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Sent you a PM with some background info on Imagitec Design and how company worked and a few lost projects Martin perhaps would of prefered stayed lost and why

 

 

But this soundbite from Alistair Lindsay should help explain just how small a company Imagitec Design was during the Atari era..ST..Lynx..Falcon and Jaguar and on that grounds how straight forward it should of been to find someone who worked on a Panther project in one form or another:

 

 

"At Imagitec I was doing sound design as well as Music and that’s how it was back in the day, pretty much one audio guy. Thankfully it wasn’t the programmers doing it because even earlier they were. So I just missed that earlier kind of 8-bit type thing although I did do some mega-drive and a couple of Super Nintendo bits and bobs"

 

 

Your talking such small teams on a project full stop, which does make it a lot easier when tracking down ex-staff.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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:-)) Shift work has an awful lot to be blamed for...

 

Today a good case in point, literally just killing a few hours before i head off to start my week of night shifts, so chasing a few more industry folk i might of missed.

 

Many thanks for the very kind words, i really do not deserve them.

 

All i do is take the approach GTW taught me,take claims as a starting point, pass on information as it comes in but be sure to establish it's the viewpoint of the individual, others may well have very different accounts...and just keep looking.

 

Chances are someone,somewhere has documentation or worked on or worked with someone on a lost project.

 

No harm in asking and just be completely honest about why your asking.

 

If they are happy to chat? Result :-D

 

If not? Well at least an attempt was made.

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Faran Thomason, producer of Bubsy Fractured Furry Tales on the Atari Jaguar, has been on here numerous times. Maybe he might have some pointers on the Imagetic days.

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So..if as Martin Hooley claims, both Raiden and Humans were being done on Panther, who handled the audio?

 

It doesn't look like it was Trevor Raynsford:

 

http://freejag.atari.org/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=3sj7r63nl7852bs8aa15fgiok0&topic=51.0

 

"The Busby credit is for the Jaguar music player (also used in Raiden and Tempest 2000). Our studio also did the awesome in game and CD version of the Tempest music. AFAIK we were the only studio with Jaguar launch games with in game music and SFX. Before the Jag I did a Falcon music player which ran on the 56000 (used in Humans IIRC) and a SNES music player on the sound chip (I forget what for)."

 

Sorry Martin, but so far so many of your staff who worked on the 3 titles you claim either were in development for the Panther or might have been in development, Raiden, Humans and Daemonsgate...never mention the Panther.

 

We know Lynx Daemonsgate was based on C64 Nightbreed-rpg code..

 

You were a small company, limited staff..

 

Yet no Coder..Artist..Musician we can find lists Panther on platforms worked on.

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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.

 

This is very likely.

 

I'll just mention this is quite common. Back in '96 when I was at IBM working on UNIX workstations/servers we had a big meeting with upper execs that stressed we had to delivery our product on time with industry leading performance or the entire IBM UNIX workstation/server business would switch to selling our main competitors product Sun workstations with Solaris. They claimed to already have contacted a very interested Sun corporation and were in the heated financial negotiations concerning the royalties to be paid.

 

The flagship product S70 server shipped with industry leading performance and sales... basically saving IBM Power and AIX businesses.

Edited by thetick1
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Back in the early 1990s, I worked for a computer software company in Miami. One of the programmers had a cubicle just across from me. Among his many projects, was helping to take some of our existing games & convert / translate / port / upgrade / enhance them to other systems and higher resolutions. And I can tell you that some of his hard work didnt always come to fruition. As upper management would sometimes cancel jobs & change priorities on a weekly basis. It was often frustrating & annoying.

 

But all of us there; the artists, sound guys, programmers, testers, etc. had mountains of tapes, diskettes, Zip drives, CD-Rs, etc. always at our disposal. And we all had an understanding & appreciation for logging in hundreds of hours into postponed or canceled projects. So we usually saved everything that we worked on, especially that which never saw release. So anything is possible in these scenarios. You just never know who might have something.

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Completely out of the blue, just had a reply back from yet another Ex-Imagitec Design person who worked on 1 of the supposed games Martin Hooley claimed were being made for the Panther also.

 

He'd not responded before as he changed  his email sometime ago, so pure luck he found my enquiry in his old email account. 

