sent it to me. Another guy sent me the cloth back of her chair during a film shoot. Wild!

krell: How did you feel about so many of us taking a hex editor to your game to turn it into things like "Legend of the Red Monkey"?

Seth: That's fine by me, I'm just sorry I didn't have enough skill to make it more editable. I think my all-time favorite LORD-inspired clone (not a hexedit in this case) was "Legend Of The Purple Tit". I don't remember how it played but.. I mean, that's a great name.

Splat: I was always curious - what were some books, movies, or other games that influenced the design of Legend of the Red Dragon? Thanks for such a great game and have a happy new year - I still cherish my LORD wallposter!

Seth: Didn't Justin Martin do a great job on that poster?

Strong influences: Trade Wars, Ninja (?) on WWIV and the Belgariad series. (books by David Eddings)

Is there anything else you’d like to say about future plans, opinions of other games/igm’s/parodies, thoughts on Super Bowl XXXVII?

Hmm, well.. I think right now is a fantastic time to be alive and the current internet explosion is going to continue to change our lives and bring us incredible new games as the 'net goes mobile. I'm going to keep making games, one of my goals is to never do the same thing twice technically or thematically.

My main reason to watch the super bowl is to check out the new cool commercials or say "wow, someone paid a million for that?" and laugh.


Seth A. Robinson
Robinson Technologies
(C) 2002-2012