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By Richard Fisher
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Extra info for Brain Games: 134 Original Scientific Games That Reveal How Your Mind Works
He stood there, raised his eyebrow, and made a strange alien beep, to which Romero responded with almost debilitating laughter. It was Tom’s costume for Halloween. Tom stayed, as he often did, helping out with the game design and tool creation. Adrian was thankful that he didn’t stick around much longer. One night shortly alter that, however, Tom stuck around long after Adrian, Romero, and the rest of the Softdisk employees had gone home. The only people left were he and Carmack. Slordax was wrapping up nicely, and Carmack was on to something else.
As he told the other guys on one of his very first days, put him in a closet with a computer, a pizza, and some Diet Cokes, and he would be fine. As Tom settled into a chair late this night, Carmack showed him how he had figured out a way to create an animating block or tile of graphics on the screen. The screen consisted of thousands of pixels; a group of pixels make up a tile. When making a game, an artist would first use pixels to design a tile, then place the tiles together to create the entire environment.
He saw the microwave, the fridge, the junk food. Metallica played from a boom box. A dart-strewn poster of the hair metal band Warrant hung on the wall. Carmack, Lane, and Romero each sat at his own fancy machine. “Look,” Al said, “we can’t take two months to get out 33 this first disk. We have to get it out in four weeks. ” they cried. Two months, the original deadline, was tight enough. There was no way they could come up with two games from scratch. They would have to port a couple of their existing Apple II games to PC–a specialty that both Carmack and Romero could handle.