Articles tagged with: macpaint

Interview: John Calhoun on the Origins of Glider (Part 1)

mossy_11 on Saturday, 27 November 2010. Posted in Mac Classics Reborn


John Calhoun's Glider games hold a special place in the history of Mac gaming, acting almost as an icon of the platform through much of the 1990s. They spawned a hugely dedicated fan base, which produced a ridiculous amount of original content both for and about Glider -- especially Glider 4 and Glider PRO, the later versions.

I caught up with Calhoun over email recently, and quizzed him on the origins and development of the series. This is the first part of that interview. Read on to discover where the idea for Glider originated, how the game came to exist, and how it dramatically altered Calhoun's future.

And also be sure to check out Dreaming of a Thousand-Room House: The History and Making of Glider, which provides context and a narrative for this interview.

Dreaming of a Thousand-Room House: The History and Making of Glider

mossy_11 on Tuesday, 23 November 2010. Posted in Mac Classics Reborn

Imagine a house filled with thousands of rooms, each unique in some small way. Now pretend that its occupants are mysteriously absent, yet the house is teeming with life, and there is no connection whatsoever to the world outside -- not even a single window. Goldfish jump in and out of their bowls, which are haphazardly placed; a nearby basketball bounces of its own accord. Elsewhere, an exposed pipe drips water in a darkened room and balloons magically rise through the floor.

GliderIconPaper helicopters materialise out of the ether, only to disappear just as suddenly, while two slices of bread hop up and down in a toaster that sits on a small table. And you are a paper airplane, at the mercy of air currents, whose very survival depends on the avoidance of these strange and wonderful -- yet simultaneously mundane -- household objects.

This is the world of Glider, a classic Mac game with a devoted fan base that remained strong for over a decade. It spawned from the mind of John Calhoun, whose childhood was filled with dreams such as the one described above. His dreams took on a kind of reality with the release of Glider 1.0 in 1988, although this first version was rather simpler.

The game evolved considerably over the following decade -- growing in depth and complexity, expanding its fan base, adding a level editor, and even picking up a commercial release. This is the story of the origins and evolution of Glider, from its humble beginnings as a mere experiment to the aftermath of Glider PRO -- the final version of the game.

System 1.0: A Revolution Called Macintosh

mossy_11 on Thursday, 16 September 2010. Posted in Opinion

Mac OS X turns ten this week. That's ten years since the first public release of the jewel in the crown that signifies Apple's rise from the brink of death with a modern and "revolutionary" clean slate. But it wasn't the first time a piece of Apple software saved the company -- that honour goes to the original Macintosh operating system: System 1.0. Read on to learn how Apple changed its fortunes and revolutionised computing back when the terms GUI and mouse were foreign concepts.

The core of the Macintosh experience was never the attractive industrial design, the sense of superiority, or the use of a strange one-button mouse -- although those elements were vitally important. From the very beginning, even before the first Mac hit the market in 1984, right through to the latest iMac or Macbook models, the Macintosh was about providing the most accessible and intuitive interaction possible between humans and computers.

Computers should be easy to use, with user interfaces that Jack and Jill Smith who just walked in off the street can use comfortably with almost no instruction. Gestures, not typed commands; desktops, buttons, and icons -- not command lines, carriage returns, and terminals -- have clear analogies to things from everyday life that people without a degree in computer science can understand. This is at the heart of the Apple philosophy, as it has existed since that fateful trip to the Xerox labs in December 1979.