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They did learn a lesson from Commodore & the ST: you have to be in major retailers to be successful.

 

They got the Jaguar into Walmart...in 1995, when the PS1 came out & it was too late to recover.

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@Bubsy3000:If you look through comments made by people from the industry, you can easily find plenty expressing frustration at Atari over selling the abilities of it's forthcoming hardware,before it arrived at developers.

 

Stephen Landrum (Epyx and part of the Lynx design team) when hearing the supposed specifications for the Jaguar said Atari had gotten away with out and out lies talking about the ST...

 

 

The STE was announced to the press as an Amiga Beater,in terms of ability,it wasn't..

 

Stefan Boberg of Team 17 talked of at 1 time looking to buy a Falcon,but it arrived more expensive and less powerful than Atari had claimed.

 

 

Just put up a link to Virtual Experience coder talking about Jaguar not living up to what Atari promised and you can find similar feelings from Imagitec Design and Ringler Studios sources.

 

Jeff Minter has spoken about his experience with Panther and it's sprite handling abilities not being what Atari made out.

 

You can't keep making false hardware claims and expecting development teams to buy them good,line and sinker,especially if your development tools aren't up to scratch,your hardware is bugged etc.

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They did learn a lesson from Commodore & the ST: you have to be in major retailers to be successful.

 

They got the Jaguar into Walmart...in 1995, when the PS1 came out & it was too late to recover.

If they learned their lessons the jagur would not have been bugged, and they would have spend most of their budget getting Jaguars at thousands of retailers instead of ads and false promises to trick devs on board.

 

@Bubsy3000:If you look through comments made by people from the industry, you can easily find plenty expressing frustration at Atari over selling the abilities of it's forthcoming hardware,before it arrived at developers.

 

Stephen Landrum (Epyx and part of the Lynx design team) when hearing the supposed specifications for the Jaguar said Atari had gotten away with out and out lies talking about the ST...

 

 

The STE was announced to the press as an Amiga Beater,in terms of ability,it wasn't..

 

Stefan Boberg of Team 17 talked of at 1 time looking to buy a Falcon,but it arrived more expensive and less powerful than Atari had claimed.

 

 

Just put up a link to Virtual Experience coder talking about Jaguar not living up to what Atari promised and you can find similar feelings from Imagitec Design and Ringler Studios sources.

 

Jeff Minter has spoken about his experience with Panther and it's sprite handling abilities not being what Atari made out.

 

You can't keep making false hardware claims and expecting development teams to buy them good,line and sinker,especially if your development tools aren't up to scratch,your hardware is bugged etc.

The ST was poorly handled, and what really hurt it was Atari giving games away in packs which pissed off developers even more.

 

But yeah, Atari was well known to promise something and either cut features out or release a completely different product. ST had good MIDI tools but that "Upgrade" to those tools ended up being a cut down version for entry level,but sold it at full price.

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It must of seemed a great idea on paper, espically to marketing...

 

Bundle the ST with a stack of games that had reached the end of their commercial retail span and make the ST appear fantastic VFM next to the Amiga..

 

But, all it seemed to do was delay people buying new games for a good while after purchasing the ST.

 

It was but a contributing factor, you only have to read interviews with developers to see how eager they were to work with the superior abilities offered by the Amiga.

 

But the STE should of been handled a lot differently.

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It must of seemed a great idea on paper, espically to marketing...

 

Bundle the ST with a stack of games that had reached the end of their commercial retail span and make the ST appear fantastic VFM next to the Amiga..

 

But, all it seemed to do was delay people buying new games for a good while after purchasing the ST.

 

It was but a contributing factor, you only have to read interviews with developers to see how eager they were to work with the superior abilities offered by the Amiga.

 

But the STE should of been handled a lot differently.

The mistakes with the ST and the lack of management for the 8-bit line in the later years really made me wonder if Atari should have just went the "gaming computer" route instead of trying to be an all and one consumer/business computer like Commodore was trying (and failing) to do. Jack's name was already poison and it was getting worse every year. Same with Sam.

