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In February 2003 I was sent this by an individual who wishes to remain anonymous:
> Digger's creator is a chap named Robert J. Sleath. > Rob was a fellow countryman of yours who came to > Canada with his family, I believe at the age of 14 or > so. He lived on and off in Burlington, Ontario and > was educated as an Electronic Technologist. His > hobbies included Amateur Radio, high fidelity sound > systems and hand building computers I.C. by I.C. You > see this was in the mid '70's when even Apples and > Commodore PET's where not available. Rob is one of > the most intelligent individuals I have known. > > Rob worked for a Canadian federal dept. called the > Canadian Inland Waters Institute now known as The > National Water Research Institute > (http://www.nwri.ca) located in Burlington, where h > helped build and service various monitoring and > measuring equipment used in surveying rivers and > lakes. During the summer months, he would join a > surveying team to service their equipment as they went > on field site visits lasting most of the summer. On > one of these trips he met Jo-Anne who was working at > the small community restaurant where he was based. > > They moved in together back at Burlington after that > summer. After the following summer, both tired of > field trips to the middle of nowhere each summer so > Rob left his job and worked at an computer store as a > service tech. where Jo-Anne had a sales position. > During this time (around '80 or '81) Rob experimented > with the idea of writing software commercially. After > owning a PET and an APPLE and a Radio Shack Colour > computer, Rob settled on a new IBM PC. It was also > around this time that they were married, Nov '81 or > '82. > > Windmill Software was born shortly afterwards. It > would be about a year before any titles were > published. I remember the living room in their > apartment becoming a software lab. Rob was the > programmer for majority of the games. Ray did assist > in producing the music content and some of the > modules. I don't believe Jo-Anne ever wrote code, but > I'm sure she assisted in the debugging stages which > explains why she excels at Digger. Around '83 they > moved into their first home about the same time as > Digger was produced. I remember that on some of the > games an artist with a digitizing table was used to > produce some of the game's artwork. > > Unfortunately your info on the licence plates is > fictitious. Rob had a personalized plate with JX on > it. That was due to a deal with IBM in providing > software for export in to Japan for an Japanese > version of the PC jr called the JX. The initial deal > paid for, among other things, a new BMW hence the > licence plate. Unfortuately the JX never took off. I > know that Jo-Anne never had a personalized plate. As > for the dogs, their first dog, Byte, was around when > most of the game software was produced and that's his > dog hair you've got, while Chippy was acquired much, > much later. The shift from games to PM software was > due to the losses in revenue due to piracy. Most > gamers as yourself (I'm just as guilty) trade copies > of games so that a new release would only sell for a > few short months but would grow in popularity without > any repayment to the creator. Business software on > the other hand required training and support, so less > the likelihood for piracy. > > There were a few games that never made out to the > light of day. One that I loved was a game where two > triangular ships orbited around a star. Gravity would > pull you into the star so you had to keep thrusting > away from it. Also you had to try to shoot your > opponent with projectiles that would curve due to the > gravitational force. If you left the screen, you > would wraparound to the other side. It was crude in > some ways but because of the head to head factor and > the gravitational effects I found it really > challenging. > Sorry if I've got a > few errors in the chronological order of events but it > was a while ago.