Trixy 3001 / New Wave Crew,
Tron System 9009,
Added on November 18th, 2014 (1439 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Roger Lindfors and I was born in Ludvika, Sweden in 1971. I was born Rogert Löf, but changed my name while I was still young to make life easier for myself. I live in Gothenburg, Sweden and am currently trying to establish my own software company and market a commercial software once it is ready. I've worked on all kinds of shit over the years, but now have the chance to actually get somewhere on my own. I've never given up programming, I've just been waiting for the right time to make use of my old-school talents to be able to get somewhere on my own.
I have a developer account for Android devices, and my apps can be found by searching for "duologic software" in Google Playstore. I have published a game called Wall Ball and an app called Group SMS that allows you to send SMS messages to all your friends and family at once. There are more to come, but I am currently very busy developing a software for the PC.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My first nickname was Trixy 3001, which I chose because I had to come up with a name in order to be accepted as a swapper in the group New Wave Crew (which later became Aliens). After seeing the TV series Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, I changed my nickname to Blaster because I liked the futuristic robot Blastaar in that series.
What group(s) were you in?
As far as I can remember, I was in: New Wave Crew, Aliens, Darkzone, Warlock, Sector 90, Tron System 9009 and Wrath Designs. I was probably also a member of Gemini and Zone 45 at some point, I can't really remember now, it was so long ago. Darkzone, Warlock and Tron System 9009 were of my own invention. I wanted to find my own way. I did some shit better and some worse. I was there for the fun of it, it was all I had to hang onto.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a swapper in New Wave Crew, and a swapper and coder in Aliens, Darkzone, Warlock, Sector 90, Tron System 9009 and Wrath Designs.
How long were you active for?
I think between about 1987 and 1992, though my tape recorder destroyed the tape with my last code which had demo parts for Wrath Designs' demo Don't Sphere 2. Unfortunately, the tape stuck and got chewed up in the tape recorder, so all my last code was lost. But time moves on, that's life. After that, my official membership faded away as my life moved on, and the rest is as they say history.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
My school was the first one in Sweden to offer BASIC programming, this must have been in 1985 or so. Back then, we used a schools computer called Compis – a rare thing, I don't even know today what exactly it was all about. I asked why we needed to learn this and was told: "Because computers are the future and you will have to use them all your life". I thought: okay, that makes sense. My classmates from school learned pretty quick, and I was worried I wouldn't keep up with them, but it soon became clear that I could also learn fast, and I remember I liked to show off by putting together a simple For-Next loop to make my name bounce back and forth across the screen. Everyone who saw it was impressed, so it became my personal way of advertising my new programming knowledge. I had no idea then that it was actually my first demo, nor of what was to come, it just seemed a natural step.
At school, we could choose between Electrics and Computers and I chose the latter. My friends at school knew other people who owned VIC-20 and Commodore 64 computers. We used to get together and play games, that's how I was introduced to games and intros. It was a mystery to me how someone could have their name on the screen with flashing rasters. I remember one day, I accidentally tried a disassembler software on a tape. I ran it and played around with it. I knew nothing to start with, but I experimented and wrote down each character at some address in memory once I had figured out what it was doing, i.e. I learned the hard way. I was determined to learn assembly language. I had no particular idea what it was all about, but as time went on, and I kept trying, I made some progress.
My friends had contacts, and that's how I got in touch with other people – there was always someone who knew someone who could get the latest stuff. It was like a chain, and I inched my way ever-closer to the "scene". One day, I was contacted by a guy called Slime who had started a C64 group and wanted me to join as a swapper. I accepted, little realising that New Wave Crew and later Aliens would become a computer group with a direct link to the scene. I can't even remember how I got in touch with him in the first place, probably through someone else I'd met somewhere. It was very common at the time for a stranger to call you up on the phone. It probably seems weird now, but back then it was perfectly natural because that's the way things were done. I think the computer revolution saved a whole generation, and for that I am very thankful.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I would come home from school, check my mail (snail-mail, that is) and test whatever stuff I'd received. With time, I got more and more up-to-date stuff. I had contacts all over the world. It's fun now to think back to how things worked then. It was easier to become world-famous back then because the fast young kids handled the mail. Any business owner today would be impressed at how efficient we were back then. I would hang out with my best friends from school, and we spent most of our time playing games or driving around on our mopeds. I shudder to think how many hours I spent in front of the screen back then, but at least I was pretty competent.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Yes, I coded the Character Colour Editor (CCE) while I was a member of Aliens. It was used to load logos and 4x4 character sets and the like. It was very useful, and we used it a lot internally. I can't remember if it got disseminated and used by others. It was my answer to a tool of Slime's called Rasted (Raster Colour Editor). This must have been back in 1987 or so, and I still remember it now.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
First and foremost, I am proud of myself for believing that I could learn and be just as good as anyone else, so accepting entry into that computer class at school was a good decision by young me, I definitely did the right thing there and can give myself a pat on the back for that and for not letting giving up when my classmates were pushing forward and I felt I was being left behind. I certainly got my revenge on the bastards who would knock me down outside the classroom during break. I taught myself the hard way, and it was a real fight to learn assembly language. Aside from that, I was proud to get to know people from all over the world who were part of the scene. I would just have been another lamer playing games with kids from school if it hadn't been for all the young kids I met who had the same dream as me, to achieve something and get somewhere. Instead of just getting into fist-fights, we took our fighting spirit into the scene. I was just as ardent as anyone else, if not more so. The two parts I contributed to Don't Sphere by Wrath Designs are testament to that. I did my homework while my classmates talked shit and fooled around, and it worked for me, so I'm proud of that.