Idea for a magazine section

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smilertoo
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Idea for a magazine section

Post by smilertoo » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:01 pm

Any chance of a section where they take an old game and take it apart to describe how to program the main tripping point in it (for remakes). For example in pacman how does each ghosts AI work or the fact that Robotron has an idiot mode that makes the game easier if you keep shooting the mother.
yes i have a sig.

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DonkeySpank
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Post by DonkeySpank » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:39 am

I had a chat to Archer McLean on the weekend about stuff like this - I mentioned that one of the most interesting things about DVDs is the Director's Commentary which always contains little anecdotes and bits of info on how certain things were done, or why certain things appear in certain ways. It would be good to have an article along thse lines about how IK+ for expample was put together, I thought this would be an interesting little piece to read as there's a load of little tricksy things in IK+ that happend when you press certain keys. Turns out Archer is full of great anecdotes like this about games he's written, it was great to hear a few over a beer or two. For instance, I now know why the backflip animation in IK+ is so smooth and just where it came from :wink:

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Mayhem
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Post by Mayhem » Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:14 am

Well fess up then! :D
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goose
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Post by goose » Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:53 pm

Didn't he some how overlay a grid onto a TV playing a gymnastics display? He kept pausing the action and would draw round the character, removed the grid, unpaused for a frame, put another grid on, draw round the character and so on and so forth. Once he had a set of flips he put them into the computer/made it easier to draw on the computer.

I think.

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DonkeySpank
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Post by DonkeySpank » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:02 pm

Yep, that's right, but it was from the film Grease, as his girlfriend at the time got really p*ssed off with him spending all his time coding IK+ and made him watch it with her! heh! Know how he feels! Apparently all the other animation was hand-drawn, taking probably 10 frames each, whereas the backflip was "traced" from the screen taking probably double the frames, so it looks much smoother than the rest.

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Szczepaniak
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Post by Szczepaniak » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:17 pm

I love stories like that, even for games I've never played (played quite a bit of IK+ round a friend's house though!).

The book "Game Over" by David Sheff, on Nintendo, had an enormous amount of anecdotes to do with older Nintendo software and hardware.

I've read quite a few in Famicom almanacs too, about older titles. It enriches the whole gaming experience really, knowing little things like that.

goose
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Post by goose » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:54 pm

How about an interview with Steve L Kent who wrote The First Quarter. Be interesting to know if he's going to do an update now another generation is drawing to a close.

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DonkeySpank
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Post by DonkeySpank » Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:29 am

Stephen L Kent wrote another book I bought about a year ago called "Ultimate History of Video Games" (I think!) - have to say it's really good, couldn't put it down. Loads of great interviews and stories from the major players like Baer and Bushnell, etc.

I agree with Szczepaniak, little anecdotes like that from Archer about IK+ really do add to the richness of the experience for me. I'd love to see more of this kind of thing in the new RG!

goose
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Post by goose » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:51 pm

That's actually what The First Quarter became. Originally it was released as The First Quarter and when it was republished it was renamed the Ultimate History of Video Games, with an extra chapter added covering the Dreamcast and finished just as the ps2 & xbox were released.

Quaid
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Timelines

Post by Quaid » Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:00 pm

I want to see more definitive articles, where we really cover every aspect of a company, developer or game, and especially I like the idea of really detailed timelines, showing how and when games were released and on what system, how developers moved between companies, who worked on what. These could really enhance the features, and it's something you never see because it involves tons of research. Only RG can do them properly.

A good example is Rare/Ultimate. It would be fascinating to see who worked on what and how all the games link together.

chinnyhill10
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Re: Timelines

Post by chinnyhill10 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:44 am

Quaid wrote: A good example is Rare/Ultimate. It would be fascinating to see who worked on what and how all the games link together.
Ultimate would be good, but I doubt they would speak.

The Darlings at Codemasters and the Oliver Twins would be good, if approached from a new angle. They have been interviewed many times down the years but if someone could put a new spin on it then it would be great.

And how about the guys who set up US Gold? I seem to remember an interesting feature on them in Amstrad Computer User circa 1986. How they would pick American games and convert them to the UK formats. Seemed genius at the time.

Alternative Software were a latecomer to the 8 bit budget market but stuck with the formats to the end thanks to them doing their own duplication (lower costs). Amstrad Action did some fascinating articles with them in the early 90's. Again, worth revisiting. Yes they did churn out some crap but they had some big selling games as well (Postman Pat for example which was actually quite a good game and I think was the only game to come close to knocking Robocop from the top of the charts during it's 18 month run).

And speaking of Robocop, perhaps RG could investigate how that game stayed at the top of the charts for over a year because I am still mystified to this day.

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Ash
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Re: Timelines

Post by Ash » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:11 am

chinnyhill10 wrote:
Quaid wrote: Postman Pat for example which was actually quite a good game
I've always said that the Postman Pat games were good and nobody believed me. Thank God that someone else knows. :)

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DonkeySpank
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Post by DonkeySpank » Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:07 am

Would love to know more about the "well known" publishers of the day - Alternative were known for publishing "bderoom coder"'s games written with GAC and such (I'm thinking of Star Wreck right now) and that's a POSITIVIE thing.

Would also love more info on Mastertronic (yeah I already read the "old" RG stuff on MS, but it'd be nice to track them down and find out how they got away with such blatant IP-"borrowing" as Cavelon (King Arthur) and especially Chiller (clearly trading on the back of Michael Jackson's Thriller) - hey not that I'm bothered (do I LOOK bovvered!?!) but it'd be NICE, y'know?

chinnyhill10
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Re: Timelines

Post by chinnyhill10 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:09 am

Ash wrote:
chinnyhill10 wrote:
Quaid wrote: Postman Pat for example which was actually quite a good game
I've always said that the Postman Pat games were good and nobody believed me. Thank God that someone else knows. :)
Only the first game! It was kind of like a pre-school GTA! But it played well despite some bugs in the game (I think the game crashed when you tried to round up the sheep or something). So you couldn't actually complete the game on the CPC. Tsk!

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Szczepaniak
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Re: Timelines

Post by Szczepaniak » Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:47 pm

Ash wrote: I've always said that the Postman Pat games were good and nobody believed me. Thank God that someone else knows.
I too have often played games, enjoyed them massively, only to find that others don't believe them to be good. Despite not actually playing them.

I've actually been pestering Darran to let me write about a set of unfairly criticised games (you know the ones Daz, and I'm still interested ;) ), but if people like the concept, and other contributors know of criticised titles that need championing, maybe it might be an idea having a kind of "Alternative Opinion" or "Another Point of View" series of features.

Two pages maybe? Something different each month.

For example, I read this a number of months ago on ET for the Atari 2600:
http://www.randomterrain.com/a2m/r7et.html

It may not be the best written thing ever, but it has real heart and I found it interesting. Not only that, but now I actually like ET for the 2600. He did a good job of explaining of why it's good, and also debunking a lot of the negative things said about it.

If done well, in an eloquent way, and actually addressing the points made about the game (maybe even speaking to the developer where applicable), I think it could prove fascinating to see the other side of the coin.

Actually, one of our forum members even started a topic on games that only he seems to enjoy:
http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=62

Well, obviously it shouldn't cover Rise of the Robots, but there are some titles of geniune value that people for some bizarre reason seem to hate.

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