Lucifer / 3001 Crew,
Added on January 1st, 2005 (12251 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is John C. Lundberg and I'm 33 years old. I live in Västerås, Sweden, which also is the place where I popped out of my mom. I work as a network and PC technician and as a Consultant. My interests are my four cats (real ones that say meow), arcade machines, video games and everything that has to do with computers and technique.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
I took Lucifer from the mean fat cat in Aristocats. Later when I found out what the name originally came from, it was an even cooler choice. ;) I then added Technologies uLTD and so the result became Lucifer Technologies uLTD.
What group(s) were you in?
3001 Crew, Triad, Fairlight and Triad again.
What roles have you fulfilled?
Cracker and coder.
How long were you active for?
From 1984 to 1989.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
There was no scene back then if you ask me. We worked hard on our stuff and one day we were famous and admired by friends and their friends. In the beginning, it wasn't our intension to become famous, we just wanted to swap with others to get more stuff.
I got to know Ixion through a gang called The Pact. The members were Ixion (he had another handle then) and Ficus Folium and they mostly swapped. Ixion knew Skydive, I don’t know how. I was working for myself back then and cracked everything that came my way, which they liked as Skydive had access to everything new. Because we started to cooperate, Ixion, Skydive, Ficus Folium and me became 3001 Crew (which was my work name). This was the foundation of what would become Triad and my best C64 memories are from this period. There were also some local friends, who is unknown to most people, that helped us to spread stuff, namely Dr Video and Gunsoft. They were the "& Co" in 3001 Crew & Co when they had contributed something to a release.
We churned out cracks and that attracted quite a lot of swappers, like RND from Stockholm and The Arrow + Fred from Gothenburg. RND got his cracks from Mr. Z himself which was really cool back then as his cracks were so much better than everybody else’s. He was definitely one of the most skilled and brightest coders I've met. Mr. Z also cooperated with 3D (Dator Destruction Department) who was an old Spectrum coder, which you could clearly hear when he tapped on his keyboard. It was thanks to Ixion's persistence that we got in contact with all these swappers and crackers. Ixion is a very persistent guy and I remember that he used to copy disks all night long to spread our stuff. After Ixion had spread our stuff to guys like RND and The Arrow for some time, we all decided to start a group together.
I think it was me, Skydive and Ixion that sat at Ixion's place trying to find a name. We loaded up a game called Triad and that made us think... Triad... Hmm... That sounds nice. We live in three different cities (Gothenburg, Västerås and Stockholm) and it's also the name of a mob syndicate. Why it in the end became Triad and none of the other name ideas we had, I don't know, just how we stumbled upon the word. I've heard another version from Ixion but I'm not sure if it's 100 percent accurate. It was apparently God Almighty that had told him we should pick Triad as a name. Don't forget that Ixion was just a swapper at the time, but we listened a lot to what he said as he was the one that mostly communicated with the others. I had to work on the cracks and Skydive was the delivery boy, delivering stuff from my place to Ixion’s and vice versa. (There was of course times when we met at Ixion's place and did everything under one roof.)
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
It took ages to transfer cracks from tapes, and let's not forget the time a sequence packer took on this little 8-bit machine with an amazing one Mhz! I started the packing before I went to bed, and with a little luck, it was ready to be hand over to Ixion when I woke up. I also wrote machine code directly in to the memory location I wanted the program to start at. Use a compiler!? Me? Bollocks! :-p
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I wrote a quite funny routine with which I could record sprite movements by using a light pen. The movement on the yin/yang sprites in Lucifer's Revenge was made this way. The sprites are from Jeff Minter's Ancipital by the way.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
My demos. Most the ideas for my demos came straight from my head, and almost always at Ficus Folium's place, often in combination with lots of alcohol. I don't care about the cracks because it was just something I did without thinking, kind of like a prostitute doing her job all day. There really was no pleasure in it.
Seek & Destroy was an answer to Android of Swedish Cracking Crew because he and his lame brother called us gays. We didn't like that of course, and we all know what happens then, don't we? Along came the big Triad-hammer to crush the shot-to-pieces SCC logo. The idea for the hammer came from the song Hammer by Motörhead.
Seek & Destroy 2 was a sequel in which we really wanted to let people know that we didn't like when someone called us gays. I guess this is the demo that people remember best from me. =) Damn, I've played the game in the demo so many times when being drunk... Heheh... There's a hidden scroll in there – just press the Commodore key! Another function: In game mode, press Q to return to the menu. I had to do this function in case my moral mom would pop in.
Lucifer's Revenge is probably the demo that I was most pleased with. I simply collected and put together all the small routines I'd written. I remember that multi-demos were rather unusual back then, and this one became 186 blocks long after packing it.
Lucifer's Revenge 2 was in the making too, and it was supposed to be my last demo on the C64. I had an FLD routine and a animated "blobb" that played samples of a lot of shouting going on. It sounded and looked really cruel, but the code was never finished, and what was finished ended up at 801 DC's place who later tragically died.
Ixion's Kongelbär was also a demo I was working on. There was a long scroller in it where I insulted Ixion to the max while a sampling of Eddie Meduzas "Knulla en get i röven" (fuck a goat in the ass) was playing. I saw it a few years ago in what was the remains of Skydive's disk collection. (That collection is definitely off-limits!)
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Mr. Z – what a coding genius! Everything that was impossible was possible in his world. Mr. Z quote: "You just do it like this, and like this..."
