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Lost Dragon

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Lost Dragon last won the day on May 19 2019

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  1. Lost Dragon


    Sadly, despite the best efforts of myself and my source who gave me the latest Ex-Imagitec Design contact, nothing ever came back from repeated email requests to see if they were aware of any Panther development during their time at the company. Shame, but at this stage, given the sheer number of people contacted and who kindly had replied, i think the case is pretty much closed and at best, all we might of had back is some extra info on Space Junk. I've also decided to put the following back up from the interview I carried out with Jim Gregory some years ago, regarding Handmade Software and the Panther. Please note: The quotes HAVE been edited from the original somewhat, I have removed any personal attacks on Atari sources Jim makes as he choose to put the blame on the shoulders of Atari and the Tramiel family, rather than admit HMS itself suffered financial difficulties which stemmed from Jim's earlier company, Mr Micro. This was the reason I pulled the interview once the information came to light and other issues within HMS became apparent from testimonials from several EX-HMS staff. But here is what Jim said about the Panther. Hello Jim, thanks for confirming/talking us through the claim that Hand Made Software were at one point working on Atari's Panther hardware. Do you recall what game(s) were being worked on and how far along they got? Jim Gregory: Yes, we had one of the first dev versions in the world. It was just in a tin box and was not in any way a finished beast. To keep it cool, we had to squirt freezer spray through a little hole in the side every 15 minutes. Q: How did you come to receive the Panther dev kit? Jim Gregory: We had a good relationship with Atari and were working on the the Lynx for them. They offered it to us and we agreed to give them some feedback on it. We actually had a version of the famous Elite game (which we had done for British Telecom) working on it within a week or so. Unfortunately we found a BIG bug in the core chip. In those days there were no FPGA-type chips and so the main chip was a committed block of silicon. That meant that Atari had paid a big chunk of money to make the die and were ready to ramp up production. If I remember correctly, it would totally freeze without any way to recover except with a full power cycle. The bug was related to divide-by-zero problems. It was not possible to 'just avoid dividing by zero' to make it usable. We sent them a chunk of code that would easily recreate the issue to show the problem. When we reported the issue we were first met with disbelief and then annoyance as if WE had caused it to fail. I believe that at least one other developer later reported the bug and then the whole Panther project was doomed. Q: At what point were you made aware Panther was canned, and did Atari want you to move all your work onto the Jaguar instead? Jim Gregory: Whilst I was visiting them in the U.S., I learned that they had decided to bring forward the next console project, which was eventually to be called Jaguar. This cost them a LOT of money and credibility with their owner, Time Warner (who later shut the company down suddenly). Most importantly, it lost them time to market, which sort of set the course to eventual failure. Q: What were your thoughts on the Panther hardware and Atari's ability to support/market it? Was it really a home version of the Lynx? Having 32K of RAM must of been an issue. Jim Gregory: No, it was not at all a version of the Lynx. It was a complex, original design that needed a lot of new programming approaches to achieve results. We worked with a UK company to offer them a special dev kit and we offered them a several GREAT new game designs. The dev kit is in my garage somewhere. Q: Do you have any idea if Atari wanted to swap the sound chip for cheaper version? Jim Gregory: The sound chip was never an issue and was actually quite powerful. I still have all the documentation. Please just be aware it's just the personal opinion of Jim Gregory. I was reluctant to add the comments back up, but they are part of the full Panther research i carried out and should be added to the archives.
  2. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/virtua-hamster/ https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/waterworld/ https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/cyberspace/ https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/gazza-2/
  3. Very occasionally... Think this was a European Only release? Battletoads was i think licensed out to Tradewest for Mega Drive and Amiga CD32. Not console, but you also had The Sales Curve announcing ports of Solar Jetman for the ZX Spectrum, C64, ST abd Amiga. The C64, Amiga and Atari ST versions were complete and the ZX Spectrum reached a playable demo stage,but was canned due to poor sales of the NES original and perceived unsuitability for the home computer markets. C64 Version was recovered and shared.
  4. Not found that much on the Playstation game but.. Toby Grant has been quoted as saying it was Activisions first internally developed Playstation title.. The team found the Playstation hardware easy to work with, it's libraries great and easy to modify for their needs. They mixed 2D and 3D for the visuals, as it was hard to get the environments looking the way they wanted, using just polygons.. They used the Playstation GPU to create moody lighting effects and were keen to add atmosphere to the game by using special effects where ever possible.. The volcano level is lit from below, creatures morph out of the environment, burrow into the ground etc. He also commented on how easy it was to implement the games camera system on the Playstation hardware.
