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Author Topic: What happened to Mark Sibly?  (Read 3309 times)

Offline GfK

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2020, 11:07:40 AM »
Well, fair point.  But I gave my money to BRL multiple times.  I didn't consider the price to be high, by the way.  It all paid for itself.

But it DID get abandoned.  If the person I gave money to gave up on it, then with the greatest of respect, why would I put any faith in you lot not doing the same?
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Offline 3DzForMe

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2020, 12:48:28 PM »
Yeah, the forums vanishing was somewhat irksome, and the MonkeyX forum was a useful reference source.  I appreciate your point of view Gfk.

The Blitz products are a bit like my Honda Estate, was great while it lasted but at 170000 miles and needing yet another steering rack (courtesy of Lincolnshire's numerous potholes) - might be getting chucked in the bin.

Can 't say the same for Blitz3D though - spent far too many hours compiling there.

AGK is my goto tool of choice the now tbh.

Offline ENAY

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2020, 01:37:18 PM »
I remember having a quick play with Monkey and actually struggling with setting it up, I also could not get a HTML5 window size set up properly with a blank background.
Shortly after I moved to Japan and did not really do any programming (or at least new language learning) for a few years but when I went back to Monkey it barely changed.
It still felt weird and clunky, it was almost easier to go back to C++, or at least, setting up Monkey felt similar.

Then Unity came along and revolutionised compiling to all platforms. Like Blitzmax and then Monkey originally promised to do.

I owe my programming career to Blitz Basic and then BMax, it's quite sad to see how it went down hill. Making Blitzmax only 2D and never finishing that off and starting Monkey is I think where things started going downhill. It's all very sad.

Unity and UE4 are completely free to download and they are industry standard now, and with hours of people recording their desktops showing you how to use both Unity and UE4 and the thousands of people already using it. Why would you use Blitz Research projects now even for free when you could be using languages for free with more features and could be used to get you in a job in programming.

What chance did Mark ever have, even if he did finish something now? Against corporations of hundreds of programmers, he has no chance sadly.

In 2001 Blitz was the literally the best and easiest language around, times have changed though and things move on.

It's a tough world and it only gets tougher. it was great fun while it lasted, I am glad I was there in the final days of bedroom coding. many of you guys were there too, the good old days.

I wish Mark all the best in the future. It was great while it all lasted.

Offline iWasAdam

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2020, 02:07:00 PM »
Mark only had one problem: himself. When offered support, whatever - he either refused or deliberately borked his code. I only came from blitz max onwards, but there are is some very knurled and badly done concepts that were never completed.

Being one of the few who actively went into his code, there is much to praise but so much bad crap deliberately wrapped up in it. None of the code is elegant, clear or documented. It is amazing that any of it actually worked!

There are howling bugs still present even in blitzing, little platform support. And when you really get into the murky depths. It’s all old bb code with wrappers and wrappers and wrapper.

Would I give him a job - NO - his attitude stinks!

And yep. I paid for his beta products too, and patroon.

Offline Dabz

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2020, 02:11:01 PM »
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What chance did Mark ever have, even if he did finish something now? Against corporations of hundreds of programmers, he has no chance sadly.

I think there was a chance, he had a good load of followers on the official boards before he sorta dumped that in favour of monkey and its new site.

He could of gone the subscription model, paying for access to updates, access to the forums, he really really needed a better IDE bundled, the one bundled with all the products regardless of breed ended up being so stagnate its a wonder why the environmental agency was never called, I never understood why he didnt try to get Ziggy onboard, and Brucey, because ultimately, them two expand the life of Blitzmax for years.

The problem with Mark is that he wasnt a business man, he was a compiler writer, a good one, while thoughout the main Blitz's life, it was always product leader, but never market leader, TGC et all set their stalls up in such a way that, even with the threat of Unity type dev types available, they are still rocking it... Mark didnt, he let it go, making wrong decisions, listening to wrong people. Take Max3D, I remember a thread at bb.com where over 100 posts were like "Release the source Mark, we'll look after it"... He did, and, well, I think there was about 2 people had a go to make something of it, and even they died off. It didnt help that to build and maintain the thing was pissy, not the code, but setting it all up with CodeBlocks and all that... It just wasnt a nice thing to work, explore and expand.