 

Jack era 8-bit, ST and Falcon were all disasters, as was late jack era commodore, and the stain never left. Everything they touched turned to crap. If new management at Commodore threw away his legacy then it may have just survived a bit longer.

 

Now that I think about it, IBM should have brought in Jack to kill the PC clones :)

Edited by Bubsy3000
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A few more responses have come in and older interviews online found, which pretty much highlight why it's such a nightmare to get credible information from Imagitec Design on potential Panther development.

 

As well as staff leaving due to lack of regular pay, people talk of personality clashes between producers and those working under them, artists having to redo others art on the sly as not to offend...

 

Martin Hooley has been described as someone who could deliver a knock out sales pitch, very impressive when showing the press concept art, mock up screens etc, but would abandon people when it came to actually developing the very games he had promised or if he did get involved, it would be to change direction game was heading.

 

One source who wishes to remain nameless described him as being totally out of touch with the very industry he worked in.

 

Games were often written and designed as they went along, then simply canned as they had lost their way...

 

Rookie producers were assigned to oversee flagship titles that had no idea what they were doing...

 

Code from previously abandoned games was simply reused on games that themselves would end up abandoned. ..

Lynx Daemonsgate started life as Cabal (Nightbreed RPG) on the C64...

 

Freelance Artists were simply told to do graphics in a set number of colours so the assets could be used on any number of formats, they weren't told what platforms the art would be used on, if used at all...

 

People like Steve Noakes saying as far as they can remember Raiden might of been planned for Panther, but all they can remember is working on assets for Raiden conversion for Imagitec, project having a hiatus in the middle, before Raiden finally appeared on Jaguar, is not confirmation it was actually started on Panther, Steve admist his work could well of been on the Falcon version.

 

 

Which makes it nigh on impossible a lot of the times to get any degree of clarity.

 

Person A might well remember doing art for Imagitec for a conversion or original title, in X number of colours, but couldn't honestly say what platform as they themselves were never told.

 

We are awaiting replies from a few more sources, but i expect the same stories if we get anything back at all.

Edited by Lost Dragon

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Had a reply back from yet another artist from Imagitec Design who worked there during the SNES/Genesis era.

 

No Panther development himself nor aware of anyone who did any art or coding.

 

He has confirmed what Shaun Mcclure told me regarding a Jaguar lost title and pointed out it was the Producer who took the project with him and tried to have it started under a new development team and publisher, not the Coder as Martin Hooley had claimed.

 

Martins memory for myself rules him out as a credible source to say Raiden and Dino Dudes were Panther games.

 

He's getting too confused on too many subjects.

 

This has been the line from the various people likes of myself, Unseen64 and GTW have had whenever we asked ex-imagitec design artists and coders about possible Panther development at the company:

 

" I can't remember an Atari Panther being at Imagitec TBH "

Edited by Lost Dragon
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Found 2 fresh Imagitec Design sources from the Panther era...

 

Emails sent..1 to his place of work and had a reply back from P.R guy my message will be passed on next Tuesday. .

 

The other direct to his personal website and he was with the company from early '88 until Middle of '92.

 

Project leader then producer, his C V lists SNES/MD/ST/AMIGA etc..nothing on Panther.

 

 

Scanned more UK Press coverage of Imagitec..talk of work schedules for Falcon and Jaguar.

 

Hooley is found promoting:

 

Sega CD Humans (supposedly nearly finished )...

 

Genesis Humans 2:Humans In Space (actual Humans II ended up as Humans:Insult to Injury and not out on Genesis).

 

 

And Genesis Humans III:The Holy Grail (actual release Humans Evolution-Lost In Time, again not even a Genesis title).

 

 

I constantly find Martin detailing big projects Imagitec had in the pipeline for countless formats that never arrived.

 

Yet never talks to any multiformat magazine about any Panther work.

 

 

Nobody from Imagitec lists Panther on online C.V and yet he now wants RetroGamer readers to believe the company had 3 Panther games in development? .

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Following up a lead on a cancelled Domark game for the Sega CD, i made contact with a new source from Domark, he'd been there during the Panther era, so i asked him if he was aware of any Panther plans, even though multiple sources from there had told me Pitfighter was never started, always pays to keep asking.

