Steve Cain

(1957 – 2006, softography)

Ra�l “Zemman Scott”
Steve Cain began his career in the video game industry as Imagine Software’s Art Department director in 1983 where he worked on titles like B.C Bill and the infamous “mega-game” Bandersnatch. His background in Fine Arts from University of Liverpool, his love for games and his talent at pixel art meant that he was ideally suited for the job.

After Imagine’s well known financial issues led to its breakdown, he along with other Imagine employees Ally Nobel, Graham “Kenny” Everitt, John Gibson and Karen Davies created the software label, Denton Designs, based in Liverpool.
Denton Design went on to win much respect and acclaim for their original work on such well known classics as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Great Escape, Shadowfire and Where Time Stood Still.

In Denton Designs, he helped build a working environment different from the one he knew at Imagine. However, his colleague, Ian Weatherburn (who had also joined Denton Design), missed Imagine’s working environment and never really adapted himself to that of Denton’s, so he eventually left to join Ocean.

Steve later joined Microprose as Art Director and subsequently went on to work with other well-known publishers like Canvas, Rage, Acclaim and finally Silverback Studios.

Sadly, in 2004 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite the disease, Steve worked for another year in the industry. He died on July 19th, 2006. On July 25th, many personalities of the video game industry said their final farewell to Steve.

It is not easy to track down Steve’s softography – especially for Denton Designs’s productions, for which the authors’ names are sometimes unclear. At least, Steve appears in the credits of the following games:

B.C.BILL 1984 Imagine. SP/C64.
THE NEVERENDING STORY 1985 (OCEAN) C64.
BOUNCES 1985 (DENTON DESIGNS) Beyond Software. SP.
SHADOWFIRE 1985 (DENTON DESIGNS) Beyond. C64/
HIGHLANDER 1986 (CANVAS) Ocean. SP/CPC/C64.
WHERE TIME STOOD STILL 1988 (DENTON DESIGNS) Ocean. SP/ST.
STAR TREK: THE REBEL UNIVERSE 1988 (FIREBIRD) C64/PC-DOS
STAR GOOSE (LOGOTRON) 1988 Spinnaker Software Corp. AMIGA/PC-DOS.
BLACK LAMP 1988 (FIREBIRD) ST/SP/.
HELLRAIDER 1989 (FRAMES) Atari. AMIGA/
KNIGHTS OF THE SKY 1990 (MICROPROSE) AMIGA/ST.
PYROTECHNICA 1995 (PSYGNOSIS) PC-DOS
COMBAT AIR PATROL 1995 (PSYGNOSIS) PC.
DARKLIGHT CONFLICT 1997 (RAGE SOFTWARE) EA. PC.
INCOMING FORCE 2002 (RAGE SOFTWARE) PC.
MADEMAN 2006 (SILVERBACK STUDIOS) PS2. [*]

[*]Although he couldn’t finish, Steve worked in this project, and the game is dedicated to his memory.

He seems to be related to other games, although it is unclear for which platform version:

ARMY MOVES 1986 (DINAMIC)
SHADOW OF THE BEAST II 1994 (REFLECTIONS INT.) Psygnosis.
BRIAN THE LION 1994 (REFLECTIONS INT.) Psygnosis.

Finally, he had a couple of unfinished projects for the ZX Spectrum (see “The Games That Time Forgot”):

BANDERSNATCH (IMAGINE).
INFODROID (DENTON DESIGNS).

Simon Butler
Steve Cain was a talented artist, aware of his strengths but also equally conscious of his weaknesses and humble enough to call upon others who he knew could achieve something quicker or better than himself. He was affable, sociable and someone that almost everyone warmed to.

He led then as always, by example. He worked hard, applied himself totally, paid attention to the smallest detail and ensured that everything went as smoothly as possible.

His dedication to his chosen field faltered at times but once he applied himself to a task, he would stick to a path until he reached his chosen goal. The success that he was truly capable of may have never reached his grasp but he rarely stopped the journey towards new and exciting parts of the gaming scene.

He mentored many people as he progressed from one company to another; some who have strayed from the gaming path as they matured and some who still practice some of the tenets laid down by Steve to this very day.

There were times, I am privileged to say that I accompanied him in his endeavours, at other times we went our separate professional ways but he always remained my friend.

He faced his final years in typical Steve Cain style, with a philosophical shrug and his trademark laugh. This face may have been for friends and the facade might have fallen underneath the pain he suffered in his illness, but he never displayed anything other than the larger than life character I had known all my life.

In his passing, the industry has lost a founding figure but is richer for his time and influence.

Acknowledgements: Ra�l “Zemman Scott” and Simon Butler for the write-up, Juan Pablo L�pez-Grao for the translation.

 

Ra�l “Zemman Scott”
Steve Cain comenz� su carrera en la industria del videojuego como Director del Departamento de Arte de Imagine Software en 1983, donde trabaj� en t�tulos como B.C. Bill y el tristemente c�lebre “mega-juego” Bandersnatch. Su formaci�n en Bellas Artes en la Universidad de Liverpool, su amor por los juegos y su talento en el arte del pixel hicieron de �l la persona ideal para este trabajo.