Obviously once he dumped BlitzMax and the site, that was it, a lot of us followed to monkey, but give up, the bulk of his original community ran to Unity or other BASIC's, so, he lost all potential earnings from everything there, then he goes and does the same setup with monkey2, that turned everything into ashes really.

I think if he made better business decisions, he'd still be around, but, I sorta saw him as a hippy have a go type, so his outlook was completely different to say, Lee Bambers, and obviously being scared off by doing any sort of business due to Idigicon dealings, well, you can see why it declined to the way it has gone on that side, he decided to concentrate on syntax gymnastics within his languages, getting more distant with what BASIC is all about, while others prospered in leaving their BASIC's pretty much alone but pushing the game dev side of things forward with features people are actually bothered about... Like shiny graphics to eventually implementing VR capabilities, he did none of that really, he just made it all confusing to beginners in the most part, complete turn off, people looked then walked away!

Still, his life, his babies, his choice, now he has a normal job, its just a distant memory... And maybe, just maybe, he prefers that now!?!

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Offline GfK

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2020, 02:48:49 PM »
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The problem with Mark is that he wasnt a business man
This is exactly why he never understood why Idigicon gave away Blitzbasic for free on the cover of PC Format or whatever it was.  At that point in time, Blitzbasic had run its course and Blitz3D was the new way forward, or so everyone thought.  Blitzbasic, quite rightly, became a promotional tool to increase sales of its successor - and it did.

But where it all went wrong, for me, was the way in which BlitzMax was developed.  Don't get me wrong, it was the best strain of PC Blitz, by far.  But then, all that talk of adding 3D to it, none of which really happened.  And all we ended up with was MiniB3D, which, derived from Blitz3D, was never going to be enough going forward.  Can you imagine something like that trying to compete with UE4 or Unity now?  It's laughable.

Then along comes MonkeyX, which you basically needed a Masters Degree in Fucking About just to get set up; download this, download that, and in order for those to work, also download the other... uh oh, dead link, edit this config file, run that batch file, copy this file to there... Jesus!  And don't even get me started on trying to get it all to play nice with XCode - it was horrific.  Plus it didn't even have any native collision detection.  Seriously - WTF??

I converted one game from BlitzMax to MonkeyX - just to get it onto iOS.  It was an ordeal, and I was glad to see the back of it.

As for MonkeyX2, I don't think I ever bothered.  Already seen the trend, didn't see the point wasting time with it.

Ultimately I think his unwillingness to listen to anybody was his downfall.
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Offline 3DzForMe

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2020, 05:10:24 PM »
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Then along comes MonkeyX, which you basically needed a Masters Degree in Fucking About just to get set up; download this, download that, and in order for those to work, also download the other... uh oh, dead link, edit this config file, run that batch file, copy this file to there... Jesus!  And don't even get me started on trying to get it all to play nice with XCode - it was horrific.

Yep, there was that right enough!  I think in trying to be all things to all devices maybe made it somewhat of a fudge to get to work.

Offline Dabz

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2020, 07:40:21 PM »
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This is exactly why he never understood why Idigicon gave away Blitzbasic for free on the cover of PC Format or whatever it was.

Yeah, pretty odd he couldnt understand that... That single demo made me buy everything, and I know I wasnt the only one, and lets not forget, it still wasnt the full package, you couldnt compile executables with it, if you wanted that you still had to buy BlitzBasic[PC], you still needed a BUID from the purchase to get on the official forums, but that single demo from PC Floormat garnered him fully paid users, a wealth of source code (As that was the only way to share your programs if you stuck with the demo).

Though from memory, I think the bad blood between the two ended up with BUID's for Blitz3D, and Idigicon still could sell it, but, after a certain amount of time, customers that bought it from Idigicon.com didnt get BUID's, I think that's right.

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Yep, there was that right enough!  I think in trying to be all things to all devices maybe made it somewhat of a fudge to get to work.