 

 

He was very honest indeed...

 

"Sorry, but I've never even heard of the Atari Panther. I have worked on many platforms that I was unfamiliar with at the time. I didn't care at all about the platform, as long as I somehow managed to get paid and/or was proud of my work."

 

I'm starting to get similar replies from various artists who worked as freelance artists for UK publishers, they weren't given specifics on the very games they worked on, just what limits to produce the art within.

 

Never told if art had been used, games actually released and if so on what platforms and as long as they got paid, they had no need to ask..

 

It's an interesting insight into how the industry worked, was does highlight just how difficult it is to properly document what games were actually started on Panther and how far along they got.

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Nobody from Imagitec lists Panther on online C.V and yet he now wants RetroGamer readers to believe the company had 3 Panther games in development? .

 

I am unfamiliar with the standards or conventions used by game programmers, but is it possible that they may have just dropped the references to the Panther due to age or the obscurity of the system? Unless someone is very new to the workforce, I assume that a CV will not list every single project or game system that they have ever worked on.

 

Personally, I worked on the design of an online database back in 2000/01. Because of a shift in funding priorities, that project was never finished and the organization that I worked for has long since ceased to exist. Frankly, I only barely remember the details, and my career has long-since moved in a different direction. That project has "aged off" of my CV, and it is now utterly irrelevant to jobs that I am seeking.

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In my (limited) experience, you still see games development on unreleased systems listed as part of a person's online C.V, even if it's not the most accurate description..

 

Cough, Jane Whittaker claiming 3DO M2 Power Crystal being finished, reviewed and scoring 90% +

 

People also list the Konix Multisystem.

 

You see a lot of unreleased titles on commercial platforms that were successful, it's just trying to find out why they were unreleased that's difficult :-))

 

Regarding the Panther and Imagitec, thanks to the kindness of the various artists and coders who have spoken to us and corrected the hazy recollections of Martin Hooley, by now we should of stumbled across at least 1 artist, coder or musician who either worked on the platform themselves or knew of someone who did.

 

Everyone agrees Martin was an excellent spokesman and ideal at putting sales pitches and presentations to clients and the media, but he left the actual coders,artists etc hanging in the breeze somewhat when it came to delivering what he had promised.

 

 

When looking into Domark's Pitfighter claims, initial research turned up 2 sources who'd heard rumours of others working on it and they contacted other Ex-Domark sources and from there i was able to contact Domark's head of projects.

 

You basically follow the breadcrumbs :-))

Edited by Lost Dragon
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Meant to say..even if industry folk don't actively list working on lost hardware, they are usually open to being asked about it, for example:

 

Q: Were you also ever looking at supporting the Konix Multisystem?

 

Peter Calver: No. It wasn't something we looked at, as far as I can recall.

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Ok, so had a reply back from an H.R person who'd passed on my request to talk to an Ex-Imagitec Design person, now working with them, to see if they were aware of any Panther development and here's the reply:

 

 

Hi Ross,

 

 

 

I talked to ##### about this one. He’s not inclined to talk to any journalists about it, but he did let me know that any potential Panther work would of been done after he had left. He was with another company by that point, and can’t shed any light on the matter, I’m afraid.

 

 

 

Good luck with your search!

 

Very polite and it's unusual to have companies take time to get back to us like this in this manner, your usually either ignores or they have the person themselves contact you.

 

I'm mentioning it as it's a good example of why it's often so hard to find information.

 

People are wary of talking to the press (i had made crystal clear i just did this out of personal interest and for likes of Unseen64/Atarimania )..so i have been asked not to name the person in question.

 

But it's yet another person from Imagitec at a set time frame that can be ruled out.

 

Again if there are artists/coders/musicians from there who did work on Panther..

 

Please step forward.

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Bit of a bit more than i was expecting with the new Domark Source..

 

"I've never heard the words Panther uttered around the Domark offices. Our platforms were PC, Amiga, Nintendo, and Sega. They had done Amstrad, ST, and Spectrum, but that was before my time."

 

Fair points and goes along with what Domark's head of projects told me some months ago.