  5. I finally found a copy of GamePro Issue 59 with the Making The Jaguar Roar feature and interview with Andrew Whittaker. The Graftgold claims (8 Amiga titles) made by Whittaker alone are an utter farce. Amiga Uridium : Andrew Braybrook made 2 attempts to bring Uridium to the Amiga, but abandoned both. Steve Turner of Graftgold told us Andrew Whittaker pitched a PC version of Uridium to Graftgold, which a coder friend of Whittaker’s had been working on, but an early demo was all that they saw. And Morpheus stayed a C64 exclusive, there never were conversions to any other platforms. Whittaker failed his probation period whilst at Graftgold and had been taking credit for the work of many others ever since. As far as Legions Of The Undead talk which went in the article, Whittaker making out he was somehow connected to both it (his next project) and Checkered Flag (which he described as incrediblly fast, increbly playable and a terrific racing game) in the feature. Whittaker was seen telling people on Newsgroups Legions was nothing to do with him: Waiting for Legions of the Undead, nothing to do with me that one all the best Andrew Whittaker Programmer AVP But there were also reports he was earlier pulled from working on Legions to finish AVP. This has been a fundamental issue with Whittaker, told some many false accounts, he couldn't remember what he had told whom and his accounts vary wildly from interview to interview. Whittaker makes references to the games Creature Designs being done by same person responsible for the Nightbreed and Hellraiser movies etc, he doesn't name the designer in this feature, but does in other interviews, he means STAN WINSTON (RIP). Nobody from REBELLION has ever mentioned Stan Winston or the studio, being involved in any creature design We have found Whittaker name dropping John Hurt (RIP) Ridley Scott and H. R Giger (RIP) as being directly involved in Jaguar AVP... Giger in Cyberdreams Dark Seed... complete and utter nonsense, Giger made very clear in an interview he merely sold Cyberdreams the art and wasn't impressed with the game. As for who was actually working on Legions... From Rebellion: Legions of the Undead ——- — — —— Programmers: Dan Mitchell, Jamie Lokier Artists: Rebellion art team. (Toby Harrison-Banfield, Stuart Wilson, Justin Rae). Director: Jason Kingsley General nice guys: Brainstorm Anything regarding Legions that is credited to Andrew Whittaker should be treated as highly suspect. It's a crying shame Horwitz didn't do some basic background checks before running the interview with Whittaker.
  6. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/dick-special/ https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/spitfire-fury/
  7. Absolutely loved the platform at the time. It was everything the Playstation II should of been and i say that as a massive fan of the original Playstation. The Dolby 5.1 sound, ability to run custom soundtracks in games, titles like Ninja Gaiden, O.T.O.G.I, Splinter Cell, Halo in the early days, Far Cry, Half Life II, Doom 3 in it's closing one's. No need for memory cards... I never embraced Xbox Live, never felt the need. I can still remember M. S reassuring us that the Patch for Far Cry was not the start of console games going the way of PC games and patches becoming the norm... Now day one patches etc on console are the norm 😊
  8. Because I could only name 5 games off the top of me head where i had seen the machine deliver something as a C64 owner at the time, that made me envious of the platform, is probably the best answer i can give. 5 titles for a platform with the commercial lifespan the CPC had, for myself speaks volumes and of those 5? The C64 conversion of Chase HQ was simply bloody awful. Titles like Turbocharge, Chase HQ II, Powerdrift, Turbo Outrun etc showcases what could of been done. Battle Command with it's solid 3D showed how Starglider code of worked, if put out on cartridge. If the C64 versions of games i praised on the CPC, Barb aside, had been handled better, I would of been scratching to come up with real standout CPC titles that made me look at it in a new light. Since then thanks to the Homebrew community, we've seen how CPC R-Type could of been. The machine had the potential to be so much more, yet was treated as a ZX SPECTRUM port platform far too often and ended up with a reputation I now feel it didn't deserve. But any platform is only as good as the software developed for it.
  9. The Amstrad CPC seemed to fare better in France than here in the UK, where it was treated to far too many ZX Spectrum Ports and the hardware was never used to the full potential. CPC: Barbarian, Gryzor, Starglider, Dan Dare, Chase HQ and a few others showed what it was capable of, If coded for wisely, but so few people seemed to use the hardware wisely.
  10. RARE had initially planned to use it as a bonus feature on N64 Goldeneye - you'd be able to face map your friends etc faces onto characters in the games M. P mode (going off memory), but it was deemed too risky, so the concept was soon abandoned. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/perfect-dark-game-boy-camera_n_5682c576e4b06fa688813a63
  11. Awesome Golf does on the title screen, not so sure on the actual in-game. That's been my understanding.
  12. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/daffy-duck/
  13. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/10/heart-of-yesod/
  14. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2020-bloodborne-60fps-hack-tested-the-complete-story
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