Yep, it was horrific that one, and it spanned from BlitzMax to monkey{s}, and when Vista came along... Pop! GLBasic had a system where you could literally compile every platform in Windows (Except iOS obviously, but the exported project was pretty much setup and good to go), it's single download contained everything you needed, then, they eventually split each platform into seperate zips that you just downloaded, unzipped and plonked in a folder in GLBasic's root... Simple... But Mark never went that route, as far as I can see, the vast majority of tools were open source and just needed to transfer a license over with them... It would of been no issue surely, if others did it... Well, why make your end users piss ball about, then down the road, change something which requires an update of the toolchain for the platform... Back to square one.

Quote
Ultimately I think his unwillingness to listen to anybody was his downfall.

I do think he listened to people, just the wrong ones, the ones that would lick his arse on the forums... Plenty of people, including myself expressed our concerns, and were back-heeled, with his little gang shouting the odds at the back... I had a major bust up with one, cannot remember his name now, but just because he suggested a splash screen or something he thought he was lord big balls... I was like "A fucking splash screen? Oh aye, cos that will make everything better you complete prat", beauty was, he was also one of them divvies who would be the voice of open source software on the forums, yet when I checked out his site, he had a couple of shitty little games for sale... So it's alright for the dev of the dev language you use to give their tools away, but you want to make money off your own creations... Fucking hypocrite... That wound me right up as well and I became Keyboard Warrior Champion for an hour... And then I got knocked down by Sibly!?!

Funny world, but there we are!

All in all, I think there was many things went wrong, one after the other... What he did was brilliant though, and as a programmer [half retired tinkerer kind of one], I still appreciate the skill he had, and again, appreciate the fun his tools give me over the years so I can be thankful for that at least... Otherwise, yeah, if he made better decisions, stopped with toying with syntax that made the languages look like others already out there (Which did it better) at the cost of the media side of things, flicked the hangers on away who were polishing his back chaff with their tongues and concentrated on what Blitz was all about originally... "Fast and easy games creation", he'd still be about with a good community behind him.

Dabz
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Offline RemiD

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2020, 08:50:37 PM »
it is a big mess which could have ended better. isn't it ? :))


anyway, still using Blitz3d for fun... or to test the logic for a procedure, faaast, before converting to another langage ;D
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Offline GfK

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2020, 09:55:18 PM »
@Dabz - you're probably right about him listening to all the wrong people.

Hey Mark, why doesn't Blitz do feature X like C++?

OK, let me just shoehorn that in.  It's clunky but it works.

Mark, why is feature X slow?

Because it's Wednesday.  Trying new clunky stuff in next update which might be faster, or not.

Mark, can you add feature Y which just got added to C# even though nobody in their right fucking mind wants it, but *I* think asking for it here will make me look like a right clever twat to everyone else?

Sure, added in next update.  Its clunky but it works.

...and so on ad nauseam.  And that's how these things ended up a complete, unmanageable, half arsed mess.
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Offline Dabz

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2020, 10:00:34 PM »
Yeah, thats pretty much sums it up Dave!

Dabz
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Offline ENAY

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2020, 01:21:32 AM »
Woah, Monkey2? I did not even realise there was a 2nd Monkey.

WTF, the first Monkey wasn't even finished was it?

Perhaps we can say that Mark Sibly started to go downhill after the bustup with Idigicon. Releasing Blitz+ as a separate upgrade to BlitzBasic was fine. But after splitting up with Idigicon there was nobody to push Mark to get things done, nobody to push him to get docs or at least have people helping him out on the stuff he had no interest in doing.
I remember finding BlitzBasic in Edge magazine and many other people got into 3D because the of the free 2D demo. All that marketing and promotion literally just stopped dead after that. All of that marketing was what got us a lot of here and made us customers for other Blitz products, there's no way I would have known about Blitz without any of that, that's for sure.

For me, almost every single game I have ever made is 2D. I love 2D, however Mark going the 2D route was not a good idea for the future of his products.
After Blitz+ and the bustup with Idigicon, Mark never touched 3D again.
You know, the thing that is a critical component of pretty much everything. Maybe he had a phobia of 3D maths? I dunno.

