Jump to content
~llama

Panther

Recommended Posts

Hm, perhaps there is a certain French company who would like to enlist Martin Hooley, in particular if his (former) company "worked" on software for a system never to be released by the (former) company this French entity now pretend they are.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, carlsson said:

Hm, perhaps there is a certain French company who would like to enlist Martin Hooley, in particular if his (former) company "worked" on software for a system never to be released by the (former) company this French entity now pretend they are.

They could also consider:

 

Jane Whittaker 

Jez San 

Jim Gregory 

Steve Wilcox 

Peter Molyneux 

 

:-)) 

 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure they could afford to have six people work for free for half a year before they drop out.

 

[sorry for diverting off the topic]

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, carlsson said:

I'm not sure they could afford to have six people work for free for half a year before they drop out.

 

[sorry for diverting off the topic]

Put the biggest names on the full time payroll and have the rest listed as advisers and they'd be set.

 

They could annouce new installments in the Starglider and Populous franchises, feature Power Crystal 

 

:-)) 

 

 

Don't worry about going off-topic 

 

Panther research has been reduced to even more Imagitec Design staff saying they never worked on anything for it, knew of any Panther development, Martin is way off target with talk of them developing 3 titles. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think this is Imagitec Design person number 14 from the time any Panther development would of taken place, but we can add Viking Child (Atari ST)  coder, Mark Fisher to the long list of staff who didn't touch the Panther.

 

My eternal gratitude to Blitz71 for providing even more assistance in the search for anyone at all who could confirm Martin Hooley Panther development claims.

 

 

Your a legend Blitz71.

 

With the score standing at 14 to Martin's 1 claim and 3 titles supposedly in development,  I honestly would of expected someone to at least know something by now.

 

 

3 games (Raiden, Daemonsgate etc) that's a lot of work for a lot of coders, artists, musicians etc and considering Panther development would of had such a limited window..

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With self-isolation in full effect,  i returned to investing Panther Daemonsgate. 

 

So, i found an ST Preview from Dec 1992, game apparently had been in development for close to 3 years and still a lot of work to be done on it.

 

The magic select screen hadn't even been finalised. 

 

Of the individuals listed in the credits, i have spoken to:

 

Nigel Kershaw,  Lee Garnett and Julian Holton.

 

None of which knew of any Panther work, let alone Panther Daemonsgate. 

 

Of the 2 remaining staff, i will be contacting one over the next few days.

 

The ST version was never finished, but if Imagitec had 5 (possibly more) people working on the PC,ST and Amiga versions,  let alone the Lynx and Game Gear versions.. you have to question Martin Hooley claiming there were staff free to work on the Panther version of this alone, let alone Panther Humans and Raiden as well.

 

Imagitec were a small company with a high turnover off staff and Atari document show Atari themselves were concerned Imagitec were over reaching.

 

I also found an ST Preview of Ragnarok, with Kevin Macintosh and Ian Howe credited.

 

Work started in Sept'91, due for an Xmas'92 release.

 

So that's that pair accounted for.

 

Game was reviewed by 1 ST magazine,  despite apparently never being finished, certainly never released on ST.

 

Some very suspect activities coming to light here.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking to document everything i can about the Panther and Project Robin in this thread.

 

At The Atari Xmas Show, Atari UK MD, Bob Gleadow announced the ST console to have a mass showing at the June '89 Chicago Show and Atari would spend 6 months working on software for it.

 

This would include repackaged top ST titles and coin-op conversions and Atari hoped to have between 30 and 50 titles ready for launch.

 

Retailer presentations would also take place in June, with Atari expecting retailers to have it in stores for September when as Gleadow put it, Windows were changed in the lead up to Christmas. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/27/2019 at 8:05 AM, Clint Thompson said:

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

Just seen reports from C.T.W (Industry Trade)  Magazine from January 1991.