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The disk drive.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
At times. I remember the Jewels party in Denmark in 1987 best – and what a party it was! Who's idea was it to put a herd of C64 loonies in their teens in a place where you could buy Elephant Beer in the shops? And then put them in a scout cabin in the middle of fucking nowhere!? :D I was at the Triad/Fairlight party too, but I was so drunk that I more or less only remember when we arrived and when we left. I remember that I was fiddling with an ESCOS routine and that I was trying to optimise it to fit one of Rob Hubbard's tunes in there. Do I have to tell you that it didn't went that well after we started boozing?
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
To have fun!!
What were the particular highlights for you?
I can't remember anything in particular.
Any cool stories to share with us?
I'd like to remember that we had a lot of fun, but it's hard to name a specific occasion now, 20 years after. I have a lot of memories of Ixion and the gang from the days when the activity reached an all time high. I also remember that Ixion's house was full of sleeping birma cats, and because Ixion was training Ninjutsu, I always had to try to wrestle him to the floor. I managed to do it a few times, but he mostly beat me. ;) Maybe that’s the real reason why I put myself up against Triad! *Big laugh*
Ixion is or was at least a very good friend before we went separate ways. The whole quarrel started when Ixion kept the packer we got on a cartridge from 1001 Crew for himself, which really was meant to be handed out to the crackers in Triad. Mr. Z and I were the crackers in Triad back then. Mr. Z got his cartridge but Ixion decided to keep the second one, and it was all about prestige really. You know, so he could brag about it. What good would a packer do with a swapper (which was Ixion’s primary task at the time)?
I pulled a prank on Ixion when I went by his place and showed him a game I was working on. I had hidden a bit of code in the loader that copied and stored the cartridge from 1001 Crew in the graphical data. I used the packer on the next crack Ixion got from me, and so it became rather clear that I couldn't stay in the group after that. Ixion and his mom wanted to look through my house to find the disk with the packer, which really was the first sign of his delusion of grandeur. Things weren't a game in his world anymore. There were other crazy members in Triad. RND threatened me with lawyers because I had copied the packer. What a f***ing jerk!
One of the reasons why I did my little prank on Ixion and left Triad was because I wasn't pleased with how he ran the group. It was a little protest. For some of us, everything was more of a game, but it was all too serious in Ixion's world. We had to crack the games as soon as possible – and they had to be short too! We got stuck in a rut with the feel that we more or less had to do it, but we were all friends and what is it that you don't do for friends? The magic that we had in The Pact, 3001 Crew and in the early Triad days wasn't there anymore. And to do a couple of guest cracks for other groups like I did, well, that was like shooting your own mom according to Ixion (the games weren't even new). I cracked games and coded because it was fun, not because I was in the Foreign Legion for crackers or something! I also gave my friends games that didn't have the Triad logo attached to them, which was something we fought over many times. It wasn't like Ixion had the right to decide over what other people could do with their cracks.
I left Triad and joined Fairlight a few months later after doing some guest-cracks for groups that some of my friends had. Fairlight wasn't that well organised with Strider as their leader, so I didn't stay for long. The group was so big that hardly anyone knew what we were doing.
Me and Ixion smoked the peace pipe after my time in Fairlight and I did some cracks for Triad again. That only lasted for a short time as I got back the same feeling when I left Triad the first time. My interest for beer and women had also grown, so I stopped cracking. Triad had changed a lot when I joined again, and Ixion had really become Der Führer. I remember Ixion said I was lazy and worthless. That's what you say to friends when they don't wanna stay up all night cracking games just because of the honour, right? I remember that Ixion and RND were real bullies that always got what they wanted in the end. At the same time, Ixion deserves the credit for what Triad became.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I still see Skydive, Dr Video and Gunsoft on almost a daily basis. Ficus Folium lives in San Antonio these days, and we're still in contact.
I’ve been in contact with Jerry, the Triad boss, through their homepage about an e-mail address and some demos I was looking for. One of the reasons I got in contact with Jerry was that I wanted to get in contact with Ixion to see if the old saying "Time heal all wounds" is true or not by just saying hello again after all these years. I didn’t get the contact information from Jerry, and it was like Ixion was a part of a witness protection program or something. It’s not like he’s Don Corleone! :)
Then I’ve been in contact with Rowdy from Falköping (Sweden). The funny thing about Rowdy is that he used to be a kind of Triad hang-around. Ixion wouldn’t let him into the group at first, but a little bit later on he joined the group which in my eyes was about time. At the time, Triad was more of a cracker-team so that might have been the reason why he had to wait. When Triad started to do more demos, I guess Rowdy fitted more into the group and could therefore join. Anyways, I haven’t heard from him in a few years but he’s a very nice guy. Good control over the code and socially skilled.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got my C64 in 1983 from my father who was very interested in computers himself, but I took it over completely. I still got everything left, even the 1540 disk drive Skydive made in to a 1541.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Absolutely! Compared to everything else at the time, it was superior both graphically and musically. There was something mystical about it when I saw it for the first time.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
1001 LDA #$0B
1003 STA $D011
1006 INC $D020
1009 INC $D020
100C DEC $D020
100F DEC $D020
1012 INC $D020
1015 INC $D020
1018 JMP $1006
Write that in to the memory, start it with SYS 4096 and you'll get some synched colours in a row. The last thing you'll ever see from me is this remarkably advanced code. ;)
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Thanks for the great time we had together! A special hello goes to Ixion. It would be fun to see you. The hatchet was buried a long time ago. Skydive says hi! (He's 41 years old these days. Thanks for reading! / John Lundberg – Lucifer Technologies uLTD in the year of 3001.
back to the list of available interviews