Chris Delay is one of the founders of indie developer Introversion Software Ltd. and primarily responsible for the creative concepts and development of Introversion's games. He can probably be considered one of biggest young talents in computer game development today.
Making his first game
He met the other founders of Introversion (Tom Arundel and Mark Morris) while studying computer science at Imperial College, London, UK. While studying at university he simultaneously wrote the game Uplink in his free time - based around the concept of hacking this was a subject matter for which Chris Delay felt a game was long overdue. After many Red Bull-fueled late nights working on this project the game was effectively completed before entering his final year of study. Chris was planning to distribute the game for free, but after Tom and Mark learnt of the game from happening to walk in on Chris developing it late one night, they soon realised its potential and encouraged him to charge for selling it. The trio decided to enter a business venture competition in their final year and decided that they would base their entry around marketing Uplink. After finishing university they used the business plan they had come up in that competition with to sell Uplink, which Chris had single-handedly created.
Brief time in separate games company
Before Uplink began selling well and went on to be the success which it turned out to be, the future was less clear for Chris and he got a job for working in a games company making move tie-in games.
He confesses that these were pretty awful games clearly lacking in originality or creativity and he therefore found himself easily frustrated by the experience.
He quit after a year and resolved to make Introversion work as a company or to be done with game development as a whole.
Chris’ role in Introversion
Chris allowed Mark and Tom to concentrate on the business side of selling Uplink and this working relationship has continued into what has become Introversion Software Ltd. with Chris concentrating on the game development side of the company while the others concentrate more on the finances, future vision and marketing for Introversion.
With each succeeding project for Introversion, more actual game developers have been brought on alongside Chris to support him. He continues to take the lead role in development and coding, but can now delegate to other developers to free up him up to concentrate on whatever needs his expertise most.
Starting on new games
Chris’ experience has been that the initial development phases of games generally don’t occur at convenient times. In addition to Uplink being created in middle of studying for his degree, DEFCON’s concept and initial development was completed while he was still working on creating Darwinia. He ended up diverting attention from Darwinia to work on DEFCON in secret to give himself a break from the long and draining development process that it took to make Darwinia.
Subversion is another of Chris’ game concepts, Chris first came up with initial idea after Uplink, and he has now been working on it now and then ever after, with it always getting pushed back into second place by one or other game which he has been mainly working on in the time being. It is only with Multiwinia going out the door that Chris has finally been able to commit fully to it being the next game which Introversion plan to complete.
Darwinia’s inspiration came from a prototype game that was created from an intense 3 days of development by a group of hackers and developers who met to try to quickly create a game. It was the idea of having many on sprites on screen at one time that led to the initial design idea behind Darwinia that was then iterated on.
Chris Delay has noted that interestingly a number of the initial ideas for his games have been inspired from particular films which have had a profound effect on him. Uplink came out of a time when Chris became interested in the world of hacking, inspired by such films as Hackers. DEFCON harks fairly obviously back to ideas drawn from Wargames and the visual style of Darwinia (and therefore Multiwinia) owes a certain amount to Tron.