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Jim Gregory (HMS) talking:Panther/Lost Lynx and Jaguar titles.

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#1 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:55 AM



As promised, the 2nd interview i did for the planned GTW article on the Panther.


Jim offering a totally different set of viewpoints on the hardware, to those of Guildo.


Plus it was a fantastic opp.to ask Jim about what was cut from Dracula on the Lynx, along with the other Lynx games that never made it, his thoughts on Atari's reaction to Battlezone 2000...



And finally find out what Jaguar CD games etc were planned and why Kasumi Ninja turned out the way it did.



Hopefully there's something for Lynx/Jaguar fans in here as well as the extra info on the Panther...


I guess Elite can be added to Crescent Galaxy/Cybermorph/The Crypt/Plasma Pong and Shadow Of The Beast, as titles started/running on The Panther hardware?.

#2 Serblander OFFLINE  



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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:20 AM

Great read! Really enjoyed getting a deeper inside glimpse into the Tramiel ru[i]n Atari era and into games for both cats i have a high interest in. Very sad, very unfortunate, and most disappointing. Aah, what could have been...


Thank you for sharing. 

#3 davidcalgary29 ONLINE  



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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:32 AM

Can you please pass along my thanks for Lynx 'Loopz'? It's still one of my favourite games for any system.

#4 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:10 PM

Thanks for the comments.


It was great to finally get some more detail on just what exactly was missing from Lynx Dracula, as other than the screens UK Magazine, ACE used in an early preview, all i'd heard was how Atari had cut cart size down, content inc save game state lost and mystery person X supposed to have a copy of final version.


All rather vague and not of lot of use to archive sites like GTW/Unseen64.


Ditto Kasumi Ninja II, again i'd read talk of design documents being seen from another mystery contact and person who'd seen them couldn't share them etc, so i basically went in with mindset of i'll just ask, if Jim isn't happy to discuss the game, that'll be that, but if you don't ask...



Thankfully he was more than happy to chat about it, so no idea where other claims info wasn't to be shared came from...



But then, i'd seen claims Steel Talons was annouced for Panther by Atari..NuFX  Inc supposed to be converting it along with  Road Riot? or so claim went...but i've never found any 'proof' myself either title was even planned...



Weren't they behind Lynx Steel Talons/Hydra and Hard Drivin, along with unfinished Eye Of The Beholder?


John Sanderson (now at High Voltage Software), lists on his C.V the Lynx version of Steel Talons, sole engineer using PC dev.system and 3D Engine he wrote to convert Hard Drivin to the Lynx etc..(also did ST:Superstar Ice Hockey, Space Harrier, Willow..XE/XL Airball, along with Lynx Ninja Gaiden III and Jaguar Aircars...).



But no mention of any Panther work, i've also spoken to Genesis coder of Steel Talons he had no Panther projects either....


So i have attempted to see if any truth to the claims.



Sadly no-one was able to shed any light on claims made by Atari to the press that the Panther was being designed to inc link-up play with the Lynx either.Pity as it was an aspect i was curious to learn more on.

#5 Willard OFFLINE  



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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:29 PM

Nice to see some more former Jaguar devs weighing in on how it was to work with Atari. Based on his TW comments it seems he didn't know a whole lot about the internal structure at Atari, but his thoughts on how their management affected HMS's work was interesting but sad to read.


Would have been nice to hear a bit more about Kasumi Nina 2 (state of completion .etc), and maybe even a little info about Kasumi Ninja's development. I have some pretty early design documents for KN2 that suggest the KN series was a bit of a joke, but he seems to be a bit more serious about the games! I'll try and see if I can dig out the KN2 documents to add to this thread, maybe it wasn't even HMS's documents but some guys at Atari screwing around :P

Edited by Willard, Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:34 PM.

#6 Jagosaurus OFFLINE  



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Posted Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:50 PM

Another cool one! I never got into the Lynx but fun Jaguar/Panther/Lynx info here.

#7 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 1, 2018 6:50 AM

Sorry for thread bump, but repeated attempts to do a follow up interview with Rob Nicholson over the years came to zero.

Questions were sent a long time ago but never had any replies back...

I'd since changed email accounts and loSr Rob's details.

I did manage to get him confirming that HMS had never been working on Akira on the Jaguar, as had been stated.

If that's any help?.

#8 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:57 AM


Collected odds n sods from Rob Nicholson of HMS.

If it's in wrong place or a wall of text or whatever..someone else can move it

I wasn't creating an entire new thread just for content that's of niche interest at best.

Over to Rob:

The Jaguar was a "could have been". I remember receiving the manuals faxed over from Atari. I'd never read anything quite so exciting. It never lived up to it's promise.

On Kasumi Ninja: It's possible that we may do a CD version.

Regarding Lynx software:Loopz was finished apart from a few bugs :-) I'm amazed it ever made it into a catalogue!!

Atari never made any serious offers.

Talk of SNES and Lynx Elite:

We looked at doing a SNES version of Elite but we weren't SNES developers at the time. In retrospect, I'm not sure how successful it would have been.

From memory, the SNES was great at character/sprite games but pretty poor processing power for 3D. I'm impressed if it ended up being solid 3D.

One version that got to the prototype stage but never saw the light of day
was the Atari Lynx version of the game. I got as far as writing enough code to display the start screen with a spinning Cobra in solid 3D. The Lynx
could handle it well and the frame rate was pretty impressive for it's time.

I'm not sure a cartridge was ever produced of the demo (we had to get Atari to burn cartridges) so it probably only existed in Lynx image format.

We tried to sell the idea to Atari but they weren't interested. It was just
at the start of the sad but invertible decline of Atari :-(

On idea of Jaguar Elite:

Unlikely but possible. Should be able to port Amiga Elite to the Jaguar
in a month or so. Of course, it would look like the Amiga version but
wouldn't have run fast :-) We'd probably rewrite the polygon routine to use gourand shading.

On the Lynx/Jaguar game he would of liked to of written:

Once upon a time I wrote a game (1980) that i called Galatic Empire. It was a space conquering type game. It was
implemented on the ZX81 (anybody remember these???). It was a multiplayer
game. You took it in turns to enter commands at the keyboard (hmm, saying
the ZX81 had a keyboard is pushing it a bit). Graphics were crude but it
was a fun game to play with my univeristy pals.
It was rather fun.

It was obvious that it needed multiplayer over somekind of network so me and a friend worked on a parallel based star based network using the
Amstrad CPC (a Z80 games machine) as the hub and Oric's as the terminals.
These machines were chosen because we had them lying around :-) However,
other pressures meant that the project never got beyond the prototype
interface stage. I got a real job.

Since those days I've always wanted to follow it up. The Lynx was an
ideal machine. So is the Jaguar. This is the kind of game that would be
good as I'd have a lot of personal interest in it.

Whether it will ever happen? Maybe, stranger things have happened at sea.

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