Tras los bien conocidos problemas financieros que llevaron a Imagine a su quiebra, Steve, junto con los tambi�n empleados de Imagine Ally Nobel, Graham “Kenny” Everitt, John Gibson y Karen Davies, cre� el sello de software Denton Designs, con sede en Liverpool. Denton Designs lograr�a gran respeto y admiraci�n por dar luz a cl�sicos tan memorables como Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Great Escape, Shadowfire o Where Time Stood Still.

En Denton Designs, contribuy� a generar un ambiente de trabajo muy distinto del que hab�a conocido en Imagine. A pesar de ello, su colega Ian Weatherburn (quien tambi�n se hab�a unido a Denton Designs), segu�a echando de menos el entorno de Imagine y nunca acab� de adaptarse al de Denton, con lo que finalmente acab� march�ndose a Ocean.

M�s tarde, Steve se uni� a Microprose como Director Art�stico y posteriormente trabajar�a con otras reconocidas compa��as como Canvas, Rage, Acclaim y finalmente Silverback Studios.

Desgraciadamente, en 2004 se le diagnostic� un cancer pulmonar. A pesar de su enfermedad, Steve sigui� durante un a�o involucrado en la industria. Falleci� el 19 de julio de 2006. El 25 de Julio, muchas personalidades de la industria del videojuego acudieron a despedirse por �ltima vez de Steve.

No es f�cil saber exactamente en cu�ntos juegos particip�; especialmente en cuanto a las producciones de Denton Designs, en muchas de las cuales no aparecen los nombres de los desarrolladores.
Al menos, Steve aparece en los cr�ditos de los siguientes juegos:

B.C.BILL 1984 Imagine. SP/C64.
THE NEVERENDING STORY 1985 (OCEAN) C64.
BOUNCES 1985 (DENTON DESIGNS) Beyond Software. SP.
SHADOWFIRE 1985 (DENTON DESIGNS) Beyond. C64/
HIGHLANDER 1986 (CANVAS) Ocean. SP/CPC/C64.
WHERE TIME STOOD STILL 1988 (DENTON DESIGNS) Ocean. SP/ST.
STAR TREK: THE REBEL UNIVERSE 1988 (FIREBIRD) C64/PC-DOS
STAR GOOSE (LOGOTRON) 1988 Spinnaker Software Corp. AMIGA/PC-DOS.
BLACK LAMP 1988 (FIREBIRD) ST/SP/.
HELLRAIDER 1989 (FRAMES) Atari. AMIGA/
KNIGHTS OF THE SKY 1990 (MICROPROSE) AMIGA/ST.
PYROTECHNICA 1995 (PSYGNOSIS) PC-DOS
COMBAT AIR PATROL 1995 (PSYGNOSIS) PC.
DARKLIGHT CONFLICT 1997 (RAGE SOFTWARE) EA. PC.
INCOMING FORCE 2002 (RAGE SOFTWARE) PC.
MADEMAN 2006 (SILVERBACK STUDIOS) PS2. [*]

[*]Aunque no pudo finalizarlo, Steve particip� en este proyecto, y el juego fue dedicado en su memoria.

Hay otros juegos con los que tambi�n se le relaciona, aunque se desconoce para qu� plataforma:

ARMY MOVES 1986 (DINAMIC)
SHADOW OF THE BEAST II 1994 (REFLECTIONS INT.) Psygnosis.
BRIAN THE LION 1994 (REFLECTIONS INT.) Psygnosis.

Finalmente, particip� en un par de proyectos inacabados para el ZX Spectrum (v�ase “The Games That Time Forgot”):

BANDERSNATCH (IMAGINE).
INFODROID (DENTON DESIGNS).

Simon Butler
Steve Cain era un artista talentoso, consciente de sus fortalezas al igual que de sus debilidades, y lo suficientemente humilde como para recurrir a otros cuando sab�a que pod�an conseguir algo m�s rapidamente o mejor que �l mismo. Era afable, sociable y alguien a quien casi todo el mundo le cog�a simpat�a.

�l siempre daba ejemplo. Trabajaba duro, se volcaba totalmente, pon�a atenci�n al detalle m�s peque�o y se aseguraba de que todo se desarrollaba de la mejor manera posible.

Su dedicaci�n a su campo vacilaba en ocasiones, pero una vez que estaba comprometido, no se deten�a hasta que alcanzaba el objetivo marcado. Quiz�s nunca alcanz� el �xito que se merec�a pero casi nunca par� en su viaje hacia nuevos y excitantes retos en la escena del videojuego.

Fue el mentor de mucha gente mientras progresaba de una compa��a a otra; algunos de los cuales se desviaron del camino del videojuego al madurar, mientras otros todav�a siguen y ponen en pr�ctica, hoy en d�a, algunos de los principios que Steve les ense�� entonces.

Hubo momentos, tengo el privilegio de decir, que compartimos proyectos juntos; en otras ocasiones seguimos nuestros caminos profesionales separados pero siempre sigui� siendo mi amigo.

Encar� sus a�os finales al t�pico modo Steve Cain, con estoica resignaci�n y su risa marca de la casa. Puede que guardese esta cara para los amigos y que la fachada escondiese el dolor que sufr�a en su enfermedad, pero nunca mostr� nada que no fuese ese gran car�cter vital del que fui testigo durante toda mi vida.

Con su fallecimiento, la industria perdi� a uno de sus fundadores, pero es hoy m�s rica gracias a su obra e influencia.

Agradecimientos: Ra�l “Zemman Scott” y Simon Butler por el art�culo.