Origins: Part I – School Days

Whilst looking through a bunch of old files I found a little gem that I wrote for our very first website ‘way back when’ that tells the story of how we all met and started this thing we call Psync. Seems like it’s due for an update, so here goes…

Back in 1994, four young fellows were adjusting to the life changing event that is “going to the big school”, but they needn’t have worried, it was simply another step towards finding out where their lives would lead. Four years earlier the first seeds of the creation of Psync Interactive had been sown, when John Thompson and Viral Sinroja (both who knew nothing of programming) were teamed up to devise a performance in a Drama lesson, without anyone realising the significance of the event. Onlookers of the momentous occasion simply laughed at the hilarity of two kids pretending to beat the hell out of each other in what would become known as “that slap-stick thing we do”.

Anyway, back to 1994. Jim McDonald, who also knew nothing of programming, met our two comedy heroes near the start of the year and before too long they were all good friends. Later that year, “That slap-stick thing-we-do” became “That slap-stick thing we-used-to-do” after a little in class demonstration resulted in them being sent out for apparently causing an affray (compulsory eye tests for teachers anyone?).

Onwards now to 1996, the setting is an English class and Jim is sitting next to another young fellow who happened to be Richard Holmes, the last of our four. A few brief comments later about the book, “The life and times of an Otter” (Just don’t ask), a friendship was born. The following years resulted in the four becoming close friends and the outcome was predominantly many, many games of worms, not the most productive, but none-the-less entertaining.

The next major event was in 1999, after their GCSE exams, when Holmes went to college, to hone his artistic talents, and the rest started sixth form to, among other things learn about I.T.. It was around this time that John’s creative talents, once shunned by a poor-sighted teacher, began to surge again. Fuelled by the teachings of the I.T. staff he decided to attempt a game set in the school and it’s surroundings, made in MS Paint and of all things MS Access (no, they can’t remember how either). One particular I.T. teacher had a profound effect on the group, most likely without realising it. Mr Steele taught them how to do some weird and wonderful things in MS PowerPoint (bear with me now).

This newfound knowledge, coupled with John mapping out the labyrinth that is Corel 3D, gave them the chance to make the first edition of Hydris, all still with a combined programming ability of zero. Thus, the four gathered in Jim’s kitchen in front of a Pentium (yes, just the one) machine and Psync Interactive was born as the first world of Hydris was constructed. The game was never completed (probably quite expectedly) and the same applied to the subsequent Hydris versions 2 to more than anyone can remember – not to mention several other games (some even had a bit of dodgy programming). There were positives, however, as their knowledge and abilities prospered with each new attempt.

Once college and sixth form were finished in 2001 it was time for them to depart to Universities all around the country. Holmes, to Wolverhampton, to study Art, furthering his artistic talents; John, to Coventry and later Stoke, to study Design, furthering his 3D and other graphical skills; Jim, to Coventry, to study Computing, in order to finally bring programming to the Psync Interactive machine, and Viz, to Hull, to study… Mathematics… well, he always loved the Math.

What happened next? Did they ever make a computer game? Did anyone ever learn to program?

All will be revealed this time next week…

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