David Taylor

From Elite Wiki

Developer of the Windows port of Oolite

Elite Bio

I first encountered Elite on the Commodore-64, playing before and after school every day. Elite and Frontier on the Commodore Amiga followed, but Amiga Elite was too ugly, and Frontier didn't seem to be much fun. My highest ranking was Deadly on the Commodore-64 version, and one of the family dogs of the time was named after that commander.

Like all Elite fans, I've been searching ever since for a game to recreate the fun of the original Elite. "Why don't they just make one with good graphics and some expandability built in? What is David Braben thinking?" I kept asking. I tried Freelancer, X2, EV Nova, and anything else with spaceships and trading. Meh.

One day in late 2004 I stumbled across Oolite on the net. And almost wept when it was clear it only worked on Macs! I was amazed that someone had finally got it so right, and I hovered around the forums with everyone else, waiting for a PC port, until six months later I could stand it no longer and decided I had to learn Objective-C and GNUstep and get the thing done. It wasn't much fun, but here is the result!

As I was posting the story of my first frustrated attempts to get the game going on Windows or Linux, Winston (aka Dylan Smith) showed he was also working on it. I got v1.30 going to ensure Oolite could run under GNUstep and Dylan worked on cleaning up a later code snapshot, which I could also run. Once it was clear we were not wasting our time, it was also clear that GNUstep AppKit wasn't up to the job (particularly on Windows) so I bit the bullet and rewrote the sound and graphics code using SDL which allowed a start on the Windows version. Dylan did get sound working earlier using some other library, but I couldn't understand the API and SDL looked a lot easier...

I took about six months off Oolite development, recovering from the mental scars left by GNUstep. It was left in the hands of Giles, Dylan, and later on Nic and Spooky, who have made it the multi-platform wonder it is today.

I live with my wife and 2 young children in a mid-sized country town called Orange about 300kms west of Sydney, Australia.

Non Elite interests

  • Steam trains and steam ships (I spent a couple of years shovelling coal on the weekends on a steam yacht on Sydney harbour).
  • Model railways (armchair modeller, mostly)
  • Motorcycles. I have a 1996 GSX-R 750.

Elite stuff