 

It stated  the Panther had been in development for a year, wouldn't be compatible with the ST,was aimed at the high end of the games market,would have better than Amiga graphics and sound, likely release December 1992, no price fixed yet etc etc

 

It then stated several (anonymous) UK software development houses had stated they had received pre-production model Panthers, despite Atari saying none had been sent out.

 

Officially Atari claimed they knew nothing on the Panther.

 

Erm, if you know nothing, how can you say you haven't sent developer kits out Atari?

 

:-)) 

Edited by Lost Dragon
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been compiling a basic UK overview of the Panther, for 1991:

 

At the start of the year, Atari UK Marketing Manager, Peter Staddon, annouces Atari plan to show the Panther alongside the Mega STE, at the Summer Atari Show (Olympia, London) 

 

Spring sees Staddon saying that whilst not compatible, Panther would take advantage of existing software and the machine would run at 16 Mhz.

 

Some UK press told to expect the machine to ship in the last quarter of 1991, hopefully in time for the ECES show in London (September) 

 

The press speculate Panther will have ability to link-up with the Lynx, as Lynx had another price drop and is now £79.99 for the stand-alone unit.

 

 

Early Summer:Atari announce they will no longer be holding any London based Atari shows this year.

 

A few weeks later,Atari tell the UK press the Panther has been canned, all development machines have been returned.

 

Atari officials quick to dismiss Panther cancelled due to technical difficulties or fear of Sega beating them to the market with a similar machine

 

 

The official Atari statement :

 

 

Atari have a policy of running development projects in competition with each other.

 

Niether Jaguar or Panther had been formaly annouced anyway.

Both were development machines and were supposed to be the subject of non-disclosure agreements. 

 

 

It became obvious that Jaguar was going to succeed Panther very quickly. 

A decision was made to drop Panther and put all our resources into Jaguar. 

 

Development machines for Jaguar, a sub-£200 64-bit console,will be ready in about 4 months.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With huge thanks to Sarah Jane Avory, for taking time out to answer a few Q's of mine. 

 

Sarah joins the long list of Imagitec Design sources who never saw any Panther development, whilst at Imagitec. 

 

Sarah did work on the Lynx version of Viking Child, but left Imagitec for Core Design before the game was finished. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few soundbites from a UK interview Sam Tramiel gave in the Summer of 1991:

 

We were working on 2 systems for our next console machine, 1was Panther, the other i will not tell you the code name for, other than to say it is a wild feline animal. 

 

Panther was scheduled to be released first. 

 

The crucial thing is that the new feline is an incredible machine, vastly superior to Panther. 

 

Panther was a very good machine, better than the Megadrive,, like Super Famicom, a good 16-bit machine. 

 

It wasn't a knock-your-socks-off machine. The new feline is most definitely a knock-your-socks-off machine. It is unbelievable. 

 

 

The graphics and sound are quite simply miles ahead. It is just incredible. 

 

So we did a very careful analysis of the situation.. things were going very well with the new machine and we just thought why should we cause confusion amongst Atari developers? 

 

 

So we decided to put the Panther on hold and put all the emphasis on the new machine. 

 

 

Panther was originally planned to release at the beginning of 1992 and then bring out the new machine 18 months later, but the other one caught up so well that we just had to put full emphasis on it and go full blast. 

 

It's a shame Panther will not happen, but that's what happens. You have to have new developments and you have to make tough decisions sometimes. 

 

The important thing is that we didn't want to be a me too...we didn't want a new machine that was just OK. 

 

 

The new feline is stunning. I really can't explain it, you have to see it to understand what it can do. 

 

 

We decided not to go into a fight with a 16-bit machine that is just comparable with it's rivals. 

 

It would of been an OK machine, but we want to make WOW machines. 

 

Development machines (that were in the hands of software houses) are now being recalled. 

 

There will certainly not be an ST console,but there will be continuing expansions on the ST line. 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

November 1990 saw the UK Press annouce Atari had scrapped the rumored ST console (said Rumours had been doing the rounds for the previous 2 years)  as Atari felt such a machine would of been behind the times. 