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Nice question. There are too many to mention, but the most important ones for me at least are those who influenced me by creating a style of their own which greatly enriched the scene as a whole, specifically (and in no particular order): Mr.Z for being one of the very first to release intros; West Coast Crackers whose coder No.1 created some of the most cult and stylish intros ever for Scooby Doo and Glider Rider; 1001 Crew for breaking the sideborder; Triad for being so well organised and for that unforgettable TRIAD logo made up of characters, a style I also used in Tron System 9009; Ikari who became really big and whom I still remember for those big sprites bouncing around back and forth, nice work; Rawhead because Omega Supreme's Pimplesqueezer 3 inspired me to use CoolSqueezer as a demo name, Omega Supreme kicked some serious ass; Xakk whose Knatter and Mr.Cross had a cool style; Mahoney for his demo Skruv which I enjoyed so much; Aliens for their excellent Jarre-inspired demo Equinoxe, and because Slime and Virus were best buds whom I was so pleased to meet, they were heroes in the literal sense; Hotline for powerful intros, especially the one to Kikstart III; Alpha Flight for being such great coders; Rob Hubbard for daring to be so innovative (and it worked!); Martin Galway for his immortal masterpieces; Matt Gray because Last Ninja is now a timeless classic; and finally, The Silents for founding Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (DICE) and rocking our world so hard with Pinball Dreams and Battlefield on the Amiga and PC – who'da thunk it?! Though perhaps we should have known.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The Character Colour Editor was a very useful tool and probably deserved more recognition than it got, but it was my big contribution to Aliens and was a great way for me to learn assembly language. Every demo became an invention in its own right, and the coolest thing was probably when I typed "This is Blaster trapped in the processor unit forever" into the sprites moving on perfectly timed split rasters in the Wrath Designs demo Don't Sphere. That was cool.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
I was invited to a couple but somehow never ended up going. It seemed such a pain to have to carry the computer and heavy TV set from the train station, so it just never happened. Too bad, really.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was about young kids finding their way in life when no-one else gave a shit. That's what it came to mean for me at least, I can't speak for anyone else. It was a combination of fun and creativity. We used our interest to create a subculture, and we could see it in action. That's why the scene was on fire, to say the least. I really miss those days, it's all different now.
What were the particular highlights for you?
I particularly liked That's The Way It Is by Scoop Designs. Beyond that, I was influenced by just about every demo I had the honour of seeing. It was like every guy on the planet wanted to show off his coding chops in a demo. Some looked pretty standard, with just sprites in a sine and some rasters, but even that was significant for the Commodore 64, and with a scrolling text it was enough to entertain. The SID chip is legendary even today. It really helped to create the cult of demos as we know it today. It's cool to have been part of that scene. I enjoy being a programmer, and the great thing in the past was that we could focus on one programming language. That's why so many people on the scene contributed so many amazing innovations in such a short time. These days, it's all about studying in order to get ahead, but back then, we did it out of passion, and I think that's what made us enjoy it all so much. The C64 was the most successful home computer system ever created. It deserved to be improved, I do agree with that, but as always, money talks.
Any cool stories to share with us?
What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence? Time to buy a new fence. Or have you heard the one about the two tomatoes? One got run over, and the other said: "Hey, ketchup!". Sorry, I will probably never become a comedy star. There are a lot of funny people and stories out there.
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
No, not really, everybody seems too busy to find time to chat. I guess I'm not that hot, popular or famous anymore, but I don't mind. I'm quite busy myself working on my project. Hopefully, someone will look me up to have a chat, there's nothing wrong with expanding your social network. It was easier back then, though, so been there done that.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
That was probably sometime around 1985. I still have it, it's in a blue dusty sports bag. My C64 floppy drive and loads of disks are also in a plastic bag somewhere. It will all most likely be worth billions of dollars in a few generations. Just kidding, I doubt it would fetch that much at auction, but I keep it because it means a lot to me. The Commodore 64 in particular shows that there's times when money cannot measure the value of having experienced something.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Of course it was, it paved the way for today's PC scene. The hardware upgrades in today's PCs are great, but something's missing because money runs the show. It wasn't like that when I started out, that's why I'm proud to call myself old-school. Too bad Commodore didn't formulate a long-term strategy back then, otherwise we could have a powerful Commodore computer today that was backward compatible and could play the old classics on a modern hardware. Somehow, that never happened, I guess this was also a case of money talks, business as usual, etc.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Soon, perhaps, because I am building up my own software company called Duologic Software DS. I want to develop C64-inspired games for the PC and other platforms, and commercial business solutions for companies. Check out www.duologic.se to see what's going on. I'm currently running the show alone, so there's a lot to do, at time of writing I don't even have a webpage ready yet, but I've secured the domain and the projects will be announced in time. Come to think of it, crowd funding could be a great way of furthering my vision, if you're interested, drop me a line at rogerlindfors@hotmail. I also need people to contribute music, sound effects, graphics, 3D models and stuff like that. I'll be announcing more details on my site, so do visit now and again to see if I manage to bring the Commodore 64 era back to life. Well, not that maybe, but my future vision still remains true to my past.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Thanks for having this interview with me, it's been an honour to contribute. I've never thought of myself as a famous person, but I am aware that it's your talents that will get you somewhere. Thumbs up to Morpheus for contacting me about this interview in the first place. I wish everyone the best of luck in their careers and lives. Thanks to all of you for making the magic happen. Remember that only you set the limits on how far you can go and what you can achieve, don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
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