When I was a young man, I left Sconny Botland to the unknown pastures of Manchester, which at that time was pretty much the centre of the game programming universe..Ocean Software was the cause of this..
Ocean employed two giants of programming Dave Collier, who was the undisputed master of the C64 and the very young prodigy Jonathan "Joffa" Smith. As a very new Z80 coder, Joffa was my hero, despite being a few years younger than me, he was bursting with talent and able to make a ZX spectrum do pretty much anything he wanted.
Parallaxing, smooth scrolling, multi voice sound, masses of sprites, animation, everything..he did it, and what was even more amazing was he liked to show you.
I can honestly say without fear that Joffa taught me more as a Z80 coder than anyone I ever met before, or since. He was genuinly a hero of mine.
We lost touch when I left Ocean, a few emails or forum posts every few years confirmed we were both still around..But I always regard my time in his company as a bit special, a masterclass in coding and one of the great developing times in my life.
He lost his way a little in later life, and he drifted a bit further away from those he knew in the early days.
He died today aged 43 after a long illness.
The Games Industry has lost someone very very special, I have lost someone who influenced everything I've ever done as a coder.
You will be missed far more than you can ever realise.