 

 

Instead developers in Cambridge and Dallas were working on a new, Risc-based console, codenamed Panther, due for release in September 1991. 

 

Atari UK Boss, Bob Gleadow saying it'd be superior to the Sega Megadrive and Commodore Amiga and  that ST compatibility was no longer a priority. 

 

 

He also went onto say Atari had a number of development options, any one of which could turn out to be the Panther console and 9 UK Software houses were aware of the firms plans and had begun software development for the machine. 

 

Atari should of launched a games machine a year earlier, but a disastrous affair with US chain Federated, which cost Atari millions of dollars-coupled with the discovery of the handheld Atari Lynx, had caused delays. 

 

The news piece once again quoted Sam Tramiel stating Panther would be "16-bit super graphics console, based on brand new technology" 

 

A price tag of £140 was said to of been provisionally agreed (Atari suspecting Sega would reduce the price of the Megadrive from £180 to £150 by time the Panther was ready to launch. 

 

#Sam Tramiel later went onto say I the summer of 1991:

 

'I know that in Japan, Super Famicom is doing OK, but nowhere close to expectations. It's basically too expensive and i can't see America paying $200 for a video game at this time, i just don't see it. "

 

 

Just adding these for historical references. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

More historical news coverage:

 

 

A mere few weeks (June 1991) after Atari UK MD Bob Gleadow had told a press conference that the Panther was completed and an Xmas release was likely, if enough games were finished and ready for launch, Atari USA President of Software development, Larry Segal, wrote to software houses saying that Atari would now forgoe the Panther in favour of a spectacular game system that Atari felt would be capable of being the technology leader into the 21st century. 

 

Those who had had placed time and energy behind Panther would be compensated, Atari had no intention of causing financial distress, Atari would give them every opportunity to adapt their development schedules to suit development on the new Jaguar system. 

 

 

Craig Erickson, VP of software development, Atari USA, claimed Panther had reached the stage at which the casing was ready to go into production and the hardware engineering was complete. 

 

The news article claimed at least 6 UK software houses were working on software at time of the announcement. 

Edited by Lost Dragon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the original ST console :

 

December '88 saw Bob Gleadow telling UK Press, Atari planned to launch a console based on existing ST technology at the next year's New York Trade Fair in January, with initial machines selling via high street stores in the summer, full roll out in the Autumn. 

 

Atari were hoping to see the cream of existing, Arcade based ST games converted to cartridge, with any adventure, simulation etc type games that required a keyboard, ruled out. 

 

 

Prices were set at £99 for the console and £25 for the games. 

 

Gleadow was quoted as saying:

 

 

"We will be launching a 68000-based console in" 89,but there's no point in having full distribution before September. The idea is to launch it at the Toy Show and start selling it to multiples in May. 

 

Press commentary was skeptical.. Why would Atari wish to launch such a system? 

 

If it proved to be a success, it would only hurt the 520ST, if Atari weren't expecting it to be successful, why bother releasing it to start with?. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read, Lost Dragon.

 

I suppose an ST console would’ve reached a different market segment than the computers. And developers would’ve already been experienced with its architecture, & they already had games which could’ve been ported to it relatively easily.

 

The Jaguar might’ve been a better system than the Panther, but the Jaguar was poorly timed. Barring an ST console, the Panther should’ve been released, if it was as far along as rumors stated. Of course, from everything else you’ve said, I doubt the system was as far along as Atari stated. 
 

Then again the ST was supposedly developed in ~6 months, if memory serves.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, pacman000 said:

Interesting read, Lost Dragon.

 

I suppose an ST console would’ve reached a different market segment than the computers. And developers would’ve already been experienced with its architecture, & they already had games which could’ve been ported to it relatively easily.

