James D. Sachs

aka: Jim Sachs, J. D. Sachs, James Sachs
Moby ID: 875

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I was born in California in 1949, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. In college, I concentrated mainly on architecture. After college, I went into the Air Force for 6 years as a pilot, flying c-141 Starlifters. In the early '80s, I got into computers with the Commodore 64, bought some books on 6502 machine language, and began writing games. I've had no actual training in programming, and though I've been forced to do quite a lot of it, the artistic side of computers is what has always captivated me. My current plan is to create a series of 4 screensavers in the SereneScreen series over the next 4 years, then start making movies before I'm too old :)

Saucer Attack for the Commodore 64 was the first game I wrote. I marketed it by mail-order, and had fairly good success with it. Got some great reviews in the C-64 magazines.

My second effort, Time Crystal, never made it past the demo stage. Rampant piracy drove me out of the Commodore 64 market, and I switched to the Amiga as soon as it was released.

I spent a few months experimenting with the Amiga, the first real graphics computer for the consumer market, using the primitive drawing programs that were available at the time (does anyone remember Graphicraft?)

The experiments I did on the Amiga led to a job doing the graphics for the first Cinemaware game, Defender of the Crown.

In the late '80s, I did some magazine covers, book covers, and travelled around the country giving seminars on Amiga graphics.

Most people don't realize that Commodore was the first company to release a CD-ROM game machine. Their CDTV system was based on the Amiga, and beat the competition by nearly a year. I did the internal graphics and user interfaces.

Commodore commisioned me to do a new version of Defender of the Crown just for CDTV, sort of a Director's cut. I spent two years programming it, writing a new musical score, and adding new graphics. I even managed to put translations of the game in 5 languages on the same CD. Sadly, Commodore went out of business before it could go into worldwide release.

For years I dreamed of doing the ultimate computer game based on Disney's version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". I developed a storyline, and did many test scenes, but could never reach an agreement with Disney. At least I am now able to use a few of the techniques I developed in the Aquarium.

In 1995, I began the biggest project of my career, the creation of 3D software for a bicycle training device called the CompuTrainer. I spent over 3 years on this, but the results were worth it. People ranging from Robin Williams to the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team use it for their indoor training. Find out more about the CompuTrainer at http://www.computrainer.com.

Recently, my friend Mike Crick asked me to create some new interface graphics for his game WordZap. Mike has spent years refining this product, and there is no better word game on the market. It's fun, educational, and highly addictive. Find out more about WordZap at http://www.wordzap.com.

--from Sachs Marine Aquarium web site, home of arguably the best aquarium screen saver ever made.

Credited on 9 games

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Ports of Call (2009, iPhone) Additional Graphics by
Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown (2003, Windows) Special Thanks
Defender of the Crown: Digitally Remastered Collector's Edition (2002, Windows) Art Director
Ultrabots (1993, DOS) Art/Graphics
Defender of the Crown II (1993, Amiga CD32) Programming by
Centurion: Defender of Rome (1990, DOS) Graphics / Artwork
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988, Commodore 64) Title Screens by
Defender of the Crown (1987, Atari ST) Art direction and Special Effects by:
Saucer Attack! (1984, Commodore 64) Programmer

[ full credits ]

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