I received some terrible news over the weekend. Steven (“Fraz”) Fraser, a friend I’ve known for over 25 years and the co-founder of Grumpy Baron Games, passed away in his sleep last Friday.
I remember when Steven and myself used to sit in his bedroom in front of the Commodore 64 at his dad’s house with me trying to teach Steven 6502 assembly programming. Steven was having a hard time understanding the status register and branch flags until one day the penny dropped and it all fell into place for him. That was the start of Steve’s lifelong ambition to be a games developer.
Then time rolls on and Steve and I lost contact with each other. I tried looking him up a few times over the years but never got any leads. About two years ago, Jim found me and he was still in contact with Steven. We arranged a reunion/catch-up at the CBX in Caloundra. That day, Jim & Steven showed up and as much as they had changed, they had remained the same. That was the rebirth of my childhood friendships.
At Greg Frazers house.
Left to Right: Jim, Gavin & Steven
It has been the part of us that had remained the same that I cherished most. Steven and myself spent the next two years arguing about Steve’s penchant to build his own game engine instead of using something like Unreal or Unity or even SDL! When I say argue, I was more like driving each other to the edge of insanity! We used to go back and forth on this constantly. Eventually we agreed that on this issue, we just have a different mindset and approach and both have validity. However, even after agreeing on this, we continued to bicker whenever the chance arose. Only friends can tolerate that sort of behaviour.
In January 2014, Steve and I decided that we’d start writing reinventions of some old C64 games. We got to work on Mutants and Balls ‘n Guns (I-Ball) and founded our own little development house called Grumpy Baron Games. We were helping each other not so much with the actual development but more so with concepts and moral support.
Software development was Steven’s passion. It’s what he did and who he was. My hope is that I’ll be able to package his code and publish on GitHub so his code can benefit others as part of his legacy.
Steven Fraser was 40 and by far too young to die. He is survived by his family and particularly his father, Greg Frazer. A few months ago, Steven and his dad did a month long road trip around the U.S.A. I take some comfort in that they got to spend this time together before Greg lost his son.
Steven was one of a few people that I can call a friend. He will be sorely missed. May you rest peacefully.
Steve’s Game Dev Blog: http://grumpybarongames.com/category/frazs-blog/