 

 

He appreciates the title I am asking about was 25 years ago, but with luck might be able to remember something. 

 

 

So far none of the artists..designers or musicians that worked on the lead versions of Raiden..Daemonsgate or The Humans knew of any plans for the game on Panther nor any Panther development within Imagitec Design itself..period. 

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With my eternal gratitude to the fantastic people at Arcade Attack for putting me in touch with him (you guys rock)...

 

 

I was able to contact Mev Dinc and have him confirm that the quote he made years ago in The One Magazine were indeed true (UK Press sadly has a track record of making statements from industry figures up) and Mev kindly went onto explain in a little more detail why he turned the Panther down.

 

 

MEV:I believe it must have been around 1991, we had started developing our First Samurai title around this time...


I guess at the time Atari was also challenging the Amiga  with their Atari ST. Most of us developers believed the Amiga was superior to the ST, but we did a very good version of First Samurai on it.

 


Maybe at the time I felt Atari wasn’t capable of challenging the other hardware manufacturers although they were one of the early pioneers.

 

I'd very much like to again thank both Mev and Arcade Attack for enabling yet another piece of the Panther jigsaw puzzle be completed. 

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There was some rumblings about the dev kits never working mentioned but it’s nice to read confirmation from Jeff Minter that his did indeed work fine as expected:

 

11BCD416-BBCA-4107-8C25-04357F7F7C4B.thumb.jpeg.74dbb478563784c822679211e6eb36fe.jpeg

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Thanks Clint.

 

Now you appreciate why i have never contacted Leonard Tramiel about the Panther.

 

Leonard stated development kits never worked..

 

Jim Gregory (HMS), Guildo H (The Crpyt)  and Jeff Minter say they were buggy as hell.. but worked.

 

Peter Johnson that he was busy doing graphics for the SOTB conversion. 

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On 8/27/2019 at 6:00 AM, Lost Dragon said:

Thanks Clint.

 

Now you appreciate why i have never contacted Leonard Tramiel about the Panther.

 

Leonard stated development kits never worked..

 

Jim Gregory (HMS), Guildo H (The Crpyt)  and Jeff Minter say they were buggy as hell.. but worked.

 

Peter Johnson that he was busy doing graphics for the SOTB conversion. 

Here's what's quoted on that YakYak Thread; Leonard didn't say that the kits "never" worked, but that the Panther chips themselves weren't stable. I wouldn't discount him on the Panther, as he is one of few people who was there for it. 

 

image.thumb.png.e9cce57c874d6d1f6cea2e733ff7da45.png

 

Still, it's always possible that he mis-remembers something about the functionality, since it's been a long time.

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
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My apologies i should of explained myself a little better in the reply to Clint regarding Leonard Tramiel. 

 

 

I don't want to be in the situation where i am basically asking Leonard to clarify he statements (and i mean statements as i am aware he's told others the development kits simply did not work..there were no games being developed for Panther) as i had spoken to various European Developers and they say work was being done on 1 RPG which had started life on the Konix Multi System, Shadow Of The Beast was in the process of being converted, 2 more developers from Europe had done test routines (Minters leaping Antelopes and HMS getting Elite running) and reports were kits were very buggy.

 

Even leaving out Jim Gregory saying Leonard would hear no wrong about the hardware,  runs the risk of getting Leonards back up, as it could come across as:Well..how do you explain these then?.

 

 

 

I've recently had Scott Stilphen pull the interview i did with Jim Gregory as multiple sources have privately ...'suggested' laying the downfall of Handmade Software squarely on Atari is unrealistic and unfair..the company had it's own set of problems,  internal and external.

 

I did not think it fair to present the views of one individual and the others wish to remain private,  so pulled it. 

 

So if Leonard wanted to see it, i couldn't show him.

 

Nor could i put across the personal views of 1 Atari Corp employee who worked on the Panther but did not speak highly of it, but again wishes to stay out of the spotlight. 

 

 

I'm also find myself noe questioning Martin Brownlaw claiming Leonard had Supercross 3D fully texture-mapped now a counter claim it was Tiertex themselves who  were responsible. 

 

And i was rather shocked RetroGamer Magazine allowed Martin Hooley to publically attack Leonard twice in the magazine. 

