Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:37 AM
As for the upgraded version of AVP..
Annouced for Sega Saturn and Playstation:
Alien Versus Predator Diary
by Jason Kingsley
Cast your minds back to 1996. When in 1996? What month/season? Give the reader some kind of tangible timeframe. Football was coming home, Lara Croft was stretching her first Lycra top and the Spice Girls were telling us, at great length, what they really, really wanted. Doesn't seem that long ago, does it?
So, I suppose it would come as a great surprise to you if I said that, when we started work on AvP in late 1996, we were covering three formats: Saturn, PlayStation and the first generation of Pentium PCs. What's more, there was nothing to choose between them.
I'd caution against much mentioning of the cancelled platforms, it may cause rancour amongst the readers. PlayStation esp. could be bad. People understand dropping Saturn but people still WANT this game on PSX.
At Rebellion we didn't have too much time to think about Lara or the Spice Girls. We had managed to convince one of the world's largest entertainment corporations to trust us with some of their most famous characters and now we had to come up with the goods. Things were getting serious.
Not that serious though, as a quick look through some of original design documents confirms. For example, how serious could we have been when we suggested motion capturing Sigourney Weaver in her knickers? (For some reason, this idea seemed to disappear quite quickly.)
Or how about this for an idea: if you chose to play as the Alien, you would have to start as an egg, become a face-hugger and then inseminate another character before you could join the game? Needless to say, that idea didn't make it too far from the drawing board either. No, these aren't things we want discussed. How about talking about all the model building, the involvement of the guy who wrote the Colonial Marines Technical Manual or the use of actual movie props, instead?
Slowly but surely, though, a proper game began to emerge - and as it did it became clear that something was going to have to give on the hardware front.
Our main problem concerned the crucial decision as to whether the game should be built around sprites or polygons. Nowadays, of course, this is a non-argument, but we were still trying to develop a game for three separate hardware types and had painted ourselves into a corner by promising to match the graphics across all three. This meant that we had to base everything on the lowest common denominator, the Saturn.
The problem we encountered with Sega's ill-fated 32-bit machine was that it couldn't 'cookie cut' textures. (Cookie cutting is a process whereby you take a section of a large texture and map it onto a smaller object.) For this reason we decided to go with sprites.
I'd definitely gloss over this shady period (esp. this whole "lowest common denominator" stuff). I'd compress time a little so that these platforms were considered (and rejected) a lot earlier than they actually were. This stuff paints neither Fox nor Rebellion in a good light. I'd also cite more relevant comparisons to place the reader in the correct timeline (e.g. "we were considering sprites which seemed okay because Duke Nukem was doing very well with them" or "*and polygonal figures were a dream still 12 months distant to everyone*" or "*and round about this time a company called 3DFX started something big"). That kind of thing, more of what was happening elsewhere in games at the time.
In today's fast and furious, hardware-accelerated world, this decision seems ludicrous. However you should remember that we were still living in a pre-3dFX world. To make a comparison, in those days it was considered state-of-the-art if game characters were built of 80 to 100 polygons - in our final version of AvP the Alien Queen will use more than 2,000.
By the time that we were beginning to realise the error of our ways (the early Summer of 1997), Fox had just appointed a new producer on the product (Dave Stalker, who is still overseeing production to this day) and we decided to bite the bullet and approach him about switching our game to polygons.
By the early summer of 1997, we were beginning to come to a final realisation: sprites were not the way forward. We decided to bite the bullet and approach Fox about changing all of characters to polygonal models.
To his eternal credit, Dave agreed without hesitation...even though this meant that we would have to ditch virtually eight months of work. It also meant that we would have to wave goodbye to Sega's Saturn, but as so few people had waved hello to it in the first place, this wasn't too heart-breaking.