Mike Singleton, the programmer who helped cultivate Britain's home computer games industry, has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 61.
Singleton was a trendsetting and prolific games developer in the '80s, having worked on breakthrough projects such as Carrier Command, Lords of Midnight and Midwinter. He helped build waves of games for up-and-coming systems at the time, including the Sinclair ZX81, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Amiga and PC.
In 2009, Singleton said in an interview with Edge that he still kept with him the files for games he had developed in the past.
"I still have a cardboard box at home full of 100 five-minute tapes which comprise the source code and the graphics of Lords Of Midnight and all the back-ups and back-ups of back-ups," he said.
The games design pioneer also held a positive outlook for the existing games business - one that has transformed dramatically since the heyday of '80s bedroom coding.
"New technology is even more exciting than the old was, even in its day. Our imaginations are still racing to catch up with what's possible now. There's so much more scope for creativity now. In five or six years' time, there will be categories of game no one's dreamed of."
His passing has caused an outpouring of tributes from the industry and fans of his work.
A games designer, under the alias "Wibby", paid respect on a GiantBomb forum:
"Singleton was my first employer, I used to go straight from school to his company for his wisdom and generosity, He was an amazing boss, single father of two young boys but most importantly he was my friend".
"The last 12 months where hard for him he was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and had to have it removed but he always kept his spirits up, I even sat with him in our local pub for our first post-op beer! Alas last week he died in Switzerland of natural causes."
Games consultant Nicholas Lovell wrote on Twitter:
Lord of Midwinters dev Mike Singleton has died. I think he deserves an obituary in a major newspaper. RT if you agree #mikesingletonrip— gamesbrief (@gamesbrief) October 16, 2012
Sports Interactive exec Miles Jacobson added:
Very sad to hear of the passing of Mike Singleton whose games I enjoyed very much as a youngster & an oldster. RIP. gaming.thedigitalfix.com/content/id/128...— Miles Jacobson (@milesSI) October 16, 2012
Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch added:
So sad to hear via @ianskenny, that Mike Singleton, creator of Lords of Midnight, died. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Sing... Life-changing for me. #Ushgarak— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) October 15, 2012
More Twitter tributes to Mike can be found here.