Hello, After getting my hands on September's issue of Amiga Format, the first thing I normally do when I get a CD-ROM cover disk is to wham it straight in the drive and go check out the most recent modules. Subsequently, I went through the folder with your name on it and was impressed by the quality of modules stored there, and after reading your doc file advertising your talent, I became even more interested. Pagan Software are a relatively new company (we've only been founded properly for the past six months) coding games for the Amiga and PC with two Amiga coders and one PC coder. Our software is distributed through mail order, as with other such companies like Weathermine, Mutation etc., but as of yet, none of us has had the time to complete the projects we had began six months ago because of university schedules. However, with university finished for a year while we do our one year work placement, and summer nearly finished, we found the time to continue our projects and estimate that all three games (two for Amiga/One for PC) will be completed by October. Summer holidays helped us a lot with all of us now at about 60-70% complete, excluding music which is why I was so interested in your doc file. Pagan is also going to run though our fourth year at university as our fourth year project, so the sooner we get things up and running, the better. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of what I want for my game and what the others want for theirs and how much royalty will be paid, I thought it would be a good idea if I told you more about the philosophy of Pagan and who does what in it. These pages have been lifted from our web site (which is currently closed for the time being until we find a new server) and explain basically everything.
What is Pagan?
Pagan software are a team of software designers and engineers set on producing software at a decent price with a serious spark of inspiration and originality injected into their products. We don't believe in just porting code form one machine to another, we take the code and re-code it to suit that machines hardware abilities.
One of our beliefs is that in recent years bedroom coders have become something of a rarity. The only way to get a piece of software released today is though PD/Shareware/Licenseware or through Commercial links, hard and volitile to do. One of the things we all agree on is that at the beginning of the computer boom with the 8bit machines, the reason that people remember it so fondly is because of all of the bedroom coders out their releasing original and ground breaking software rather than sticking to a company mould that is known to sell games.
The world is not run by the PC, it is only popular but that doesn't mean its the be-end-and-all of computers and how games should be made. What we offer is a variety. Something that breaks away from the moulds and mixes different styles of coding types together to produce an original, and hopefully, enjoyable product.
Pagan is built up of a mixture of in-house and freelance coders/ designers/artists/musicians. We offer a good rate of pay…for freelance coders, 50% is received by the programmer while 50% goes to Pagan to cover documentation, advertising etc. Freelance coders can draw on the talents of some of the in-house people and pay them a section of their 50%, or can recruit one of our other freelance bods though our freelance database which holds all of the information concerning our freelance coders/artists/musicians.
We are always on the lookout for new bods, see our job page link on the Pagan homepage. The quality of our software varies as it does with any other software company, but to make a comparison, we would rate our quality fresh-hold somewhere between high-end shareware/licenseware software and commercial software (see software section on Pagan homepage).
Send us your software. It could be anything for any 16/32 bit machine (Atari S'TFM/STE/Mega/Falcon/Amiga 500/500+/600/1200/4000 - PC386+). We will evaluate that piece of software and send you back an honest report on wether or not we could publish it. Don't worry about a lack of graphics or sound etc. as we judge every product on it's merit so long as we can see it working (DON'T send us bug ridden software and expect us to shift through it,'cos we won't!).
Now that's over with, lets get down to business.
Currently I am at the completion stages of my game, Reginald The Unemployed Mage, a style of game mixed with an arcade shoot-em-up and a Lucus Arts Graphic Text Adventure (see enclosed brochure for more into). From the CD, the mod I was interested in was 'Everyone Go Mad'. It's perfect (thou it could be longer) for title music.
Andrew is at the same point as I am with a Star Control/Elite/Alien Breed type game. I know the style of music he is looking for and some of your rave/ dance/techno tunes would suit him perfectly too.
Dilwyn, also nearly with a completed project, is working on a Bomber Man type game for the PC.
Obviously he would like some sort of 4-8 channel mod, I suppose prefably in a PC format mod, but I know that he'll be happy with a 4 channel Amiga mod as well. As for the style of the music, Dilwyn is still not sure so if he can't make up his mind I'll choose it for him.
As for payment, we will each pay you a certain percentage from our 50% of the sales. At the moment, until we get some more money into Pagan, we are treating ourselves as freelance coders, so we pay for music, graphics etc. from our own royalties. Depending upon how much percentage you are paid will depend upon the amount and quality of the mod(s), so the percentage could be somewhere between 1% - 10% (personally, I believe that it should start from 4% upwards, but we haven't come to an agreement yet). We also have a bonus system where the more copies of the game sold, the bigger the bonus.
On average, the cost per game (depending also upon quality), is £10 - £15. If you write me ONE piece of music set at 4% royalties, then for every hundred copies sold, you would receive £60. If you composed ONE piece of music for every game (3 in total this season) then you should get something along the lines of £180. To the extreme, if you write more than one piece of music (2 - 3) for ONE game at 10% royalties (the percentage can be increased if more music is required which it will be), then you could get £150, and £450 for music covering three projects. Of course, those sales figures of 100 copies a month are only estimates, and the games could to better or worse. Like all things it's a gamble, but it's better than nothing. At our end of the sales side, Chris and myself are in charge of the advertising, so once we get the bank sorted out and we get our loan, then the advertisement will pay a great deal in the sales figures of the games as does the quality of the components of the project (code/playability/music/graphics etc.).
You should also bare in mind that the Amiga will have two versions made, ECS & AGA, so that bumps up your payment(s) as well.
We also have to broach the question about copyright on samples and where you got them from. Sample copyright law still seems to be a grey area but I know that if the sample is not distinguishable to any popular music, then we'd probably get away with it.
Hope to hear from you soon,
P.S. The brochure is an old one, the other two games not Reginald were never to be realised but were added to fill up our rough brochure just to see what it would look like (RavenStark is still a possibility though). The prices are also out of context so don't pay much attention to them.
I was only 15 years old…
…still at school and thought absolutely nothing would come of my submissions to Amiga Format, so it was a huge surprise to not only get a mention in the magazine but to also receive that ginormous letter in the post.
What followed was ultimately sheer awesome panic! I’d clearly bitten off more than I could chew and was ill prepared to commit to anything like this while distracted by school, radio hobby and some not so nice personal things going on outside of our half-baked dysfunctional family home.
That said, I went ahead and created another module and sent off the follow-up sequel of the original “Everyone Go M”- it was- at least in my own opinion- equally awful if not worse than the original, and that– was that.
Meanwhile, Commodore- the creators of the Amiga computer- had already been in financial trouble for a number of years, eventually they went bust and the company was sold several times.
Commodore put up a heck of a fight, but it was not long before cherished establishments such as Amiga Format stopped press altogether and with no new machines hitting the market, Commodore’s fumble forced the market to react. Game Over.
Publishers & software companies had no choice but to move on. Many did, yet a few hardcore Amiga software houses stuck with the platform until the very end, I believe Pagan was probably one of those that strengthened their already diverse platform support without abandoning the Amiga entirely.
I have very little information about what happened to Pagan Games after our encounter through the snail mail post, so this document may be updated with new information if and when it appears!
The End. Enjoy!
Pagan Software became Pagan Games sometime between 1996 and 1999, and hosted a website that was available up until sometime in 2011.
Jason of Pagan Games notoriety can now be found these days on Twitter: @JayHayman