ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM ISSUE 9 — DECEMBER/JANUARY 1985 / PAGE 14

Charles Bueche (Chuckles)

Interviewed by Peter Ellison

    Charles Bueche (Chuckles) co-founder of Origin Systems is know for his creation of Jawbreaker II and Atari conversions of Ultima II and III. Charles and his partner, Richard Garriot (Lord British), in the past year and a half have made an impact on the computer software market.
    Q. Chuck, when did you first become interested in computers?
    A. It was when I was a freshman at the University of Texas.
    Q. What was the first computer that you worked on?
    A. It was an Apple II.
    Q. And when was this?
    A. In the Spring of 1980.
    Q. What do you like best about the Atari Computer?
    A. I like the graphics and sound.
    Q. What was the first program that you converted for the Atari?
    A. It was Jawbreaker II for Sierra-Online.
    Q. What programs have you converted for the Atari?
    A. Jawbreaker II, Ultima II and III, and Caverns of Callisto.
    Q. What program did you find the hardest to convert for the Atari?
    A. The hardest would probably be either Ultima II or Ultima III. Ultima II was a really big program and it was early on in my conversions, but Ultima III was even bigger, and we had to delete files and stuff like that to make room.
    Q. When you convert, do you do it right after the game is made, or while the game is in the programming stages?
    A. I convert from finished source files.
    Q. What program did you find the easiest to convert, and why?
    A. They all had their pecularities, but for the easiest, it would probably be Caverns of Callisto.
    Q. What, in your opinion, was your best conversion?
    A. It's a toss-up between Jawbreaker II and Ultima III.
    Q. When doing your conversions from the Apple to the Atari, do you ever change the game in any way?
    A. I usually don't, but on Jawbreaker, I did considerable changes, and used the player/missile graphics, which helped speed up the game a lot in comparison to what I did on the Apple. But typically, I make as few changes as possible, which makes the conversion a lot easier.
    Q. Have you worked for any other company besides Sierra, or Origin?
    A. No.
    Q. In any of your programs, did you ever work with another person?
    A. I consult with Richard Garriot when I do the Ultimas, and the only reason is because he wrote them, but all the rest have been my own work.
    Q. Where did you get the name CHUCKLES, and have you always signed you programs with that name?
    A. For the answer to part two of the question. the answer is 'yes,' I've always signed my name as Chuckles. It was a nickname that I picked up at high school, and so I figured it would be kind of appropriate for arcade game type of stuff, which I started out doing mostly.
    Q. What programs have you written besides the ones you have converted to the Atari?
    A. I've done Laugh Pack, Jawbreaker, Lunar Leepers and Caverns of Callisto.
    Q. How long did it take you to write 'Caverns of Callisto?'
    A. It took about eight months?
    Q. Will there be a sequel to it?
    A. I don't think so.
    Q. How long did it take you to convert Ultima III?
    A. It was suprisingly short, and took less time than I thought it would. From start to finish, it took about four to five months.
    Q. When is Ultima IV suppose to be out?
    A. We're expecting to release Ultima IV in the first quarter of '85.
    Q. What do you do in your free time when you're not working on your computer?
    A. I'm a car enthusiast, enjoy photography, woodworking, raquetball and snowskiing.
    Q. What new programs or conversions are you working at the present time?
    A. Right now I'm working on a game called 'Auto Duel,' which is based on a Steve Jackson pocket board game, 'Car Wars.' Basically, it's a computer adaptation of `Car Wars.'
    Q. And when is this supposed to be out?
    A. We hope to release it in the first quarter of '85.
    Q. What new games can we look forward to. coming from Origin in the next few months.
    A. We've got Andy Greenburg, author of Wizardry, working on Ogre, which is another Steve Jackson board game, and Mobias I, a fantasy role-playing game, which is an outside submission. It has some rather unique graphics with a slightly above ground level line of sight. Which are quite impressive.
    Q. When you convert a program, is it mainly the graphics that your changing.
    A. Thats basically it. I take the original source code and change the screen I/O and the keyboard I and disk I. And the Memory maps.
    Thanks alot for the interview, and good luck in the exciting months to come.