 

There is enough documented evidence to showcase the difficult working relationship Atari and Imagitec Design had on 7800 projects,  let alone Jaguar and enough Ex-Imagitec Design staff have come forward to point out Martin himself has a lot to answer for.

 

 

I don't think Jeff, Guildo,  Peter Johnson and a few others i spoke to are liable to conjour up stories of working on Panther games and test routines etc and Leonard is entitled to his personal accounts.

 

 

I don't want to come across as joining the blame Leonard brigade.

 

 

Sorry to sound vague again on closing but there are certain subjects i know Leonard has been asked about and he is sharp as a pin on them, others are a very, very different story. 

 

There have been a number of industry individuals i would of liked to of put questions in the laps of...but they perhaps would not of found the questions...suitable.

 

 

Jez San and his attitude to Sega for starters 😁

 

 

Basically though my Panther research has run the course. 

 

I'd hope by now there's been enough people contacted to give a much better idea of who was doing what,  what was planned by whom and that commercial magazine claims from the likes of Mev Dinc and Jeff were their actual words.

 

When i see the work Arcade Attack are out there doing for instance, it's evident there are many far, far better suited to research than myself. 

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Lost count now but the the 10th or 11th or whatever the number might well be by now, person from Imagitec Design has kindly gotten back in touch and yes, you guessed it:

 

Despite working on (several)  "The Humans" titles and Raiden whilst at Imagitec Design,  has no recollection of any versions for the Atari Panther or Panther work period. 

 

 

I know it's become a stuck record, but the feelers to Imagitec staff went out long ago and there was always a chance someone had worked on something or new of something. 

 

 

But it's turned into 10+ saying NO Vs Martin Hooley saying 3 titles definitely worked on.

 

 

Martin I literally ran out of Imagitec Staff you employed during that era.

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Daemonsgate PC coder joins the ever growing list of people from Imagitec Design who pour scorn on Martin Hooley claims in RetroGamer magazine it was being worked on for the Atari Panther:

 

Lee Garnett:

Hi ,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, this is an email address I rarely check.


Daemonsgate was entirely written in assembler (IIRC) so it wouldn't have been trivial task to port it to other platforms.

Once again apologies for the delay

Lee.

 

 

12 people now...Twelve involved in the titles Martin apparently swore blind to RetroGamer magazine were all underway on Panther from such a small development house as Imagitec Design and not one has any recollection of any Panther work..Lee himself not touching consoles until the Playstation. 

 

Classic RetroGamer. .either the single source is confused or has been misquoted,  yet it goes in as fact.

 

I am happy to be proven wrong by credible , independent proof, but based on the overwhelming evidence so far...

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On 12/18/2005 at 2:49 PM, krupkaj said:

I know it is not cartridge design, but. 2 years ago I created 3D model of Pather. In case you have not seen it yet, enjoy.

 

post-2769-1134938888_thumb.pngpost-2769-1134938911_thumb.png

Is the 3D model available anywhere? I was about to do one myself and was looking for plans in higher detail than the one I easily found and I stumbled onto this!

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I have to be honest, that unit looks a bit small to me. It doesn’t even look at all like a stand alone console.

 

Looks more like an attachment / accessory / expansion module to an existing console. Like the Sega Power Base Converter or 32X unit.

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Not a million miles from this by the looks of it. About the same time period too, end of the 8 bits, into the 16's

1024px-Master_System_II.thumb.jpg.025df1494dd7bc3c19fdd682de6e4d8a.jpg

 

It also looks like it takes carts similar to hucards and it seems to be a bit bigger than the pc engine

Edited by Mr Robot
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Looks like Shinto had similar luck as i did.. (none) trying to find any proof The Humans and Raiden were ever in development for the Panther by Imagitec Design:

 

https://atarijaguargamebygame.libsyn.com/05-raiden

 

 

And like he says..with the Panther console itself being canned a full year before The Humans was actually released. ..

 

Nice to see someone like Shinto who does painstaking research, looking into the subject as well.

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;-) Had to see the year out by doing a final bit of looking into that claim of Humans being worked on for the Panther.. 

 

Still not a shred of proof to the claim, but Pinochio Hooley did annouce it for the NEC 9801 when he annouced it for all the other mainstream machines..

