|A Visit to Firetoad Software|
September 19, 2001 | Tuncer Deniz
“Please take your shoes off.”
Walk into Firetoad Software, and it’s the first thing you see. Right there, immediately to your left, as you open the door, is the hand-written piece of paper taped on the wall. A sign of the things to come? You bet.
Firetoad Software is an up and coming small developer based in Calgary, Canada that has been making a lot of noise lately. Their latest game, Fuel, features stunning visuals, rip-roaring gameplay, and a snazzy soundtrack that has impressed those who have downloaded the trailer, seen the screenshots, and checked out the game at E3.Dig deep into Firetoad and you’ll find a small game company that is still a little wet behind the ears, but more than eager to make its own mark in the crowded computer game world.
Shoes OffAs I take my shoes off, I scan the rest of the office. Like most game companies I’ve been to, the room is pitch black except for the glow off the monitors that faintly reveal the faces behind Firetoad Software. We announce who we are and after a few handshakes, we sit down with the founding members of Firetoad, Nathan d'Obrenan, the Lead Programmer, and Chad Sterling, Senior Programmer to talk about their company and their new game.
Firetoad was originally founded roughly four years ago as more of a hobby than anything else. While they worked in corporate type environments to make a living, d'Obrenan and Sterling dabbled in their spare time writing code in the hopes that it would one day lead to something bigger.
The company’s first release was Hong Pong, a freeware game released for DOS back in 1996. Think pong with tanks. With it the company got its feet wet and soon after released Funhouse Screensaver for Windows, an OpenGL screensaver that incorporated the use of a web cam to insert pictures into the screensaver. A similar follow-up product, Ectosaver, featured even more dazzling effects.
While the company did make some money with the registration fees for their screensavers, it was the new found experience and growing programming skills that were the most rewarding for these two young programmers. It would soon set the stage for Everglade Rush.