The biggest name in the Mac porting business is Westlake Interactive. When you say Westlake, you think Glenda Adams, the company's president, one of the most vocal and publicity-savvy people in the business. However, behind her stands a pride of talented and enthusiastic Mac programmers, many of whom have changed the face of Mac gaming, working hard to bring us the games we love to play.
Brad Oliver is just one of those talented programmers. Having programmed Apple computers since the 7th Grade, studied at Arizona State University, and worked at Motorola, Brad has contributed greatly to the Mac gaming scene. His MacMAME work brought the open-source software to our favorite platform. His recent work at Westlake includes the ports of Alice, Age of Empires 2, Civilization 3, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Expansion Pack, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, amongothers.
IMG recently had the opportunity to catch up with Brad and ask him a few questions about Star Wars, working at Westlake, his insights into the future of computer games, and life in general.
IMG: I just watched Return Of The Jedi on VHS again. It was the digitally re-mastered version, however there were still garbage matte lines (i.e. boxes or shapes) around the tie fighters and the scooters. Add to that the damn over-"cute" Ewoks, and I must say that Jedi is the least favourite of the first three. What's your favorite Star Wars so far, and why?
Brad Oliver: The Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite. I liked the darker tone of the movie and the fact that in it, you don't really know where each character is headed at the end, given that Lucas had shown a predilection towards killing main characters (Obi-Wan). I also really liked the scenery and effects - Cloud City is nice to look at, and Hoth and Dagobah provide well-done locales also.
IMG: Word on the Internet is that you're a big Lucas fan boy. No self-respecting person calls himself a fan boy unless he/she has got memorabilia. Spill the beans - what SW goodies do you have stashed away?
BO: Oh boy, you really nailed me on this one. I'm reluctant to admit it, but I'm a pretty heavy collector of things Star Wars. I've got all of the vintage characters on their original card backs and their first release with 3 exceptions - Yak-Face, Boba Fett and Anakin Skywalker. I've also got a full vintage set of Ewoks and Droids figures still carded. I've got a smattering of other vintage stuff, some of it from my childhood, some of it I've collected since. I've also got a pretty complete collection of the Hasbro toys since the relaunch in 95, mainly focusing on the 4" figures and matching vehicles and play sets. I've got a few non-toy related items as well. The main non-toy items I collect are Star Wars puzzles, domestic and foreign. I'm closing in on a complete Canadian set, which has been pretty hard work, but fairly rewarding.