 

Don't think it came out mind, but it did make me chuckle that he annouced it for such an obscure format back then and now apparently wants us to believe he kept the Panther version secret at the time.

 

 

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Since it lost it's original home, ye oldie Guildo H interview for historical preservation :

 

 

It is with the greatest of pleasure I was able to put questions to a
previously unknown, by myself, Atari Panther developer, Mr Guido
Henkel :

1)Guido, would you mind starting this interview by talking us
through just how you became involved with Atari, in terms of
developing for the Panther Console (claims go Atari UK had 20 Panther
development kits and invited the UK Press  and development community
to look at the hardware,with the li likes of The One, Games X etc
seeing them.

Development kits were believed to of been in the  in hands of Jeff
Minter, Domark and Psygnosis. They'd approached Mev Dinc, but he'd
declined, due to Atari's poor standing in the industry).

What can you tell us?

 

A1) My business partner, Hans-Jürgen Brändle, and I were huge Atari ST
fans at the time and it was our main development platform. In 1990,
during CES we visited Atari’s exhibitor suite to see what news there
was regarding new ST/TT models. By sheer coincidence, we rode the
elevator with Atari CEO Jack Tramiel. We introduced ourselves and when
we left the elevator, Jack instantly put us in touch with one of his
developer relations people. It turned out there was no news regarding
the ST/TT line of computers, but he told us they were working on a new
console, called Panther.

Atari was in the process of signing up developers for the console at
the time and we had just completed an action adventure, which we had
originally planned for the ill-fated Konix System also, and were
working on “Spirit of Adventure” our first full-blown role-playing
game. Atari wanted variety in its launch titles and was very
interested in getting an RPG on the console, so they added us to their
developer program. We never dealt with Atari UK. All of our contact
was directly with their US division out of Sunnyvale. A couple of
months later we received a shipment from them with a Panther
development kit, consisting of a Panther prototype, an Atari TT
workstation and the developer manual.

2)This is fantastic news, no-one I'm aware of UK Press wise or
seemingly online, seemed aware you were developing an RPG, it's never
been mentioned, just the usual suspects, Pitfighter (which it now
appears was a red herring), possibly Raiden, Plasma Pong, Crescent
Galaxy and Cybermorph.

I'd love to hear more on just what your RPG game was going to be like,
just how far along it got before Atari pulled the plug on the Panther,
what features were you planning to exploit, hardware wise and your
thoughts on the hardware itself .....(there's been views expressed
online over the years people though it  seemed to think it lacked
enough RAM, Atari were  considering dropping the Ensoniq Sound chip
etc, so any insights would be fantastic) and is there a possible
code/concept art, anything.... still exists of the game itself?

A2) The game we were working on was called “The Crypt.” It was a
first-person dungeon crawler in the vein of “Eye of the Beholder,”
with an Egyptian theme throughout. You were essentially exploring the
insides of a pyramid with all its traps and labyrinthian mazes. I was
designing and programming the game at the time and I had one artist
working with me on the game’s prototype. We had one level complete
when we received word from Atari that the Panther was cancelled and
that they had a bleeding-edge 64-bit console called Jaguar in the
making that would replace the project.

I honestly do not recall a whole lot about the system. RAM may have
been an issue, but we had just written one of the most incredible data
compressors in our careers, so that I was confident we would not run
into too many problems there.

I loved that fact that I could work on a TT as the master workstation
because it allowed me to instantly use the same toolchain I was using
for my previous development and did not have to find and learn new
tools. So, from the first day, I was essentially ready to work on the
console, and I remember how cool it felt to see my first sprite on the
Panther screen—it was the game’s logo, and with its hardware sprite
zooming capabilities, it was really cool to see how just a few lines
of code created a powerful entrance for that logo on the screen.

Regarding our development, I do not believe anything has survived. I
may have the actual hardware in the attic somewhere still, but I no
longer have documentation or source code of the game itself. I’ve
never been one to archive much of my work, which is bad, in
retrospect, but I never really thought any of my work was all that
relevant to be saved for posterity.

3)That's a crying shame, but understandable, so much has been lost
over the years.

