Dec 10, 2015
Aric Wilmunder: Star Raiders II, Temple of Apshai
Here’s how Aric Wilmunder introduced himself to me: “When The Last Starfighter didn’t do well in the theaters and marketing re-branded the Atari 800 Last Starfighter game as Star Raiders II, they didn’t take into account that there was already an actual sequel to Star Raiders that was just a few months away from completion. I was the designer and solo engineer who worked for about a year on the project as a member of an R&D team inside Atari Coin-Op. A friend helped me copy the disk image a few years back and when I saw Steve Hales post your tweet about the source code [for Star Raiders] I thought there might be some interest.
“The game was close to being finished, but there were still parts that needed polishing like the enemy AI, so I’ve been hesitant to release it since it might be judged as a finished work. I’d hate to wait 30 years to release the game just to get a bad review.”
Aric Wilmunder started writing programs on the Exidy Sorcerer computer, then worked at Automated Simulations, writing the Atari 8-bit conversions of Star Warrior; Crush, Crumble, and Chomp; and Temple of Apshai. Next he worked at Atari’s corporate research department, where he worked on Chris Crawford’s Gossip game. Then, in the R&D department at Atari coin-op, he created Star Raiders II for the Atari 8-bit computers — a game that was never finished nor released. Later he worked at LucasFilm games, where his work included the XEGS version of Ballblazer.
This interview took place December 5, 2015.
“A music video on the Atari 800. So it was video and art being displayed on the Atari 800 that was in sync with music that was playing off of a CD.”
“[In Star Raiders] Because you’re targeting the Xylons, you’re putting them in your crosshairs, you’re actually their A.I. ... All they had to do was this very simple A.I. to move around, and the closer you track them, the more accurate they become. ... [Doug Neubauer] let the player fight themselves.”
Download Star Raiders II ATR file and documentation (click Show All): https://archive.org/details/StarRaidersII_Wilmunder
Video of unreleased, unfinished Star Raiders II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb03mSdMaYc
Aric’s web site: http://www.wilmunder.com/Arics_World/1980s.html
Custom PC Magazine article about SCUMM and interview with Aric (see page 86): http://issuu.com/duongkim/docs/custom_pc_-_2015.10
AtariAge discussion about Star Raiders II: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/246591-wilmunders-star-raiders-ii-released/
Thanks for all that hard work ... I have trouble keeping up with so many interviews !
This was awesome, I bought SR cartridge for my XE at a flea market back in 88, learnt to play it without manual. and had lots of fun. One of my favorites.
I'm downloading all the SR II files as I type, I'll fire my emulator in my mac :)
keep it up !
What an awesome interview! So interesting hearing Aric's stories. What an amazing man. Star Raiders II!!! Keep up the good work and thank you all.
seven and a half years ago
This is my favorite interview and one that includes a surprise (Holy Shit!!!) download of Star Raiders II! What a career and extremely creative man!