 

The Jaguar might’ve been a better system than the Panther, but the Jaguar was poorly timed. Barring an ST console, the Panther should’ve been released, if it was as far along as rumors stated. Of course, from everything else you’ve said, I doubt the system was as far along as Atari stated. 
 

Then again the ST was supposedly developed in ~6 months, if memory serves.

Appreciate the kind words. 

 

The last few posts have really just been collection of odds n sods, intended to add a little more background info for a few YT channels who covered the Panther some time ago, but missed a lot of the coverage etc. 

 

 

Thought i might as well share it here as well. 

 

 

There's enough very RAW material here now i think for anyone looking to do a write up on the entire ST Console to Panther saga to start putting some meat on the bones as it were. 

 

Time lines, P. R quotes and thus sources to pursue for further info, talk from those who actually worked on Panther software. 

 

 

It could really do with being organised into a more coherent read 😊

 

 

But hopefully if nothing else it gives some insight into the folly of Atari during this period. 

 

 

Constantly leading the UK press and development community on a merry dance, whilst Atari themselves knowing they had to get back into the console market, but just not sure how exactly and with very limited resources compared to their rivals. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've kept reading about the ST based console in Antic magazines BITD, but thinking about it now I doubt it would have worked if it gotten the XEGS treatment.  I mean they could increase the ROM cartridge size (via bank switching) and reduce the RAM since you don't need to load anything off a disk drive (and removing other computer ports).

 

But then you still have only 16 on screen colors and even a NES has more than that and if that went up against the Mega Drive/Genesis?  They were better off just selling 520 ST packages to the home computer market.

 

(BTW, any truth to the Super XEGS that would replace the ST console until they went with the Panther?)

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw that video too (that discusses the Atari Super XE) and it was very interesting to see. It discusses the Panther in more detail then any other video I’ve seen.

690106C3-FD33-4FA1-B745-93AB8EF81BFF.png

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

I've kept reading about the ST based console in Antic magazines BITD, but thinking about it now I doubt it would have worked if it gotten the XEGS treatment.  I mean they could increase the ROM cartridge size (via bank switching) and reduce the RAM since you don't need to load anything off a disk drive (and removing other computer ports).

 

But then you still have only 16 on screen colors and even a NES has more than that and if that went up against the Mega Drive/Genesis?  They were better off just selling 520 ST packages to the home computer market.

 

(BTW, any truth to the Super XEGS that would replace the ST console until they went with the Panther?)

 

 

Super XEGS is Curt Vendel area of expertise, he has the documents relating to that one. 

 

I couldn't even begin to comment on it, as it's something i knew nothing of in real terms until he shared the documents. 

 

On our side of the pond it was always 2 years of Rumours about the ST hardware coming out as a budget console and then the Mega Drive/SNES beating 16-bit Panther, before the hype started about the Jaguar. 

 

Wish that and it's games had arrived at prices Atari were telling us to expect 😊

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.. 

 

In the look at Lynx Rolling Thunder section in Frank Gasking's GTW book, Chuck Ernst briefly talks about spending 3 months getting up to speed on the Panther, doing debugging. 

 

Atari gave him a development kit, essentially a 7800 with more Ram and slightly faster CPU, Chuck said Panther was supposed to be Atari's next Bleeding Edge console, but it was a mess and pretty much didn't do anything it was supposed to do. 

 

AtarI apparently said "we're going to get our asses kicked by the Super Nintendo, it has scaling and other crazy technology" 

 

Chuck also talks of how the coin-op Atari gave them for Lynx Rolling Thunder only had 8 levels, not 10,as it was an early prototype and the chip reader they needed to rip artwork directly from the arcade Roms was broken and Atari refused to pay the $1,200 to replace it, feeling it was cheaper to have an artist recreate it by hand. 

 

Thanks go to Frank for yet more Panther insights. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on previous posts in this thread and info posted online, it was supposed to have a ~16 MHz 680x0. Some sources claim it might've been a '010 or even '020 unless it would have driven costs too high.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...