How did you feel i wonder, when Atari (Uk ?) announced Panther was
being scrapped in favour of the Jaguar-I ask this as 'officially'
Atari's PR were sending out the message they fully supported any
Panther developers to move code/projects onto Jaguar instead (and
indeed we saw Cybermorph and Crescent Galaxy jump ship), but Jeff
Minter for example ditched the Star Raiders-esq game he was working on
to start Tempest 2000 from scratch for the Jaguar, so we'd love to
hear why your RPG never made it across either.

A3) Indeed, Atari offered to enroll us into the Jaguar developer
program, and they were true to their word. By the time the Jaguar
project opened up for developers, they reached out to us and invited
us to continue our work on the new console. However, by that time we
were completely tied up developing the first of our “Realms of
Arkania” games, which left absolutely no resources available for any
other developments, so we passed.

“Realms of Arkania” was not only a dream project for us, but it was
also a huge undertaking for a small developer like ourselves.

Q4)Also could i ask you for your, your own personal thoughts on how
you felt regarding the possibility  the Panther could have made an
impact against the likes of the Mega Drive and SNES and thus as some
withing the Atari Community have felt,  bought Atari enough time to
firm up support and hardware (bug testing chipsets etc) for the
Jaguar.?

A4) From a technical standpoint Panther did put Mega Drive and SNES to
shame, I remember. They were getting a bit long in the tooth already,
especially compared to some of the things you started seeing on the
Amiga. The Panther was like an Atari ST on steroids with a console
design, meaning without the operating system overhead. Even though the
architecture was very different than that of the ST-line of computers,
it was following the same lean and mean approach. The architecture had
quite a bit in common with Atari’s Lynx, if I recall correctly, and
had some powerful incredibly sprite hardware that exceeded Sega’s and
Nintendo’s capabilities.

However, with the Jaguar’s accelerated development schedule, I think
they were smart to cancel Panther and shift focus to Jaguar instead.
There, they had the 64-bit selling point, and for a while they really
had the superior hardware to anyone else. The reason Jaguar failed was
not the hardware, it was the marketing and the lack of developer
support.

If you look at what was going on at that time, Atari was not really a
leading edge game platform in many countries from a developer’s
standpoint. In the UK, where most of the top-tier action games of the
era came from, everyone was Amiga fanatic, and in the US, where the
more heavy-weight games came from, the PC was really beginning to make
an impact with its stunning VGA graphics. So, Atari had a bit of a
problem getting the foot in the door with developers, which I always
found disappointing.

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11 hours ago, CrazyChris said:

Really good insight. Thanks for posting this!

Many thanks for the kind words. 

 

It needs a professional editor to clean up the grammar and punctuation :-)) 

 

But as long as people can take away the insights,  that's all the matters. 

 

It was one of the earliest looks into the Panther i carried out for the then planned GTW feature and it came at a time it looked like every planned Konix Multisystem title had been uncovered, so finding out the game had started life on that was an unexpected bonus.

 

 

Also,it arrived when the established claims were only Panther games were X,Y and Z (which overtime we came to discover were not the case).

 

Insights like these from Guildo, Jeff Minter, Rob Nicholson, Peter Johnson etc have helped build a much better picture of the Panther.

 

People like Jim Gregory offered insights,but due to manner in which they used interview,  those insights are now too biased for myself to use as credible, the real problems within HMS have come to light.

 

And as for likes of Martin Hooley claiming various Panther games worked on by Imagitec Design, yet not a single coder,artist,producer, musician etc has any recollection,  well that just wasted so much time and damaged his credibility further still.

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Huge thanks to  Anthony Rosbottom of Imagitec Design (ST Viking Child)  who joins the ever increasing list of names at Imagitec when the Panther development would of been underway, who never heard of any Panther titles in development whilst he was there.

 

Another artist who might of been tasked can be removed.

 

So again Martin, if you had numerous Panther games in development as you claim in RG magazine, who on earth was working on them?

 

 

The claims get even less credible with each new source approached.

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1 handed update:

 

From an Ex-Imagitec Design employee when asked why Martin Hooley would claim Imagitec Design had 3 Panther games in development,as well as claim Sega Game Gear Humans and Viking Child were both finished and released.. #they understandably wish to remain anonymous #

 

 

"Martin was certainly a ‘cowboy’ in the best possible sense. He’s either bullshitting still to this day or just plain can’t remember anything."

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