But promising 3D in Max for about3-4 years and then Monkey from the start never planned to have 3D at all.
That's kind of a bit backwards. Blitz3D in my opinion still is the best. Blitzmax is close, but let's remember how slow it was, especially when it first came out.

Also, you installed Blitz products and they worked instantly, the ide was amazing too, it even had docs for every command.

The docs in Max were pretty terrible, and then in Monkey not only were the docs but setting up was insanely complex.
Oh and I did I mention that neither had 3D?

Even by 2010 or so, 3D was just bare bones, back then, there were shaders and all sorts of new stuff coming up, not to mention people started to need online and network capabilities. And then there's all the online app stuff. Could Monkey do any of that? I haven't looked, but I would be surprised.

This isn't of course to shit on everything that Mark has ever done, I could do none of that. But the market changed rapidly, we suddenly had smartphones and freemium systems, back in ye old days of 2000, it was just Windows, and mostly just offline games. But yet my experience of Monkey is like worse than the original Blitz Basic, I would never have got into Blitz if I'd read about Monkey in 2001.

Oh, and btw

"MONKEY" ????

Who ever thought that was a good name, for anything. yes yes I know we have Python, and it is industry standard for various things, and we have Jaguar cars, Puma trainers etc.
But Monkey, it seems kinda like a joke name, a meme. As if you are not taking things seriously. At least "Blitz Basic" is a hint to what product it is.

Offline Dabz

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2020, 07:34:57 AM »
Yeah, and regarding Blitz+ or even MaxGUI, one thing that struck me with them is that, well... Where was the visual form designer setup... There just wasnt one that got bundled with it, everything was code, which is fair enough, but not exactly rapid application development type setup you see with many of the competition, if you were making little things, little tools like simple tile map editors, then fair enough, but to be honest, it was no deal breaker and you could do that using bitmaps in the main graphics window, again, it was all bare, limited, yes a user came across with their own, cannot remember the fella now, think he was French, but, one should of been incorporated within the editor... B4x's visual designer is bloody excellent, even has a bridge to your smart phone so you can see what stuff looks like there and then...

Again, once it was put out in it's limited state, that was it, no new gadgets unless they were made by others, and, we'd have to wait years for Brucey to come along with his WX library if you wanted to do something with a lot more class.

Pretty much, a waste of time all in all, and as you mentioned, only existed really as a flick of the finger to Idigicon.

Dabz
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Offline iWasAdam

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2020, 07:37:16 AM »
How about this:

I remember talking with him about adding stuff to monkey2. no problem :)

It was about the predefined colors. I was using many more grouped into logical order (c64, vic, UI, etc) these gave direct access to all and any colors user could want.

He thought this was a great idea. and when reviewed the code (it was complete with all correct help doc, etc). complained about the name of one color - actually made fun of the name (which came from it's original source and not me btw), then the code, then refused to speak to me

There is a special place in hell for Mark Sibly!

Offline 3DzForMe

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Re: What happened to Mark Sibly?
« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2020, 07:43:16 AM »
My first foray into Blitz Basic was on the Amiga 1200, 512 x 1024 pixels (maybe 1200), PC s couldn't hold a light to that rez at the time  :o

Then...... Next blitz product I tried was Blitz 3D on Amiga Format, I was blown away with what you could do in 3D.

Blitz Max was a job to get my head around, nevertheless got an indie spelling thing sanctioned by the now defunct BECTA. I never could grasp the need for 3D in Blitz max, after all.... Blitz 3D achieved most things an indie needs. Santiago's projects bear testament to that, and Red Oktobers sub games  :D

And there's Bleak doing the rounds:

https://www.syntaxbomb.com/index.php/topic,8161.msg347047148/topicseen.html#new

I still use Blitz 3D to create greyscale heightmaps for an AGK renderer. Was easier to code heightmaps using existing code..... My brain was aching from attempting it in AGK. Limited coding mojo these days!

The rest...is history.

 

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