Arny / The Electric Soldiers,
Added on November 19th, 2003 (7119 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Arnold Blueml, I'm 29 years old and was born in Klagenfurt in the very south of Austria, near Italy. I live in Vienna, the capital of Austria, where I founded a company for computer games and animation with some other great guys/girls some time ago and that's where I do my daily work. For interested - surf to http://www.rabcat.com for a closer look. I have a lot of hobbies, like writing (scripts, comics, short stories) and doing private film work projects as a writer/director. Also sports aren't missed out, like running (I did three marathons and some half marathons and triathlons), inline-skating, swimming, snowboarding and some work out in the studio - if I have the feeling it could be necessary. :)
And ofcoz I'm trying to worship the good old C64-time with a small contribution from my side - a retro site of Cosmos/Cosmos Designs. I did a lot of work around this topic so far but even more is to be done and it will be done. If you want to see more - surf to http://members.chello.at/arnold.blueml (you see - we didn't even make it up to a "real" URL so far - but time will come).
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
Wow, this could lead to an extensive answer, but I will try to keep it short. We just jump over handles like The Chip Wizard or The Warrior Cracker, as they are not describing what I did then (mostly playing) and those times are surely not my most remarkable - if at all there were such times. During my time in Cosmos, I was calling myself Icon or Arny, in the Cosmos Designs area I had Arny, ABC or Josh as my handles. I don't know why I really used so many handles, but maybe it was an early sign for my later general life attitude: Things have to change!
What group(s) were you in?
In my early times in such self-founded one-man-shows like The Electric Soldiers and Tetragon Crew, in my better times in TSK-Crew, Cosmos and Cosmos Designs of which I was one of the two founders (with Hannes Sommer, also known as Mc Sprite).
What roles have you fulfilled?
In Cosmos my part was coding/designing demos and intros and swapping.
How long were you active for?
I was active from my very beginning on the C64 (1986) playing games, but for the scene maybe relevant years were 1988-1994.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
Laming around for some years in different local groups (most of 'em I found myself). I just called TSK from TSK-CREW, whose number I had found in an intro. I told him that I was a good programmer (which was definitely not true) and could do cool intros and demos for them and also have lots of contacts to swap. Well, I sent him two (pretty not so cool) examples and he brought me in (thanks Andreas) - I guess it was just because I called him about five times a day. :)
I was then getting in contact with SSD/TSK (also situated in the more southern area of Austria) and he supplied me with software to swap with and we actually had a nice friendship - maybe mainly because of my never-stopping mouth-acrobatic.
A few months later TSK himself was gone (or even kicked) and a new group with the name Cosmos was founded (I was really shocked about that name first) by all the ex-TSK-Crew members except TSK. My part was doing intros (I did two that were acceptable in my opinion) and some demos and logos. Then I was visited by a guy in my neighbourhood called Hannes Sommer who first just wanted to copy some new stuff from me. I recognized his talent immediately and wanted him to join Cosmos but it wasn't possible at that time to bring him on as a new member into Cosmos - as we always tried to keep the group small and powerful - so he joined Icon/Cosmos. He was the good programmer that I never had been, so I concentrated more on my real passion - doing graphics.
As Cosmos went down (SSD quit working, others joined 711) and because my target always was doing games, Hannes and me founded Cosmos Designs. His brother Karl (Mc Lord) and Bernd (Panther) joined shortly thereafter. For a short time also Hermes (he did the Einstein-Demo series) was in, but he left to code his own game. We were mainly concentrating on doing games (f.ex. D.I.S.C., Super Nibbly, Cosmox, Lions of the Universe, Ball Fever, Plural, Moons, Square Out), where the things were done in whole by us (Code: Hannes/Panther, Zak: Karl, Gfx: Arny/Panther) or in co-op with Gotcha/Crazy, Redstar, JCH, Drax and some others. We also did lotsa demos which were partly pretty nice stuff, one also in co-op with the Dutch demo group Black Mail. To get a complete overview of our portfolio take a look at the tribute-page mentioned before.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
Well, maybe "day" isn't the right word to meet the topic. As I was in school at that time (like the most of us) I mostly had to use long nights to live up my passion. And also the weekends ofcoz when other guys in my age were trying out their first steps in nightlife. First I mostly checked my mail for actual sendings, checked new releases of other groups for the greetings and then I went deep into coding and graphics. On the weekends I met Hannes Sommer for discussing the latest projects and the requirements for my work.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
It ofcoz always was some kind of exploring doing our work, but gladly I had Hannes on my side for doing tools to ease my work and doing special techniques that always surprised me.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
In my beginning-period (short after having joined TSK) it was being greeted by big groups, later it was the look on the demogroup-charts, again later it was seeing the pictures of our games in the C64 mags and well - today looking at it - it was seeing that a guy like me could have made it up in this scene, getting contacted by guys like you to write about the old times.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
There where surely a lot - too many to mention - but the guys I was most proud of where the other members of Cosmos Designs (Hannes, Bernd and Karl) because I had the pleasure to work together with them and getting projects from paper to realization - something that still fascinates me in my work today.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
It was just everything. People were pushing the limits all the time. A great process. And mostly just for passion. One can learn a lot from the C64-history. If you thought everything was possibly done, there came someone with a great invention. But to come to a point - I really loved Amica Paint (a drawing program like Koala Painter, but with more possibilities) as it revolutionized my graphics work. Moving the joystick was lots easier than drawing on a paper by hand and typing the manual calculated code into the machine.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Definitely! It was one of the most important experiences and of course a lot of fun. I was in Venlo, at Radwar's and many others across Europe.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
It was about creativity and pushing limits - competition if one may say. But in an inspiring and funny environment.
What were the particular highlights for you?
I have many things in mind - too much to mention. But working on games was always a passion for me and getting the first released was a real climax! :)
Any cool stories to share with us?
There are also a lot but I have one which maybe shows the work structure sometimes within Cosmos Designs in a funny way. It happened to be on a party - I guess it was in Innsbruck/Austria - where I was talking (I used to talk a lot) to a local programmer in the evening and I was very pissed of because he was talking like God himself. In the course of the dialogue he mentioned some routine he was working on which he found out to be definitely impossible. I told him that "impossible" only exists in minds and told him we will get this routine working within the next day. Well, there I stood, loudmouthed and aimless. I talked to Hannes about the "problem" and told him we had to fix this problem or otherwise everybody - the issue was already spread on the party - would think we are just losers. So Hannes ended up coding all night (while I was sleeping) and he really got the thing working until I woke up. What a pleasure! And how easy tasks can be solved if somebody else does the work! ;)
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I am glad that I got in contact with the Cosmos Designs guys again although everybody had different paths. And I am always looking for my old contacts - so if someone feels affected - feel free to contact me: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
It was about 1986 and it still has a special place in my flat. I also managed to get my old disks converted before they end up their guarantee (thanks Stefan!).
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
It wasn't the C64 itself but the great people working with it. And I found out the working field of my passion - so it was at least special for me!
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
I already was asked by some guys still active to reanimate my skills in that area. Maybe I will do so sometimes, but before I'm concentrating on finishing the online project and watching, if Bernd (Panther) is successful with his project (Outrage).
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Yes! Fortune is when a chance meets willingness. And it was fortune for me to contribute within such a great history with all of you passionate guys/girls.
back to the list of available interviews