 

 

Next part, i honestly wasn't expecting :

 

 

"I have lots of juicy stories but most of these are probably not tellable until the parties involved are dead. (I can almost hear a huge sigh of relief from those involved).

 

Most of these folks are now respectable parents or retirees, but at the time we were like young rockstars in the cutting edge of pop/tech culture in ever-swinging London. These are raunchy tales of sex, drugs, EDM, intrigue, violence, piracy, corporate espionage, and general weirdness.

 

I'll try to record these and instruct they be willed to you after my death, but in the meantime, the best way to release respectable info would be for you to ask me very specific questions."

 

Yikes..8-)

Edited by Lost Dragon
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I must admit that a book title Sex, drugs and Atari prototypes would sound quite interesting to read.

 

I'd buy it

 

He's the second Domark person to hint at the goings on behind the scenes.

 

Years back i had a lengthy interview done with another chap, nothing Atari related per say.

 

But at 11th hour he decided it was best it wasn't made public as a lot of the names mentioned still worked in the industry.

 

 

Ohh the stories they could of told us

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I must admit that a book title Sex, drugs and Atari prototypes would sound quite interesting to read.

 

Not much different from the original Atari days under Bushnell... :evil:

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I recently asked UK coder Nick Pelling if he'd ever been approached by Atari to code on anything obscure like the Panther, his reply:

 

 

i did ask UK coder, Nick Pelling if he had done any coding for Atari and here's his reply:

 

 

"As far as Atari goes, I tried to work with them with Joust on the BBC Micro but it turned out really badly, and the less said the better. Again, others may have kind words to say about Atari, but you won’t find any here."

 

 

Yet another prime example of why Atari struggled to get people to develop on later platforms. ..

 

They simply burned so many bridges in the early days....

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Bit more misc press coverage.

 

Snippet from Electronic Engineering Times:

 

"The company designed and built a 16-bit prototype home-entertainment machine two years ago, said Sam Tramiel, but scrapped the plan in favor of a grand attempt to leapfrog the 16-bit systems that were then coming onto the market. But then Atari engineers started to look

for enabling technology, "there were no RISC processors and no DSP's

that fulfilled our requirements, especially at our cost," said

Miller. Atari's design team even had to develop its own HDL

simulation tools, he said."

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Having spoken to various coders and artists from Imagitec Design to try and find out just who might of worked on any of the fabled Panther Projects..

 

I tried the musician route.

 

Alistair Lindsay was kind enough to reply with:

 

 

I don’t remember any work on the Atari Panther at Imagitec. When I started it was all Jaguar, PC, SNES and Megadrive.

 

At this stage, with so many from different roles and projects being approached, i had expected someone to be able to back up the claims Martin Hooley made that a potential 3 if not more, titles were started on the Panther by Imagitec Design and yet there's nothing.

 

Sorry Martin but unless you can remember who you assigned to which titles, at this stage i am going to have to say it appears you are (understandably) incorrectly remembering past Atari projects.

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I really, Really, REALLY like this thread; it has just the right blend of historical interest and salaciousness. Please keep 'em coming, and thank you for doing the digging.

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I'm not sure how much more information, if any, i myself will be able to offer up regarding the Panther.

 

My resources are limited and the majority of people that sprang to mind as worth contacting have been contacted.

 

 

I'm delighted you like what has been found and shared so far though .

 

I just want to make perfectly clear i have no personal agenda against Martin Hooley .

 

He was kind enough at the time to answer my letter in Ultimate Future Games magazine regarding Jaguar Freelancer 2120 but it's become evident over the years his memory is playing tricks on him and not just with the Atari Formats but Sega as well and who took unfinished code with them when they left the company.

 

And this is why we haven't taken his claims at face value, instead kept on reaching out to people who would of actually of been involved in the very creation of the games themselves, not who's role was to put on a stunning presentation for press and investors .

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One thought--there might have been things assigned to some project road map that never actually reached the implementation stage. That would explain remembering things but would result in the same negative findings you have to date--and that roadmap may never have left the marketing department, so the programmers would be clueless about the titles/systems involved that never began coding. It isn't verifiable unless a copy of the roadmap ever turns up, but it remains a distant possibility.

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