I had a phone call from a contact who I had previously worked with; he asked me if I was busy and fancied some time in China. After a brief chat with him, Wyn phoned me and arranged to meet the next day. I travelled down to Chesham and after a brief chat told him how much I wanted for the job, he agreed immediately and arranged for me to spend a day with ATD. This was very useful as they had a dev kit and I was able to do some coding on it. Relations between Wyn and ATD weren't very good at this time, he owed them money.
6 Days later I was on my way to China.
Myself and another colleague and the musician (I still can't remember his name) were the first to go out to China.
We were in Fuzhou, working with a company that ended up being MSC.
At first it was okay, I had 50 programmers to teach in a single room with all the computers run on a generator.
Even though there was a language problem, I made a lot of progress. My bills in UK were paid on time, and I got lots of local money every week.
The hotel in China was fine, nothing wrong with it, but the day's were very long.
Up at 07.00, breakfast, taxi to office in by 9.00 at the latest. Lunch 12-2.Tea 6-7. Leave office 8.30 ish. This was 6 days a week as well.
We didn't have any dev kits, so it was all PC development.
About a week before I left, 3 dev kits turned up. They had been in Hong Kong the whole time and Wyn had refused to release them.
I was supposed to go out for 2 months, but after 30 days our visa's expired and we asked the host company to sort out new visas. Two armed men arrived and arrested us.
We talked our way out of it, and forked out £24.00 for "handling charges", and got proper visa's.
When it came time for me to leave China , Wyn mysteriously couldn't get me a flight. So after a lot of argument, and a few weeks passing, I gave my credit card to a Chinese guy who went out and got me a ticket. I wasn't very happy.
A couple of days after I got back I had a meeting with the MD of the newly formed MSU. Can't remember his name. My praises were sung, and I was offered the position as head of software development. After a bit of thought I made the mistake of agreeing.
I ended up with a team in Sheffield, one in Lowestoft, 8 or nine freelancers, and the team in China to run. The dev kits were delivered and I wrote the operating system for them. Burnt the ROM's, and shipped them out to the dev teams.
This was often very hazardous, as the electronics guy was a complete muppet. Once he shipped the devkits with mains power cables stripped and tinned, but not connected to the boards. Bear in mind these were in metal cases. Often they didn't work and I had to repair them first.
In house we were working on a couple of games, the rest were ports that we had outsourced. I still had to act as technical support for the out of house stuff.
We started with an 8086, I wrote the entire OS in assembler and it had lot's of nice features. The DSP could be single stepped, built in disassembler, all sorts of things. I even emulated a CD ROM.
My normal week was Monday Sheffield, Tuesday Cardiff, Wednesday Sheffield, Thursday out and about, Friday and Saturday Sheffield. Sunday normally off.
About this time it was show time, we spent a week of frantic coding culminating in pulling an all nighter to get all the demos ready for the show. At 5.30 in the morning we jumped in the car and headed for London.
Traffic was a nightmare and the show was already open when we arrived, but we got the kit in and setup. All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but Wyn pulled me aside and said he needed me to stay on in case anything went wrong. All I had with me was the clothes on my back and my credit card. I ended up staying at the marketing guys place in Brighton, kipping on his sofa.
Then I went out to Taiwan with Wyn to negotiate an investment. This was two weeks of sheer hell. Picked up from the hotel 07.00 in the office by 07.30.
Code up a demo of whatever they had asked to see last night and demo it by 12.30. Lunch in the office. Over lunch they decided what they wanted to see later that day. I coded it up and demoed it about 19.00. Then we all went out for a meal and lot's of beer. Hotel by midnight and Wyn would want a debrief in the bar until about 01.00. Repeat until exhausted.
At the same time I had to make an excuse to TXC and escape for a day to see another guy based in Taiwan who wanted to buy some flare chips from us. TXC could not know. He ended up buying some but had a problem with one display mode. I was summoned to Cardiff and sat down with him. After about an hour I was certain there were no problems with the source code so I ran some tests.
I proved it was hardware bug. Well what a fight that caused, the hardware was "perfect", therefore I was lying. Eventually I made him put a logic analyser on the board, and guess what? I was right. Hardware bug in the flare chip. They eventually found a work around, but I came very close to hitting Wyn before they admitted I was right.
We got $2,000,000.00 investment out of it, but Wyn had now become a major problem.
I was so tired I slept on the plane from before take off until touchdown in UK.
Not long after I got back, people started to realise that the machine was under powered. So one day I got the phone call saying that they had shipped me a devkit with a 286 in it. I completely rewrote the OS for the 286.
10 days later I got a machine with a 386 in it, then later a 486, each time I rewrote the OS.
Wyn and I finally fell out when he phoned me up and asked if I could put a 68000 in it.
From then on Wyn made more and more outrageous demands of me, I was expected to drop whatever I was doing at a moments notice and race here or there. One weekend I just said no. I had things I had to do.
The next day I turned up at the office to find it empty, all the computers, devkits, software, everything had gone.
There's lot's more I could tell you but suffice it to say that in the end because of what happened, I went bankrupt.